Getting Started

We are excited that you have started using PiStorms!

If this is your first time visiting this page, follow the sections below to begin with your PiStorms kit.

PiStorms has a rich set of Python API for your robotics adventures. And to get you started there are tutorials and example programs too.

After assembly, start with Python programming tutorial:

There are several posts published on PiStorms, start with them here:


1) Assemble the PiStorms Frame

Follow the instructions from this post to assemble the PiStorms Frame and connect Power.

IMPORTANT: assemble this frame first and affix your Raspberry Pi in this frame before you attach PiStorms board.

(The devices will damage if PiStorms is not connected correctly to Pi GPIO pins,
The frame helps establish correct connection on GPIO pins).


2) Prepare your SD Card

If you don't have SD card with Jessie installed

use this Raspberry Pi Jessie Operating System Image with PiStorms Software


This image includes:

  • PiStorms Software
  • VNC Server for use with PiStorms
  • Python Development Environment and sample programs
  • Scratch Development Environment and sample programs

To write this operating system image to your SD card

To create your SD card with this image, please follow instructions from following page:

Basically, you need to download and install Win32DiskImager utility on Windows, and 'Write' the SD card with pistorms img file. (Be sure to unzip the downloaded zip file before you do this - the zip contains  the .img file), instructions as follows:

Disk Imager Utility

  • Insert the SD card into your SD card reader and check which drive letter was assigned. You can easily see the drive letter, such as F:, by looking in the left column of Windows Explorer. You can use the SD card slot if you have one, or a cheap SD adapter in a USB port.
  • Download the Win32DiskImager utility from the Sourceforge Project page as a zip file.
  • Extract the executable from the zip file and run the Win32DiskImager utility; you may need to run this as administrator. Right-click on the file, and select Run as administrator.
  • Select the image file you extracted earlier.
  • Select the drive letter of the SD card in the device box. Be careful to select the correct drive; if you get the wrong one you can destroy the data on your computer's hard disk! If you are using an SD card slot in your computer and can't see the drive in the Win32DiskImager window, try using an external SD adapter.
  • Click Write and wait for the write to complete.
  • Exit the imager and eject the SD card.

Note: This file is about 1.5GB compressed. To uncompress use a Windows 7 or higher Computer.
If using Windows XP, you may need WinZip or 7-Zip.
If using older Mac, you may need uncompression software, such as:


After writing the SD card, Expand the Filesystem

Open a Terminal to your Pi, run raspi-config tool, and Expand the filesystem

 Run raspi-config

If you already have Jessie installed on your SD card

Open a browser on your computer and visit following url:

find the latest release of software from this page and make a note of the filename, something like "PiStorms.4.011.tar.gz".

Login to your Pi and issue command:


cd /home/pi


This will download the latest release on your Pi.

extract (unzip) the release file, and install as follows:


tar -zxvf fileName

It will take a few minutes to install the software.

Restart your Pi upon completion.


3) Restart the PiStorms for software changes to take effect

To Power off PiStorms, press and hold the GO button down for about 10 seconds, that initiates graceful shutdown procedure on your PiStorms and Pi, and shuts down Pi after about 20 seconds.

Press the Go button again to power ON. Upon power on, you should see a PiStorms menu similar to picture below.

PiStorms Menu


4) Connect to your PiStorms from laptop/desktop

Follow instructions from this page to connect to your PiStorms from a laptop or desktop.


5) Configure WiFi

Configure the WiFi to use PiStorms and your Pi remotely. You can configure WiFi two ways,

    1) Access Raspberry Pi on a wired ethernet, and configure WiFi, or

    2) Install above mentioned image with pre-installed PiStorms software on your SD card, insert that card in your PI, and configure Wifi using PiStorms Touch Screen.


6) Start with a Python Programming Tutorial

Now that you have PiStorms software configured and running, start with a python programming tutorial


TIP while developing your programs

The sample programs are located in folder:


Only the programs that begin with 2 digits (and have an extension .py) are listed in the PiStorms Browser.


PiStorms Python API Reference