Raspberry Pi(s)

My Raspberry Pi (board)

I've been following the Raspberry Pi project since before they were released to the public and should have been one of the first in line to get one! I was waiting in my car at 06:00 on the 29th of February 2012 with my tablet and mobile phone trying to connect to the RS and Farnell websites to order one. The network was slow and the websites were overloaded... so I didn't get an order placed until about 09:10, so missed out on the first shipment.

Anyway, the first one arrived many weeks later and I played with it. Eventually, a 2nd revision board was announced, so I simply had to order one. I gave the first one to my Mum to use as a media centre with Kodi (called XBMC at the time), with the distribution OpenELEC.

The new one, I originally bought for playing around with and had the intention to hook up some electrickery to do fancy things (well I am an electronics engineer that used to designs parts of radar for fighter aircraft after all) - but I just never found the time. So, it became a computer for the boys to play with. However, since X.org (X Windows System) hadn't been optimised for the GPU inside the Pi, even the simple GCompris was incredibly slow. So, the time came to swap it with my old media PC, knowing that the Pi is more than capable of playing 1080p video.

It ran OpenELEC with only really one other thing: Music Player Daemon (MPD) to allow me to play music through my amplifier without having to turn the TV on. It's now spare however.

Then I had a cunning idea (after several long journeys in in the car with the kids in the back)... an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot with a selection of videos for the kids and some music for me and the wife. The kids could then have tablets in the back running Kodi (getting media from this server) and whoever is in the passenger seat can control the tablets from their smartphone in the front seat, without having to stretch around. (note that the kids are too young to be able to read, so can't operate Kodi themselves). This obviously required me to buy another Pi!

My Raspberry Pi 2

Of course, once the Raspberry Pi 2 was announced, I simply had to order one that day, literally a few minutes after they went on sale... it arrived the following day and I was most pleased!

Then what does the Raspberry Pi foundation do? They release a Pi Zero and then on their 4th birthday, a Pi 3... well guess who bought both of them as soon as they went on sale too?! Of course, the moment the Pi Zero W was announced on their 5th birthday - well, you get the jist!

There are a few models that I don't have though: A-Model, Compute Module and Compute Module 3.

With all of these Pis, I had to juggle them around to make best use of them. So, my original B model (gav-pi1) is now the Kitchen Jukebox and a Pi3 (gav-pi5) has become the home media centre - this time running LibreELEC and Music Player Daemon.

The Pi2 (gav-pi3) sits in a cracking media player style box: Plusberry Pi that I backed on Indiegogo (gav-pi5 used to, but the internal PSU wasn't up to the job for the Pi3 - higher current required). It will be used to let the boys play with gadgets like Flotilla and Cannybots which were both Kickstarter projects that I backed (although Cannybots cancelled the project due to difficulties, but hopefully it'll come to market soon). It'll be the lab model!

So, here are my current Raspberry Pi projects:

Name (DNS) Model Project Operating System
gav-pi1 B (v2.0) Kitchen Jukebox Raspbian Lite
gav-pi2 B (v2.0) Awaiting project None
gav-pi3 2 (v1.1) Home Media Centre LibreELEC
gav-pi4 Zero (v1.2) Awaiting project None
gav-pi5 3 (v1.2) Home Media Centre LibreELEC
gav-pi6 Zero W (v1.1) Awaiting project None
gav-pi7 3 (v1.2) Wee Red Masq Raspbian
gav-pi8 3 (v1.2) Car Media Server v2.0 Raspbian Lite

These projects are old / temperarily on hold (perhaps waiting for another Pi to arrive)

  • Car Media Server (obsoleted by Car Media Server v2.0)
  • The Lab Model (may actually sell my Plusberry Pi as Farnell's Pi-Desktop will be arriving soon. Basically, it was originally designed for B-models, and the on-board regulator just can provide bearly enough juice for a Pi2 and definitely not enough for a Pi3, so the Pi inside it throttles its CPU)

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[ Page last updated Sun 27th Aug 2017 | viewed 2704 times ]