Raspberry Pi Checklist

Digital, portable, open source, and simple checklist for every day carry. Replace apps and paper for good.

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A stand-alone device to replace apps I use regularly, such as lists, flashlight, flash drive, and alarm clock. Something to be carried in the pocket every day, and used when needed. Simple use is the goal, which is why I chose to use a 16x2 LCD with an HD47880 controller, with buttons, as the main interface. The goal is to pull it out, wake the screen, then scroll through a list, and mark items done and undone. Hoping to support multiple lists that can be toggled on the LCD. Must be extremely durable and reliable. Raspberry Pi Zero will be used to open more options in the future, and simplify management. Hoping for drag and drop simplicity when uploading lists. A simple e-Checklist for people that hate paper and phone apps.

This is a project to help me organize my life a little better, but is primary a learning project that will force me to better document things, and force me to learn new skills that I really want to have. This is my first serious project.

I am currently using Microsoft OneNote for all my data organization. That is what gives me the nice "From" links when I post part names. I'm using a Nokia Lumia 1020 for all the photos, and getting as many parts from,,,, and a nearby Microcenter store.

I have many ideas for this that will probably lead to many different versions of this device. Right now, I am trying to get a very basic device together to keep me busy and productive. I really need a good way of managing many very large checklists. I will add to this section whenever I come up with something else worth exploring.

Check the logs often for updates, as that is where nearly all major updates end up. All feedback is welcome, even if you insist on telling me how I can just use a phone app for this. I understand, and do not care. I have my reasons, as stated in the description.

Desired Base Features:

  1. Manage multiple checklists, flipping through them with a single button.
  2. Mark items on a list "done" with another button.
  3. 12 hour battery life.
  4. Small enough to carry in a pocket everyday.
  5. Way to boot from USB or properly turn off the Pi from the LCD or a button.
  6. Store important information, such as addresses, phone numbers, etc.

Desired Additional Features:

  1. Built in LED flashlight with physical slider hooked directly to battery.
  2. built in camera for taking picture reminders.
  3. RGB backlit screen for color coding lists and list items.
  4. Beeper.
  5. Vibrating motor.
  6. Physical silence switch, like the iPhones use.
  7. Annoying, high pitch beep for messing with people.
  8. Electronic dog whistle for dealing with random animals and stop barking.
  9. Simple games to pass time.
  10. Full size HDMI port.
  11. Port covers to avoid pocket lint clogs.
  12. Simple way to add and edit lists from the LCD. Maybe a scroll wheel that scrolls through the alphabet.
  13. Store and play back media through HDMI using the LCD interface and buttons to control everything
  14. Rotary switch to change to various different modes of operation: checklist, whistle, camera, alarm clock, etc.

Current shopping list: Totals over $100 just for basic parts and supplies so far.

RaspberryPi Shutdown

Python script to safely shutdown the raspberry pi.

py - 1.25 kB - 03/19/2017 at 04:54


  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Zero V1.3 with Camera Connector Small Linux PC that will run the entire device. This version will power the final version:
  • 1 × 16x2 Backlit LCD, with HD44780 Controller and buttons Main interface
  • 1 × SD Card Used to hold the OS, programs, and checklist text files.
  • 1 × Micro HDMI to HDMI Adapter Needed to get a full size HDMI port on Rapsberry Pi Zero:
  • 1 × USB OTG to USB Adapter Needed to get a full size USB port on the Raspberry Pi Zero:

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  • Resources For Prototyping

    Dustin07/08/2022 at 22:02 0 comments

    I've been doing some research and just making some quick decisions to get things moving quickly. I'll include some useful links here that should help me get the code going for this.

    Programming Language: Micro Python

    Programming IDE: Thonny

    Development PC: Atari VCS

    OS: Ubuntu 20.04

    SD Card protocol: SPI

    LCD protocol: I2C

    SD Card

    SD Card SPI Adapter

    SD Card Guide

    LCD Keypad

    LCD Guide

    Hardware order has been placed. The prototype hardware is officially on the way. The biggest hurdle now is finding the time to build and program it. Once everything is working, I'll design a custom PCB and get a few prototypes made.

  • Raspberry Pi Shortages

    Dustin07/08/2022 at 21:22 0 comments

    In light of short supplies and scalping, I am going to change the hardware from the Raspberry Pi Zero family of boards to the Raspberry Pi Pico family. Preferably the Pico W for it's wireless capability. As I have a few Pico boards on hand and can get more, I will build the first prototype around that. The new end goal is an all in one device built around the RP2040 chip. I haven't touched this project in a few years, but I'm getting my cousin into programming now and need some projects to work on and some way to organize my various tasks. I feel the Pico is a better option as it can still have advanced features, but is far more power efficient and responsive.

    The current goals are as follows:

    - RP2040 based

    - Rechargeable batteries

    - Easy to read display with backlight

    - Physical button navigation

    - Either built in SD flash, or SD card slot

    - USB connectivity

    There are many features that could be added in the future, but the initial prototype simply needs to hold multiple lists of tasks and allow them to be marked "Complete" or "Incomplete." Aircraft pre flight checks come to mind. I'm getting into sailing and will need a checklist system for that as well. The final hardware iteration will be ruggedized for such use cases.

    I have some extra project funding this pay so I'll go order the hardware now and finally get started.

  • Possible Feature: Wireless Sync

    Dustin04/19/2022 at 21:19 0 comments

    Despite my insistance on managing feature creep, I think this particular feature could be incredibly beneficial. The hardware is in place, and it could be implemented in software after the initial prototypes are useable. The idea is to have a unit be able to sync changes to a server over either USB, wifi, or Bluetooth, when a server connection is available. Modifying list items and lists is a core feature on the device itself, but there will be times where a copy and paste from another device would be ideal.

    A secondary function of such a sync system, the one that got me thinking about this in the first place, is to have multiple devices sync lists in real time, enabling cooperative work on large scale projects. One person could complete a task, mark it done, then the change would be synced and duplicated on all other devices. This would help avoid duplicate work and wasted time trying to determine if a task has been completed.

    With so many big projects coming up, as well as the complex nature of the systems I work on at my new job, the Raspberry Checklist project is going to become a priority very soon. More updates soon.

  • Pimoroni Pico System

    Dustin11/08/2021 at 12:54 0 comments

    I'm typing this up on my Pi 400 in the Pidock 400. It's so nice to have a Pi powered laptop. Love this thing. It's gotten me motivated to get these projects going again.

    Recently Pimoroni has released the Picosystem, which really caught my eye. I've really enjoyed the Raspberry Pi Pico since I picked some up when they first released. I actually got 4 from the very first shipment that Microcenter in Ohio got in. I gave one to my cousin to manage the power and safe shutdown, but kept the other 3 to tinker with. They went out of stock very quickly after the release, as all Pi products seem to do. I mention this story because the Pico instantly became my favorite microcontroller, and it reminded me that it's worth picking up certain things I really want as soon as they're available. I ordered a Pi Zero 2 W as soon as I heard of it, and I have one in for this project already. That will still be used at some pint in this project, but I haven't decided on the hardware for that just yet. The battery has been a problem for me. In the mean time, I've decided to order a Picosystem as soon as I can ad start developing for that. I'm weakest in the software side of things, and having a ready made system to program on will speed up development for me significantly. It's a very nice system too. Aluminum case, beautiful PCB front, plenty of buttons, great little screen, speaker, battery, and small form factor. It's nearly perfect for this project, aside from lacking a Pi Zero. It isn't something that I would tinker with for a little bit and put on a shelf either. It appears to be worthy of adding to my every day carry. I'm working on learning PyGame for other projects, so having this to work with helps me there as well. It seems to be a perfect solution to many of my problems. I'll order one of these this Friday if there are any left in stock. 

    I always find myself amazed at the following this project has gained. I feel lie I've been keeping people waiting for a very long time on this one, so it feels good to make some progress, even if only in the research department. Hardware for both the Picosystem and Pi Zero versions will be ordered this Friday.Hope everyone is well and making good progress on their projects. 

  • Pi Zero 2 W Has Arrived

    Dustin11/01/2021 at 22:55 0 comments

    The latest Pi has arrived from Adafruit today. I've not done anything with it yet, and I likely won't for a little while. I haven't gotten my Pi 400 in yet, which will be the system I'll be using for all my development. I don't have the display for this project yet either, but I will order it in just under two weeks on pay day. 

    I'm still trying to decide on the display for this project. Part of me wants to use the super simple character LCDs, another part wants an OLED. I've got time to decide, but I'm more interested in why this decision is so difficult for me. I'll sort that later. 

    I may get the new Pi set up and running so I can start playing around with it soon. Once the Pi 400 is here, I doubt I'll do much with this for a while. 

  • Another Step Closer: Interface Choices Narrowed

    Dustin11/01/2021 at 01:33 0 comments

    The big announcement is that I purchased some new hardware that will make development far easier for me. I picked up a Pidock 400 and a Raspberry Pi 400 kit for my PiCarts project. I got it to consolidate all of my project work onto one system that's more portable than my laptop, which now has a broken screen. I can use the Pi 400 as a USB keyboard, and the display on the Pidock is standard HDMI, so I can use it with the Pi Zero. This will make it easy to take all my project materials with me in a single laptop bag, so I can work anywhere at any time. Setting up my laptop and digging out all the equipment has been a huge obstacle for me, so I just don't do it. 

    I'm amazed that people still keep liking and following this project. I understand why though. There isn't really much else like it out there. I've recently ordered a Pi Zero 2 W, which may end up in this device. It's actually fast enough to be used as a very basic personal computer, unlike the original Pi zero w. I really want this thing to be more than just a checklist. My idea for it is basically a general use pocket computer that can be used as a standalone checklist. I've been working with the Raspberry Pi Pico lately and could use that instead. It's $4, which is nice, and plenty of power. I very well may make both versions in the future. I still need to decide on a screen. I'm leaning towards e-ink displays these days, though they tend to be more expensive. Battery life with a Pico and e-ink display would be fantastic. As the Pico can be used as a USB mass storage device, I might be able to just drop the text file containing the lists onto it and go. No OS, no SD cards, no shutdown procedures. The Pico could easily run the screen, external data storage, an LED for flash light, and much more. I'd love to add temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure sensors eventually for keeping an eye on the weather and such. Gotta watch out for feature creep though. 

    I just discovered this setup from a Adafruit that is almost exactly what I want. I don't know how it would handle pocket lint and such, but it would be perfect for a prototype. It's out of stock currently, but I can get the pieces individually instead of the kit. I'm already planning to learn pygame, which is recommended for this display. The other option I'm considering is this e-ink display, also from Adafruit. It's a three color display: black, white, red. They also make black, white, and yellow, as well as a plain black and white version. There are no buttons on these displays, but they could be added later. The OLED option above is actually the better of the two, as it will enable me to actually get this project done. Less obstacles to tackle. 

    While searching through various Pi stuff, I came across a third option that I really enjoy: The Pirate Audio Speaker and Display for Raspberry Pi. It has a nice little screen, buttons, a speaker, and DAC so it can playback audio. It's just a 1 watt speaker, but it would add sound effects to the device. I really do want something with buttons on it and this is a great option.

    I've found another great option here, again from Adafruit. It's actually a LoRa module with a small screen and three buttons. I find this one quite fascinating as it would add long distance wireless communications. A checklist that can be used as a communicator. With only three buttons, that might be hard to use, even as a checklist. I'll still likely pick up a few and tinker with them. I'm putting together a large kit of Pi hardware for testing and to just play around with. This would be a great addition. I could set up the Pi to connect to a smartphone through Bluetooth for text input and such. Basically make a LoRa modem for smartphones. It would be great for communicating in places without cell service, such as underground or the middle of nowhere. Feature creep though...

    Alright, I think I've looked at enough displays and such. The current leader is still the...

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  • Found Some Software Guidance

    Dustin05/22/2021 at 15:26 0 comments

    While browsing HaD, I found this Arduino menu code. It's pretty darn similar to what I want to do for the Pi, but in C++. I could switch the hardware out for an Arduino of some sort, or I could learn from this and write my own menu in Python for the Pi. I could still use one of these checklists, and I know other people who would enjoy it. I'm almost good enough at programming to finish this project, but I have other projects to finish first. Like the custom electric water heater controller I've made for the camper. That has taught me much about programming. I'm finally at a point where I could sit down and actually get this working now, just need the time and energy. I may eventually make Arduino and ESP32 based checklists as well. I like the Pi Zero W though, as it gives a full linux computer if needed. You could use you digital organizer for software development or light tasks if needed. Not sure where I will go with this, but I'll explore it later. This is one of the very few non-essential projects I decided to keep alive due to the amount of following it's somehow gathered. People seem interested, and I am too. As my life gets more complicated, this would become more useful.

  • Still Thinking About It

    Dustin07/22/2020 at 14:34 0 comments

    When something keeps coming to mind, especially after years, it means I just need to do it. This project would have made my life so much more organized, but I didn't have the skills to make it when I really needed it. Now I've got most of the skills, but lack the time and funds. Soon though. I want to keep this as a stand alone device, instead of trying it to a smartphone for base functions, like checklist management. I've completed my first real Python project already, and am well into my first big Arduino project. Both are teaching me the hardware and software skills I need to finally complete this project. The best part is that the available hardware is far better now than when I started this in 2016. I think a Raspberry Pi Zero W is in order. I've also got 2 IBM Model M keyboards to work with. One will have a small PC built into it and be turned into a mobile development kit for all kinds of fun things. I just had the idea to dock the checklist directly into the keyboard PC for transferring data, and set up some auto synching features and charging. I could even dock the device and use the Model M keyboard to create and edit the lists on the device. Tons of options, still a little beyond my reach with my current programming level. I'll assemble the hardware as soon as I can and that will make it easy to really get started on this. As much as I don't like monetizing things, I suspect I will build and sell these if people are interested. I hate the 9-5 world and want to do something useful with my time. I'd still have an open source version for anyone to make though. I'm very excited to start on this. I think I'll pick up the raspberry pi soon...

  • Just Stopping By...

    Dustin04/03/2019 at 03:26 0 comments

    Recently I've been thinking about one of my oldest projects on here. My DIY truck camper. That got me logged back into here and I remembered this project. I've made no further progress here, but I do still intend to finish it at some point. The hardware is likely to be far different than what was first available when I first came up with this idea. By the time I get around to making this thing, I bet it will be easier than ever to add some really nice features. 

    The killer feature for me would be syncing Google Keep notes to it some how. I use tons of them, and having a super small device that could modify those lists would be perfect for me. Maybe have it somehow scrape the data off my notes, reformat for the small screen, then send back changes to the main note. No idea how to do that, so I'll start simple until I get around to learning programming. 

    I move back to my home state in a month, and will be right down the street from a good friend who owns a prop making business, and can help me design and make the case, which is the part stopping me from getting the hardware made. I did get a really nice Dremel Platinum kit for my leather working business, so I could as easily carve the case out of a nice piece of cherry or some other hard wood. Either way I do, I now have the means to build the hardware. Once that's done, I'll have a really good excuse and reason to finally learn Python and get to programming it. Maybe I'll simply find a way to link it to a smartphone on Bluetooth or wifi and run a webserver interface on it to allow editing lists and such on it. Time will tell.

    Just wanted to stop by and let everyone who's followed and liked this project know it's not dead. It's been on hold a few years while I stabilize my life and build the skills needed to bring it to life. I'll continue to design it with open source in mind, though I'll likely make a commercial version to sell through my business some day to fund future projects. Cheers!

  • Not Giving Up Yet

    Dustin09/11/2018 at 04:17 0 comments

    Its been about 1.5 years since i last updated or thought about this project. My life went down hill and I ended up putting all projects on hold. These days, I'm starting a business, and getting back into my electronics. I have to design and build some custom industrial equipment, so I might as well finish this project as I master some more skills. This one is still a long way off, but I still find value in it. Currently, I'm using an Android small with Google Keep, but still want to get away from that. I'd be happiest if my Raspberry Checklist could read and write my Keep account. We shall see how it goes.

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ML wrote 08/01/2016 at 13:15 point

Personally, the GAIN for me would be a list that is NOT permanently connected to network, and therefore it is less likely to become a privacy concern.  A portable device with powerful encryption is very beneficial to me...

My cell phone is sync'ed with Email, and every list I've ever created on my phone then became a permanent record in my Gmail.  Annoying.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dustin wrote 08/01/2016 at 16:03 point

I completely agree. I have enough privacy concerns to worry about. I don't need anyone seeing my budgets, shopping lists, and reminders either. My phone dies at random as well, and I lose access to important data. Have considered putting step by step directions to important places, as well as phone numbers in it as well. Basically evolving into a backup personal data system. I'm glad someone else sees the value in this project.  Most people say "Just use your phone" and move on. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dustin wrote 07/27/2016 at 15:15 point

I don't know if YOU would gain anything from it. I don't like using my phone and draining my battery, and I don't like paper checklists.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Martin wrote 07/27/2016 at 07:52 point

What is the gain in carrying an extra device with me instead of using a phone app?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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