Project – Using a portable DVD player as a monitor for my Raspberry Pi.

dvddThis is my project – Using a Disney portable DVD player, as a monitor for the Raspberry Pi 3.

This portable DVD player comes as a pair, with the main unit having the DVD player in it, and the other unit with just a screen. When connected by 3.5mm round pin AV cables, the second screen mirrors what is playing on the main DVD player. You can strap them to the back of your front seat head rest and plug it into your cigarette lighter/charger on your dash to power it, and watch DVD’s or even play music CD’s on them. The main unit can also can be used as a stand alone DVD player, without being connected to the other unit. And, can also be connect to a regular home TV by AV cables with RCA connections, to play DVD’s. There is a DC wall plug that comes with it, to power it in the home.

We bought this a long time ago, to keep my kids busy on long road trips. But since they have gotten older, they have their phones and don’t use them anymore, so we put them in storage.

Then a while back I got a Raspberry Pi 3. I have been trying to think of projects I can do with it, to make something useful but simple and not expensive.

avWell, the Pi 3 also happens to have an AV out port. So I thought, maybe I could re-purpose the DVD player to be used as monitors for the Raspberry Pi. And, I could use them in the car as sort of a portable computer/entertainment center/retro gamer.

My 1st issue was, testing the pair to make sure they still work because they have been put up for a while. I was just going to use the DC wall plug to test it in the house on the TV, but remembered some time back, we broke the cord on it. So I had to find one like it online and order it. I found one on Amazon.

The other issue was, I found out after I got the wall plug, something may have been spilled on the main DVD player, and after connecting it with the wall plug, it smelled like something was burning in it. But, the other part of the DVD player that is used to mirror what is playing on the main unit, plugged in fine and didn’t smell like it was burning. Later, I may take the screen out of the main DVD player and try and find a driver board for it.

Anyway! So now that I know one works, I should be able to plug one end of a 3.5mm round composite jack cable it came with, into the AV in on the DVD monitor, and then the other end to the Pi 3, boot it up, and all would be good, right? Not! Nothing comes up on the screen. For some reason, it doesn’t work. So, I tried other RCA cables with it, that I know work, because I use them on other stuff. Nope! Still nothing on the screen.

4ringsCome to find out, you can’t use just any ole AV cable on the Pi 3. It uses a 3.5mm round pin that is the opposite of most others. It has something to do with the rings on the pin (click here for the explanation). So now I have to order one of those! They are fairly cheap though. I found one at

In the mean time, I also found out that even if you have the correct AV cable, you can’t just connect it, and it work! You have to set it up through Noobs, when installing an OS on the SD card (follow these instructions). And, just messing around with the cables I have, slowly pulling it and out, I sort of finally got the Noobs screen to show. It was really distorted but it was on there.

So, hopefully when I get the cables, it will work and I will update this post.

Update: I got the cable in! I connected it to the Pi and then to my TV. Turned on the Pi and followed the instructions above, to get it to come up on the screen, and it works! I also used an adapter to connect it to the DVD monitor. It works there too! Only problem is, I have no sound because I actually need a 3 way female RCA adapter to connect to the composite cable coming from Pi. I couldn’t find one anywhere in the usual stores around here, so will have to order that now.


NeoTV Prime and Raspberry Pi

Do you have one of these old Netgear NeoTV Prime Boxes with Google TV (GTV100) laying around, or still in use?

neotv prime1st, what is a NeoTV Prime box with Google TV? Basically, it’s similar to a Roku or Fire TV box, that you can connect to the internet and your TV’s HDMI port and stream online content, from many streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. And, it comes with a handy little remote with a mouse pad and a keyboard on the other side.

The NeoTV Prime also has the ability to…

  • install and run other Android apps from the google play store.
  • surf the internet with the google Chrome browser from your couch.
  • connect to other devices like your cable or satellite set top box, DVD players, or digital stereo system, to play through the TV box via the HDMI IN port.
  • And, connect a USB mouse or keyboard, USB hubs and flash memory sticks, or other devices, through the available USB port.

kodiA couple of years ago I bought one of these, marked way down on clearance, from my local OfficeMax. I was thinking it was cheap enough that I wouldn’t be risking much if I crashed it, trying to hack it (supposedly, it can be rooted through the network setup). But there isn’t really much space (2 gig’s?) on the GTV100 model, so it’s really not worth doing. And, though it has the ability to install and run android apps from the google play store, there are a lot of popular apps that aren’t compatible. One of the popular apps I was hoping it could run, was Kodi. It says it’s not available for the GTV100 model, and side-loading these apps doesn’t work either. But I did sort of figure out a work around for Kodi!

So, it has a few limitations, though it’s great for streaming movies and TV from many of the services I mentioned before. And, it’s fine for surfing the web with the google Chrome browser. I do recommend however, connecting a wireless keyboard and mouse, because the remote/keyboard combo it comes with, can be a little tricky to use for browsing.

Do you also have a Raspberry Pi 3 or 2?

img_5479.jpgSo, what does this have to do with the Raspberry Pi 3? Well, if you have one of these NeoTV boxes, you can connect the Raspberry Pi to the HDMI IN and can set it up as a generic video source to run on the TV box. The picture on the right shows it running on my TV. It worked pretty well on the Raspbian OS.

Watch this video to see how I set it up.

Note: You will need a separate mouse and keyboard connected to your Pi to control things on it, just like you normally would, because the NeoTV Prime remote wont work on the Pi this way.
With everything off, plug the HDMI cable from the Pi, to the HMDI IN on the NeoTV box. Plug the HDMI OUTcable from the box to an HDMI source on your TV. Turn on both to boot them up. Turn on your TV and go to the HDMI output source where your NeoTV box shows up on your screen.

Go to setting on the NeoTV menu. Choose Video Input in the list.
On the next screen, choose Generic video source. Then under Setup media device, if you see the feed from the Pi, choose Next.
The next screen tells you that the generic video source is not controllable with the NeoTV remote. Just choose ok. It will go back to the Setup media device screen, and you should still see the feed from the Pi again, and choose Finish. Then push the blue home button on the NeoTV remote to go back to your menu. Then to view and interact with the Pi, select the Live TV app, in the menu. You should see the Pi in full view. On mine, the screen for Kodi goes a little past the edge, but I am fine with that. Then use a mouse and keyboard, to use it. You can remove the Pi from the video source by going to the menu and under settings, choose Video Input and just follow the instructions on-screens to remove it.

Now, what you do with that, is up to you! I really just wanted to see if it was possible and it worked. And here is my “work around” for getting Kodi to work on the box. I installed LibreElec on an SD card and ran it on the Pi, connected to the NeoTV  Prime box. Though I did notice a little decrease in video quality and the screen size went just a little past the edges of the screen.

Anyway, it’s been fun! Good Luck!

Changing the Desktop Clock on Raspberry Pi 3

So I had setup my Raspberry Pi 3 with an install of Raspbian, and fixed the time to show the current time in my timezone. But noticed it was still set to 24hr clock.

In case you don’t know how to change the time on the Raspbian install on a Raspberry Pi 3, you just go to the Menu bar. Select Preferences>Raspberry Pi Configuration and click on the Localisation Tab. Then click on the buttons and select the information relevant to where you are (if you live in the US, be sure and change your keyboard setting, or it can be off on some things when you type). I think you can just change the timezone if you want. By the way, it doesn’t show the standard selection like CST, EST etc. So if you live in America, you just select the closest city to you in your same timezone. Like I am from Texas and my area of Texas is in the same timezone as Chicago, which is central time. So I selected that and it works. Then click ok and reboot. Then it should show your correct time but maybe in 24hr time format.

Anyway, to fix it to show the 12 hr time format, you right click on the time in the task bar and then chose digital clock settings, and then in the clock format box, change it to %r instead of %R and click ok. But then that will show the time format with the seconds ticking at the end. If you want to remove the seconds like I did, you change it to %l :%M %p and click ok.

There you go!

Starting Emulationstation Installed On Raspbian

How to start Emulationstation, that was installed manually from the RetroPie script, on Raspbian, for Raspberry Pi 2/3 (updated 7/26/16).

This post is in reference to my post on installing a Retro Gaming System on the Raspberry Pi 3. Click Here to read it.

So let’s say you are a beginner like me and you installed RetroPie on your Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, through Raspbian using the manual setup script. And, you are trying to figure out how to start it up so you can play some games. Well, you would think that after installing it, there would be some sort of icon or way to launch it from the desktop on Raspbian. Or you could go to the LX terminal, located on the desktop, and type “sudo” something, right?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like many other programs you installed on your Pi through the terminal. RetroPie is built on a program called Emulationstation (ES), and you have to start ES to run RetroPie. But, ES can’t be started through the LX terminal on your desktop either with “sudo something”. I tried that, it will give you an error and say you must stop X, and there is no launch icon. It can only be started from root. And no, not the root folder on your desktop. I mean, outside of Raspbian, through the command line interface (CLI or short).

Here is how to get to the command line interface, so you can run ES.

Go to the Start Menu-> Preferences->Raspberry Pi Configuration.start emulationstation from raspbian desktop

Then look for “Boot” under the System tab (what it automatically opens to). Switch the “To Desktop”, to “To CLI” and then click ok, then choose Reboot.

start emulationstation from raspbian desktopThen it will reboot (you will see all the script stuff like in the pic below) to the command line prompt (you may have to log in with your username and password. if you haven’t changed the default username and password, it would be username: pi and password: raspberry).

cli prmpt

Then here is where you will type in “emulationstation”. Then you should see the ES logo load up and start RetroPie to a screen to setup your game controller.


To get out of ES and back to your desktop, you can push whatever button on your controller you chose to setup as the “start” button, and select Quit. Then at command prompt type, startx, and it will load the desktop.

That’s It! Took me a while to read between all stuff on all the forums, scratching my head, but I eventually got it. If there is an easier way, please share it with me in a comment, below!

Now, you can get it on like Donkey Kong!…..never mind….sounded good in my head! lol! Have fun playing those old games!

P.S. Once you change the setting under the preferences to boot to CLI, it will boot to that, until you manually change it back. You can just go to your preferences again and change it back to boot to the desktop.

Retro Gaming on the Raspberry Pi – Simple to Install!

How to Turn the Raspberry Pi into a Retro Gaming Machine!

retro gamingI am a big fan of many of those old video games I use to to play on my old Atari and Nintendo consoles. One of my favorites has always been Donkey Kong. I actually still have a few of the old Atari 2600 and Nintendo cartridges. But, unfortunately my Atari and Nintendo consoles stopped working a long time ago. But, I have a raspberry pi 3 and I was really exited to learn that you could emulate these old consoles on it and basically turn it into a retro gaming system!

So, how do you turn a Raspberry Pi into a retro gaming system? One way is by installing emulators. 

What is an emulator?

I don’t know all the technical details behind how it all works, but in short, an emulator is a software program that emulates the hardware of a game console. But you can’t stick a cartridge in your computer (actually I wouldn’t doubt there is a way). You will need something called a ROM image, of the original game.

What is a ROM image?

A ROM (read only memory) image is like a data copy of the original cartridge or disk. It utilizes the emulator program code, to play the game. It’s sort of like a virtual cartridge.

WARNING: There is a legal gray area surrounding the use of ROMS. Some will say, If you own the original game cartridge, it’s ok to be downloaded and played. Some say, it isn’t legal at all. Then there is the adage that it’s preservation of history and nostalgia. If these games are no longer being sold in circulation for a current console and you’re not selling them, then they are perfectly legal. So play at your own risk. You can google all this, to find out more information.

Several Emulators to Choose From

You can install several different emulators on the Raspberry Pi. I won’t go into detail on how to install them, but the Raspberry Pi Pixel desktop does contains an Add and Remove software GUI utility. You can search from there to find emulators to try. Some of them run ok on the Pi, and some don’t. Or you can install a whole operating system (OS) that contains already installed emulators, all in one place. You can also add more!

Retro Gaming OS’s for the Raspberry Pi.

Two OS’s I have tried are called Retropie and Recalbox. Both were built on a platform called Emulationstation, and are very similar with about the same functionality.

To install these retro gaming OS’s on your Pi, you simply download the SD card image and burn it to your SD card (recommend class 10 16gb or higher), using your favorite SD card writing utility. Then pop the SD card into your Pi and then follow the prompts to get it going.

Download the RetroPie image, here.

Download the Recalbox image here.

They are both pretty simple to get started. Recalbox however is probably the easiest for the novice, that requires less configuration. It almost works “out of the box” so to speak. But more experienced Linux users will probably like Retropie, because you can configure and tailor things the way you like them. There is plenty of documentation found online, to help you get started.

As far as where to get ROMs, google is your friend. I will not tell you were to get them. But, they can be found on this planet among the emu and caught with a dot net. However, they don’t speak English! You can use the google translator to figure out what they are saying.

Note: Retropie and Recalbox does not contain or authorize the use of any copy righted game ROMs, that you do not own! And, will not be distributed with any copy righted games. Use at your own risk! Also, neither system is for resell!

Build Your Own

There have been many people build their own retro gaming cabinet, tables, and gameboy type hand held devices. The possibilities are endless with a Raspberry Pi! You can see many examples on Youtube.

retro gaming arcade cabinet

Sounds like a fun weekend (or over 3 or 4 weekends maybe) project!

By the way, you can do a lot more than play games with a raspberry pi! You can also use it as a second hand desktop computer, a media center pc, or to create many other neat projects.

Anyway! Enjoy your retro gaming! Good luck and have fun!

If you are looking to get started with a Raspberry Pi, I highly recommend this kit below!

Spellchecker – How to Enable it On The Raspberry Pi 3

Spellchecker Not Working?

After installing the OS, I went looking around at the programs and had a look at LibreOffice. I went to the LibreOffice Writer and started typing in the space, and noticed that it wasn’t underlining my text with red, when something was miss spelled. I googled it (source link) and found out that the spellchecker, has to be installed and enabled, before it will work. And, it’s pretty simple to do.

command terminalSo to install it, you just go to the command terminal (click the monitor icon next to the planet icon on your desktop task bar) and type in: sudo apt-get update and then once finished, sudo apt-get install myspell-en-us (for the UK: sudo apt-get install myspell-en-gb libreoffice-l10n-en-gb).

Then reboot! Then it should be working!


Wifi After 1st Reboot on Raspberry Pi 3

How to reconnect to your Wifi after installing Rasbian on Raspberry Pi 3 and reboot.

Your Raspberry Pi 3 comes with on board wifi (lan) to connect to your wireless network, to connect internet, so you can surf the internet. So more need for a wifi dongle or wired Ethernet connection, like the previous versions of the Raspberry Pi board, are required to surf the web and download software.

After you have run the OS instillation on your Raspberry Pi 3 though, you might have noticed after reboot, that it didn’t retain your wireless internet connection like you had during setup. There is a real simple way to fix that!

Just move your mouse over to the top right hand corner or the Pi desktop and click in the two little computer icon. Then in the list, choose your existing nework.

connecting wifi

Then enter your passphrase or password and click ok!

connecting wifi

If the password is correct, you should see the icon change to the wifi icon with blue little stripes. Then you should be able click on the little planet icon in the top left of the desktop to open the browser and surf the internet!

There you go!

You can learn more about all this Raspberry Pi @

Raspberry Pi 3. Setting It Up, for Beginners!

How to set up your Raspberry Pi 3, and installing the Raspbian Operating System (OS), for Beginners!

It’s pretty simple to set up your Raspberry Pi 3 (I think it’s the same for the other 2 models too), it just takes a little time and attention. Lets’s get started, shall we?

Continue reading “Raspberry Pi 3. Setting It Up, for Beginners!”