Digital Sign – Powered by G Suite & Pi

I had the bright idea to suggest to my administration that a digital sign would be something to seriously consider.  The idea received a unanimous approval, but along the way I discovered having a digital sign in our hallways would be in violation of local fire code.  Instead of scrapping the project, a compromise was brought forward – pilot the use of a sign in our front office and see how it goes.

With no budget and a couple days worth of work and frustration, a simple digital sign emerged:

Apologies for the wobble, it was quickly recorded on my cell phone.

The sign itself is a TV that one of the administrators had in their room.  The rotating display is nothing more than a Google Slide presentation I created, set to auto-start and reload when done (with 10s in between each slide).  To power everything, a spare Raspberry Pi 2 (running Raspbian Jessie w/ Pixel) to start Chromium in kiosk mode when booted.

Setting up a static IP address was probably the hardest part in this project.  Online tutorials, even when followed exactly, didn’t seem to work.  I came to discover that Jessie needed a slightly different set of commands than required for prior versions of Raspbian.  Luckily, I found this tutorial from  ModMyPi.com which helped me through setting up a static IP address (for SSH) on a wired connection (try as I might, I couldn’t get wireless to work, but wired was a snap).

Chromium and kiosk mode happened with the help of this tutorial from Open Source Hardware Lab.

It’s nothing fancy, but it certainly does the job.  I’d like to see a larger display – the little TV set near the back of our front office makes it difficult to read smaller text – but for the time being I think it’s going to work!

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