Grandbaby's First Raspberry Pi

CutiePi Musicbox (and soon Kid Komputer?)

Grandbaby's first computer.  CutiePi is a Raspberry Pi based musicbox, designed to evolve as she does WHILE refreshing grandpa's programming skills!  Originally built using a RPi 2 in a cottage-style Lego block case.  Lego case will hopefully help facilitate the project's 'evolution' - future hardware & features TBD! 

CutiePi versions listed on this page typically involve Raspberry Pi or related component hardware upgrades, operating system or software updates.  Each revision adds a level (or two) of complexity and may include research, step-by-step procedures or reminders to help with next rebuild.  

The little gizmo is getting a tad complex - see Next Gen for current research and works in process.  Yet to be seen how much can be done on these little Pi - quite impressive so far.  Fun!

Migrated to new site spring 2021

CutiePi V1:  Simple Streaming Music Player

The initial CutiePi was built using spare parts to allow the new mom & dad to pipe music into the nursery using their iPhone or iPad - an AirPlay audio player.


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Fond Memories

CutiePi V2:  Custom Sounds, Button + Lights!

The second generation of CutiePi added a push button and lights because she was figuring out how to use her fingers!  Papa refreshed his soldering skills and learned to Python!  

CutiePi V2 plays a series of sounds (wav files) and flashes LEDs when button is pressed. Sound files are somewhat hard-coded, but can be swapped in/out for different occasions - e.g. Christmas sounds or current favorite creature - like Elmo. A large button was added and an LED light bar to attract/hold baby's attention.  The CutiePi script also runs in harmony with V1 (Shairport-Sync) ... waits until shairport is done playing before playing one of its own sounds.


*Note:  Affiliate Links, I may get kickback from Amazon if you click/buy!


Fond Memories

CutiePi V3:  Rebuild using DietPi + new speakers

CutiePi V3 was really more of a rebuild w/ focus on eliminating occasional speaker hiss and snap/crackle/pop when sitting on the shelf.  Attempted a number of things to rectify, finally concluding that the sounds were caused by the original speakers from my junk pile - imagine that!  The CutiePi V3 operating environment was changed from stock Raspbian to DietPi to simplfy future installs and align with other server-like RPi's around our house.


*Note:  Affiliate Links, I may get kickback from Amazon if you click/buy!


Dietpi was the only change here.  It provided a lite version Raspbian Stretch and a library of optimized Pi software packages including shairport-sync and   I use for all server-like RPi Projects.      

Step-by-Step (mostly for me)

1) Initial DietPi OS Install and Config via Ethernet, keyboard and monitor

Download & install latest DietPi (I use RPI Imager).  Follow DietPi Install Guide

Config via DietPi-config utility.  Minimally, set the following:

3) Some Linux touchup work, again via SSH 


2) Install Software via SSH using dietpi-software utility

Software Optimized - Select [*] the following

Software Additional - Some may have already been selected [*] by Optimized Software

Remember to:  Install: Go >> Start installation for selected software

<Forced reboot>

4) CutiePi Musicbox install, again via SSH (Yeeesh!  It is complicated!) 

ssh as dietpi user ...

Install a couple more loose-ends from standard repo

python3 -m pip install -U pygame --user

Now install CutiePi Python script

Turn Python Script into a service so it starts when pi is rebooted.
// From  

<That's it!  Simple as THAT!>

Fond Memories

Occasional Snap/Crackle/Pop (Which RARELY happens when the real CutiePi is sitting in my shop with me!  

CutiePi Next Gen:  Kid Komputer?

V4 CutiePi feature ideas have been all over the map - ranging from a "Push-4-Papa" Walkie-Talkie button to touch-screen visual learning capabilities.   The information below is current a log of ideas, research and playtime findings, hopefully coming together in 2021!.

Idea Log & Progress

May 2022 Rebuild and V4 Playtime.   Struggles with current recipe, a couple of feature tweak ideas and back to Push4Papa

V4 Features

Rough notes for now ... 

dietpi software selection (to ensure this stuff will all live together):

│    5    ALSA: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture                                                         │

│    16   Build-Essential: GNU C/C++ compiler, development libraries and headers                          │

│    17   Git: Clone and manage Git repositories locally                                                  │

│    37   Shairport Sync: airplay audio player with multiroom sync                                        │

│    69   Python 3 RPi.GPIO: Control Raspberry Pi GPIO channels in Python 3                               │

│    96   Samba Server: Feature-rich SMB/CIFS server                                                      │

│    103  DietPi-RAMlog: Makes /var/log a RAM disk, preserves file structure on reboot                    │

│    104  Dropbear: Lightweight SSH server                                                                │

│    130  Python 3: Runtime system, pip package installer and development headers                         │

│    152  Avahi-Daemon: hostname broadcast (mac, pc bonjour)                                              │


Other Software (as root)

Original CutiePi script (as dietpi) - [works!]

Add Comitup:  Wifi bootstrap (from Pi in the Sky testing) - [ it works!]

Push4Papa:  Looks like TalkiePi may drop right in ...

Spotify Playlists instead of uploaded sound files

Jan 2021 Idea.   Built a Prototype!  LOOKS like everything COULD live in Harmony ... May need a bit more Pi Horsepower (RPi 4)

June 2020 update.  V4 will likely turn into a separate project - See SmartiePi.  

Jan 2020 Harebrainer.   One button per song, a volume control and possibly a Walkie-Talkie feature - Push4Papa.