Having my Raspberry Pi and eating it

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So I have finally become the proud owner of a Raspberry Pi! Super exciting and as I have envisioned, have not been sleeping much since I took delivery on Monday afternoon πŸ˜€

To commemorate the 3 month wait since I ordered from Newark/Element14 in the States on that first release day, I took my Raspberry Pi for a spin the past 24 hours on 3 different distros: AlarmPi (Arch Linux ARM Pi), Debian Squeeze for RPi and Fedora Remix 14 for RPi, all ARM versions meant for the Raspberry Pi.

All I can say is:Β  “The Pi is tasty … very very tasty!”

To prep the arrival of more RPi’s onto House4Hackers, I wanted to share some basic “Have your Pi and eat it” advice and comments on what one could keep in mind once you find yourself to also be the proud owner of a Raspberry Pi πŸ™‚

The following pertains to the Raspberry Pi Model B which is the only available model currently shipping:

  • Power: Micro-usb port. Micro-usb cellphone charger is ideal.Β  Need to be rated for 5V. The Pi can take up to 5.25V max, we don’t like burnt Pi! Your power supply should be able to deliver 700mA or more (1000mA thus also good). Apparently 280mA of the 700mA RPi requirement is reserved to power USB devices, thus RPi can run on only 420mA barring USB devices, wow and cowabanga! I used my Samsung Galaxy S2 charger @ 5V/700mA … perfect njum! (Here is the kicker, “she Pi” can even run off 4 x size AA batteries!)
  • Storage: RPi can only boot off SD card, not off USB. I got myself 8GB Kingston SD Cards (Class 4) for R90 (incl Vat). They are actualy Micro SD HC (HC=High Capacity) but these small form factor cards fits inside an SD adapter that is standard SD Card size . I have read that Class 6 seems to be buggy under RPi so I am steering clear for now on Class 6 cards. Any Class 4 SD Cards (2/4/8GB) should do. Raspberry Pi Linux distributions images usually come as a 2GB image file one can directly write to the SD Card. Effectively this means should you have a 8GB SD, you would be chucking away 6GB of 8GB as partition table is also contained as a 2GB in the image. Fortunately, utilities exist to easily expand and repartition once you are up and running, therefore availing the full 8GB for your pleasure.
  • RPi comes with high-definition 1080p HDMI out, this baby supports full 3d bluray playback with a fair amount of GFlops available on the GPU also integrated into the BCM2835 system on chip (SoC).
  • Composite RCA-Video works, but I feel is for emergencies or applications where you have no need for HDMI and/or poorer quality video would suffice.
  • Standard Network socket with 10/100Mbps is driven of the USB2.0 bus, therefore no 1Gbps πŸ™‚
  • USB Keyboard and Mice can be plugged into the 2 x USB 2.0 ports.
  • USB Hubs can work but preferably externally powered ones.
  • The above is some basics, I’ll let ya all explore the rest yourselves.

Once you have a Pi and want to eat some πŸ™‚ , browse over toΒ  http://elinux.org/RPi_Distributions to peruse the many options on Linux distributions available, but some still in the making, for Raspberry Pi. Lots of info all on one page in matrix format.

Also once you are an owner, if you like, go add yourself to the Raspbery Pi Tracker. Seems I was the 5th Gautenger to register.

Remember, it’s not a super computer, but have been compared to a PII 300MHz / 256MB RAM PC, just with a super duper kickass graphics card, freaking small and dirt cheap, yeah!

Be sure to visit House4Hack in Centurion next week Tuesday (5 June) if you want to touch, smell, work on, inspect or generally wanna eat some Raspberry Pi. I’ll try my very best to be in da house to avail my baby and give anyone the chance to see her in action or take her for a spin.

Philip (aka zer0tilt)

Posted in: Raspberry Pi

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