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Tips for building AIY speaker

A few good tips to save the time while building the AIY speaker

Building AIY speaker was a pleasure. I went live and streamed the entire process without prior preparation. The viewers could see me struggle a bit, therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to follow this up with a few tips that should reduce the time taken to set up the AIY speaker. I finished mine in about 2h, while the process should take a maximum of 40 min.

TIPS for building AIY speaker

If you are just starting, go the easy way and download the SD-Card image made for the project. If anything, it will make setting up the Google Assistant account easier. I will assume that you know how to set up the Raspberry already if not here is a quick headless guide to networking.

Hardware tips

Practice this step without the box.

The included instructions in the AIY project are great, I don’t expect you to have any issues really. I have few pointers though:

  • LED has to be oriented properly – if your light is not working reverse the polarity
  • before affixing the switch to the cardboard, join the plastic parts together, one connection requires a bit of force, I creased my cardboard box when doing it while the button was fitted to the box
  • the box can cover up the access to the power socket, use a sharp knife to modify the hole to fit your power cable

Software Tips

Ignore all the MagPI instructions for now and go to https://aiyprojects.withgoogle.com/voice/#project-overview

Seriously, I have wasted about 40 min just by sticking to the MagPi alone and my ‘knowledge’ about Google Projects SDK.

You have 2 ways of completing the software part:

  • use keyboard, mouse, and screen to set everything up
  •  use Remote Desktop

Direct SSH session won’t let you download a .json file, therefore, pick the one you are comfortable with.

I mentioned the AIY image previously, if you used it, you will see a terminal window shortcut and three other tests on your desktop. Use it to test your Raspberry Pi. You can also navigate to the AIY project file in without using the shortcut.

Go to the Raspberry Pi desktop either via Remote Desktop or direct access and open the link above. You can open the links in new tabs, it will make sure that you have correct pages open to setup your Google Cloud account. The shortcuts for Google Cloud and this guide will be in the bookmarks as well.

I wish this was highlighted a little bit better in the MagPi guide. I found myself instantly confused by the lack of instructions inside the magazine. You shouldn’t have any other problems while building the AIY speaker.

Once everything is installed simply open the terminal shortcut from the desktop and run the main.py as instructed. After a few moments, you will see your AIY speaker waiting for your actions! I hope these tips will save you some time. I learned from my mistakes, you don’t have to make yours.


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