Pi-Cars Software Tool Box – what is it?

You may have heard of the Pi-Cars Software Tool Box but not understand what it is and why it is needed.

Pi-Cars Software Tool Box

The Pi-Cars Software Tool Box provides Python and Scratch code that lets you interact with your Pi-Car.

  • Do I have to use the Software Tool Box to interact with a Pi-Car?

No. The Software Tool Box is a collection of Python and Scratch files which make it easier to interact with a Pi-Car – especially if you are new to Raspberry Pi’s and programming in general.

However, you are still able to connect up your Pi-Car and interact with the GPIO pins in anyway you like.

  • Where do I get the Software Tool Box from?

You can get it from the Pi Store from your Raspberry Pi – it is free . Click here for detailed instructions on how to get it from the Pi Store.

  • What is contained in the Software Tool Box?

There are a couple of items included in the Tool Box:

– Scratchet – enables you to use Scratch to communicate with the Pi-Car through the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi

– Python examples – examples of Python scripts that let you interact with the Pi-Car directly from Python

– Driving Lessons resources – Scratch files and Python files and anything else needed to complete the Driving Lesson tutorials available on http://www.pi-cars.com

  • What exactly is the Scratchet?

The Scratchet is part of the Software Tool Box. When the Tool Box is installed from the Pi Store it will install a link on the Desktop. When you double click on this it will automatically launch the following:

– Python program that runs in the LX terminal window. This will listen to commands sent from Scratch to it which will instruct it to turn GPIO pins on and off. When it receives one of these commands it will pass turn the relevant GPIO pin on or off.

– Scratch program loaded with a file that is already setup to communicate to the Python program using variables labelled as  gpio-output1, gpio-output2, gpio-output3, gpio-output4

The desktop shortcut runs both the Python program and Scratch program but you can run just the Python handler on it’s own if you like by typing:

sudo python /opt/picars/Scratchet.py

About Barnaby Kent

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