"nts": Pints Without The Pi

By Derek Berner, copyright © 2014. Permission to reproduce is hereby granted, provided all attribution is maintained. Please direct all comments, questions and suggestions to the "issues" section of my GitHub page.



If you're a brewer, home or otherwise, you may have heard about the excellent project RaspberryPints, a software package for the RaspberryPi that allows you to display your tap list on a large-screen TV for your friends and/or customers to view quickly and at a glance, adding a touch of class and elegance to your beloved brewery:

source: raspberrypints.com
source: raspberrypints.com

I was inspired to write this howto when a fellow homebrewer inquired about running the software without RaspberryPi, using his tablet instead of a TV screen. At first we were spitballing solutions like setting up an X11 tunnel over SSH to an emulated Pi using QEMU, but I decided to take a look at the source code to see if there was an easier way. Turns out it's just PHP over MySQL, which means it should run on a desktop computer just as easily and display in a mobile browser with few issues.

(It also means with a little bit of tweaking, I could plug in some jQuery extensions to enhance the site with touch screen capabilities. Draw a pint, tap the screen, update my inventory. Coooool. But first things first, let's finish this howto.)

By the end of this howto, you should be up and running with RaspberryPints without the overhead of purchasing additional hardware.

You will need:

Step 1

Install a Web Server With PHP and MySQL

(aka: import antigravity)

WARNING: This step is a mess and has tripped quite a few people up. I recommend that you use XAMPP in lieu of this step. It gets you Apache, PHP, Perl, and MySQL with a single installer. I will update the tutorial in earnest when I get the chance, but for now you will have much better luck installing XAMPP than following this step if you are on Windows or a Mac.

Let me apologize for the handwaving in this section.

I will try to make no assumptions as to your skill level. However, I also can't make any assumptions as to what platform you're using. Rather than cover every platform, I'll just say that I used this tutorial successfully on a Mac, and offer you some links that should work on other platforms:

Important: Make a note of all passwords and directories at this stage; you'll need them later!


Here are some notes that may help you complete the above tutorials:

Step 2

Install a Git client

The handwaving ends after this step, I promise.

I'm a software developer, so having a computer without a git client is almost as ludicrous to me as having one without a web browser. That said, I understand you may not be so technically inclined. Unfortunately, git is probably the easiest way for you to get at the RaspberryPints source code. Fortunately, the "git guys" have already helped me out with a good howto on this, and it covers the same platforms as above:

Getting Started Installing Git

Go follow the link above and come back here when you're done.

Step 3

Get ("git") the application

Now it's time to grab the source code. Assuming the above two steps are done, this is all you need to do:

  1. Open a command prompt.
  2. Change directories to the document root for Apache as installed in step 1 (for me, this was /Library/WebServer/Documents)
  3. Type the following command1 2: sudo git clone https://github.com/RaspberryPints/RaspberryPints

That's it! You now have RaspberryPints on your computer. We still need to set it up before we can use it, however.

Step 4

Setting up RaspberryPints

Assuming all has gone well up to this point, simply open a browser and point it at http://localhost/RaspberryPints/install. You should see the following page or something similar:

Step 1 lets RaspberryPints connect to MySQL and install your "beers" database. Use the root password you set up in Step 1 of this howto.

Step 2 installs the "beers" database. These can be anything and you probably won't ever use them directly.

Step 3 sets up your administrator account. This is the password you'll be using to modify your beer inventory behind the scenes.

Check "Load sample data" if you want to start with sample beers already loaded in the system. You can override these later.

Click "Setup!" You will see an info page telling you the installation was successful. Navigate to http://localhost/RaspberryPints to confirm.

Navigate to http://localhost/RaspberryPints/admin and enter the administrator account information to set up your tap list and brewery logo.

Step 5

Viewing RaspberryPints on a tablet

Congratulations, you have installed RaspberryPints on non-RaspberryPi hardware. You little rebel you.

Now, for the part that this was all for, setting up a tablet to display RaspberryPints. First, you need to figure out the local IP of the computer you installed RaspberryPints on. In a command terminal, type the following if you are on a Mac or Linux:ifconfig and this if you are on Windows:ipconfig /all

You are looking for a line that says "inet" or "inet addr" (on Linux/Mac) or "IP Address" (Windows). If you are running on Linux or a Mac and are having a hard time sorting through all the information this command belches out, the following command will help you sort through the uninteresting information: ifconfig |grep inet

Sample output of the above command with possible IP addresses highlighted. This will look very different on Windows. Note that there are multiple possibilities, so I had to try multiple addresses on my tablet to get it to work. Ignore as it is never an external IP address.

When you have found the line that says "inet" or "IP Address", then look for a set of four 1-3 digit numbers separated by periods. This is your local IP address. Write this number down. If there are multiple addresses, start with the first one and work your way down the list. (But ignore This is never an externally valid IP; it is how all computers refer to themselves.)

Next, open your preferred browser app on your tablet. In the address bar, type "http://<IP_ADDRESS>/RaspberryPints", replacing <IP_ADDRESS> with the address you just wrote down. (Again, you may have to try a few to get this step right.) If all goes well, you should see the RaspberryPints application on your tablet:

In all its digital goodness... It will look better once I get it mounted!
A better view - excuse the poor quality Galaxy S3 camera!

Congrats! You now have a snazzy digital taplist for display in your brewery, and you didn't have to spend a nickel on specialized hardware. Remember that you can administer this page from http://localhost/RaspberryPints/admin on your desktop, and it will update remotely.

Important Note: Depending on your wifi hardware, your IP address may change periodically. If you ever find that you cannot view RaspberryPints on your tablet but you can view it via the "localhost" link above, repeat this step.

Additional Stuff

Now that you have RaspberryPints working on your tablet, you will probably want to do things like run the browser in fullscreen mode, keep the screen from dimming and turning off automatically, set up static DHCP for your computer, etc. Unfortunately, since all tablets and wifi routers are different, this is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but I thought I'd mention them anyway for completeness. Just remember: Google is your friend. Good luck!


  1. ^Note that if you are running in Windows, you will not need "sudo" - this is there to override user privileges on Linux/Unix and Mac systems. Instead, your command will be: git clone https://github.com/RaspberryPints/RaspberryPints
  2. ^On Linux/Unix and Mac systems, this will grant ownership to root. You may need to change ownership to the HTTP daemon user. On Mac OS X this is _www and on Ubuntu it is usually apache. After downloading the source, use the following command for a Mac: sudo chown -R _www RaspberryPints/ and use this for Ubuntu: sudo chown -R apache RaspberryPints/

Shameless Panhandling

(aka donations)

If you liked this tutorial, buy me a beer! 25% of donations go to support RaspberryPints, and 50% go to support my son's college education fund.



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