Astro Pi Board


The official Pi Sense HAT aka Astro Pi board is a popular choice for adding sensor capability to the Pi.  It is also, of course, soon to be flown to the ISS for Tim Peake to use, and thus has attracted a lot of interest from school programming groups.

The Astro Pi board is compatible with the Pi In The Sky board, and indeed the combination has already been flown by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.  However there are some points to note in order to use the pair together fully:

  • The Sense HAT software requires that device tree be enabled, whereas our instructions force device tree to be disabled.  Our software does work with device tree enabled however any DS18B20 temperature sensors will not be read.
  • To enable the on-board DS18B20, plus (if you have one) an externally connected DS18B20, append "dtoverlay=w1-gpio" to /boot/config.txt, then reboot the Pi.
  • If you watch the tracker program start, you will see a message about a module not being loaded because device tree is enabled.  This message can be ignored (and does not appear in the next release of our software).
  • You can use any of the Sense HAT functions, e.g. to measure humidity and pressure.  If you want to send any of these values down to the ground during the flight, you can do so by modifying the PITS software or you can wait for our next release which will include this support.  You will then be able to send whichever sensor values you like.
  • It is also possible to add our LoRa board to the stack (i.e. Pi + PITS + LoRa + Astro Pi).  However only the second Lora module (labelled CE1 on the board) can be populated; this is how the board is supplied.

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