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This documentation was last modified: Thursday, July 18th, 2019 at 3:19 pm

Picroft

About Picroft

Picroft is a ready-made way to run Mycroft on a Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi 3B+ and is provided as a disk image that you can burn to a Micro SD card. Picroft will not work properly on other Raspberry Pi models.

Picroft is based on Raspbian Stretch Lite.

Picroft is entirely open source, and PRs and Issues are warmly welcomed on the Picroft GitHub repo.

As of December 2018, Picroft includes built-in support for the Google AIY voice HAT.

What do I need to run Picroft?

In order to set up Picroft, you will need to have a basic understanding of the Linux (Raspbian) command line, be comfortable connecting devices to WiFi networks, and have a little patience when setting up audio devices.

Hardware requirements and compatibility chart

Model Level of support
Pi3 B+ Supported
Pi3 B Supported
Pi 2 Functions very slowly, limited wifi support
Pi B Not supported
Pi A+ Not supported
Pi Zero, Zero W, Zero WH Not supported

As well as a Raspberry Pi, you will also need:

  • Micro SD card, 8GB or larger highly recommended
  • Power adapter with micro USB for your country. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has some excellent recommendations.
  • An analog Speaker that can be plugged into the 3.5mm audio jack on the RPi 3 or a USB Speaker (Bluetooth on Picroft is difficult to get working and is not recommended)
  • USB Microphone

Installing Picroft may be easier if you also have:

  • USB keyboard
  • Monitor or TV connected via HDMI cable
  • Ethernet cable (if not connecting via WiFi)

While we don’t currently offer a Picroft kit with microphone and speaker to purchase from our Shop, we’ve provided links below to components we know to work “out of the box”.

NOTE: We do not gain any profit or benefit from the links below, they are provided only to assist you in acquiring compatible components.

Type of component Model Where to buy Notes
Microphone Blue Snowball United States Amazon.com, Australia JB Hifi, United Kingdom Amazon.co.uk
Microphone (and camera) PS3 Eye United States Amazon.com An excellent introductory model if you are just checking Picroft out.
Microphone and speaker Jabra Speak 410 United States – Amazon.com, Australia – ITSPOT.com.au, United Kingdom – Amazon.co.uk Premium microphone and speaker combination.
Speaker Logitech Z50 United States Amazon.com, Australia – Good Guys, United Kingdom Amazon.co.uk

A note on USB speaker/headphones/soundcards

If mycroft audio output fails (No speech or audio) when using some sort of USB soundcard for output it might be worth trying to reset the play commandlines used by mycroft.

To accomplish this, edit /home/pi/.mycroft/mycroft.conf and insert

  "play_wav_cmdline": "aplay %1",
  "play_mp3_cmdline": "mpg123 %1"

If no other edits has been applied to the file it should look something like

{
  "max_allowed_core_version": 18.8,
  "play_wav_cmdline": "aplay %1",
  "play_mp3_cmdline": "mpg123 %1"
}

Getting started with Picroft

Downloading the disk image

First, download the Picroft disk image.

We also have a Picroft disk image available of our unstable branch if desired.

Burn the disk image to the Micro SD card

Next, the disk image needs to be burnt to the Micro SD card.

The Raspberry Pi official documentation provides an excellent tutorial on this, using Etcher software. We recommend that you burn the Picroft image to the Micro SD card using Etcher.

Etcher SD card image burning tool

If you prefer to use the Linux command line tool dd to burn the disk image instead, follow these instructions:

  1. Download the Picroft disk image
  2. Insert the Micro SD card you wish to burn the image to. It must have a storage capacity of 8GB or higher.
  3. Identify the path where the MicroSD card is mounted by running the command sudo fdisk -l. You will be able to tell the path based on the storage size of the device.
  4. Keep a note of this – it will be something like /dev/sdb1
  5. Unmount the disk so that no other operation can write to the device while it is being imaged using the command sudo umount /dev/sdb1. Make sure to substitute for the location of your device.
  6. Run the command sudo dd if=path-to-your-image.img of=/dev/sdb1 bs=20M. Make sure to substitute the location of your device, and the path to the .img file you downloaded.
  7. This will take several minutes to run. The command prompt will return if successful, otherwise an error message will be displayed on your terminal.

Seeing the output from Picroft

There are two ways to see the output from a Picroft Device:

  1. Plug Picroft into a HDMI monitor or television, and attach a USB keyboard. If you are planning to connect Picroft to a WiFi network, you will first need to connect to a HDMI monitor or television so that you can manually configure Picroft’s WiFi settings.
  2. ssh into Picroft once Picroft is connected to a wired or wireless network

Connecting Picroft to a keyboard and monitor

If you would like to see the output of Picroft on a monitor (rather than SSH’ing in to Picroft), you can plug a HDMI monitor in to the HDMI slot on the Raspberry Pi.

If you would like to connect a keyboard or mouse (rather than SSH’ing in to Picroft), connect them via the USB slots on the Raspberry Pi.

In our experience, we’ve found most monitors, keyboards and mice are plug-and-play – ie. you shouldn’t have to install any additional drivers.

Connecting Picroft to a wired or WiFi network

To connect to a wired network

Simply plug the ethernet cable into the RJ45 (ethernet) socket on the RPi. Picroft will then attempt to connect to the network, and request a DHCP address.

You will need to connect to your router, or use other networking diagnostics, to identify what IP address your Picroft has been allocated on the network.

To connect to a WiFi network

By default, Picroft is not configured for WiFi. Picroft can connect to most 2.4GHz WiFi networks, but this has to be manually configured.

First, you need to be able to edit files on the filesystem of the Picroft. There are two ways to do this.

  1. Plug the Picroft into a keyboard and HDMI monitor then type Ctrl + C to get to the command line or
  2. if you are already connected using a wired connection and you know the Picroft’s IP address, SSH in to the Picroft device

Editing the wpa_supplicant.conf file

Next, we edit the wpa_supplicant.conf file. This file controls WiFi connections for the Raspberry Pi.

  1. Type sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
  2. Using the down arrow key, navigate to the bottom of the file, and add credentials for your SSID
    network={
            ssid="MyNetworkSSID"
            psk="mypassword"
    }
  1. Type Ctrl + X to exit and Y then Enter to save your changes.
  2. Type sudo reboot now

You will need to connect to your router, or use other networking diagnostics, to identify what IP address your Picroft has been allocated on the network.

Manually configuring WPA2 Enterprise WiFi with MSCHAPV2 authentication

If you are on an enterprise network, your network security might use WPA2 with MSCHAPV2 authentication. Configuring Picroft to use MSCHAPV2 is similar to the above, but requires some additional steps.

First, we need to generate a hash of your SSID’s password.

echo -n your_password| iconv -t utf16le | openssl md4

This will use the NTLM hash which is a 16 bit MD4 hash. Make sure to copy this as we will need it for later steps.

Next, run the following commands:

cd /etc/wpa_supplicant
sudo nano wpa_supplicant.conf

Add the following to the bottom of the wpa_supplicant.conf file, replacing ssid with your SSID name, identity with your username and password with the hash generated earlier. Type Ctrl + O to save, then Ctrl + x to exit.

network={
    ssid="ssid network name"
    priority=1
    proto=RSN
    key_mgmt=WPA-EAP
    pairwise=CCMP
    auth_alg=OPEN
    eap=PEAP
    identity="user_name"
    password=hash:hash_key_here
    phase1="peaplabel=0"
    phase2="auth=MSCHAPV2"
}

Next, reboot the Picroft using sudo reboot now. If these steps have worked, you will be connected to your enterprise WiFi shortly after rebooting.

You will need to connect to your router, or use other networking diagnostics, to identify what IP address your Picroft has been allocated on the network.

Known errors with Picroft and WiFi

NOTE: Picroft cannot connect to WiFi networks that operate in the 5GHz band. You must select a WiFi network that operates in the 2.4GHz band.

NOTE: Picroft cannot connect to WiFi networks that operate on Channels 12 or 13 (2467MHz and 2472MHz frequencies). Please configure your SSID to use a different channel or frequency. These channels are often used in Germany and other European countries.

Booting up Picroft

Once you’ve burned the disk image to the Micro SD card, insert the Micro SD card into the Micro SD card slot on the Raspberry Pi. Plug in your microphone, speakers, and if you’re using a monitor and/or keyboard, plug these in too.

Next, plug in the power and connect the Micro USB cable to the RPi. This “power on” the device.

If you have a HDMI monitor connected, you should start to see some output on screen.

If you’re going to ssh into Picroft, do the following:

ssh into Picroft

SSH access to Picroft is enabled by default, so you don’t have to enable SSH access.

  • Ensure you know the IP address of your Picroft Device on your network. If your Picroft is already paired, then a handy way to do this is to install the IP Address Skill, and then Speak:

Hey Mycroft, what’s your IP address?

"here are my available IP addresses: wlan IP address ... Those are all my available IP addresses"

If not, you will need to know what IP address your Picroft has. You may need to log in to your router to find out the IP address of your Picroft.

  • Open up your favorite terminal program, like PuTTy on Windows, or a new terminal on Linux
  • ssh pi@IPADDRESS
  • The default password is mycroft, so enter this when prompted.
  • If you have successfully logged in via SSH you will see a command prompt like the one below:
$ ssh pi@192.168.0.13                 <-- in this case, the IP address was 192.168.0.13, your IP address may vary
pi@192.168.0.13's password:

The programs included with the Debian GNU/Linux system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
Last login: Wed Oct 18 13:02:44 2017
pi@mark_1:~ $

You are now connected to Picroft via SSH.

Setting up Picroft

On first boot, you will see a screen which looks similar to the one below:

Picroft initial boot screen

Picroft will then ask you whether you would like to do the guided setup, or drop straight to a command line. If you are new to Picroft, we recommend that you complete the guided setup.

Selecting audio output and audio input

NOTE: Audio output and audio input is the single most problematic part of Picroft setup; we’ve tried to provide lots of guidance here to get you up and running, but you may need to experiment to find a solution for your chosen audio output and input devices.

The guided setup will then ask you to select your audio output device, as shown below:

Picroft select audio output

Enter the number 1, 2, 3 or 4 corresponding to:

1) Speakers via 3.5mm output (aka 'audio jack' or 'headphone jack')
2) HDMI audio (e.g. a TV or monitor with built-in speakers)
3) USB audio (e.g. a USB soundcard or USB mic/speaker combo)
4) Google AIY Voice HAT and microphone board (Voice Kit v1)

Next, test and adjust the volume. You may need to reboot your Picroft in order for the audio output device to be correctly selected.

The final step of the guided setup is microphone configuration. You will be asked to select your audio input device, as shown below:

Picroft select audio input

Enter the number 1, 2, 3 or 4 corresponding to:

1) PlayStation Eye (USB)
2) Blue Snoball ICE (USB)
3) Google AIY Voice HAT and microphone board (Voice Kit v1)
4) Matrix Voice HAT.
5) Other (unsupported -- good luck!)

The guided setup will then do a microphone test to ensure your chosen microphone is working OK.

What can I do if the guided setup doesn’t set my audio input or output device correctly?

There are a few tricks that we know of to get your audio input or output device working correctly – however, these are somewhat technical and will require typing commands on the Linux command line interface (CLI).

Alsamixer

alsamixer is a utility provided by the ALSA sound system on Raspbian Stretch that allows you to select an audio playback (output) and input (capture) device.

To run alsamixer, type Ctrl +C to exit the guided setup and you will be at the Linux command line. Type alsamixer as shown below:

(.venv) pi@picroft:~ $ alsamixer

You will see a screen similar to the one below, and may have different options depending on which audio devices you have connected.

Picroft alsamixer initial screen

Different devices will have a different command key for choosing ‘Capture’ devices, in this case it is F4.

If you do not see any capture devices, as shown below, then you may need to select a different sound card.

Picroft alsamixer no audio capture device

To select a different sound card, follow the instructions on your version of alsamixer. In this case, the command key for choosing ‘Select sound card’ is F6. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate up and down the list to choose your preferred soundcard.

Picroft alsamixer select sound card

alsamixer usually has an option to see all capture and playback devices. In this case, the command key to see all devices is F5.

Picroft alsamixer show all audio capture and playback devices

pulseaudio

If alsamixer does not work for you, then you may have some success with pulseaudio. We’ve recently updated the Picroft repo to include pulseaudio, but if you haven’t updated for a little while then you may need to manually install it.

(.venv) pi@picroft:~ $ sudo apt-get install pulseaudio
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following additional packages will be installed:
  fontconfig-config fonts-dejavu-core libasound2-plugins libavcodec57
  libavresample3 libavutil55 libcairo2 libdrm-amdgpu1 libdrm-freedreno1
  libdrm-nouveau2 libdrm-radeon1 libfontconfig1 libgl1-mesa-dri
  libgl1-mesa-glx libglapi-mesa libgsm1 libllvm3.9 libmp3lame0 libopenjp2-7
  libopus0 liborc-0.4-0 libpixman-1-0 libpulsedsp libsensors4 libshine3
  libsnappy1v5 libsoxr0 libspeex1 libspeexdsp1 libswresample2 libtdb1
  libtheora0 libtwolame0 libtxc-dxtn-s2tc libva-drm1 libva-x11-1 libva1
  libvdpau-va-gl1 libvdpau1 libvpx4 libwavpack1 libwebp6 libwebpmux2
  libwebrtc-audio-processing1 libx264-148 libx265-95 libxcb-dri2-0
  libxcb-dri3-0 libxcb-glx0 libxcb-present0 libxcb-render0 libxcb-shm0
  libxcb-sync1 libxdamage1 libxfixes3 libxrender1 libxshmfence1 libxvidcore4
  libxxf86vm1 libzvbi-common libzvbi0 mesa-va-drivers mesa-vdpau-drivers
  pulseaudio-utils rtkit va-driver-all vdpau-driver-all
Suggested packages:
  opus-tools lm-sensors speex pavumeter pavucontrol paman paprefs
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  fontconfig-config fonts-dejavu-core libasound2-plugins libavcodec57
  libavresample3 libavutil55 libcairo2 libdrm-amdgpu1 libdrm-freedreno1
  libdrm-nouveau2 libdrm-radeon1 libfontconfig1 libgl1-mesa-dri
  libgl1-mesa-glx libglapi-mesa libgsm1 libllvm3.9 libmp3lame0 libopenjp2-7
  libopus0 liborc-0.4-0 libpixman-1-0 libpulsedsp libsensors4 libshine3
  libsnappy1v5 libsoxr0 libspeex1 libspeexdsp1 libswresample2 libtdb1
  libtheora0 libtwolame0 libtxc-dxtn-s2tc libva-drm1 libva-x11-1 libva1
  libvdpau-va-gl1 libvdpau1 libvpx4 libwavpack1 libwebp6 libwebpmux2
  libwebrtc-audio-processing1 libx264-148 libx265-95 libxcb-dri2-0
  libxcb-dri3-0 libxcb-glx0 libxcb-present0 libxcb-render0 libxcb-shm0
  libxcb-sync1 libxdamage1 libxfixes3 libxrender1 libxshmfence1 libxvidcore4
  libxxf86vm1 libzvbi-common libzvbi0 mesa-va-drivers mesa-vdpau-drivers
  pulseaudio pulseaudio-utils rtkit va-driver-all vdpau-driver-all
0 upgraded, 68 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 30.2 MB of archives.
After this operation, 221 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] Y

Pairing the Picroft

Once the Picroft is connected to the internet, and you have run through the guided setup, Picroft will reboot. Picroft will boot into the mycroft-cli-client screen, and a Registration Code will be spoken, and will also be shown on the mycroft-cli-client screen, as shown below:

Picroft pairing

View the home.mycroft.ai documentation to learn how to add your Device to home.mycroft.ai.

Once paired, you can then use basic Skills to get started. For example, you can ask questions like ‘Tell me about Abraham Lincoln’ – shown below:

Picroft basic commands

Maintaining your Picroft

How to reimage a Picroft Device

To reimage a Picroft Device, download the latest disk image. Burn that to a MicroSD card using Etcher, and insert the burned MicroSD card into the Raspberry Pi, then connect the Raspberry Pi to power.

Keeping your Picroft updated

To keep mycroft-core and the Skills on your Picroft updated, first ssh in to Picroft, then run the update.sh script:

(.venv) pi@picroft:~ $ bash update.sh

This script will update both mycroft-core and the Skills on your Picroft device.

Important file locations for Picroft

If you plan to do Skills development work, or other development work with Picroft, you’ll find knowing these file locations useful.

  • Skills – have a shortcut in /home/pi that points to /opt/mycroft/skills
  • mycroft-core – is located at /home/pi/mycroft-core
  • Logs – are located at /var/log/mycroft/
  • mycroft.conf – is located at /home/mycroft/.mycroft/mycroft.conf
  • Identity file (do not share) – is located at /home/mycroft/.mycroft/identity/identity2.json

Useful commands for Picroft

There are several commands that are packaged into Picroft to help you with advanced functionality:

  • mycroft-cli=client: This command will start the Mycroft CLI client if you are on the Linux command line
  • mycroft-help: This command brings up help information
  • mycroft-mic-test: This command re-runs the microphone test from the guided setup
  • mycroft-msk: This command runs the Mycroft Skills Kit
  • mycroft-msm: This command runs the Mycroft Skills Manager
  • mycroft-pip: This command runs pip within the Mycroft Python virtual environment (venv). This is useful if you are installing dependencies for Skills.
  • mycroft-say-to: This command sends a command to Picroft, just like you had ‘spoken’ a command. This is useful if your microphone is not working.
  • mycroft-setup-wizard: This command re-runs the guided setup
  • mycroft-skill-testrunner: This command runs the testrunner – used to run unit tests for a Skill. This is useful if you are doing Skills development with Mycroft
  • mycroft-speak: This command gets Mycroft to ‘speak’ using Text to Speech.
  • mycroft-venv-deactivate: This command deactivates the Mycroft Python virtual environment and is useful if you want to install other software on the Picroft device.
  • mycroft-wipe: This command wipes Picroft back to factory default status. This will unpair the device and remove any configuration changes you have made.

Building your own Picroft image

The Picroft image building instructions can now be found on GitHub at;
https://github.com/MycroftAI/enclosure-picroft/blob/stretch/image_recipe.md

Next steps

Congratulations! You now have a fully functional Picroft, and can start exploring all the options you now have. Consider using it as a stand-alone voice assistant, or connect it to a monitor and keyboard, and develop straight away. If you don’t have a monitor and keybaord, SSH is enabled by default so you can remotely connect to it straight away.

Picroft uses a Raspbian Stretch Lite image under the hood – with Mycroft pre-installed – so everything you can do with Raspbian, you can do with Picroft. You can download other packages, get it running as a server – or more!

For more help or ideas, consider joining our Picroft channel on Mycroft Chat or reading through our Picroft topic on the Mycroft Forum.

Using the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi 3

One common question we get is – “Can I use the general purpose input output pins (GPIO) on the Raspberry Pi 3 with Picroft?”.

The answer is ‘Yes’ – but this requires some additional configuration.

You need to add the mycroft user to the gpio group with the command

sudo usermod -g gpio mycroft

You also need to install some additional packages:

sudo apt-get install python-rpi.gpio && sudo apt-get install python3-rpi.gpio

This example GPIO Skill provides some good examples of how to use GPIO input and output in your Mycroft Skill.


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