Setup a Dashing Dashboard on Raspberry Pi from Scratch

    Setup a Dashing Dashboard on Raspberry Pi (Model B) from Scratch

    You will need the following hardware components:

    • Raspberry Pi (Model B)
    • Power Source (via USB or separate)
    • 8GB SD Card (less might work, but space is good to have)
    • Random Monitor to plug into the Raspberrys HDMI port
    • USB Keyboard
    • USB Wifi stick (or ethernet cable)

    1. Installing Raspbian to the SD Card

    The foundation for this step was taken from the official raspberry pi documentation.

    Open a shell and show list of available disks (after inserting SD card into your Macs SD card slot):

    diskutil list

    You’ll see the list of devices displayed. I identified my SD card basically by looking at the size of the filesystem. Then unmount the disk to prepare it for an installation using:

    diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX

    Where X needs to be replaced by the number of the disk you want to install it on.

    Clone Image to SD card:

    sudo dd bs=1m if=/path/to/image.img of=/dev/diskX

    The installation takes a while and does not show any progress. This is normal. It will notify on command line when it’s done.

    2.Boot and Setup Wifi (Manual Configuration from Command Line)

    Foundation for this step has been taken from a tutorial found on howtogeek.

    • Boot Raspberry Pi
    • Optional: Change user password
    • Default user is pi
    • Default password is raspberry
    • Open the configuration in nano editor sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

    The default looked like that to me:

    auto lo
    iface lo inet loopback
    iface eth0 inet dhcp
    allow-hotplug wlan0
    iface wlan0 inet manual
    wpa-roam /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
    iface default inet dhcp

    I changed it to:

    auto lo
    iface lo inet loopback
    iface eth0 inet dhcp
    allow-hotplug wlan0
    iface wlan0 inet dhcp
    wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
    iface default inet dhcp

    Press CTRL + X to save. Confirm by typing Y. After that you’ll be prompted back to the command line.

    Now change the WPA config by opening it in nano:

    sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

    The default looked like that to me:

    ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev update_config=1

    I added:

    ssid="YOURSSID"     # Specify network name (quotes are needed)
    psk="YOURPASSWORD"  # Define your WIFI password (quotes are needed)
    proto=RSN           # Protocol type can be: RSN (for WP2) and WPA (for WPA1)
    key_mgmt=WPA-PSK    # Key management type can be: WPA-PSK or WPA-EAP (Pre-Shared or Enterprise)

    After you made and saved the changes (remember CTRL + X from above) restart your Pi using:

    sudo reboot

    Check if you are connected by using:

    ip addr

    Or try if you get a signal using


    Once you have a function connection run the following two commands to bring your Raspberry to the lastest versions of things:

    sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade

    Considering the Pi being a dashboard an therefore stuck somewhere behind a monitor you want to have a static IP set up for smoother SSH access. However this is optional and SSH connection can also be done with a dynamic IP.

    Rerun sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces and add:

    iface wlan0 inet static # change dhcp to static and add your credentials
    address 192.168.1.XXX
    gateway 192.168.1.XXX

    3. Installing Dependencies for Dashing

    To install Dashing as a ruby gem perfom the following installations:

    • LibSSL Dev sudo apt-get install libssl-dev
    • Ruby sudo apt-get install ruby-dev
    • NodeJS sudo apt-get install nodejs
    • Bundler sudo apt-get install bundler
    • Rubygems sudo apt-get install rubygems
    • Dashing sudo gem install dashing*

    *Be aware that the last command first seems infunctional. Even if nothing happens just wait and let the Raspberry work. After about 10 minutes you will see some installation output on the commandline.

    After this you should be finally good to go.

    4. Install Chromium Browser

    Next up you need a browser and a server for the localhost in order to display the dashboard. I chose Chromium as a browser together with unclutter to hide the mouse cursor, and X11VNC as a XServer. To install these all in one run:

    sudo apt-get install unclutter x11vnc chromium-browser

    5. Setup Your First Dashing Project

    To initialize your first project do:

    sudo dashing new dashboard_project
    cd dashboard_project
    sudo bundle
    dashing start

    The dashboard is now available under localhost:3030

    6. Run Your Dashboard on Screen

    I only got this step working when connected via SSH in order to have mutliple shells opened. From your remote shell perform these three steps after each other:

    startx &

    export DISPLAY=:0.0

    chromium-browser --kiosk --ignore-certificate-errors --disable-sync --disable-restore-session-state //localhost:3030

    Now the sample.erb dashboard should be loaded in a headless chromium on your screen.

    Congrats! You’re running dashing!


    It took me a while to trial and error through different tutorials. Here is a bunch of links I came accross when working on this project. You might find some of these helpful, if the above does not work for you…

    Wifi Setup

    Dashing & Dependency Installation