Don’s Wireless Raspberry Pi Connection Project

At Newbound, Inc., we are working on a number of software and robotic projects to bring them to market. We often use Raspberry Pi (Rpi) computers (shown below) in our development efforts.

Last month I received my Rpi device and put it in the case we use (shown below). We designed that case and had it 3D printed for us.



After some research I decided to purchase the Edimax EW-7811Un USB WiFi Adaptor (shown below) allowing connections to wirelessly control the Rpi from my Mac and/or iPad2.


The Setup:

First I used the Terminal app on my Mac to send commands to my router to see what devices are found on my network and what are those devices IP addresses and MAC addresses assigned. I used the arp- a command to accomplish that.

I attached the Rpi device using an ethernet cable connection to my router. The alternative connection approach is to hook the Rpi device to an HDMI display and connect a keyboard to the Rpi device.

I used the appropriate power supply (5V 700ma)  plugged into the Rpi device to start it up. I updated and upgraded the Rpi running Raspbian wheezy OS to the latest version with the combined sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade commands.

Note: If you are using the Rpi device’s ethernet connection you’ll need to understand how to use ssh to work in the terminal mode for the setup.

Then I started following the steps in this link. I carefully and correctly entered or edited and saved the files listed:

  • /etc/network/interfaces
  • /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

When I was ready to connect to the Rpi device via WiFi, I gracefully shutdown using the sudo shutdown -h now command. Then unplugging the Rpi device and waited about ten seconds before plugging it back in again. That step reboots the Rpi device.

I again used the arp- a command to detect if the Rpi device was discovered by the router. It was!

Note: Depending on how you have your router security settings, you may need to review/change them to allow the WiFi adaptor to connect. Sometimes if you have your SSID (Network Name) hidden, the WiFi connection won’t work.

The Pi Desktop:

I installed the XQuartz software on my Mac so I can access the Pi Desktop (shown below) from the Rpi device. Sometimes a GUI makes life easier.


The iPad2 Connection:

I found the free Server Auditor app on the Apple® App Store℠ and loaded it onto my iPad2. That app allows me to wirelessly connect to my Rpi device via ssh.

I can also run the Newbound Powerstrip Universal app against the Powerstrip demo running on the Rpi device. 🙂

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About Don Larson

Using computer technology since June 1980.
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