Raspberry Pi Chart Ploter

Setting up Open CPN on a Raspberry Pi.

I started out thinking that it was going to be a matter of ordering all the parts plugging them together and installing some software. even though that is basically what I did, it ended up taking more time and research than I had initially expected.

I am working on adding an AIS receiver and GPS to this setup but as i don’t have them working yet I won’t cover them here.

Today I am going to cover;

  • The Hard Wear setup
  • Installing NOOBS
  • Installing Open CPN


I got all my parts on amazon.co.uk you can find them on other places.  You will need:


Raspberry Pi I got the Pi 3 as it was the newest when I placed the order. Pi 3 has a built in wifi and 4 USB ports.


A Micro SD Card nothing special here, just make sure you get a real name brand one.


Touch Screen  You don’t need a touch screen I just got this as I wanted to try it out. The raspberry pi is a little slow and the touch interface makes it a little frustrating to use at times. So I generally use the mouse most of the time.


Key Board and Mouse I got this keyboard Mouse combination as it was small wireless and had a track pad. It’s a little flimsy but is fine for working on the Raspberry pi.


DC/DC Converter I am powering the Raspberry Pi and Screen from a DC/DC converter tuned to 5 volts. To use this instead of a micro USB cable you will need to do some soldering. If you are going to power your setup like this you need to check the converter is set to 5v first, otherwise you might burn your Pi!!
Burnt Pi

I used my multi meter to check the voltage.


I then connected the Converter to the GPIO pin of the Raspberry pi to power it up.
Burnt Pi

I 3D printed the case to hold everything in one box and tidy the wires. I have up loaded all the files to MyMiniFactory page www.myminifactory.com/users/IrialK


I have also designed my own wall mounts and quick release plate for mounting everything.


Chart_plotter stl ZIP File


Once I had power to my setup then I installed NOOBS on the Micro SD Card. There is no point in repeating information. Here is a link to the Raspberry Pi website:


I had a problem when setting up my screen. The raspberry wasn’t automatically recognizing the screen. After lots of looking I found a simple solution:

  1. I inserted the Micro SD Card into my main computer and found the config.txt file.
  2. I opened the file in a text editor.
  3. I added the following lines to the bottom of the file. hdmi_force_hotplug=1
    hdmi_cvt=1024 600 60 3 0 0 0
  4. I saved the file and reinserted the SD Card into the Pi.

It worked fine after this.

Now that the Pi is booted up and setup its time to install Open CPN. Again here I’m not going to go into detail. There is a page on the Open CPN website that covers this and a link to a blog post that does a much better job of explaining the process than I could. The blog post also explains adding a GPS which I have not done yet.



There are a few other articles and videos that I came across and it either helped me or are related to running Open CPN



4 Replies to “Raspberry Pi Chart Ploter”

  1. Hi there,
    Try downloading the OpenPlotter image, it has OpenCpn with all the GPS, SDR/AIS and loads of other stuff already set up for you. Easy installation too.

  2. Hi,

    I have seen the box for the raspberry Pi 3 that you have designed and printed but, how did you solve the extreme temperature when the raspberry is closed?

    Thanks inadvance

    1. Hi John, I put a set of adhesive heat sync on the chips and never had any big problems with over heating. There were a few holes on the box for cables but no major ventilation. We had some issues with the ais not working which may have been related.

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