Installing Ino on a Raspberry Pi

I’ve been buying a lot of Adafruit Neopixels lately, and particularly a 4 meter long 240 LED strip which sits next to the Christmas tree. The setup is pretty standard, with an Arduino Mega setting up the various light patterns and movement. But now of course, you want to be able to control and program the Arduino from your network. I’ve seen people use the Arduino Yun for this, and it’s probably the easiest and most elegant solution for this.

I don’t have an Arduino Yun unfortunately, but I do have a Raspberry Pi, so I’ll use that instead. We have two options:

  • configure a setup similar to the Yun, where we forward the serial port over the network. This requires a separate host computer where we’d run the Aduino IDE, and compile the sketches. The Raspberry Pi would just be a dumb proxy in this case.
  • install the Arduino IDE on the Raspberry Pi itself, and have it compile and upload sketches directly. This is the solution we’ll be pursuing in the remainder of this article.

Here is a picture of my setup, I simply connect the Arduino to the Raspberry Pi USB port, just as you would with a regular computer:


Running the full Arduino IDE is unbearably slow when you run it on a Raspberry Pi, and through a remote ssh connection. We are trying to do things remotely after all, and the Raspberry Pi is somewhere close to the LEDs, and not very accessible. A command line solution is much better suited here, and fortunately Ino is just such a tool.

Well, what are we waiting for, let’s install it!

I started off with instructions from here. But ended up modifying them, mostly setting up symlinks instead of copying the files. This way they stay up to date when the OS gets updated in the future. I also found I needed to replace many more files for the Ino installation to work. Here is the precise sequence of commands I used to install and run Ino on my Raspberry Pi:

First install dependencies we’ll need:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install avr-libc libftdi1 avrdude librxtx-java openjdk-6-jre

Install the Arduino IDE:
mkdir ~/arduino
cd ~/arduino
tar xfz arduino-1.0.5-linux64.tgz

The Arduino IDE comes with a bunch of libraries meant for x86/x64 computers, which are useless for the Pi. We need to replace them with Arm versions we already have installed, but are located in various system directories:
cd ~/arduino/arduino-1.0.5/lib/
ln -sf /usr/lib/jni/
ln -sf /usr/share/java/RXTXcomm.jar RXTXcomm.jar

cd ~/arduino/arduino-1.0.5/hardware/tools/
ln -sf /usr/bin/avrdude avrdude
ln -sf /etc/avrdude.conf avrdude.conf

cd ~/arduino/arduino-1.0.5/hardware/tools/avr/bin
ln -sf /usr/lib/avr/bin/ar avr-ar
ln -sf /usr/lib/avr/bin/as avr-as
ln -sf /usr/lib/avr/bin/ld avr-ld
ln -sf /usr/lib/avr/bin/nm avr-nm
ln -sf /usr/lib/avr/bin/objcopy avr-objcopy
ln -sf /usr/lib/avr/bin/objdump avr-objdump
ln -sf /usr/lib/avr/bin/ranlib avr-ranlib
ln -sf /usr/lib/avr/bin/strip avr-strip
ln -sf /usr/bin/avr-cpp avr-cpp
ln -sf /usr/bin/avr-g++ avr-g++
ln -sf /usr/bin/avr-gcc avr-gcc

We don’t need the bin.gcc directory anymore:
rm -rf ~/arduino/arduino-1.0.5/hardware/tools/avr/bin.gcc

We need setuptools so easy_install can work:
cd ~
sudo apt-get install python
wget -O - | sudo python

And finally we can install Ino itself:
mkdir ~/git/amperka
cd ~/git/amperka
git clone git://
sudo easy_install ino
sudo ln -s ~/arduino/arduino-1.0.5 /usr/share/arduino

Once you’re done head on to the inotool Quick start guide to compile your first sketch.


8 Responses to Installing Ino on a Raspberry Pi

  1. […] While the bracelet, pendant, and earrings, just cycle through the different programs, the strip is very different. It’s connected to a Raspberry Pi, which can program the Arduino using Ino, which is a command-line version of the Arduino-IDE, much better suited for the Raspberry Pi. I have a tutorial covering  Ino here. […]

  2. Joe says:

    Thanks for the write up! Very helpful!

  3. Thank you very much, works perfectly!!

  4. Lutz Bickhardt says:

    it seems you do not need openjdk-6-jre if you run without desktop. Installing openjdk-6-jre would also install x11-common, which I just got rid of. ino init/build/upload runs just fine without it it seems

  5. neothermic says:

    I’ve used this method to upload in situ to an arduino that’s reading pulses from an RC receiver. When i use inotool to upload, the pulses are read incorrectly (longer). The exact same sketch works fine when uploaded over USB directly from a linux laptop running the arduino IDE.

    Any ideas on why this might be? I’ve seen another guide online for setting up ino on a RPi, and it doesn’t involve any of the library reshuffling that you do here. Any more info on this would be good!

  6. tom says:

    Thanks for instructions – works perfectly!

  7. Hi, thanks for the instructions. I just had a question about the other option you mentioned to remotely program an Arduino. Do you have any samples or links to forward the serial port over the network? I would rather code and compile my code in Windows and then send it to the Raspberry Pi proxy. But I can’t find any examples of that. Any pointers would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Emil Valkov says:

      I haven’t tried this in practice, but in threory there are three ways to go about this:
      -A lower level solution, where the Arduino IDE isn’t even aware the upload is being proxied through a network. You would setup a fake serial port in the Windows machine, which would go to the RPi and loop-back into a real serial port, and into the Arduino. Try googling “serial port proxy”.
      -An Arduino Yun based solution, where the Arduino IDE believes it’s talking to a Yun (or something using the same protocols), and where the RPi would implement the missing protocol on the Arduino side to make it act like a Yun. All these protocols are open source, so it should be doable.
      -A more general version of the previous solution. The Arduino IDE can handle different types of programmers, you could implement your own which just uploads to the RPi. Then the RPi looks for uploaded files, and calls avrdude to program the Arduino.

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