Grovepi installation without raspberry Pi

I am a beginner. I have the Grovepi+ starter kit, but not Rasberrypi. Do I need rpi for setting up software on Grovepi? If so,why?


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The GrovePi+ has an ATMEGA 328 microcontroller and firmware that controls a variety of sensors with a variety of communication methods, along with some analog to digital converter channels, and other features.

(You can read more about the ATMEGA 328 here)

(You can read more about the GrovePi+ here

The GrovePi+ microcontroller has “firmware” - you cannot write programs on the microcontroller.

You write programs on the RaspberryPi that use the GrovePi API (Application Program Interface) to tell the GrovePi what you want it to do, such as:

  • tell the GrovePi what sensor is attached to what port - e.g. “Grove Ultrasonic Ranger on port 4”
  • tell the GrovePi to read the Ultrasonic ranger and return the distance measurement
  • tell the GrovePi a motor is attached to Port xyz
  • tell the GrovePi to run the motor at 50% power

The GrovePi API uses I2C bus communication between the RaspberryPi and the GrovePi to command the GrovePi and to retrieve results from the GrovePi.

Your program on the RaspberryPi sets up the GrovePi+ ports, and uses the GrovePi+ sensors / effectors to accomplish what you want to happen.

Additionally, the RaspberryPi has some features you will likely use such as WiFi, both for writing your programs remotely, and in the case of “Internet of Things” applications you might want to broadcast sensor values to other devices across the network.

I am a little surprised by your question to the forum. You have a mountain of information to learn. I hope you are in a class that will introduce you to

  • the Raspberry Pi,
  • installing the Raspberry Pi OS
  • the Raspberry Pi Operating System
  • a programming language,
  • principles of Wireless Networking
  • the GrovePi
  • the GrovePi API
  • some of the sensors in the starter kit
    • digital sensors
    • analog sensors
  • effectors
    • servo motors
    • permanent magnet motors
    • stepper motors
    • Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

Good luck in your learning.

An do yourself a favor - use a Raspberry Pi 3B or 3B+ and the Buster PiOS. You do not need a Pi4 and the latest “Bullseye” operating will not work for you with the GrovePi.

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First question:

What do you want your Grove-Pi to do?


Here is the basic setup and configuration page for the Raspberry Pi itself, if you have never used one.

Note carefully what @cyclicalobsessive said and do not download the latest image from Raspberry Pi or use Raspberry Pi Imager, as that will NOT work with the Grove-Pi.  Use the image he suggested and create a SD card with it.  Information on how to flash an SD card is located within the Raspberry Pi page.

You can use whatever Raspberry Pi you wish - what cyclicalobsessive is saying is that a Pi-4 might be overkill for a simple sensor platform.  It gets hotter and has a few wrinkles that might make setting up things a bit more difficult.

However, if you already have a Pi, go ahead and use that.
If you don’t have a Pi - and need to buy one - get a Pi-3B, (or B+), and if you can get the Official Raspberry Pi power adapter “brick” at the same time.

Do yourself another favor - when you buy a micro-SD card, don’t buy a cheap card, they are nothing but grief.  Spend the extra money and get a GOOD card by Sandisk, Toshiba, or another top brand.  (Avoid Kingston and PNY, as well as any strange Chinese brands.)


Here is a link to Seeed Studio’s page for the Grove-Pi+ starter kit.

Here is the Dexter Industries Grove-Pi “getting started” guide:

A simple web-search for “Grove-Pi+” turns up a lot of information.  You may want to pay particular attention to the “Dexter Industries” pages.


The Grove-Pi, (and the Grove-Pi+), are not computers in the sense that a desktop PC or a laptop is a computer.

The “computer” part of the Grove-Pi is the Raspberry Pi itself that the Grove-Pi connects to.

The Grove-Pi is an interface.  In other words, it allows you to connect things to the Raspberry Pi that, normally, would be difficult to do.

Here is picture of a Grove-Pi plugged into a Raspberry Pi.

For example, if you wanted to connect a temperature sensor to a Raspberry Pi, it’s relatively complicated.  The Grove-Pi allows you to connect things like that temperature sensor - which needs a particular kind of interface - to the Raspberry Pi very easily.

Here’s a picture of my GoPiGo-3 robot:

The green board you see just above the wheels is the Raspberry Pi.
The red board you see near the long ribbon cable is the GoPiGo-3 interface board.  It, like the Grove-Pi board is an interface, it allows the Raspberry Pi to control all the things that have to happen for my robot to actually be a “robot”, without me having to do the hard design work.

The Grove-Pi is the same - except that instead of running motors and such, it is an interface that contains several analog input ports, several digital input ports, some i2c ports for connecting to other boards, (and so on), so that you can connect interesting things to the Pi, just by plugging them into the Grove-Pi’s connectors.

Take a look at these links and let us know what happens.

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