Top 10 Raspberry Pi Projects for Beginners

This super small computer was quick to gain worldwide attention and now Raspberry Pi projects cover tons of spheres and industries and are highly recommended for those who just get started in computer science. This RankTopTen list is oriented on those who want to develop themselves as a tech person skilled in designing computer systems for various purposes. You will find the best Raspberry Pi projects that are suitable for beginners and are positioned according to the votes. Take a look at the projects, vote for the best and leave a comment stating your opinion, all in the name of Raspberry.

1

Make Your Own Retro Video Game Console

Many of us have outdated consoles lying around the house and some of them can be upgraded to meet modern-day audio and video standards. Again, the emulator-friendly Raspberry Pi can act as the hub of the whole operation, or you can build your own mini PC inside the casing you have, depending on how ambitious (and wealthy) you’re feeling.

Totally agree. As an A B B+ v2 and v3 user/owner I’ve been wary of using these online projects as learning tools for kids because too many of them are IT versions of “cookbook chemistry” projects like making rock candy or mixing Mentos and Coke. Instead of a list of projects (because just about anything can be adapted to a RP) I’d like to see a curated list of projects that are structured for learning basic electrical engineering/circuitry or using exotic libraries in python etc.

Since you have some experience, do you have some such learning projects that you could recommend? Thanks

Not in a self contained projects - I’ve been using the ECS and trying to make projects fit certain objectives. I was wondering if anyone has started with a proven curriculum (like ECS) and crafted projects with RP to fit it. I’ve seen a couple of books and websites geared toward standards in England and Europe but nothing for US programs.

2

A Weather Station

The Weather Station kit is a HAT for the Raspberry Pi which allows it to collect weather data using a variety of sensors. It is designed to be used in schools to enable students to create their own weather station, and has a range of resources to support its use.

I made a retro console with a Pi 2, it’s amazing and great fun, but I made some observations: It runs better with a Pi 3. Using a USB WiFi dongle isn’t a good idea as you occasionally end up with a power usage warning that slows down the emulator, so if you’re not using internal storage, (mSD cards a perfect), use a wired connection for the best result. Learn how to console into the machine so that you can change the config for the individual emulators, universal controller mappings are a pain and updating each console via the config file will give you the best layouts: the wiki pages for each console on Git gives you the expected layout.

Another cool project is a Lossless audio player, (this is similar to the web radio player). You can easily buy a DAC for the Pi, (I purchased mine from iQaudIO with a case), and install something called Volumio. This is a native FLAC (and most everthing else), player that with the DAC plays at a really nice quality for the price, it’ll sit on a network/play via internal storage or USB and has a Spotify plug in and also web radio.

I attempted the DIY Amazon Echo project last month, because I love the idea of a digital assistant I can have some control over. I got as far as getting the Pi running headless and connected to wifi... then lost the network connection, spent an hour failing to get it back, and gave up. I feel like I should turn in my geek card. Still, lots of cool projects here, maybe even cool enough to get me to try again.

3

A Photo Booth

The 10,000ft view of the project is this: Using a python script running on a Raspberry Pi, take picture(s) and print them onto photo paper. 1-100ft view: I'm using a hacked together python script that uses the GPIO pins on the RasPi to read button presses and take pictures. Each button corresponds with a different 'style' of photo (one, 2x2, 4x1). This is then post-processed and sent to a Canon SELPY C910, which prints a 4x6 photo.

And then you get sucked in homelabbing and in no time you’re running full-fledged enterprise servers and doing hyperconverged virtualization...

Since you have some experience, do you have some such learning projects that you could recommend? Thanks

Got my Retropie finished after upgrading to the Pi 3, but I need to figure out what to do with the Pi 1. Was thinking of making a projector, but the only guides involved still cost like, $60 or more. Maybe I’ll do the VPN, though...

4

A Home Surveillance System

Plug-and-play wireless security cameras are cheap as chips these days. Unfortunately, many are made by companies that care very little about security… so why not build your own with a Raspberry Pi?

Agreed! My first Pi became a RetroPie console immediately and it’s the best money I never spent on a NES Classic. If Nintendo hadn’t been crap at inventory management they would have gotten my money and I would have been the poorer for it. As it is I’m diving back into FFVI, Secret of Mana, and all the other classics the NES Classic can’t touch. Phooey on you, Nintendo!

Got my Retropie finished after upgrading to the Pi 3, but I need to figure out what to do with the Pi 1. Was thinking of making a projector, but the only guides involved still cost like, $60 or more. Maybe I’ll do the VPN, though...

I made a retro console with a Pi 2, it’s amazing and great fun, but I made some observations: It runs better with a Pi 3. Using a USB WiFi dongle isn’t a good idea as you occasionally end up with a power usage warning that slows down the emulator, so if you’re not using internal storage, (mSD cards a perfect), use a wired connection for the best result. Learn how to console into the machine so that you can change the config for the individual emulators, universal controller mappings are a pain and updating each console via the config file will give you the best layouts: the wiki pages for each console on Git gives you the expected layout.

5

A DIY Arcade Stick

Retro gaming is one of the most popular uses for the Raspberry Pi, and there are now a multitude of ready-to-go SD card images packed with emulator software (though most require sourcing your own ROM files). The days of installing emulators onesy-twosey are behind us; and the Pi Store (an online app store for Raspberry Pi, recommended in earlier versions of this guide) was shuttered in 2015.

I made a retro console with a Pi 2, it’s amazing and great fun, but I made some observations: It runs better with a Pi 3. Using a USB WiFi dongle isn’t a good idea as you occasionally end up with a power usage warning that slows down the emulator, so if you’re not using internal storage, (mSD cards a perfect), use a wired connection for the best result. Learn how to console into the machine so that you can change the config for the individual emulators, universal controller mappings are a pain and updating each console via the config file will give you the best layouts: the wiki pages for each console on Git gives you the expected layout.

Another cool project is a Lossless audio player, (this is similar to the web radio player). You can easily buy a DAC for the Pi, (I purchased mine from iQaudIO with a case), and install something called Volumio. This is a native FLAC (and most everthing else), player that with the DAC plays at a really nice quality for the price, it’ll sit on a network/play via internal storage or USB and has a Spotify plug in and also web radio.

Got my Retropie finished after upgrading to the Pi 3, but I need to figure out what to do with the Pi 1. Was thinking of making a projector, but the only guides involved still cost like, $60 or more. Maybe I’ll do the VPN, though...

6

A Completely Portable, Digital eBook Library

If ebooks are your thing, and carrying around tons of them — or even sharing them with others — is your jam, this mobile digital library is ideal for keeping, sharing and trading books with your friends. Best of all, it's completely powered by a Raspberry Pi. It's portable and turns your Pi into a Wi-Fi hotspot that others can connect to, find something to read, and grab it to take with them. Isn't sharing wonderful? Read more at https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2017/01/top-10-raspberry-pi-projects-for-beginners/#0eOEw6lDoldF3PcO.99

I am total crap at Raspberry Pi. I know how to code, and am good with hardware, I just haven’t done anything with my Pi other than make a retro game console. AND IT KICKS SO MUCH ASS IT MUST HAVE THREE LEGS. For a minimal investment, you can play pretty much any game made up until 1998-ish. A Pi is a worthwhile purchase if only for that reason.

Agreed! My first Pi became a RetroPie console immediately and it’s the best money I never spent on a NES Classic. If Nintendo hadn’t been crap at inventory management they would have gotten my money and I would have been the poorer for it. As it is I’m diving back into FFVI, Secret of Mana, and all the other classics the NES Classic can’t touch. Phooey on you, Nintendo!

Got my Retropie finished after upgrading to the Pi 3, but I need to figure out what to do with the Pi 1. Was thinking of making a projector, but the only guides involved still cost like, $60 or more. Maybe I’ll do the VPN, though...

7

A Go-Anywhere, Wearable Camera

Powered by the diminutive and affordable Raspberry Pi Zero, this DIY project is eminently configurable and customizable!

I made a retro console with a Pi 2, it’s amazing and great fun, but I made some observations: It runs better with a Pi 3. Using a USB WiFi dongle isn’t a good idea as you occasionally end up with a power usage warning that slows down the emulator, so if you’re not using internal storage, (mSD cards a perfect), use a wired connection for the best result. Learn how to console into the machine so that you can change the config for the individual emulators, universal controller mappings are a pain and updating each console via the config file will give you the best layouts: the wiki pages for each console on Git gives you the expected layout.

player). You can easily buy a DAC for the Pi, (I purchased mine from iQaudIO with a case), and install something called Volumio. This is a native FLAC (and most everthing else), player that with the DAC plays at a really nice quality for the price, it’ll sit on a network/play via internal storage or USB and has a Spotify plug in and also web radio.

Agreed! My first Pi became a RetroPie console immediately and it’s the best money I never spent on a NES Classic. If Nintendo hadn’t been crap at inventory management they would have gotten my money and I would have been the poorer for it. As it is I’m diving back into FFVI, Secret of Mana, and all the other classics the NES Classic can’t touch. Phooey on you, Nintendo!

8

A Whole-Network Ad Blocker, or a Call-Home VPN

ou can use your Raspberry Pi as a VPN server for free or you can use a VPN service which will limit the amount of data you can use monthly as well a paying a monthly fee. With your Raspberry Pi VPN server you will be able to connect to public WiFi networks and have all your data encrypted which will prevent you from man-in-the-middle attacks as well as any one else snooping WiFi data on the network. When you are connected to your own VPN server you will be able to access all of your home files. If you have movies or music you will be able to access them with ease.

I just built my RetroPie last night, been playing most of the day today.

Another cool project is a Lossless audio player, (this is similar to the web radio player). You can easily buy a DAC for the Pi, (I purchased mine from iQaudIO with a case), and install something called Volumio. This is a native FLAC (and most everthing else), player that with the DAC plays at a really nice quality for the price, it’ll sit on a network/play via internal storage or USB and has a Spotify plug in and also web radio.

I attempted the DIY Amazon Echo project last month, because I love the idea of a digital assistant I can have some control over. I got as far as getting the Pi running headless and connected to wifi... then lost the network connection, spent an hour failing to get it back, and gave up. I feel like I should turn in my geek card. Still, lots of cool projects here, maybe even cool enough to get me to try again.

9

A Streaming Internet Radio

Make your very own touchscreen-controller Pi Radio Player! With an ever increasing number of internet radio stations available this project combines the versatility of the Raspberry Pi and the PiTFT 2.8" touchscreen TFTdisplay. A custom display interface lets you control volume, station, and see what's currently playing.

Got my Retropie finished after upgrading to the Pi 3, but I need to figure out what to do with the Pi 1. Was thinking of making a projector, but the only guides involved still cost like, $60 or more. Maybe I’ll do the VPN, though...

Another cool project is a Lossless audio player, (this is similar to the web radio player). You can easily buy a DAC for the Pi, (I purchased mine from iQaudIO with a case), and install something called Volumio. This is a native FLAC (and most everthing else), player that with the DAC plays at a really nice quality for the price, it’ll sit on a network/play via internal storage or USB and has a Spotify plug in and also web radio.

I will go through the links to learn more, but there are many so I would like to ask upfront if any of these are true learning projects or just ones that give you all the pieces (hardware and software) that you just put together? What I am looking for are projects that actually help learn hardware programming (with an emphasis on I/O controller programming, I guess) as well as perhaps some electrical engineering.

10

A DIY Amazon Echo

To put together your own Echo, you’ll need a few supplies. The most important thing is a Matrix Creator or Matrix Voice. They’re development platforms that connect to a Raspberry Pi and are designed to help makers test new hardware applications at a low cost. More importantly for us, they feature an eight-microphone array, which is perfect for creating our DIY Alexa. Any microphone will technically work, but the multiple microphone array is the closest you’ll get to Amazon’s own system on a budget. Next, we’ll need the aforementioned Raspberry Pi. If the Matrix is the ears of our DIY Echo, the Pi is the brains. It’ll supply the processing power to run Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, the audio output to connect a speaker, and Wi-Fi or Ethernet to connect to Amazon’s servers to get the answers to whatever you ask your Alexa. A Raspberry Pi 3 will have onboard Wi-Fi, but if you have an older one, you’ll need to pick up a USB adapter or plug in via Ethernet. You’ll also need a keyboard, mouse, and display to hook up to your Pi for the setup process. Optionally, you’ll want a USB battery pack, to allow for your DIY Echo to work away from a wall outlet, a speaker for improved audio output, and some cardboard and tape to make a case.

I am total crap at Raspberry Pi. I know how to code, and am good with hardware, I just haven’t done anything with my Pi other than make a retro game console. AND IT KICKS SO MUCH ASS IT MUST HAVE THREE LEGS. For a minimal investment, you can play pretty much any game made up until 1998-ish. A Pi is a worthwhile purchase if only for that reason.

Agreed! My first Pi became a RetroPie console immediately and it’s the best money I never spent on a NES Classic. If Nintendo hadn’t been crap at inventory management they would have gotten my money and I would have been the poorer for it. As it is I’m diving back into FFVI, Secret of Mana, and all the other classics the NES Classic can’t touch. Phooey on you, Nintendo!

I just built my RetroPie last night, been playing most of the day today.