How I got my Magic Mirror working on a Raspberry Pi 0 (zero)



  • First of all, thank you all for being awesome and helping Michaels project become bigger then he probably ever imagined.

    As some of you might know, due to a different type of processor, the MagicMirror2 currently does not work out of the box on Raspberry Pi 1s and 0s. However, after I had my Pi0 sitting in it’s box for a year or so, my girlfriend decided she wanted a Magic Mirror for her birthday, with only 5 days left, I decided I would accept the challenge.

    In hindsight, I would have been better of with just buying some nice candles or whatever and promising her the mirror for another time, but hey, captain hindsight is a bitch ;)

    So my research started here on this forum, with the post from user @evos in this topic:
    https://forum.magicmirror.builders/topic/98/pi-zero/11

    However when I did the steps he did I ended up more confused and angry then I was before. After all, I saw all the right words flying by on my monitor, sadly all with a big red ‘Error’ message in front of it. Keep in mind that when I started this project my only experience with Linux, Raspberries and command lines was fiddling around a bit when I first got my Pi0 delivered to my house.

    What I started out with:
    -Raspberry Pi Zero
    -8GB micro SD card with SD adapter
    -Edimax WIFI donle with the N150 chipset
    -Mini HDMI to HDMI adapter
    -Mini USB to USB adapter
    -My phones charger
    -A cheap VGA monitor I got from a thrift shop for about 8 euros.
    -USB keyboard, USB mouse and HDMI monitor from my PC

    So what did I do (trying my best here to remember every step I took, my documentation is horrible to be fair):

    1. Installing Jessie Lite.
      Installing Jessie Lite is probably the easiest step, just download the Image from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/ and follow the instructions found here https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/installation/installing-images/README.md .

    Note: Jessie Lite is a command line based version of Jessie. In my imagination this was better to run a Magic Mirror from since it was lighter to run for the Pi since it didn’t include any unwanted programs like Minecraft. If you would like to have a ‘visual desktop’ on your Pi however, install the normal Jessie version. You might run into problems however when you follow this ‘tutorial’. Seriously, like a Pi is going to run all my mods for Minecraft ;)

    1. Setting up a WIFI connection.
      Although this might be common knowledge, I had to do some research to get my Pi accessible via SSH (we will talk about that later) to get the work done. Your first step will be to connect the Pi to the monitor and plug in your keyboard. When you power on your Pi a list of fancy words will appear and at some point you will be greeted with green letters and the ability to type, and so we will type like our lives depend on it!
      The first thing you want to type is:
      sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
      This opens a document called ‘wpa_supplicant.conf’, basically the place where we can tell our Pi to connect to our WIFI. In this document we want to insert the following text:
      network={
      ssid="Your_wifi_name"
      psk=“Your_wifi_password”
      }

      Replace ‘Your_wifi_name’ with the name of your Wifi Network and replace ‘Your_wifi_password’ with your Wifi networks password. Make sure to match both the name and password exactly, including capital letters etc. Also keep the name/password surrounded with the "s, without these it won’t work. If you have multiple networks you want your Pi to be able to connect to, you can add the inserted text multiple times. I only tested it with 2 at the moment, and that seems to work just fine.
      When you’re done editting the file, press crtl+x to close the file, it will ask you if you want to save the changes you made, accept this by pressing ‘y’ and finally press enter to go back to your command line. At this point you can shut down your Pi by typing ‘sudo shutdown’ and waiting a minute.

    2. Connecting from the comfort of your desktop
      When your Pi is shut down, you can plug your keyboard back into your pc, and plug the WIFI adapter into the Raspberry Pi. When you power up your Pi it will connect to your WIFI network if everything went alright.
      So now what?
      We want to connect and work on our Pi from our PC, so we need to connect to it via an ‘SSH connection’. To do this we need a few things:
      -A program to start such a connection
      -The IP adres of our Pi
      Personally I used the program ‘Advanced IP Scanner’ to scan my network for connected devices, the Raspberry was listed here. Later I learned that the IP adres of the Pi is also mentioned in one of the last lines you see when you boot the Pi with a monitor hooked up, the choice is yours!
      For establishing a SSH connection, I just a program called ‘Putty’. When you install it it is basically entering the IP adres of the Pi and press connect, you will now be greeted by the same command line as before.
      NOTE: Here is where my fuzzy brain is coming in. I firmly believe that my Pi had SSH enabled by default, but when writing this tutorial I read that as of late SSH is disabled by default on new releases. For more information and how to enable SSH in your Pi check: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/ssh/ . It is recommended to check this before disconnecting your Pi from keyboard/monitor, just to safe you the hassle of cables.

    If you’re still with me: You’re as awesome as awesomnes comes!
    Now lets get on with the fun stuf!

    1. The installation of Node.js
      As far as I can tell Node.js is basically a ‘motor’ for most of the fancy scripts Michael and others have written for the Pi. In any case it makes things work, so we want it!
      The way of installing mentioned in the other post worked fine for me, so again credits to user @evos !
      sudo wget http://node-arm.herokuapp.com/node_latest_armhf.deb
      sudo dpkg -i node_latest_armhf.deb

      NOTE: Interesting to know is that starting a command with ‘sudo’ makes you run the command ‘as the big boss’, basically bypassing most of the permissions systems of the Pi. Whenever a command gives you slack for not having permission, try adding ‘sudo’ to it. This will become relevant later on ;)

    2. Installing NPM.
      What is NPM? Google tells me the following: ‘npm makes it easy for JavaScript developers to share and reuse code, and it makes it easy to update the code that you’re sharing.’. Sounds cool, sounds handy, @evos told us we need it so we get it! @evos told us to just type:
      sudo apt-get install npm
      and watch the magic happen, and it happened!
      NOTE: In all seriousness, from what I’ve gathered NPM is a ‘program’ that helps you install scrips that are made by other people, like Michaels Magic Mirror.

    3. Installing the Magic Mirror with magic.
      As per @evos tutorial, we simple put the 3 following commands in our command line, one after each other:
      cd /home/pi/
      git clone https://github.com/MichMich/MagicMirror
      sudo npm install

      NOTE: The ‘cd’ command is used to go to a certain location in your files. When you simply put ‘cd’ in the command line and press enter, you will be taken to the ‘root directory’ of your file system. In easy words: ‘cd’ brings you to the stem of the tree, ‘cd /home/pi’ will walk you from the stem to the ‘home’ branch and finally to the ‘pi’ branch of the tree. In windows terms ‘cd /this pc/c/program files’ would bring you from your desktop to your ‘program files’ folder.

    4. Installing a browser.
      Normally installing the Magic Mirror would be a piece of cake and the command will just install everything for you. However on a Pi1 or Pi0, only the ‘server’ side of Michaels program works, the ‘browser’ will not work. Therefore we will install our own browser and take matters into our own hands!
      While @evos suggested that we use ‘Kweb’ as a browser, I literally couldn’t get the damn thing to work. After a few moments of intense crying, I decided to go with user @darkeagl105 s suggestion and go with the ‘Midori’ browser. Working this out was literally half the battle for me. Installing Midori is a piece of cake via the following command:
      sudo apt-get install midori
      Now you’re the proud owner of a browser on your Raspberry Pi! Cake all around!

    NOTE: ‘apt-get’ is a way to handle programs in Linux. It is basically a way for your Pi to look in a ‘phone book’ for a specific name/program and where to download it from. The ‘install’ part is so your Pi knows what to actually do with the files, in this case Install them. Other uses of ‘apt-get’ are e.g. ‘apt-get purge’ and ‘apt-get remove’. Of course you have to ‘sudo’ those commands, cause only the big bosses can install and removes programs, right?

    1. Begone cursor, begone!
      What is worse then a non-working Magic Mirror? A non-working Magic Mirror with a silly cursor in the middle of the screen. Trust me, it was a horrible sight.
      Now here is where I am a bit in doubt. @evos tutorial tells us to install ‘unclutter’ via the command:
      sudo apt-get install unclutter
      and while I DID install this, I’m not sure if this is needed in the end. When I tried to run my Mirror with just Unclutter, the cursor still showed up. I ended up disabling the cursor further in the installation process, which worked like a charm.If I where to make a Mirror once again, I would probably just install Unclutter again, just to be sure. Maybe someone can tell us if this is needed in the comments.

    Pfew, that was a lot, wasn’t it? Now grab a drink and tell me a tale of raspberries and pies for you.
    When you install Jessie Lite that means there is no graphical interface AT ALL available to you. just letters, numbers and about a handful of colors is what you get. This is the world of the ‘terminal’ where all the command lines life and work. Let’s call this world the 1.5D dimension. Basically it has some horizontal and vertical lines (which would make it 2D right?!) but due to the lack of color and pictures of cats, we deduct it 0.5 points and call it the 1.5D Dimension.

    Now the Magic Mirror lives in the 2D Dimension, the world where pictures are the norm. Where clouds live on the right side of the screen, funky calendar icons live on the left, and the ‘Fish of the day’ module lives everywhere.

    So how do we get our 1.5D stuff to the 2D world? Simple, we call superheroes to smash the barrier and create a nice piece of 2D land for our Mirror to live. In this case ‘Xinit’ is our ‘barrier smasher’, he breaks through the dimensions and opens it up for ‘Matchbox’ to claim and create our little 2D land.

    Now for the people who don’t like tales and just want info: We’re going to use Xinit and Matchbox to get our stuff out of the terminal and into visual stuff on our monitor.
    DISCLAIMER: This is roughly how my brother explained it to me. He probably said a lot more correct stuff as he made his job of Linux wizardry, but this is what I got from it. In case you read this, sorry for butchering your info Gokkie ;)

    1. Installing superheroes Xinit and Matchbox
      Installing Xinit was rather easy to be honest. Simply use the command:
      sudo aptitude install xinit
      After that it was time to install Matchbox via the following command:
      sudo apt-get install matchbox
      To be fair, calling these heroes was rather easy. If only Commissioner Gordon could ‘apt-get’ Batman, would save him a lot of time in the rain I imagine.

    2. No more passwords, yay!
      We want our Magic Mirror to start when we boot the Pi ofcourse, so we have to tell the Pi to do so.
      First of all we got to log in automatically. So we type:
      sudo raspi-config
      we go to Boot Options -> B1 Desktop/CLI -> B2 Console Autologin
      From now on our Pi should log in automatically, while SSHing into the Pi would still require a password.
      NOTE: It is always recommended to at least change the password of your Pi in the ‘raspi-config’ file, since all Pies ship with the same login/password.

    3. Setting up boot scripts
      I personally use 2 different scripts for booting my Pi. The first one tells the Magic Mirror to start, wait for a bit, and then go on with the second script. These could probably be combined, but I’m just glad it all works ;)
      Let’s create script number 1:
      sudo nano /home/pi/start.sh
      In this file we want the following text:
      cd ~/MagicMirror
      node serveronly &
      sleep 45
      sudo xinit /home/pi/startMidori.sh

      So what does this script do? Go to the MagicMirror folder, start the server, wait for 45 seconds (this could probably be lowered to 30, but let’s keep it on the safe side shall we?) and finally start the Xinit process and start the next script. Now please mind that I started the Xinit process with a ‘sudo’. If I recall correctly this is not recommended to do, however, I fell into a pit of permission problems when I didn’t use the sudo, so there we go. Probably not the safest, but it works like a charm.
      Now we make sure the script is ‘executable’ aka the Pi can run the script (thanks @bhepler !) with the following command:
      chmod a+x /home/pi/start.sh
      Now to make sure the Pi actually does something with this fancy script, we have to tell him/her that. The Pi has a nice ‘to-do list’ it checks everything it boots, so we can add something there, right?!
      sudo nano /home/pi/.bashrc
      And add the following to it at the very bottom of the page:
      /home/pi/start.sh
      We are so close now, I can almost taste the Mirror. Probably best to stop licking it.
      My second script is to tell Xinit and Matchbox what to do. We create it via:
      sudo nano /home/pi/startMidori
      In this file I added the following:
      #!/bin/sh
      xset -dpms # disable DPMS (Energy Star) features.
      xset s off # disable screen saver
      xset s noblank # don’t blank the video device
      matchbox-window-manager &
      midori -e Fullscreen -a http://localhost:8080

      The ‘http://localhost:8080’ can be changed to any site you want, by default this is the place to find your Magic Mirror.
      NOTE: In this last part we used ‘nano’ a lot in the commands, as far as I am aware this command is used to open files in a text editor!
      (thanks to http://www.instructables.com/id/Raspberry-Pi-Digital-Signage-Exchange-Rate-Display/step13/Start-the-Midori-browser-in-full-screen-mode/ for this whole last part btw)

    4. Almost there, just a few more minutes!
      The last thing I had to figure out was rotating the screen for my monitor and setting the right resolution.
      This was done in the /boot/config file:
      sudo nano /boot/config.txt
      and adding the following to the bottom:
      disable_overscan=1
      framebuffer_width=1050
      framebuffer_height=1680
      framebuffer_depth=32
      framebuffer_ignore_alpha=1
      hdmi_pixel_encoding=1
      hdmi_group=2
      display_rotate=1

      Change the ‘framebuffer_width’ and ‘framebuffer_height’ to the resolution of your monitor. After some fiddling it worked for me when I but the actual width of the screen as ‘height’ and vice versa, since the monitor is turned ofc. The ‘display_rotate=1’ makes the screen rotate 90 degrees. below are your choices for rotating (thanks to Lanewinfield in this topic: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=108&t=120793)
      display_rotate=0 Normal
      display_rotate=1 90 degrees
      display_rotate=2 180 degrees
      display_rotate=3 270 degrees
      display_rotate=0x10000 horizontal flip
      display_rotate=0x20000 vertical flip

    A few things to remember:
    -When you edit a file, always ‘crtl+x’, ‘y’, ‘enter’ to quit and save the file
    -I might have missed some things in this ‘guide’, since it was a 48 hr struggle for me and I hardly documented anything, but I’m pretty sure these are the base steps to get it all working.
    -I am in NO WAY an expert on this stuff, just an obstinate dutch student ;)
    -After these steps you still need to actually configure your Magic Mirror, this can easily be done by following the ‘Readme’ on the Github: https://github.com/MichMich/MagicMirror
    -Seriously, Michael Teeuw and this community are amazeballs!

    For everyone who read this to the end, thanks. To everyone struggling with this project, good luck!
    Sadly I have no photos yet to post, since I’m waiting on a couple of cables to arrive (Damn you dutch post office!), but it all working on multiple of the screens around my house!

    Thanks and good luck,
    Wieber



  • Thank you sooooo much for this guide! I spent the past weekend slaving through @evos posts as well, but unfortunately they are missing some key information. I managed to get Kweb running after digging through the Kweb manual, but it definitely wasn’t easy. I only had one problem left; executing the second script to run Kweb and it appears I also forgot to add sudo before xinit. Adding sudo should clear my issues up tonight.

    Thank you again! Out of curiosity, have you found any modules that don’t work yet on the Pi Zero that work on the Pi 3?

    EDIT: By the way, I got unclutter working by adding:

    unclutter &

    In the script I used to start the browser



  • Great work Wieber. That’s a great guide. You saved me a lot of time.

    I followed it step by step and noticed a few things missing, so here they are:

    Step 6
    git is not installed by default so you’ll need to install it first:

    sudo apt-get install git

    Then before running ‘sudo npm install’ you need to do this:

    cd MagicMirror

    Step 11
    To use xset (for stopping the screen blanking) you first need to install the xset command:

    sudo apt-get install x11-xserver-utils

    start.sh should start with this line:

    #!/bin/bash

    chmod should be run with sudo:

    sudo chmod a+x /home/pi/start.sh

    Also…

    Instead of adding start.sh to the end of .bashrc, it’s better practice to have the
    script run automatically on start-up. To do this:

    sudo mv /home/pi/start.sh /etc/init.d/startMagicMirror.sh
    sudo update-rc.d startMagicMirror.sh defaults 100

    This moves the script to the standard location for start-up scripts and tells the
    system to run it after each boot.

    I think if you do this, there’s no need to log in automatically (so you can skip step 10 above).



  • Forgot to add:

    Step 11
    Instead of
    sudo nano /home/pi/startMidori

    it should read:
    sudo nano /home/pi/startMidori.sh

    And as Burner911 mentioned, insert

    unclutter &

    to midori.sh between the second last and last line.



  • @Burner911 Sorry for the late reply!
    Currently I have just a barebone MM running, it does the job and life is kinda busy atm so modules would have to wait for a bit. I think however that really most of the modules would work, since they’re mostly a part of the site that is running, which was never a problem for the Zero. The problem lies in the fact that MM runs with a browser setup that is not supported by the processor. But if you run into any, I would love to know!



  • @Kobie Thanks for the reply!
    My memories say Git worked out of the box, but my brains tells me that makes no sense since I usedJessie Lite, so it’s definitely worth editing the post (along with the other steps you mentioned, turns out that making a ‘guide’ from memory isn’t great ;) ), however I can’t edit the post anymore, maybe one of the moderators has a solution for this?

    While we wait for that:
    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND EVERYONE FOLLOWING THIS GUIDE TO READ BOTH @Burner911 AND @Kobie POSTS, IT MIGHT SAVE YOU SOME TIME YOU COULD SPEND IN FRONT OF YOUR FANCY MIRROR ;)



  • This post is deleted!


  • I’ve been working on this for a little bit and I’m sorry for all the incoming questions and posts on here.

    On sudo npm install, I get npm ERR! code EPEERINVALID.

    I’ve tried googling some answers but I’m not confident enough to figure this out. Also I’m writing the steps in a more linear way to make more sense of it this is what I have so far and I’d like some input so that I can help other people.

    Step 2
    My Jessie Lite didn’t allow me to create files for some reason. I posted on reddit here.

    Anyways the way of going around this is to put in a “wpa_supplicant.conf” file into your SD card and put the following in:

    network={
    	ssid=”YOUR_WIFI”
    	psk=”WIFI_PASSWORD”
    }
    

    This is what I have so far. Please look over this. Thanks in advanced!

    1 sudo wget http://node-arm.herokuapp.com/node_latest_armhf.deb
    2 sudo dpkg -i node_latest_armhf.deb
    3 sudo apt-get install npm
    4 sudo apt-get install git
    5 cd /home/pi/
    6 git clone https://github.com/MichMich/MagicMirror
    7 cd MagicMirror
    8 sudo npm install #This will take a LONG time.
    9 sudo apt-get install midori
    10 sudo apt-get install unclutter
    11 sudo aptitude install xinit
    12 sudo apt-get install matchbox
    13 sudo raspi-config
    14 Boot Options -> B1 Desktop/CLI -> B2 Console Autologin
    15 sudo nano /home/pi/start.sh

    #! /bin/bash
    cd ~/MagicMirror
    node serveronly &
    sleep 45
    sudo xinit /home/pi/startMidori.sh
    

    16 Control + x > Y > Return
    17 sudo chmod a+x /home/pi/start.sh
    18 sudo mv /home/pi/start.sh /etc/init.d/startMagicMirror.sh
    19 sudo update-rc.d startMagicMirror.sh defaults 100
    20 sudo apt-get install x11-xserver-utils
    21 sudo nano /home/pi/startMidori.sh

    #!/bin/sh
    xset -dpms # disable DPMS (Energy Star) features.
    xset s off # disable screen saver
    xset s noblank # don’t blank the video device
    matchbox-window-manager &
    unclutter &
    midori -e Fullscreen -a http://localhost:8080
    

    22 Control + x > Y > Return
    23 sudo nano /boot/config.txt

    disable_overscan=1
    framebuffer_width=1050
    framebuffer_height=1680
    framebuffer_depth=32
    framebuffer_ignore_alpha=1
    hdmi_pixel_encoding=1
    hdmi_group=2
    display_rotate=1
    

    24 Control + x > Y > Return



  • @Wieber @Kobie

    Thank you for your help! Have you had any luck scheduling your monitor to turn on and off? I can’t get mine to work with the scheduler module.



  • @randombullet I got error when installing npm too, but can’t recall what they were. I just ignored them and everything works fine anyway. Try starting it up and see what happens.

    @Burner911 No sorry, I haven’t try that module, but as far as I’m aware running on a Zero should impact the modules at all so it could be a separate issue.


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