GrovePi+ in China


#1

I just bought Dexter Industries’ GrovePi+ via SeeedStudio (seeedstudio dot com )
for my recently acquired RPi.

I work in China.

As known by most by now, there is the Great Firewall blocking various types of resources from outside of China while browsing the internet within China. So too, it seems that a VPN is needed to access your materials. For instance, dexterindustries dot com is blocked. I used a VPN on my Apple computer to download the BrickPi.

According the guidelines offered, the next step of the installation process needs to occur on the RPi. except on the RPi, for yet an unknown reason I can not get my VPN working yet. It will connect to the VPN service provider but I am not able to penetrate the firewall and access the needed resources. Hence, I can not continue the installation process of the GrovePi+.

Ideally I would get access to the resources via a different method or a different unblocked download site. Does anyone have a suggestion?

In the meantime, i keep working on solving the VPN issue on the RPi. My partner in this project has contacted the people at Seeedstudio as well. Your input as well would be welcomed tremendously.

Thank you in advance.


#2

Hey, definitely bringing this to Seeed’s attentionw ould be a good start.

You wrote:

According the guidelines offered, the next step of the installation process needs to occur on the RPi. except on the RPi, for yet an unknown reason I can not get my VPN working yet. It will connect to the VPN service provider but I am not able to penetrate the firewall and access the needed resources. Hence, I can not continue the installation process of the GrovePi+.

Two alternative ideas you might want to try out:
1). Download and install our Raspbian for Robots image to an SD Card. This is on sourceforge, which might not be blocked. www.dexterindustries.com/howto/raspberry-pi-tutorials/install-raspbian-for-robots-image-on-an-sd-card/

2). Download the entire GrovePi directory in our Github site, and put it on a USB drive, and open that up on your Pi.

Can you try those and see if it works?


#3

Hi John,

Sorry for the late reply. For some reason I thought the postings here would be forwarded to my email. Only now I look here and see your answer.

Thanks for the suggestions. IN terms of Seeed, they are of no support at all. In fact they claimed to us that they have never tried (or at least the two engineers we have been in contact with) to install your board on the Raspberry Pi; they have never installed your software on an SD card. We were the first to inform them that www.dexterindustries.com is blocked in China an that the proposed process for installing the needed software/drivers is blocked within China.

Although I have tried the methods you suggest, I might have missed one or other step in the process. I will dig in again with new vigor and try out your suggestion.

Please note, I am trying Dexter Industry’s board with one singular aim: to introduce it or instead of it similar solutions into China’s public Schools. I work for a company in China that is uniquely positioned (in terms of network, market relations, educational relations and government relations) to do just that. To give some market context: there is an annual turn-over across China of 200 million students. There are 300’000 schools. If this board does not work, I will have to dismiss Seeed’s catalog (pretty much altogether) and move on to other projects. This is an opportunity. We informed Seeed Studio of this as well; without any consequence in terms of customer service. Perhaps you see potential opportunities (however small or big) as I am seeing them? Perhaps someone at Dexter Industries wishes to discuss this in further detailvia a different channel?

Thank you for the suggestions! I’ll get back to you on these technical matters as well.


#4

Thanks for your patience with this. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t just point you to our forums, we try to help everyone.

Thinking about this a little more, I would definitely work with Option 1, and download the image from Sourceforge. I don’t think that site is blocked and I think it’s your best bet.

Can you keep us updated here about your progress? We’d like to make sure this works for you.

Thanks!

John


#5

Thanks John!

Indeed Sourceforge in my experience is not blocked here. If I remember correctly we already downloaded the BrickPi image from there. I’d have to check. It is mainly the second stage of the installation process that is an issue.

Anyway, I will go through your suggestions. These days I am a bit busy with other projects but you will read back from me soon.

On a second track, I’m thinking of redundancies if these options you offered fail. For instance, if your two suggestions fail, could we somehow download a complete disk image for such SD card (that would enable us to use the Grove sensors we also already acquired for this particular test-project) from a yet-to-be-defined location?

Thank you again John.
Regards,
Jan


#6

Hey Jan,
Glad to keep working on this with you.

By “second stage” do you mean installing the image with Windisk32? Is that the problem?

And as for the second track, that is actually what you’re doing above. We have a complete disk / image up on sourceforge. You’re essentially downloading that, unzipping it, and then copying it onto an SD Card. That way when you pop the sd card into your Pi, you have everything right there, ready to go (all installations are taken care of and already done). Does that make sense?


#7

Hi there -

Can you please email me at Taryn (at) dexterindustries.com so we can discuss the specific China issues you are facing. I’m new at Dexter Industries, but ran a software company in China and have been working there for the last 10 years. I’d love to learn more about your work with schools and see if we can support you in a more direct and substantial way.

Thanks
Taryn