There are two ways you can use your Raspberry Pi as a VuePilot player. The first way is to flash our official VuePilot image onto your SD card which will give you a pre-configured operating system that is completely setup and ready to go.
When purchasing an official VuePilot player device from us, this is the image it will be running.
The second way is to simply install the VuePilot software onto your Raspberry Pi yourself using the snap installation steps below and configure the automatic startup steps if you wish.
If you’re planning to use the Raspberry Pi as a dedicated VuePilot player, then we recommend flashing the official image onto your device as it’s quick, easy and fully supported by us.
Option 1: Using The Official VuePilot Image
Our official image is a specifically tuned and customized operating system that is designed for running VuePilot.
A microSD card of at least 8GB in capacity is required to use the image, we highly recommend 16GB or higher.
There are a number of optimizations and tweaks baked into the image such as:
- Hiding the mouse cursor after a certain period of seconds so it doesn’t obstruct whats on screen
- Audio driver configuration
- Automatic application start on boot
- Automatic updating software.
- Temperature monitoring
IMPORTANT when using the official VuePilot Raspberry Pi image you MUST perform the FIRST BOOT steps documented below BEFORE you activate your license otherwise you will likely have a license synchonization issue.
To use our official Raspberry Pi image, simply download using the link be
SHA256 Checksum: 03f13e4211c932363ee6665c5285411a9b58febe34fb659b104c736ed2fb8e04
The VuePilot Raspberry Pi image desktop is stripped back and only contains the necessary icons as shown below.
Then simply flash the image onto your SD card using Etcher https://www.balena.io/etcher
This should only take about 7 minutes, then you can simply put the SD card back into your Raspberry Pi and boot it up.
IMPORTANT FIRST BOOT INSTRUCTIONS
After first flashing and booting your new VuePilot Raspberry Pi, you may see some errors in the initial terminal boot screens, this is normal and is just initializing the file system. It won’t happen after the first boot.
Once you have booted into your new VuePilot Raspberry Pi, and you have connected your WIFI / Ethernet (by selecting from the WIFI menu in the top right corner) you must ensure you are running the latest updated version of the software before activating as it’s possible that if you activate the software while its being upgraded in the background you will lose your license data.
You can do this by following these steps:
- Close the VuePilot software if it was automatically started
- Click the menu icon in the top left hand corner (the silver looking icon)
- Click Accessories > Terminal
- In the terminal window type in the command
sudo snap refresh vuepilot
- You should see a message that the software was updated
- Check the version by running the command
snap list vuepilot
- Check the downloads page and make sure this version matches the latest version listed
Once this is done, you’re ready to go. Open the program from the desktop (Select execute from the pop up window)
The VuePilot software will also start automatically and be ready for activation when your device starts
Option 2: Install VuePilot Manually Using Snaps
Setting up the software Rasberry Pi using snaps is much like any other Linux setup instructions although there is a slightly different process for configuring the software to automatically start when the device boots,
We use snaps to install VuePilot on Linux and Raspberry Pi. Snaps are a sandboxed, self contained format for distributing software that ensures that all dependencies are included in the package, and no matter what Linux distribution you’re using, it will be the same experience across the board. Snaps also include automatic software updates as a standard and so once installed, your software will be automatically updated when new releases are published without you ever needing to lift a finger.
To install VuePilot using snap simply follow the instructions found here
which will install snapd and then install VuePilot (snapd is the package manager that’s responsible installing, removing and updating snap packages)
Once done, you can move ahead to the “Automatic Startup” section
We recommend using a Raspberry 4 – 2GB or above, however a Raspberry Pi 3 will also work just fine depending on the type of content you wish to display.
Simple images and webpages will be fine on the Raspberry Pi 3, however video, larger images, dashboards with animations would be better suited running on the Raspberry Pi 4.
Regarding Temperature Control
There are a number of cases and enclosures you can use with your Raspberry Pi. Some are not really designed to effectively dissipate heat. Typically plastic cases will not dissipate heat as well as the metal cases.
The amount of heat your device generates is related to the content you’re displaying. If you are primarily displaying high res video content or animation heavy dashboards, you will need to ensure you have adequate cooling. If you are displaying simple images or announcements your cooling needs will be lower.
This is something to be aware of as if your Raspberry Pi overheats, it can damage it and cause slow performance, especially if you’re displaying video content. Some cheaper plastic cases can also be fitted with fans which will keep the temperature down and dissipate the heat.
The official VuePilot image will display a green number in the top right hand corner of the desktop. This is the temperature of the CPU. When you buy a device from us, we only use thermal efficient metal cases that keep the temperature down.
In general you want to ensure this temperature stays below 60 degrees (celcius) for best performance.
The Raspberry Pi OS has a number of ways to automatically start applications on boot, however it’s important to note that you must start the application AFTER the desktop environment has booted, as VuePilot has an interface and essentially runs a browser for you.
So in other words you can’t use your standard rc.local or .bash_profile files, instead you must use the Rasbian autostart file to load a program once the UI has come up.
Simply edit the /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart file to run VuePilot by specifying the path to the snap application.
Here’s a simple one liner to add the line to the file
echo @/snap/bin/vuepilot | sudo tee -a /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart
Raspberry Pi’s come with a fixed hostname. When using the base Rasbian OS this will simply be “raspberrypi” and when using our official image this will be “vuepilot“.
You will want to change this name to something most useful, especially if you plan on using multiple Raspberry Pis with VuePilot as you cannot have two devices with the same name.
When using the VuePilot image, you can simply double click on the “System Configuration” icon on the desktop and you will be presented with a window to change the hostname. On plain Rasbian you will need to go through the menu system to find the Raspberry Pi hostname configuration.
See “Managing Machine Names” for more information
Remote Desktop Management
Plugging in a keyboard and mouse to your VuePilot Raspberry Pi can be a hassle when the screen is on the other side of the building, the good news however is that the ability to remotely manage your Raspberry Pi device is built into the operating system and uses standard VNC software.
To enable remote desktop connections, see our guide here
Portrait / Vertical Orientation Screens
VuePilot apps and windows will fit to 100% of the screens width and height.
To use portrait or vertical orientation screens you simply need to rotate the screen 90 degrees from within the Raspberry Pi config.txt by changing the display_hdmi_rotate option.
VuePilot content will scale to fit the new resolution. See the Raspberry Pi Video Config Documentation for more info
Audio Not Working?
Some customers have reported issues with sound not playing from the Raspberry Pi when using their own devices VuePilot.
If you’re experiencing this issue, we have a guide for solving this problem found here Fixing Raspberry Pi Audio Issues