Use Raspberry Pi to Power a Company Dashboard

Here are five steps to follow if you want to start using a Raspberry Pi to power a company dashboard. 

raspberrypi-dashboard

 

raspberrypi-dashboard-2

 

0: Make sure your RaspberryPi is fully updated

Before you get started I highly recommend you follow my RaspberryPi Quickstart guide to get your Raspberry Pi updated to the latest OS and Firmware.
That post also includes links to the case and peripherals I purchased for this project.

 

1: Install Chromium

First, you’ll want to install Chromium on your Raspberry Pi.
We’ll be using Chromium to load the dashboard.
I’ve also included the ttf-mscorefonts-installer package so things render nicely.

sudo apt-get install chromium ttf-mscorefonts-installer

 

2: Boot into X11 automatically

You’ll want to make sure your Raspberry Pi immediately boots into X11.

sudo raspi-config

Scroll down to boot_behavior and hit enter. Make sure “Yes” is marked and hit enter again.

You’re done here, so scroll to Finish (right arrow key) and hit enter.

 

3: Start Chromium on boot

Third, you’ll want to make sure Chromium starts in kiosk (full screen, no user interface) as soon as your RaspberryPi boots up.

Create (or modify) ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/autostart and add the line:

chromium --kiosk http://url_to_your_dashboard.com --incognito

Kiosk mode boots Chromium into full screen mode, by default. Incognito mode prevents a “Chrome did not shutdown cleanly” message from appearing on the top if the Raspberry Pi loses power.

 

4: Make sure the screen does not go to sleep

Dashboards aren’t very useful if the screen goes into standy after ten minutes.

Edit /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart and make sure the @xscreensaver line is commented out.
In addition, we’ll be adding three options that prevent the screen from going blank:

#@xscreensaver -no-splash
@xset s off
@xset -dpms
@xset s noblank

 

I also needed to modify /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf.
Add this line to the [SeatDefaults] section:

xserver-command=X -s 0 dpms

 

5: Hide the mouse cursor

There’s no reason to keep the mouse cursor stuck in the middle of the screen.
We’ll use the unclutter utility to hide it after boot.

sudo apt-get install unclutter

 

You’ll need to add this to your ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/autostart file:

unclutter -idle 0

 

Enjoy!

Reboot your Raspberry Pi and it should:

  • Boot directly into X11
  • Start Chromium in kiosk mode and load up your dashboard
  • Prevent the screen from going to sleep after 10 minutes
  • Hide the mouse cursor