The latest project has been trying to get a digital sign up and running in the church. I thought I’d give a little breakdown of the project.
The Concept: Create a Digital Sign that can list church activities, announcements and other important information. It must be cheap, easy to update and be upgradable for the future. It also must have an anti-theft device to dissuade someone from trying to steal it since it is in an open area.
The Challenges: Coming up with a system that can be edited easily but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. There are great sign companies out there providing great solutions for a fee. You could always get a TV with a USB reader and load slides everyday. But I wanted something that was easier than that. I wanted it to be web-based so a volunteer could log-in and update it.
The Solution: Obviously any TV with an HDMI input will work. The question is how to get info onto the TV. Initially I thought about a recycled computer running Debian or Ubuntu but when I contemplated running a long enough HDMI cable to reach or the issue of powering it, I switched my focus. What about a Roku, Boxee Box or Apple TV? All legitimate options. I landed however on the Raspberry Pi Model B.
This baby will run a modified version of Debian, uses 5v and so far will just run 24/7.
Building the Raspberry Pi to run the Digital Sign
Building The Sign Website
- Install Drupal as you normally would
- Add the following Modules:
- Front Page
- Chaos Tools
- WYSIWYG Editor
- Views Slideshow
- IMCE wysiwyg
- Draggable Views
- Add the jquery files for the slideshow module
- Add TinyMCE (or other favorite editor) for WYSIWYG
- Add your favorite Theme Template (I used Adaptive Theme)
- Disable Comment module
- Remove all the Blocks you don’t want displayed
- I have a header block to contain the Logo
- The main content block
- Go into the Image Style and setup any cropping you want for images you upload and thumbails
- Setup your Content type
- I created an Announcement that just has a Title, Image and Thumbnail
- I also created a Schedule content type that contains Title and Body
- Create a View that shows both types in a Slideshow Format
- Follow the instructions to create a draggable view
- I limited it to the title and thumbnails in a block
- Connect the draggable view to the main slideshow
- Create a View through blocks that shows unpublished content
- Setup Front Page to point to your slideshow link