Pibrella

What is the Pibrella?

The Pibrella is a small add on for the Raspberry Pi (all versions are compatible). It is designed to easily incorporate physical real world computing without the need to solder, source components or risk damaging the Raspberry Pi by putting everything needed together on a neat compact board.

The Pibrella features

  • 3 controllable LEDs set in a traffic light orientation
  • Large red input button
  • Programmable buzzer
  • 4 protected inputs with indicator LEDs of status
  • 4 protected outputs capable of driving small motors and LEDs
  • i2c breakout area for further expansion

Getting started

First thing you need is a Raspberry Pi and an SD card installed with Raspbian. Instructions on setting this up is here.

The Pibrella capable of running on all versions of the Raspberry Pi, although careful placement of the Pibrella on to the connector is needed for the A+, B+ and Pi2 versions.

Fitting the Pibrella

Adding the sticky pad

As the Pibrella can fit all revisions of Raspberry Pi, the location of the sticky pad underneath will depend on which one it is going to be used with. The following picture will show where to place the pad;

Stickypad

Placing on an A or B Pi

800px-Pi_on_B

The Pibrella fits neatly on top of the connector as it is the correct size.

Placing on a A+, B+, Pi 2 or Pi 3

Align the Pibrella over the connector ensuring that all the pins on the Raspberry Pi are covered and not poking out at the sides, firmly push the Pibrella in to place until it is snug with the Raspberry Pi.

800px-Pi_on_B-Plus

Despite the Pibrella being designed for the older A or B models, it still works perfectly fine on the A+, B+, Pi 2 and Pi 3 models. The Pibrella will fit on the GPIO connector of the Raspberry Pi to the edge away from the USB connectors.

Align the Pibrella like the picture to the right, and firmly push the Pibrella down checking that no pins are visible on the left edge of the Pibrella.

Connect everything up

Now connect the HDMI, network (internet is required), mouse and keyboard. Finally add power via the micro USB cable to the Pibrella. The purple light on the Pibrella should light up, along with the red light on the Raspberry Pi.

Installing the software

Once the Raspberry Pi has finished starting up, proceed to login and start the desktop environment.

800px-Pibrella_Open_Terminal

Click on the Menu button, go down to Accessories, and click on Terminal.

This will open the Terminal command box, in this the instructions to install the software will be typed.

Type in the following, hit enter at the end of each line and wait for the green and blue text to appear again. Some instructions may take a minute or two to run, so please be patient.

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade -y 

sudo apt-get install python-pip python-dev -y 

sudo pip install pibrella

Testing

500px-Pibrella_Pip_Installed

Once the software has finished installing, all that is needed is to check it all works.

In the Terminal box type:

sudo idle

This will present us with a box that we can type Python code in to. Start with flashing the red LED hitting enter at the end of each line;

import pibrella

pibrella.light.red.pulse()

The red LED should begin to flash on and off. Flash the other LEDs by swapping the red with yellow or green;

pibrella.light.yellow.pulse()

pibrella.light.green.pulse()

And turn them all off with;

pibrella.light.off()

Lastly test the buzzer by typing;

pibrella.buzzer.success()

If everything works, the software is successfully installed. If not recheck every step on this page to make sure is set correctly.

Further commands is available in the Pibrella Cheatsheet.

Where can I get one?

The Pibrella is available on our shop.


Precautions

The Raspberry Pi doesn’t have any electrical protection natively, so some care is needed when introducing any electrical projects. The Pibrella is designed to help offer protection to the inputs and ouputs to prevent permanent damage to the Raspberry Pi.
DO NOT mix input and output connectors together

DO NOT connect a jumper wire directly across an output

DO NOT plug any wire in to a power source higher than 5 volts

DO NOT plug jumper wires in to mains power (wall sockets) EVER!

Activities

Here is a list of activities that can be followed to try out different functions of the Pibrella

Activity Language Difficulty
Create Traffic Lights in Python Python Easy
Create a Reaction Timer in Python Python Easy