How to install Scratch for Arduino (S4A) on Raspberry Pi

Scratch for Arduino is an extension on Scratch for controlling a connected Arduino. It is a great way to start programming and building electronics.

  • First thing to do is start your Raspberry Pi, and make sure it is connected to the internet.
  • Open the browser (Midori) and go to www.s4a.cat.
  • On that page go to Downloads, click on the link that says “Raspbian (Debian for RaspberryPi)” and choose “Save”. This will save the file “S4A15_RP.deb” to /home/pi/.
  • Now open a terminal window, by clicking on LXTerminal on the desktop. In this window you can type commands to make your computer do things. Now we want to tell it to install the file we just downloaded.
  • The location you are at when you open the terminal should be /home/pi/. You can check this by typing the command pwd and pressing enter. It will then show you in which directory you are working.
  • This should also be the place we saved the file. We can check this by typing ls and enter. It will then show you all files and directories inside the directory we are now. In this list there should be a file called “S4A15_RP.deb” or similar.
  • Now let’s install it. For this we will use the command dpkg. But to run this command the computer demands that we have the rights to install this. Therefore we need to add the command sudo to execute the command as a super user. So in the end, the command you need to type becomes: sudo dpkg -i S4A15_RP.deb . It is important to write it with capital letters where needed, because otherwise the computer does not know what file you are talking about.
  • The installation will take a little while, and the computer will show you what it is doing by writing all kinds of text. When it is done (you see pi@raspberrypi ~$ again) you can close the window.

Commands in the terminal

  • Now if you open the start menu and go to Programming, there should be S4A in the list. Click on it to start Scratch for Arduino.
  • Of course we also need an Arduino to program on. This Arduino needs to be prepared for S4A by loading a specific ‘sketch’ (an Arduino code file) onto it. This file can also be found on www.s4a.cat under Downloads (heading ‘Firmware’).
  • If you have access to a computer with the Arduino software already installed, it is easiest to do it from there. Open and upload the file to your Arduino as a regular Arduino code.
  • Note that not all Arduino’s work well with Scratch for Arduino. Currently only the Arduino Diecimila, Duemilanove and Uno are tested.
  • When you start S4A you will see a drawing of an Arduino already loaded as a sprite.
  • It will automatically search for the Arduino. If this does not find it, right click on the sensor board (the list with all the blue values) and select “stop searching board”.
  • Right click it again and click “Select Serial/USB-port”. Then there should pop up a little menu where you can select the port of your connected Arduino.

2 comments

  1. Ben Factor

    Very helpful. Got S4A installed on a Pi2 running 2016 Raspbian jessie. Worked perfectly. Thanks!

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