computers suck

Ahh, the smell of charring FR-2 …

Mike Cook’s Raspberry Pi Breakout Board. My first stripboard build. No, I’m not showing you the solder side …

computers suck

Raspbian ftw!

Raspbian is good. If you haven’t upgraded your Raspberry Pi to run it — or any other hard float distro — then you should. It makes the little board seem positively zippy.

The processor on the Pi is an odd beast. It’s an ARMv6, somewhere between the ARMv5 that the original Debian distro supported, and the ARMv7, which has to have hardware floating point support. The Pi’s processor has floating point in hardware, but it wasn’t supported in the first distribution. Raspbian fixes this, and also has a nice hardware setup wizard (which I wish I’d known about before I spent a while preconfiguring the SD card on another Linux box, grr).

My highly unscientific benchmark of how fast a computer is is encoding an audio file with ‘lame -V2′. If it comes out faster than real time, it’s fast enough. My first trial in late June came out at a dismal 27% real time — so that would mean that a 4 minute song would take 14′ 49″ to encode. Very poor. Trying it again with Raspbian today gave me 209% real time — so that same song would be done in 1′ 55″. Much better.

While I was fossicking about with the Pi, I switched its power adapter over to a battery-backed outlet on my UPS. With summer storms, our power has been a bit glitchy, and the tiny USB power supply wasn’t able to ride through any of them. This, I hope, will allow me to have an uptime better than the time between storms …

I also made this last week:

It’s a GPIO breakout, a sort of home made Adafruit Pi Cobbler. It’s on a tiny 13×4 fragment of stripboard. The soldering was fiddly, as stripboard is only single sided, so there was much fine tipped soldering iron action (and swearing). I now have the parts to built Mike Cook’s Breakout board with zener diodes providing protection, but this will do for simple applications if I’m careful.

computers suck

not overthinking Raspberry Pi enclosures one bit …

I was half way through marking out the Raspberry Pi‘s shipping box to cut out as an enclosure

rpi shipping box

… when I spotted a SparkFun box from an Arduino shield. Aha! Nice thick corrugated card that was reasonably easy to cut with a very sharp knife.

fits nicely

<voice_of_experience>NB: At this point it would have been much wiser to have inserted a memory card before laying this out.</voice_of_experience>

cut out slots for connectors on lid

You’re going to have to cut out slots for connectors on the side of the lid. I marked out the path of the lid by closing the box and shading the path that went by the hole I’d cut. Basically, any cardboard you see passing by the hole has to be cut out.

now with memory card

Now with memory card — and you can see I was a bit off.

the pain of misalignment

The pain of misalignment, as seen by the HDMI plug. Knives out!

finally all snugged into the box

It’s finally all snugged into the box. It’s not going to move about with all the connectors holding it in place.

don't forget the cutout for the video cable

Don’t forget the cutout for the video cable in the box flap. I only caught this at the very last moment.

The Raspberry Pi does run faintly warm in the box. I suspect with the warmth, and all the little cutouts, this will shortly become an A-1 Special spider habitat.


A not-over thought Raspberry Pi box #raspberrypi

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computers suck


Raspberry Pi is in the house.