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Use Node.js And A Raspberry Pi Zero W To Scan For BLE iBeacon Devices

Earlier this month I had written a tutorial for detecting nearby BLE iBeacon devices using a Raspberry Pi Zero W and an application written with Golang. It was a great example of accomplishing something with Go and very little code.

Scanning for BLE devices is a great use case for Internet of Things (IoT) devices like the Raspberry Pi Zero W, and Golang isn’t the only great language around. I, like many others, do a lot of Node.js development as well.

We’re going to see how to scan for BLE iBeacon devices using Node.js and the popular Node.js BLE (Noble) library.

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Install Node.js On A Raspberry Pi Zero W Without NodeSource

A few weeks ago I thought I’d try to install Node.js on my Raspberry Pi Zero W to use it as a simple API server that I could take with me on the road. I have installed Node.js so many times before, including on a standard Raspberry Pi, that I figured it would be just as easy to do on the Pi Zero.

I was mistaken in regards to the difficulty.

On the Raspberry Pi Zero W, Node.js was nowhere to be found in apt-get and the scripts that used NodeSource in the official install documentation didn’t work because ARMv6l is no longer supported by NodeSource.

We’re going to see how to install Node.js on a Raspberry Pi Zero W when everything else fails.

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Connect To A Raspberry Pi Zero With A PiUART Module

As you’re probably well aware from my previous Raspberry Pi articles, I’m a hoarder. I have several Raspberry Pi Zero as well as the wireless edition and various attachments that go with them.

When I was first getting started with the original Pi Zero, I had a tough time trying to figure out how to connect to it. I mean, how do you connect to something that doesn’t have some kind of internet connect?

I had written two articles previously for connecting to a Raspberry Pi Zero. The first titled, Connect to a Raspberry Pi Zero with a USB Cable and SSH, demonstrated how to connect with nothing more than a USB cable. The second titled, Connect to a Raspberry Pi and Pi Zero with a USB to TTL Serial Cable, demonstrated using GPIO pins and a serial cable to connect.

We’re going to simplify the connection process by using a nifty PiUART module and eliminate any complicated wiring or software configurations.

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Scan For BLE iBeacon Devices With Golang On A Raspberry Pi Zero W

Last year I had worked on an interesting project at my day job, Couchbase, where I scanned for BLE iBeacon devices from a few Raspberry Pi IoT devices and uploaded the information to a remote server for analysis. I wrote about this experiment in an article titled, Collecting iBeacon Data with Couchbase and Raspberry Pi IoT Devices.

My first attempt at scanning and analyzing iBeacon data was done with Java and Node.js. The Raspberry Pi devices were using Java, and the data was being offloaded to a Node.js server. The problem with this is that Java is too heavy for the low spec Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Fast forward to round two of playing with iBeacon devices and a Raspberry Pi. We’re going to see how to use Golang to scan for BLE signals and parse the data to determine if they are iBeacon.

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Use A Raspberry Pi And A CPU Miner To Mine Altcoins

I’m a big fan, and hoarder, of Raspberry Pi devices. If you’ve seen my previous Raspberry Pi tutorials, you’ll know I like using them for hardware and software projects. These microcomputers use very little energy and have decent processors and memory, making them great for a diverse set of projects.

With blockchain and cryptocurrencies on the rise, Raspberry Pi devices become great for getting familiar with concepts such as wallets, mining, and synchronized nodes.

We’re going to see how to mine Altcoins with a Raspberry Pi and a popular CPU miner.

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Create A Raspberry Pi Cluster With Docker Swarm And Raspbian Linux

Back when I was first learning about Docker, I had tried to use it on one of my Raspberry Pi devices. This was when Docker had first become available officially for Raspbian. When I was playing around with Docker and my Raspberry Pi, I had written a tutorial for deploying containers, or more specifically a Ghost container. This was a single container on a single device or node. Since then I started playing around with Docker Swarm and decided to create a Raspberry Pi cluster.

We’re going to see how to take several Raspberry Pi devices, cluster them using Docker Swarm, and deploying containers to Swarm with replica copies.

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Cross Compiling Golang Applications For Use On A Raspberry Pi

I recently invested in yet another Raspberry Pi, this time the new Raspberry Pi Zero W, which has wireless and bluetooth. I also made a leap and bought the camera module with it because the new official case by Raspberry Pi has a camera attachment. Probably the most popular development technology for Raspberry Pi is Python, but I am not a fan at all. Instead, I’ve been doing a lot of Go development and figured that would be my best bet when it comes to developing a camera application for the Raspberry Pi. The problem with this is that if I were to compile a Go application on the Raspberry Pi Zero itself, it would probably take ten years (I joke).

Cross compiling is a thing and we’re going to see how to do this via a different operating system and architecture, yet have it be compatible on the Raspberry Pi.

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