Total Beginner in Arduino/ Raspberry PI Programming


Hi there,

I just recently bought all the components for PFC v1.0 and assembled it (I wanted to build v2.0 but it seems like I can upgrade my v1.0 to v2.0 so I decided to start with v1.0). It took 1+ month to build all the hardware stuff and now I’m moving on to the software part of it.
However, I don’t really understand the documentation at all. Been searching all over in the forum for a beginner’s guide but there doesn’t seem to be any. My experience with microcontroller is using arduino to light up a LED and move a servo motor. All the files are on Github page, but I don’t know exactly what to do with them, especially the raspberry pi.
That being said, can anyone here give me a step-by-step tutorial on the software part of PFC v1.0 (similar to the hardware guide)? I believe this will also benefit others who try to build it but got scared off by the complexity of the software. Thanks very much!


Hi @madesv. I am in the same boat as you. Very new to the software side of this and looking to learn how to get the PFC up and running.

I posted in the forum about this a few weeks ago and there is a nice thread of comments. @rbaynes mentioned that a new software release is coming and will include detailed instructions for installing.


I see, but I am actually building PFC 1.0 will it be backward compatible?


Thats a good question. I don’t know the answer.


@madesv good questions. The software is certainly the hardest part. Check out this roadmap that might give you some more insight into what’s going on with OpenAg with regards to software dev/V2.

@juhnke was successful at running the V2 software on his V1, Check out this thread.

As for a complete software install, I’m not 100% certain on which to use, perhaps @juhnke or @ferguman can help.



Hi Peter, unfortunately the discussion from the thread you posted is a bit too advanced for me, I do not know what is firmware or json. I will take a look at it again once I gain some more insight on the basic stuff.

That being said, can you help me explain these basic stuff:

  1. On the OpenAg github page, there are 3 pinned repositories. What are they, and what do I do with them (or how do I put that repo into my raspberry pi/ arduino)?
  2. Is openag_brain (one of the pinned repositories on github) an OS for raspberry pi? I burned NOOBS image into my raspberry following a guide on the internet but I don’t know if it’s the correct one? the motherboard assembly guide only says ‘Load the image onto the SD card and place in the raspberry pi’.
  3. How do I put the recipe into the raspberry pi? I assume that’s what the ethernet cable is for but I have no experience in dealing with .json files

I’m sorry I flood you with questions, please bear with me and thank you.


I’m just going to be completely honest with you.

  1. I was never able to execute a recipe on the V1 (not to say you couldn’t, just I’m not one to help you).
  2. You must install the OS first (Raspian/NOOBS) then you install openag_brain. V2 uses “docker” which is a way to manage versions and run updates, I have not been succesfull at installing via docker to date.
  3. Recipes are loaded through the UI.

I know exactly what you’re going through. Right now there isn’t a stable release of the V2 software until they finish testing (few more weeks?). That being said, when it does come it is going to be pretty complicated. If you don’t have any experience with software you will find it extremely difficult. I suggest reaching out to some other people locally (try and find someone on here even to help).

The other option, is to try to use our MVP software stack. I don’t mean to send you in a totally different direction, but this is exactly why we developed the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) PFC. It is a much simpler software stack (also less capabilities) that is more approachable to those with little to no experience with software.

Check out that software stack here:

Here is what the user interface looks like:

You may have some difficulties adapting the software to work with the V1 (different temp/humidity sensor) but things like light relay, thermostat regulation, should be already a part of it. It will definitely be easier to find someone who can help you with python, than to try to learn ROS/Python/Docker/JSON/firmware flashing, especially if none of these terms are even familiar to you.


thanks for the clarification!
just to make sure I got it right on the 2nd point, I only need the OS and openag_brain repo to run my PFC 1.0, and not all three pinned repos right? if I may followup with another newbie question, how do I install the openag_brain through git? I don’t know where am I supposed to type the ‘git clone …’

I really would like to find people to help, but I’m based in Singapore and you guys are in the US so yea

also, thanks for your advice about the MVP PFC! that being said, I feel like I’m very close to finishing my PFC 1.0 so maybe I’ll continue to do so for now. I’ll definitely look into developing 2.0 or MVP once I know how to run this one. but maybe I’ll try to get an understanding of the ROS/Python/Docker/JSON/firmware thingy.


Are you trying to run V1 software on the PFC, or run V2?

You have to be typing into the command line (it’s called terminal on Raspberry Pi).

I don’t know if V2 is possible to run yet, and I would imagine you’d need some software experience. Perhaps try this?


I’m trying to run V1. I’ll try using the instruction for the upgrade link you just posted. As always thanks for your help!


Also see this, I think some things may have changed and whatever Rob has posted is most current: Script openag_brain_install_rpi failed with error: package directory 'src/openag_brain/commands' does not exist


Hi Peter, thanks to you I can boot up my raspi and locate the terminal :slight_smile:
however, as I’m following the installation guide from here (which in one of your links says I must do this one first before upgrading it) I get this error message after step 4:

my setup was only raspi connected to monitor, mouse, keyboard, and arduino mega with the src.ino code already uploaded. any idea how to fix this?