The Raspberry Pi Camera module does seem to work for the music player, but it did cause me some headaches initially.
The first problem I encountered seemed to stem from a sloppy physical installation of the camera. Once I removed it from the Pi and inserted it back in, it worked.
The second problem seems to be that by default the camera cropped the sensor data, so the QR code couldn’t be read as close to the camera as I wanted. Adding
--prescale=640x480 as and argument to
zbarcam appears to have solved the problem.
Tomorrow I’ll try using the HiFi Berry Amp2 as well.
It appears that I was quite good at documenting my work on the music player, so I’m up and running again now.
Previously I’ve used an old USB webcam (actually a PlayStation eyeToy Camera) as the scanner and it has worked fine. However I wanted something different in the long run, so yesterday I bought a camera module for the Raspberry Pi.
The main thing I’m doing tonight, apart from getting back to where I were, is to test whether this particular camera works or not. So far it has not been plug and play but maybe it was foolish of me to expect that. As I’m writing this I’m doing a
apt-get update and
apt-get upgrade and then I’ll have to do some configuration in
Also, I’m starting to get reaaaaaaally tired so I’ll probably call it a night pretty soon. I blame daylight savings time.
mpc add spotify:track:4uLU6hMCjMI75M1A2tKUQC
And yes, things are progressing nicely now.
Right now is my favorite time of the year.
The kids are asleep after a long day of playing in the sun and I’m sitting on the deck, programming and blogging.
My somewhat ridiculous setup for listening to music outdoors today; a Raspberry Pi running PiMusicBox and Spotify Connect connected to an external speaker and being powered by a power bank.
At the moment I am able to set up separate tests for the two jobs and both works, on there own. The problem is that I’m currently not able to set up MPD with Spotify and the
zbar tools at the same time. It seems to have something to do with different operating systems and/or other kinds of conflicting requirements that I need to lock into.
For the tests right now, I use standard Raspbian plus
zbar for bullet point number one and Pi MusicBox for point number two.
For my own memories sake, this is the very simple (and probably quite brittle) shell script that I’m using for bullet point 1:
# Start scanning for QR Codes
# Use either of the lines below depending on wheter it's running in an
# environment where it can show a live preview or not.
zbarcam /dev/video0 --nodisplay | while read line ; do
# zbarcam /dev/video0 | while read line ; do
# When something is found, verify that it indeed is a QR Code
IFS=':' read -r id string <<< "$line"
if test $id == "QR-Code"
# Check if it is a Spotify URI
IFS=':' read -r id theRest <<< "$string"
if test $id == "spotify"
echo "Run this: mpc -h musicbox.local play $string"
The problem with the modern world in this regard is that a cassette deck and a box of cassettes is much more kid friendly than a smart device like a phone or tablet with Spotify and possibly also a smart speaker connected via bluetooth, AirPlay or a Chromecast.
Spotify has a nice solution for this in there Spotify Codes. It wouldn’t be to hard to make a whole box of cards, one for each album and/or playlist that the kids want, and teach them how to scan the cards with Spotify. The problem is that it requires them to use their iPad (or my phone, or their mother’s phone).
Why is that a problem? Because if they use the iPad they will undoubtable be sidetracked by YouTube or something similar. Sometimes having them watching videos is great. I’m certain that the reason Iris know quite a few words in English, despite being a Swede with Swedish parents, is that she’s watched a lot of English videos on YouTube. But sometimes I want them to just listen to music and not having to have a discussion about why they are allowed to use the iPad but not the apps they want.
So I’ve started toying with the idea of building them a music player that works as simple or simpler than Spotify Codes but that is a dedicated hardware device, a Raspberry Pi. The plan is for it to use either QR codes or NFC tags to control what is being played, so that way the kids can have a box of cards with artwork, similar to the box of cassettes that I had as a kid.
I think it will work.
Right now I’m going to test various setups for it and document my progress here on the blog, under the tag The Kid’s Music Player.