The Raspberry Pi runs a custom operating system named FarmBot OS, allowing FarmBot to:

  • Communicate with the web application over WiFi or ethernet so that it can synchronize (download) sequences, regimens, farm designs, events, and more; upload logs and sensor data; and accept real-time commands.
  • Communicate with the Farmduino to send G and F commands and receive sensor and encoder data.
  • Take photos with a USB or Raspberry Pi camera, and upload the photos to the web application.
  • Get configured over WiFi, mitigating the need to plug in a mouse, keyboard, or screen.

Step 1: Download FarmBot OS

Using a desktop computer or laptop, go to os.farm.bot to download the latest FarmBot OS .img file according to your FarmBot kit and it’s internal computer.

Step 2. Flash FarmBot OS onto the microSD card

You must use a .img flashing tool to flash FarmBot OS onto the microSD card. We recommend downloading and installing balenaEtcher for this purpose.

Drag and drop will not work

Using your typical file browser to drag and drop or copy and paste the FarmBot OS .img file onto the microSD card will not work. You must use a special flashing tool such as Etcher as described above.

Once you have Etcher installed, connect the microSD card to your computer using a card reader. You may need to use the microSD card to SD card adapter included with your kit. Select the FarmBot OS .img file you downloaded in Step 1, the microSD card drive as the target (it should show up as a 7.9 GB partition) and then press Flash! to write the file to the card.

Do not use large capacity microSD cards

FarmBot OS will not work with microSD cards larger than 32GB in capacity. Please use the provided microSD card provided with your FarmBot kit.

Etcher may have issues on MacOS devices.

Some users have experienced difficulty flashing SD cards on MacOS devices. A common error experienced is “Attention: The writer process has ended unexpectedly.” Other users on MacOS computers report Etcher freeze ups and crashes during the microSD card flashing process. If you encounter this error or other problems, please try using a PC or Linux computer.

Step 3. Insert the microSD card into the Raspberry Pi

Insert the microSD card into the Raspberry Pi. The card slot location will differ depending on the FarmBot kit you have.

Genesis kits

For Genesis kits, the card slot is located on the back side of the Pi 3, on the right-hand edge. You do not need to remove the Raspberry Pi from the electronics box to insert the card; we have left enough access room.

Express kits

For Express kits, the card slot is located on the front side of the Pi Zero, on the left-hand edge.

Step 4. Plug in the power source

Plug your FarmBot’s power supply into a wall outlet. You should now see a solid red LED and a steadily flashing green LED on the Raspberry Pi, indicating that the Pi has adequate power and is busy booting up. Refer to the status LEDs page for more information, especially if your LEDs are not lit up as described above.

What’s next?