The Pimoroni Explorer Hat

Simon says use the Explorer Hat!

I recently bought myself an Explorer Hat pro from the guys over at Pimoroni. This is a great little hat which offers lots of connectivity for prototyping on the Raspberry Pi.

Features include: (from Pimoroni website)

  • Four buffered 5V tolerant inputs
  • Four powered 5V outputs (up to 500mA!)
  • Four capacitive touch pads
  • Four capacitive crocodile clip pads
  • Four coloured LEDs
  • PRO ONLY Four analog inputs
  • PRO ONLY Two H-bridge motor drivers
  • PRO ONLY A heap of useful (unprotected) 3v3 goodies from the GPIO
  • A mini breadboard on top!

I was excited to see what I could do with this and thought about project that uses the LEDs and the capacitive touch pads.


So I decided to recreate the classic game of “Simon Says”.

If you would like a copy of the code feel free to download it here

Ocean Blue Downloads


Raspberry Pi in the theatre

If I only had a heart

I recently coordinated the ‘tech’ for the school production of “The Wizard of Oz” and was really keen to see if there was a use for the Raspberry Pi in either the special effects or as a prop.


I decided to use the Pimoroni Unicorn Hat with a raspberry pi model A+ to provide a glowing animated heart for the Tin Man.

IMG_0167 IMG_0162

The code was relatively simple and I used a simple list to assign the x,y and colour data for each pixel to be used.


To give the effect of the heart beating and pulsating I gradually changed the brightness of the pixels from about 30 - 80%. It was important not to go too bright as I could have blinded the audience or other cast members!

while True:
for bright in range (30,80):

This gave a very passable beating effect which looked stunning on the stage. The Pi was powered with a portable battery pack and to make backstage life easier the code was activated from boot using crontab with.

@reboot sudo python /home/pi/Pimoroni/ &

The full code can be downloaded from the icon below.

Ocean Blue Downloads

Wizard of Oz heart


VNC Now available for Raspberry Pi

VNC Now available for Raspberry Pi

I was really pleased to see the team from RealVNC at the Raspberry Pi Birthday party on Saturday.

VNC is a very convenient way of using a remote desktop from a PC / tablet / phone / Mac and your Raspberry Pi.

My Philip (age 10) has made this simple tutorial on how to use it.

The exciting news is that RealVNC is now available for the Raspberry Pi allowing you secure and seamless access of the Pi from any Windows, Mac, Linux computer or iOS, Android or Chrome device.

More details here on the RealVNC website.

Licence codes and details are available here

There is a good amount of documentation and information on the RealVNC webpage.

I would also just like to say thank you to the team from RealVNC, they were incredibly kind to Philip when he posted his first video. If you have seen it he goes off to the toilet half way through and tells everyone where he is going! They were also really nice and encouraging when they spoke to him on Saturday. This sort of kindness doesn’t go unnoticed in the 10 year old’s mind!


The Raspberry Pi Big Birthday Weekend

The Raspberry Pi BIG Birthday Weekend

Following many weeks of many emails the big day had arrived as we left the house at 6.30am for the Raspberry Pi Big Birthday weekend.

With workshops, talks, show and tell and the marketplace and 110 Pizzas, cake and beer in the evening there was plenty for everyone to do!



With a blinky badge and marshal badge I was all set for a busy day of helping at workshops, talking about Raspberry Jams, helping prepare party bags, setting up the party room and picking up rubbish!


Introducing Liz and Eben Upton


Eben Upton - Keynote


Beginners, please workshop “This is a Raspberry Pi”


Beginners, please workshop





Setting up for the party


Lots of balloons


Beer from the



An edible Raspberry Pi


Pass the Parcel prizes (thanks to everyone who donated so much awesome stuff!)


Sonic Pi with Sam Aaron


Beer and Pizza time



The Raspberry Pi Game of Thrones Mini-series