person measuring with a click rule

Woodworking for the Blind

Build a Raspberry PI for making tools talk

August 2016

As we mentions in the article Making tools talk with raspbery PI
We have come up with a way to use a small inexpensive Raspberry PI computer as a speech synthesizer to work with some measuring tools with an data output port.

What you will need:

  • 1. Raspberry Pi computer
  • 2. Micro Sd card 8gb or greater
  • 3. Power Supply
  • 4. Raspberry PI Case
  • 5. Headphones or speakers

For simplicity we purchased a Raspberry PI model3 kit from Amazon.
Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit--Black Case for $69.00
There are many starter kits on the market. Some cost a little more and some a little less . This is just the one we ordered.

Important: Wait untill you have the PI up and running before you put it in it's case. It can be dificult to insert the Micro SD card correctly when the PI is fully assembled.

Here some optional items you can purchase to have a small portable solution, but they are not required.

Getting a Raspberry PI up and running for use with the tools in the talking tool article is really not dificult. The links below will get the PI ready to use.

You will need an SD card reader for your computer. This information is for computers running the Microsoft Windows opperating system and our case we use Jaws as ascreen reader.

Note: read this whole document before you begin. The download links are at the end of this article.

First download the disk image file. Save the file where you can easally find it. The file is a compressed zip file. Open the file to extract it and save the extracted file in the same location. Note: This is a large file and will take a while to download.

Next download the file Win Flash Tool. This is a small program and is used to write the previously downloaded disk image file to the micro SD card.

Note: Insert the SD card and Format the SD card before you begin. Choose Fat 16 if ask.

Note: It would be a good idea to unplug any other USB drives or flach cards you might have connected, other than the SD card reader.

Run the Win Flash tool program.

The program will open with the focus on an edit field for the path to the image file. Press tab. You should hear ...button. This is a browse button. Press the space bar.

Find the image file you previously extracted and tab to the open button and press enter. Now the path field should contain the path to the new_espeak.img file.

Press tab and leave the check box checked.

Press tab and leave the hide fixxed devices check box checked.

Press tab. You should here the name of your flash card. If not, press the browse button and locate it.

Press tab to the write button. Press the space bar.

Note: Wait a couple of seconds. then Press alt tab. If the dialog box asking you to format the card again is there, just cancel. Note: The format dialog box will be behind the Win Flash window. If you do not do this the image may not write correctly.

The writing process will take a few minutes. When it is finished there will be a message saying the process completed successfully. You might have to change to the Jaws cursor to here it.

Now with any luck the micro sd card is ready to use.

Note: If you receive an error writing the image, format the sd card again and repeat the writing process. If you still get an error the image file may not have downloaded correctly. Try downloading it again and repeat the above steps.

After the image has been written successfully, insert it into the Raspberry PI.

Connect a set of headphones or an amplified speaker in to the 3.5mm jack.

Connect power to the PI. After about 30 secondes, you should hear the PI say ready. It is now ready to use with the tools.

Talking tool disk image

Win Flash Tool

If you want to SSH in to the PI from your computer, download the following program. I have provided no instructions on how to do this. If you just want to use the PI to make your tool talk you do not need this.

Pu TTY.exe

If you need help or would like us to just write your SD card for you send an email to: