DEV Community

Michael Lee 🍕
Michael Lee 🍕

Posted on

I just got a Raspberry Pi 3. What can I do with it?

Just got a Raspberry Pi 3 setup and it's my first one. If you own a Raspberry Pi, what do you use it for? Don't think I'll dive into hardware stuff right now but definitely software related things.

Discussion (91)

rusher81572 profile image
Phillip Tribble • Edited on

Check out PiCluster, a simple way to manage Docker containers on multiple hosts with monitoring capabilities.

dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

I have two. One's a TV box with LibreElec and the other runs pi-hole, an adblocking DNS service.

cata profile image
Florescu George Cătălin • Edited on

I use it as DNS add-block (pi-hole) and a Plex server. My pi-hole is stopping working from time to time..

skyxie_60 profile image

I had a similar problem and discovered that the network card on the pi was going to sleep to save power. Since I ssh into my pi, that was hard to figure out, but adding a cron task to ping the router fixed it.

Thread Thread
ssteinerx profile image
Steve Steiner

How often did you have to ping and/or where did you find the sleep timeout value?

shostarsson profile image
Rémi Lavedrine

Does the plex server works properly?
I installed it on the RaspberryPi but unfortunately, I never managed to watch a full movie in good conditions.
The Pi wasn't powerful enough to display the media (video file).

ssteinerx profile image
Steve Steiner • Edited on

That's next when its project box accumulates all the parts. I think I'm almost there!

skyxie_60 profile image

Up-vote for pi-hole, best raspberry pi use case ever.

rapasoft profile image
Pavol Rajzak

Whoa! Thanks for the pi-hole, I have one raspberry pi sitting unused :)

napoleon039 profile image
Nihar Raote

Thanks for the suggestion! pi-hole seems interesting 😮

9gtm profile image

I would definitely say pi-hole. I'm running in docker container, so that I can use remaining resource for my other projects.

Right now I have about 5 device connect and it's blocking 24-29% ads traffic daily.

Mom(at home): ...
Mom(at gradpa's place):Why do I see these ads here but not at our place?.
Me: Mom, say "Thank you pi-hole".
Mom: eh?

jvarness profile image
Jake Varness

I would deploy my hubot to my Raspberry Pi. It was perfect to host a small application like a chat bot. I haven't used many of the hardware capabilities of my Raspberry Pi yet.

When my son gets older I want to teach him how to use computers with one of my Raspberry Pis.

tallguy_hackett profile image
Dave Hackett

I use my pi as an emby server for my home media in conjunction with my Roku. I've loved it for the past two years. My wife says I've spoiled her into never touching our Blu Rays/DVDs ever again.

larswaechter profile image
Lars Wächter

I use my Pi as an interface to different public APIs, that I access from my phone via Pushbullet.

For example: I send "train details" via Pushbullet and the Pi answers with live information, like arrival time, about my train connections.

The app is based on Node.js. For the communication I use the public pushbullet api.

zeerorg profile image
Rishabh Gupta

That's a great use case. Would love to know more about which libraries you use for communication with public api

larswaechter profile image
Lars Wächter

Thanks! I use the 'request-promise' module for sending the http requests and the 'websocket' module for the pushbullet stream.

huytd profile image
Huy Tr.

If you don't want to dive into hardware right now, so here are some software ideas for you to build:

  • Your own Linux server to run your own blog
  • A small screen dashboard (you gonna need a TFT screen) that display your notifications, bitcoin price, todo list, pomodoro timer,...
  • A smart mirror, well, this actually need some hardware works
  • A game console (to play NES, Gameboy,... on your TV)
  • TIC-80 computer
  • Or write some emulator on your own that run on a Pi connected with a TFT screen
  • Buy another Pi to setup a cluster to do some heavy stuff (coin miners :v)
khophi profile image

Coin miners with Pi? I see what you did there. ;)

ameliagapin profile image
Amelia Gapin

I installed RetroPie on my for a retro gaming system.

I also have a Raspberry Pi 2 that I use for random little things I want running on my network. Like homebridge for making non-HomeKit things work with HomeKit and Siri.

twof profile image
Alex Reilly

I've got a few myself! One I've been using for years as a torrent server. I've got it hooked up to a router and NAS drive at home, then I've got a folder action on my laptop that automatically sends any .torrent files to the pi which automatically downloads them to the NAS drive for later use. It's useful in case I'm somewhere that's blocking P2P traffic.

The other one I set up at work with a couple sensors to monitor our bathroom and post whether it's occupied or not to a slack channel. I'm working on a backend for it right now for slash commands so people can make reservations 😂

theodesp profile image
Theofanis Despoudis


shostarsson profile image
Rémi Lavedrine • Edited on

If you have a RaspberryPi, the very first thing you should install on it is Syncthing.
It will then allow you to have a personnal Dropbox installed.
I connected a 3To HDD on it and boom I have a 3To of cloud.

When you have this, the possibilities are endless.
Let's consider that you have Syncthing installed and configured on all your devices:

  • You can export your photos in a specific folder on your computer and boom they're saved automatically on your HDD.
  • I have Boosnote installed on my machines. With Synchting and Boostnote, I have a Evernote, Google Keep, etc, that is synchronized but not shared with any company. Everything is my property. :-)
  • I have a Plex server on my Shield that is connected over the air to my RaspberryPi. So it serves the content, videos, photos (synchronized automatically from earlier). So as soon as you finished working on your photos, you export them on a folder on your computer and after a few minutes (Syncthing is soo fast), you can enjoy them on your TV and even your relatives from the other side of the world can enjoy. You have nothing to do.

As you can see, I am very enthusiastic about that piece of software. :-)

But Syncthing is absolutely fantastic, open source, free and I could definitely not get rid of it and my RaspberryPi.
It cost the price of a one year Dropbox subscription for three times the volume and it works from 4 years now, like clockwork. :-)

You should definitely give it a try.

darkain profile image
Vincent Milum Jr

I currently have a Pi3B+ running FreeBSD 12, 3x USB thumbdrives in a RAID-Z1 configuration, running several jails, also running ZeroTier for personal VPN access. This little toy is awesome, I use it when I need remote access to something while I'm off-site, since I can just SSH into it via ZeroTier, and then SSH from there into other machines in my network.

michael profile image
Michael Lee 🍕 Author

ZeroTier looks really interesting!

What benefits does the USB thumbdrives in RAID-Z1 have?

Thanks for sharing your setup Vincent!

darkain profile image
Vincent Milum Jr

RAID-Z1 is similar to a normal RAID-5 setup for redundancy, but with the added benefit of it being ZFS based. This means things like instant snapshotting, creating virtual block devices (for VMs or iSCSI), and all the neatness of SEND/RECV to transfer entire file systems between machines. ZFS also is one of the few file systems that not only hashes every single block on the storage device, it also VERIFIES the block against the hash tree on EVERY read operation, ensuring data integrity (instead of waiting for total failure or SMART faults)

klagio profile image

< and then SSH from there into other machines in my network.

How you do this? I can access my network with Zerotier, but only those clients that have zerotier installed, not the rest

darkain profile image
Vincent Milum Jr

1) Install ZeroTier on a laptop.
2) Then install ZeroTier on a Pi.
3) Have the Pi sitting at home. Take the laptop out of the house (I travel frequently, so this is normal for me).
4) Use the Pi's ZT address to SSH into it from the laptop.
5) While inside of the Pi's SSH session, use THAT to SSH into other nodes on the Pi's LAN.

I also use a Yubikey with PuTTY for SSH authentication. PuTTY supports agent forwarding, so my Yubikey will also allow authentication to other nodes within the network.

jpenuchot profile image
Jules Pénuchot

I have a few stuff that run on mine :

  • Gitea, for a local, self-hosted git server
  • Syncthing, to have a local backup node
  • Sometimes a Minecraft server
  • Web server
  • Sometimes simply as an access to my home network

Gitea might be my favorite use, it feels great not to rely on GitHub to store my code (I often store my repos at different places for redundancy). Also Syncthing is great, you should check it out.

michael profile image
Michael Lee 🍕 Author

Cool, Gitea sounds nice! Will look into it. Thanks for the suggestions :)

georgeoffley profile image
George Offley

-Python dev box
-Onion router
-Media server
-Backup server

Really only limit is your imagination and how much effort you want to put in

vamps43 profile image
Lucho Suárez

I have a few:

  • RetroPi
  • Tor Router
  • 2 OSMC
  • Kali Linux
  • Kano OS (for my son)

You could install a Hubot like someone else said, and run your own Rocket.Chat instance if you want.

secorrales profile image
Sergio Corrales

Any issues with installing Kano OS on the Pi?
I want to try to install it on some old laptops my daughters use (those currently have Elementary OS)

vamps43 profile image
Lucho Suárez

no issues at all to install. But performance wise... meh not really good.
I'm waiting to get a Pi 3 B+, and I'm pretty sure that one will be way better.

saschadev profile image
Der Sascha


I build a small train information panel. This grabs the real train Infos from a particular trainstation and displays that onto a LCD display. This was build for my sons Modell train. There is a little bit hardware knowledge and programing skills needed.

tombofry profile image

Considering the amount of electricity it used, it was perfect for running Kodi (media centre), and we also had it connected to a VPN to download, well, things... The only reason I upgraded to a proper NUC in the end was because the Pi doesn't support decoding x265 HEVC footage in real time, which was a major set back for me personally.

kostassar profile image
Kostas Sar

Hello there! I was thinking of setting up Kodi on a pi instead of buying a new smart-TV. Which raspberry would you recommend?

Is the B+ too much? Can a pi zero handle the task?

mh15 profile image
Matthew Hall

The pi Zero definitely cannot handle full HD video download and stream and any decent quality, better to go with the model 3

pantchox profile image
Arye Shalev

I have RP3 for use with Kodi media center, running transmission torrent client as well with web-UI so i can connect and add torrent files.
Also uses it to download twitter sample firehose archives created by Twitark

I have another RP2 that i use as a home camera when i am away which uses MotionEYE OS
Installed with Node-Red integrated with PushBullet channels, so i can 'Alarm' and it will send me notifications, or turn it off when i am at home.

Lastly i have a RPZero with Led pHat from pimoroni which is for visualizations.

RP is awesome!

jfrankcarr profile image
Frank Carr

I just purchased one myself and have it setup with both Raspberian and Windows 10 IoT. I'm still not sure which direction to take my learning with it. I'm a lot more comfortable with the Microsoft way of doing things (Windows, C#, etc) but the Raspberian experience feels more like a regular computer experience, plus I would expand my knowledge more by learning Java in depth.

I will probably eventually get into some hardware related stuff, both for my guitar/music hobby and perhaps for my work in supporting manufacturing operations.

mbarde profile image
Matthias Barde

Kodi is a nice entertainment center running very well on a Raspby - I am using OpenELEC for that - and you can contribute to the project (has just been accepted for GSOC 2018).

tunes_tweet profile image

I‘ve ordered an octo soundcard from audio injector for my pi2 (only hardware stuff I did) and wrote some nodejs scripts to turn it into a really good working sound system with capabilities of playing old tapes and vinyl from my 30 year old hifi system and stream it to wireless speakers all around the house (with airplay support, which stops the current playback on play and after that, my hifi system will stream again, good for parties, where someone wants to show a video to the crowd or wants to play a favorite song in between good ol‘ tapes 😁

fordprefect480 profile image

I have mine managing to fill two roles: as a Volumio headless music player, and a Home Assistant server. Planning to see if it will run pi-hole too :)

teamcoder profile image
Robert Ecker

When I got my first Raspberry Pi I used it to build a Twitter bot with Python because I wanted to learn the language. You can find the bot on Twitter: It finds and retweets the most interesting stuff about Software Craftsmanship.

I also wrote a blog post on how I did it. It might help you to get started :)

mckinly profile image
mckinly • Edited on

I use my pi to run Home Assistant so my pi acts as a bridge between all the smart devices in my house from my smart slow cooker, lights, TV, to my climate control, Google Home, and even my automated cat feeder!

jechtom profile image
Tomáš Jecha • Edited on

I had built Spotify Connect audio receiver: Building Spotify Connect Audio Receiver with Raspberry Pi 3

acavalin profile image
Alberto Cavalin

I written a post on my blog covering all the software I tried on my raspi3 <3 I hope you will find it useful :-)

Some keywords: nas, webdav, dlna, torrent, rdp/vnc, print/scan, firewall, dns, monitoring, vpn.

Here is the link:

secorrales profile image
Sergio Corrales

I don't own a Pi. However I do have an Odroid-C1 (very similar).
It's served me as a Kodi TV box (Linux), and an Android device (Mostly to run Android games). I've also used it as a gaming console with Lakka.

It's currently being used as a Lyrics/Chord display for musicians at church on a floor monitor.

logoff profile image
Julio Carlos Barrera Juez

I use it as emulator station with RetroPie, connected to my TV and using PS3 and XBox One controllers with USB cable or Bluetooth.

qantumentangled profile image
Mikel Farley

I've used my Pi3's for RetroPie & OpenELEC, but it looks like I'll be building a PiHole tonight :)

I've also been meaning to look into setting up PiCluster and moving my git server down from AWS.

Thanks folks!

drrial profile image

I don't have a Pi3, I have an Odroid XU4, but they're kinda similar. I use mine in conjunction with a NAS as a bitcoin and litecoin node and I've been thinking about setting it up as a Wireguard VPN, so I can connect to the internet via home when I'm away,

loganthemanster profile image
  • Two Pis with two webcams each livestream or guinea pigs when we're not at home
  • one Zero with a infrared diode controlling an led stripe illuminating the guinea pig cage. It can be used via a website it's hosting or via a rest API (using Google home + IFTTT for that)
  • the last rapberry pi is running pi hole and a small server that allows moving Spotify playback to non-chromecast Spotify connected devices via the Google home (
scotteza profile image
Scott Edwards

I’m intrigued whether I could run one of these with an external keyboard and mouse, with HDMI monitor, to code node and react systems on a Linux install? Preferably in VS code. Do they have the power to handle this?

danielkun profile image
Daniel Albuschat

I own 6. 5 of them run kubernetes, e.g. and the single one runs and knxd to bridge KNX, Philips Hue, EnOcean and webOS smart home devices together.

yosh_se profile image
Yosh Marklund

site-to-site vpn adapters, HTPC with OpenElec, 3d-printer controller with Octoprint, one ntp enables my alarm clock so that I don't have to set it during DST, Ubiquiti wifi-controller, IoT enabling my height-adjustable desk. I also have an x-mas tree with rgb leds controller by a pi :)

sakex profile image

I wrote multiple software that monitor my house TV, music, lighting, etc. I can control them on my iPhone via a Node website I also made

a_mandera profile image
Alexander Mandera

I use my Raspberry Pi 2 to play music from a USB stick with mpd & icecast2 to my internet radio or analyse my internet traffic with ntopng and a script to use the FritzBox capture feature, so I can watch in near realtime which servers my devices are connecting to.

centerax profile image

I use it for pivpn (

threedeeprinter profile image
Dan Benge

When I first acquired mine, I used it to learn Linux and Python. Think of it as "Immersion" learning. :)

motlib profile image

Three of them (older version 1 and 2) serve as wifi access points in my apartment. Very stable and without any maintenance effort.

patricktingen profile image
Patrick Tingen

I have a pi2 that I used to use these to log my solar panels to PVOutput. Last week I set up pi-hole to finally get rid of all ads on my wifi. And boy, I surely should have done that earlier

huaba profile image

I use two RPi permanently, one for pi-hole to block ads and tracking from my network and one for Openhab to automate my home.

diouanemohamed profile image
Mohamed Diouane

You can use it as home assistant ( hub .

aleron75 profile image
Alessandro Ronchi

I just set up NextCloud on a Pi3 connected to a nas via nfs and now have my personal private "Dropbox".

dvdmuckle profile image
David Muckle

You could get another one and start tinkering with clustering. There's pretty decent support for Kubernetes on Pi.

srishanbhattarai profile image
Srishan Bhattarai

I have tons of stuff on one of my external hard drives - I use my RPi to expose it as a shared drive on my network. Quite handy.

plutov profile image
Alex Pliutau

If you're interested in Programming in Go, you can write and run Go programs there :)

arueda profile image
Angel Alberto Rueda Mejia

One of my raspberries shares a read only folder containing my music and a second one publish the music using apache and ngrok so I can stream it over the internet.

tonygraycanada profile image
Tony Gray

Mine are monitoring indoor and outdoor air quality and controlling the air filters in the house. Outdoor air is only allowed in when it's clean and filters are run whenever the indoor air is dirty.

theminshew profile image
Michael Minshew

This reminds me of this awesome article.

nuc profile image
Georgios Giannoutsos Barkas

Instead of buying a Midi USB Hub (+80€) for routing USB Midi to devices with traditional Midi cable, you can use a Raspberry Pi + a USB MIDI Cable instead.

leojg2091 profile image
Leandro García

If you got a 3D printer you can use it as a server to control the printer remotely