vinntec
Posts: 147
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Location: Basingstoke, UK

Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:34 pm

Hi everyone
I have my personal RPi running happily at home where I have unrestricted internet access and can basically do what I want. I am thinking ahead now to deploying the classroom RPIs when they eventually :( arrive which will be primarily for teaching programming in Python. So I have burnt a new SD card with a "vanilla" Raspian image and fired up to see if it will work out of the box. Pretty good - but the first problem is I need PyGame. At home I can just apt-get it and away we go, but at school I don't know if the RPIs will have internet at all (unless I bring them home...)
So my problem is - how can I download a binary image of packages like PyGame (there are bound to be others) then get them integrated onto the operating system from files on a USB memory stick [with other pre-req packages needed]? I am new to Linux so - please - idiot's instructions if anyone has any suggestions. The only Linux machine I have access to is my RPi.
Thanks -- Peter (ICT teacher)

KenT
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:01 pm

What I would do is:

Download the raspbian image and burn the image to the SD card
Install all the software you want, change the configuration, upgrade the software using apt-get upgrade etc.
Backup the complete image of the SD card to the windows PC using the same program as you used to burn it.
Now burn as many copies of your modified image as you want from the PC. Time consuming but possible.
When the kids make a mess of a SD card just re-burn it.

You should be able to find details on all these steps in the Wiki

I wonder if the Foundation is preparing a set of admin tools for teachers use, it might be worth asking/looking in the education forum.
Pi Presents - A toolkit to produce multi-media interactive display applications for museums, visitor centres, and more
Download from http://pipresents.wordpress.com

vinntec
Posts: 147
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Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:15 pm

Hi Ken
Thanks for your feedback. I burnt the image on Windows originally, which I am relatively expert at. No problem setting up the RPi as I want it, as apt-get seems to do everything reliably. It also means I can upgrade any packages needed etc and decide on the final configuration I want to use.
Next I need to make a new .img file of my own - I presume this means looking up the Linux instructions for making an image and writing it as a file on the SD card or preferably onto a USB stick on the RPI (although could copy it as stage 2)? I think I can figure this out and will do a dry run after making a few changes to current vanilla system to check it works. I will then get back to Windows where I can burn the image from a file to a bootable SD card as I originally did, and hopefully will have a complete process (which I will try and document) which I can use again and again to get the students using the system the way I want. Once the image is prepared, burning 10-20 can easily be done in a few hours.
Thanks again.
Regards -- Peter

Bad Wolf
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:22 pm

Why not just use the “read” button on win disk imager to back up the SD card?
To a person with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

alexchamberlain
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:24 pm

Hi Peter,

This is one of the purposes I started writing `piimg`, but it's no where near finished and will be Linux only (at least initially).

I've also written a detailed set of instructions over at Raspberry Pi.SE - under "Is it possible to update, upgrade and install software before flashing an image?". Again, Linux only though...

IMHO (sorry!) I think you need a Linux desktop to effectively manage Raspberry Pis. You may be able to do this using VirtualBox (ie install Virtual Box and a Linux distro on your Windows machine). I think there is a way to pass-through the USB SD-Card reader, but I wouldn't know how. If you can do this, this instructions will work on Linux inside Virtual Box and so will `piimg` (eventually).
Developer of piimg, a utility for working with RPi images.

vinntec
Posts: 147
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Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:34 pm

Hi Bad Wolf - ah, I didn't think of that. I remember that button on Win32DiskImager now as I checked what it did first time around! That might be easiest option so far to just make a backup of my SD card on Windows (sorry Ken this is probably what you meant too), swap for a new card, and burn it back as many times as I want. I will give it a go.
Thanks -- Peter

vinntec
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Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:38 pm

Hi Alex - it seems that my best bet is to use the RPi to configure the system how I want it, create an img file from the SD card on Windows, then reburn it onto another card to make a copy. I think I can do all of these steps, it will just take a while to make the image I would guess. Still, gives the PC something to do overnight! Regards -- Peter

alexchamberlain
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:41 pm

vinntec wrote:Hi Alex - it seems that my best bet is to use the RPi to configure the system how I want it, create an img file from the SD card on Windows, then reburn it onto another card to make a copy. I think I can do all of these steps, it will just take a while to make the image I would guess. Still, gives the PC something to do overnight! Regards -- Peter
It will certainly work. There are 2 main disadvantages: time and writes. Time can be combated by leaving it overnight, but the other is slightly less obvious or easily solved. Your "Master" SD Card has a limited number of write cycles, so you need to bear this in mind if you constantly write new stuff to it over a long period of time. Back it up regularly and keep versions etc.
Developer of piimg, a utility for working with RPi images.

vinntec
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Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:53 pm

Hi Alex - will do thanks.
PS. Lived in Warwick 1977-1988 - beautiful area!
Regard -- Peter

alexchamberlain
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:57 pm

vinntec wrote:PS. Lived in Warwick 1977-1988 - beautiful area!
It is - though I have to move to London soon...
Developer of piimg, a utility for working with RPi images.

KenT
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:32 am

vinntec wrote:Hi Alex - it seems that my best bet is to use the RPi to configure the system how I want it, create an img file from the SD card on Windows, then reburn it onto another card to make a copy. I think I can do all of these steps, it will just take a while to make the image I would guess. Still, gives the PC something to do overnight! Regards -- Peter
Using dd copying to the PC takes roughly the same time as copying from the PC, just a few minutes. I've not timed it but its a go and make a coffee job. Problem, 30 images is 30 cups of coffee!

Go for 4GB cards not 8GB, plenty of space and half the time to copy. 2GB is probably too small.
Pi Presents - A toolkit to produce multi-media interactive display applications for museums, visitor centres, and more
Download from http://pipresents.wordpress.com

alexchamberlain
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:15 am

Have you got multiple SD card readers?
Developer of piimg, a utility for working with RPi images.

vinntec
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Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:19 pm

Hi Alex
No, single reader/writer only. However they only take about 30 mins to burn so doing a class set of 10 plus a few spares is not a big deal during the holidays at least. If I can get them onto the internet, then the students can do [controlled] maintenance for themselves when we need to add things or I can do it on a master RPI whichever turns out to be easier. I have a lot more options than I expected!

Current project is to remote control them from Windows - which might save HDMI monitor + keyboard + mouse for each one. I saw someone else doing this on the forum somewhere, but can't find it now! Doh. I have tried a recommended HDMI-VGA converter and it only worked reliably for me on monitors which also had an HDMI port (and on VGA port resolution was completely random whatever settings I gave the RPI). I don't want to start the club and be fiddling with such things using old VGA monitors from the scrapheap (this is a school), but I don't think the Head will be too keen to buy 10 x HDMI TVs!

Thanks for your help - Peter

PaulCheffus
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:41 pm

vinntec wrote: Current project is to remote control them from Windows - which might save HDMI monitor + keyboard + mouse for each one. I saw someone else doing this on the forum somewhere, but can't find it now! Doh.
Hi

Try this for command line access
http://elinux.org/RPi_A_Method_for_ssh_blind_login

and this for GUI
http://elinux.org/RPi_VNC_Server

Cheers

Paul
Procrastination - The Thief of Time.

alexchamberlain
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:41 pm

Peter,

Would you use a dedicated Linux "Raspberry Pi Manage[ment] Live [CD]"? ie You boot into the Live CD/USB on an existing x86 PC and it would already have all the functionality needed to manage SD cards effectively.
Developer of piimg, a utility for working with RPi images.

vinntec
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:37 am
Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:02 pm

Hi Paul
Thanks - I had just started researching SSH and VNC and they look like will do what I want. SSH is already on Wheezy image but can't see VNC. However your pointer direct to rpi references has saved some time as it explains in idiot language what to do.
Thanks again - Peter

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Jim JKla
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:41 pm

One of the Noob guides on the wiki :D

http://elinux.org/RPi_Wheezy_VNC
Noob is not derogatory the noob is just the lower end of the noob--geek spectrum being a noob is just your first step towards being an uber-geek ;)

If you find a solution please post it in the wiki the forum dies too quick

vinntec
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Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:05 pm

Jim JKla wrote:One of the Noob guides on the wiki :D
http://elinux.org/RPi_Wheezy_VNC
Hi Jim - thanks for the tip. Peter

vinntec
Posts: 147
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Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:06 pm

News update:

VNC working from my PC at 1024 x 768 (which is what school monitors normally run at) with monitor, keyboard and mouse disconnected on RPI. Just need to change login to be PI rather than ROOT and I think the concept will have been proved.

One of my concerns was the setup and pack up time of 10 x complete systems - this gives the option of just 10 x RPI, a switch or hub to network them with a link to the school network, and temporary power distribution to fire everything up. With one HDMI monitor etc available for any problems which can't be diagnosed remotely - and away we go. I could fit the whole lot on one small table!

Peter

vinntec
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Location: Basingstoke, UK

Re: Preparing classroom RPIs

Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:17 pm

alexchamberlain wrote:Peter,
Would you use a dedicated Linux "Raspberry Pi Manage[ment] Live [CD]"? ie You boot into the Live CD/USB on an existing x86 PC and it would already have all the functionality needed to manage SD cards effectively.
Hi Alex - I am not sure what you mean? For only 10 images once in a while, I can do what I want very easily just need to drink lots of coffee for a day or so while it is going on. I have lots I can be doing while this is going on, so I don't see it as a problem that needs solving. However, it might be I misunderstood what you were suggesting? Peter

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