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 - original site/recipe @
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.
RPI 2 Model B: Vilros Raspberry Pi 2 Complete Starter Kit*
- $69 in Aug 2015
WiFi Adapter - Edimax EW-7811Un Wi-Fi USB Adapter*
- $9 in Mar 2014
USB Sound Card: Virtual 5.1-surround USB 2.0 External Sound Card*
- $1.68 including shipping from China!
8g SD Card: Generic 8g Micro SD*
- came with starter kit (OK, but a little tight)
USB Powered Speakers: I had a set in the shop,
but plenty of options on Amazon*
Lego Blocks* for the case
Apple Support's HowTo Use AirPlay or AirPlay Mirroring on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
Audio was a little trickier on Weezy
Some WiFi struggles due to combination of RPI v2, Edimax adapter and Weezy (I think)
Struggles when WPA2 Password changed on my network (Error: Could not get status from wpa_supplicant)
Had to edit password in /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
Roof Tiles via ebay were most expensive part of project!
Chimney to accommodate excess speaker wire
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.
RPI 3 Model B: CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter Kit*
- $89 in Mar 2016.
Breadboard* for circuit design, came w/ Ultimate Starter Kit
Big Button: Momentary Push Button like these*
LEDs and resistors: Came w/ Ultimate Starter Kit
USB Sound: Virtual 5.1-surround External Sound Card*
- $1.68 again!
16g SD Card: SanDisk Ultra 16GB Ultra Micro*
Initially installed and running @ ~ 10g of storage - wav files are big!
Pi-EzConnect*: Reusable RPi HAT for V2 implementation. Designed for prototyping and temporary projects - worked great!
- $20 in Mar 2017
USB Powered Speakers: No change from v1,
but plenty of cheap options on Amazon*
Stock Raspbian installed via NOOBS.
Latest was Jessie at the time, worked fine
AirPlay services via Shairport-Sync
Software Development Tools from Raspbian repository
Remote Access via remot3.it - (called weaved at the time)
Handy for remote updates and changing up sounds/songs -
Doc @ https://support.remote.it/hc/en-us/articles/360047542051-Installing-remoteit-on-a-Raspberry-Pi-running-Raspbian-or-Raspberry-Pi-OS
FTP - installed from Raspbian repo, used to pickup/change sound files
CutiePi V2 custom Python Script
CutiePi V3: Rebuild using DietPi + new speakers
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 Remot3.it. 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
2) Install Software via SSH using dietpi-software utility
3) Some Linux touchup work, again via SSH
Save alsa setting - I don't think I had to do this in the past, but here goes ...
Get audio card number via:
Store setting using card # from arecord
alsactl store <Card#>
4) CutiePi Musicbox install, again via SSH (Yeeesh! It is complicated!)
CutiePi Next Gen: Kid Komputer?
Idea Log & Progress
Jan 2021 Idea. Built a Prototype! LOOKS like everything COULD live in Harmony ... May need a bit more Pi Horsepower (RPi 4)
CutiePi V4 Prototype is an amalgamation of the SmartiePi project (GCompris w/ Monitor & Keyboard) PLUS Musicbox capabilities ... thoughts/features
Hardware: Add a monitor and wireless keyboard/trackpad to facilitate visual learning environment
Software: Based on DietPi/Buster .... CutiePi Script and Shairport seem to work fine AND live in harmony in the follwing world ... .
Incorporate SmartiePi environment.
LXQt desktop (from DietPi optimized software library)
GCompris.net - nice educational software suite WITH a Raspberry Pi Beta (QT-Based)
CutiePi V3 - for push button / LED sound/music action
Shairport-Sync from DietPi optimized software library
Couple of things to research/work on
Sound file changes are a Pain in the Arse! Locate sounds/music, convert to wav, ftp to CutiePi - need to find a better way!
Sound SEEMED to work - CutiePi/Shairport ALSA, GComris PulseAudio, but more to learn here.
Performance on RPi3+ was pretty poor, more testing, possibly on RPI4 to see if this will even work!
Considering a couple of options - Learning Platforms, simple OS or combination of the two - VERY early
Kano OS - Looked really good, but may not be around. My install tests @ ventures.tpedersen.net/errata/raspberrypi-os-alternatives
Endless OS - Easy to use environment if I need to build it myself - Test notes
Stumbled onto GCompris, which is installed on top of RaspOS. It looks REALLY good
Jan 2020 Harebrainer. One button per song, a volume control and possibly a Walkie-Talkie feature - Push4Papa.
Sticking with Dietpi Stretch for now ... number of general stumbles attempting latest/buster
Dietpi pings 184.108.40.206 to test network ... our ISP (TDS) seems to block 220.127.116.11 ... yeesh!)
Changed to quad9 (18.104.22.168 in dietpie.txt, but end up with reboot issues)
Pygame sounds were flaky - occasional hiss/static instead of wav sound
Noticed that libav-tools was gone (not installable), installed ffmpeg instead. Not sure if this was the issue
Enough was enough - Sticking with Stretch for now
Crap! How did I miss THIS! https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/projects/gpio-music-box/6