Tag: Raspberry Pi

Internet of Things

Learn how to Build IoT Apps on Azure with SkillMeUp and Opsgility

There has been an ever growing interesting in the Internet of Things (IoT). Beyond being just plain cool, IoT is a really interesting area of growth in pretty much any industry that has figured out how to make use of it. Some of the implementations of IoT include cruise ships, self-driving cars, smart thermostats, and MANY, MANY other applications! With cloud-based IoT services like those offered from Microsoft Azure it’s becoming much easier to build more powerful Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

On the training side, there’s not too much available for teaching you how to build Internet of Things (IoT) architectures and solutions in the cloud. Recently, I published a new learning path and series of on-demand courses and hands-on labs on Building IoT Apps on Microsoft Azure over at SkillMeUp.com.

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Internet of Things

Raspberry Pi GPIO Pin Reference

Microsoft Azure IoT Suite can be used to build extremely scalable Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. With any IoT solution the cloud platform is only half of what needs to be built. The other half resides on physical IoT hardware devices such as a Raspberry Pi that are connected to some combination of sensors and / or actuators to provide the real-world integration side of the IoT solution. Both the Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 offer a 40 pin GPIO header to allow for many different components to be connected, in addition for the capability of providing both 3.3 volt and 5 volt output to those components. Each component needs to be connected to the correct pins, so a proper reference diagram is always necessary to ensure correct pin locations.

Raspberry Pi GPIO Pinout Reference

The Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 have a 40 pin header that supports UART, I2C, SPI, PCM, and has numerous GPIO pins. It additionally has pins for 5V and 3.3V power along with numerous Ground pins. When connecting sensors and other components it’s very important to connect to the right pins. For this reason it’s important to keep a good Raspberry Pi GPIO Header Reference diagram readily available for easy lookup.

Here’s a really simple diagram with the location and purpose of each pinout labeled along with the color coding for easier reference at a glance.

Locating Header Pin 1

In case you’re unsure where what the orientation of the above Raspberry Pi GPIO Pin Reference, all you need to do is locate the “J8” marking on the board and match it up with the “J8” in the reference diagram (as shown by the red arrow in the below image.)

The location of Pin 1 and the “J8” marking on the Raspberry Pi board is in the corner of the board next to the header pins opposite of the Ethernet and USB ports. Pin 1 is the pin closest to the “J8” marking towards the inside of the board; not the corner pin on the outside edge of the board.

Attribution: The Raspberry Pi 3 hardware board image above is from the Wikipedia article on Raspberry Pi.

FYI, this article is a cross post and was originally posted to the Opsgility blog on 8/13/2016.


Webinar Recording: Introduction to Building IoT Solutions with Microsoft Azure

Here’s a webinar I hosted for Opsgility recently titled “Introduction to Building IoT Solutions with Microsoft Azure”. In this webinar, I provide an overview of building Internet of Things (IoT) solutions with Microsoft Azure. I discuss the different services within Azure IoT Suite for building IoT solutions, as well as general architecture patterns used to build manageable and maintainable IoT solutions in the cloud. In addition to all the amazing Azure cloud capabilities, it also covers the basics around IoT prototyping hardware using Raspberry Pi and Arduino hardware platforms, as well as using Visual Studio to build Windows 10 UWP apps that can run on the Windows 10 IoT Core operating system. Read More

HardwareInternet of Things

Raspberry Pi Device Simulator for Azure IoT

One of the long time frustrations with Raspberry Pi development is that you needed a physical device and hardware (sensors, buttons, etc) to fully develop and test your Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Many haven’t really seen this as an issue since deploying code to the device isn’t really that difficult. However, this presents yet another hurtle when first learning how to develop IoT solutions. This can especially be a hurtle when you need to purchase hardware in order to start learning how to develop IoT solution using Microsoft Azure IoT Suite. For this reason Microsoft has created the Raspberry Pi Azure IoT Online Simulator. This simulator does just what it sounds; it simulates the Raspberry Pi hardware so you can easily get coding IoT solutions with ease. Read More

Internet of Things

Setup Raspberry Pi with Windows 10 IoT Core

Windows 10 IoT Core is Microsoft’s version of the Windows 10 operating system being built to run Internet of Things (IoT) devices. There are a few hardware IoT devices that Windows 10 IoT Core supports and can run on. One of these devices is the Raspberry Pi; specifically the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3. This article lists out the steps necessary to load Windows 10 IoT Core onto a MicroSD Card that can be inserted into a Raspberry Pi to run Windows 10 IoT Core as the operating system.

Flash Windows 10 IoT Core to MicroSD Card

In order to boot Windows 10 IoT Core from a Raspberry Pi, you must first flash the Windows 10 IoT Core operating system to an SD Card that can be used to boot the Raspberry Pi from. To do this you need to use a Windows PC and the IoT Dashboard utility.

Step 1: Using a Windows PC, download and install the Windows 10 IoT Core Dashboard.

Step 2: Insert your Micro SD Card into your PC.

Note: Before you start, you’ll want to make sure you have an MicroSD Card that is supported by Windows 10 IoT Core. It’s important to be aware that NOT all MicroSD Cards are supported, with the primary restriction that they are at minimum a Class 10 SD Card.

Step 3: Run the IoT Dashboard app, and click on the “Set up a new device” button.

Step 4: Select the “Raspberry Pi 2 & 3” device type, and fill in the necessary configuration values, then accept the software license terms and click the “Download and install” button.

Something to note on the Wi-Fi Network Connection setting is that it will pull from the Wifi Profiles on your local PC. This means that you will be able to easily configure your device to connect to the same Wifi network your Windows PC is connected to once it boots up from the SD Card. You won’t need to plugin a display, keyboard, or mouse in order to configure anything, so long as you select the correct Wifi network.

Step 5: When prompted to erase the SD Card, you need to click Continue. Just make sure you are aware that this will essentially format the SD Card before copying the Windows 10 IoT Core image, so you will lose any data that’s existing on the SD Card.

Step 6: The tool will continue by downloading the latest release of Windows 10 IoT Core. This ensures that you always have the latest version that you’re flashing.

Step 7: After the download completes, the dism.exe command-line tool will then automatically kick off to flash the downloaded Windows 10 IoT Core image to the SD Card.

Step 8: Once the flashing is completed, the IoT Dashboard will show a message stating that “Your SD card is ready.”

Step 9: You can now safely remove the SD Card from your PC and plug it into the Raspberry Pi and power it on.

Connect to the Windows 10 Device Portal

One of the features of Windows 10 IoT Core that makes it easier to manage, especially with headless devices, is the Windows Device Portal. This is a web interface that is hosted on the Windows 10 IoT Core device by default. This interface allows you to perform some remote monitoring, configuration, and deployment options for Windows 10 IoT Core.

Step 1: Once you’ve booted up a device with Windows 10 IoT Core you can then use the “My devices” option of the IoT Dashboard to easily discover what Windows 10 IoT Core devices are connected to the network that your PC is connected to. To view some details about the specific device, you can double-click on the device in the list.

Step 10: On the info for the specific Windows 10 IoT Core device, you can click on the “Open Windows Device Portal in browser” link to open up a new browser window navigating to the Windows Device Portal for that device.

Step 11: When the browser opens up and connects to the Windows Device Portal, it’ll prompt you to login. The Username you need to use will be Administrator, and the Password will be the password you configured when you flashed Windows 10 IoT Core to the SD Card.

Step 12: Once authenticated, you will be logged in and able to access the Windows Device Portal.

Overall the tools from Microsoft, including the IoT Dashboard, are extremely easy to use. You don’t need to use any command-line tools or open any configuration files to install Windows 10 IoT Core to an SD Card. You can then simply insert the SD Card into your device and boot it up to get it running.

HardwareInternet of Things

Get Started with Azure IoT Technical Training for Developers

Many developers are interesting in building Internet of Things solutions; whether it’s as a side project or something for Enterprise use. With all the Consumer and Industrial IoT products out today and being worked on, it’s certainly an interesting space to work in. However, it can be a bit challenging, and possibly daunting, for developers to get started with building IoT solutions with Microsoft Azure. As a result, many developers have had to do research in many areas and figure out their own learning path. Today, as part of the Build 2017 conference, Microsoft has announced the availability of a number of technical trainings available from Microsoft and other third-parties.

As a means of simplifying your journey to learning how to develop Internet of Things solutions with  the Microsoft Azure cloud, the technical training announced provide structured paths to follow. This structured Azure IoT training will guide you through navigating all the different Azure IoT Suite services (Azure IoT Hub, Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Service Bus, Event Hubs, Azure Functions, Cosmos DB / DocumentDB, Azure Machine Learning and more) in the affect of how to design and build full IoT solutions. You no longer need to piece together documentation articles in order to learn how to build IoT solutions with Azure. Read More

Internet of Things

Announcing Azure IoT Edge

The all new Microsoft Azure IoT Edge brings down the power and capabilities of Azure IoT down to run natively on individual Internet of Things devices. This will enable scenarios that require much lower latencies to be built with real-time analytics and intelligence on running on the IoT devices (at the edge). Also, the devices supported include a broad range of IoT hardware which includes much more than just Raspberry Pi with the inclusion of lower powered devices as well.

Azure IoT Edge enabled you to build Hybrid IoT Solutions the bridge the gap and merge the Cloud IoT and local, device IoT capabilities into a single cohesive mesh. This allows you to easily orchestrate IoT cloud services in Azure to run on your IoT devices at the edge. This allows you to get the best of both Cloud and On-Premises worlds in your IoT solutions providing intelligence and analysis on the edge closer to your devices with up to 20x reduction in decision latency!

Here are some of the benefits and advantages of using Azure IoT Edge:

  • Run artificial intelligence at the edge
  • Perform edge analytics
  • Deploy IoT solutions from cloud to edge
  • Manage devices centrally from the cloud
  • Operate with offline and intermittent connectivity
  • Enable real-time decisions
  • Connect new and legacy devices
  • Reduce bandwidth costs

The Azure IoT Edge was just announced today at Build 2017, and promises to be a truly great advancement in building IoT solutions. Microsoft even showed a really great demonstration of implementing it in Industrial IoT that resulted in 20x reduction in decision latency and emergency response in a factory.

Azure IoT Edge looks really awesome, and I look forward to learning more about it!

Internet of Things

IoT and Maker Gift List 2016

Are you looking to get something for a friend or family member who’s into making their own hardware devices, or want to get started but don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of some of the coolest IoT and Hardware Maker products that would make great gifts for your favorite geek!

The following list contains items of varying prices, and is sorted with the lowest priced items first.

Arduino Uno – $16

This is the Arduino Uno board only. While the Arduino Starter Kit (listed below) includes the board and many other thing necessary to get started, this board alone is fairly cheap. You can buy an additional board to add to the Starter Kit, or just buy the board as a gift for someone who already has some of the other components.

Buy Here

Raspberry Pi Zero Starter Kit – $29.99 USD

The Raspberry Pi Zero Starter Kit from CanaKit contains a Raspberry PI Zero computer board, and all the other necessities required to play and get it running!

The starter kit contains the following items:

  • Raspberry Pi Zero board
  • 8 GB MicroSD Card – pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • mini-HDMI adapter
  • 1A micro-USB PowerSupply
  • USB OTG cable

This starter kit contains all the hardware necessary to get started playing with the Raspberry Pi Zero! The only things that don’t come with the kit that you need to add is a TV or PC monitor with a Keyboard and Mouse.

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Circuit Playground from Adafruit – $29.99 USD

The Circuit Playground from Adafruit is an all-in-one board with integrated sensors and LEDs. It’s a neat platform to practice getting started with programming on a real hardware device, without the need to solder or assemble anything!

Here’s some of the things built into the Circuit Playground board:

  • 10x mini NeoPixels, each can display any color
  • 2x push buttons
  • 1x slide switch
  • Motion sensor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Light sensor
  • Sound sensor
  • Mini speaker
  • 8x alligator-clip friendly input/output pins

The Circuit Playground from Adafruit is Arduino IDE compatible, and connects to a computer using a Micro-USB cable so it can be programmed. Plus, all the features of this little board are packed into a size that’s about as wide as 2x US Quarters!

Buy Here

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B – $35

Raspberry_Pi_Logo.svgThis is the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B board only. This tiny little computer was built to help teach computer engineering in schools, and it packs a ton of functionality into a tiny package. It’s built on a quad-core 1.2Ghz ARM processor, 1 GB RAM, and has a few other features built onto the board that can boot from an SD Card and run the Linux / Raspbian operating system, as well as the new Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Core.


This little board can be used to play Minecraft, surf the web, learn programming, plus many, many other things! It’s really a full computer that only costs $35! Plus, it’s only a little larger than the size of a credit card!

Here are some of the features built into this amazing, little computer:

  • 1.2 Ghz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 802.11n Wifi
  • Bluetooth 4.1 + Bluetooth Low Energy
  • 4 USB ports
  • 1 Ethernet port – 10/100Mbps
  • 40 GPIO pins
  • Full HDMI port
  • Combined 3.5mm audio jack + composite video
  • MicroSD card slot

Buy Here

SparkFun Thing ESP8266 IoT Dev Kit – $39.95

The SparkFun Thing Microsoft Azure IoT Starter Kit includes a SparkFun Thing board, with integrated Wifi, and a few other components perfect for getting started building IoT projects. The SparkFun thing board is Arduino compatible, so the Arduino IDE can be used for programming.

Here’s some of what comes with the SparkFun Things IoT Starter Kit:

  • SparkFun ESP8266 Thing Dev Board, w/ integrated Wifi
  • Breadboard
  • Humidity + Temperature Sensor
  • Mini Photocell
  • 20 pack of LEDs
  • MicroUSB cable
  • Jumper Wires
  • Resistors – 10K and 330 Ohm

Buy Here

Raspberry Pi 7″ Touchscreen Display – $67.99

raspberrypi7inchtouchscreendisplaypartsThe Official Raspberry Pi 7″ Touchscreen Display is the perfect addition to any Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 board. It features a full color LCD display with 800 x 480 resolution, plus full, capacitive touchscreen support!

The touchscreen display connects directly to the Raspberry Pi and includes everything you need to connect it up and use it!

This does NOT come with a Raspberry Pi board, that will need to be purchases separately.

Buy Here

Arduino Starter Kit – $70 USD

arduinostarterkitboxThe official Arduino Starter Kit comes with all the parts and instructions to build 15 projects. It includes the instructions in a 170 page book, plus all the necessary parts for all the projects in the book. This kit is full of everything needed to get started building projects with the Arduino platform.

Here’s a short list of some of the items included in this kit:

  • Arduino Projects Book (170 pages)
  • Arduino Uno board
  • Alphanumeric LCD
  • Tilt sensor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Phototransistor
  • Push buttons
  • LEDs (multiple colors)
  • Resistors
  • and more

Buy Here

Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit – $74.99 USD

The Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit from CanaKit includes all the hardware necessary to be able to start using the Raspberry Pi 3 and get it running. This kit includes the latest Raspberry Pi 3 board along with a few other essentials that you’ll need.

Here’s a list of the items included in this kit:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B board
  • Integrated Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • 32 GB MicroSD card (Class 10) pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • 2.5A USB Power Supply
  • Raspberry Pi Case
  • HDMI cable
  • 2x heat sinks
  • GPIO quick reference card

Buy Here

Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 3 – $114.95

CertifiedIoTRaspberryPiThe Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi is an IoT builder kit that comes with everything needed to start building IoT solutions with real hardware. This kit includes a Raspberry Pi 3 (the latest version with integrated Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity), a few sensors, LEDs, microSD card, and power adapter.

This kit includes the following items:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 board
  • Raspberry Pi Case
  • Full Size Breadboard
  • Male/Male Jumper Wires
  • Female/Male Jumper Wires
  • 5V 2A Switching Power Supply w/ MicroUSB Cable
  • Adafruit BME280 Temperature, Barometric Pressure & Humidity Sensor
  • TCS34725 RGB Color Sensor
  • MCP3008 – 8 Channel 10-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter Chip
  • Ethernet Cable
  • 16GB MicroSD card with pre-loaded NOOBS
  • Photocell
  • Potentiometers
  • Resistors
  • LEDs
  • Tactile switches
  • Capacitor

This kit comes with EVERYTHING needed to start building IoT projects. The breadboard can be used to connect things up without the need for soldering, or a solder iron could be used to permanently connect things after prototyping.

Buy Here

Microsoft IoT Grove Kit for Raspberry Pi – $154.99

The Microsoft IoT Grove Kit for Raspberry Pi contains the easy to use Grove system for building IoT. The foundation of the Grove system is the GrovePi+ board that allows you to easily connect Grove Modules for rapid prototyping without requiring any soldering or building of custom hardware components. This kit lowers the hardware barrier. This is the perfect platform for prototyping, and for makers who are new to hardware.


The Microsoft IoT Grove Kit for Raspberry Pi includes:

  • GrovePi+
  • 5 inch HDMI Display with USB Touchscreen
  • Relay module
  • Temp + Humidity Sensor module
  • Ultrasonic Ranger module
  • LED Bar v2 module
  • Rotary angle sensor(P) module
  • Buzzer module
  • Sound sensor module
  • Light sensor module
  • Button module
  • LCD RGB Backlight module
  • Cables for connecting everything

This kit DOES NOT include the Raspberry Pi board. If one is needed, then you could buy just the Raspberry Pi 3 board, or a better option would be to just get the Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit in addition to this kit to have absolutely everything needed to prototype and build custom IoT solutions.

Buy Here

Additional Items for Raspberry Pi

If you’re getting one of the above Raspberry Pi items, then you may want to include an extra to be sure to have EVERYTHING necessary to get building and playing without the need for a trip to the store after opening that awesome IoT / Maker gift. Here’s a short list of a few items that work really nicely with the Raspberry Pi to help complete the package:

Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard / Mouse Combo – $13.99

SanDisk Ultra 16 GB SDHC Class 10 Micro SD Card – $8.31

CanaKit 5V 2.5A Raspberry Pi Power Supply / Adapter w/ MicroUSB – $9.99

Official Case for Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 from Raspberry Pi Foundation – $6.40

I hope you, and your friends and family have a great holiday season. And best of luck to finding the perfect Maker / IoT gift for your favorite Geek!

HardwareInternet of Things

Windows 10 IoT Core Compatible Boards

There are many IoT hardware boards on the market today. Windows 10 IoT Core has some very specific hardware requirements, so only a few of the boards available support the the ability to run Windows 10 IoT Core and using Visual Studio 2015 for building Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Apps to run on them. One of these boards, the Raspberry Pi, is very popular, but not all Raspberry Pi boards are compatible. There are a few other IoT boards that are supported as well. This post lists out the IoT boards that are currently supported by Windows 10 IoT Core. Read More

HardwareInternet of Things

GrovePi+ Plug-n-Play IoT Platform

GrovePi_Kit_Parts_3Traditionally building Internet of Things (IoT) devices using a platform such as the Raspberry Pi required you to know a little about electronics. You needed to either solder or use a breadboard to connect sensors or servos or whatever to the Raspberry Pi header / GPIO pins correctly. Plus you needed to know when to use a resistor or other component appropriately. The GrovePi+ from Dexter Industries provides a really easy to use Plug-n-Play platform for building IoT devices such as home automation, monitoring or any other Internet of Things scenario! Read More