While the Raspberry Pi is not the perfect hacker-friendly computer, it has done a lot of good. Some reasons off the top of my head:
1. Providing a low cost computer has given many people access to computers. Giving more people access to the web, email, an office suit, a programming environment AND giving people the ability of safely tinker without the fear of bricking an expensive device.
2. Introduced many different types of people to the FOSS landscape of powerful tools (e.g. distros such as Debian, tools such as Python).
3. The Raspberry Pi foundation has paid developers to write/optimise FOSS (e.g. paid Collabora to optimise WebkitGTK+ -- I think some Wayland work was also done).
4. Built on top of existing FOSS tools (e.g. building Raspbian on top of Debian), instead of doing everything on their own in a proprietary fashion. This has no doubt also helped to introduce new people into these communities.
This is a really good counter-point to all the "locked down" (hacker unfriendly) devices like smart phones and tablets.
>The Pi has not actually been all that cheap lately compared to the competition.
I'm not a big fan of the RPi Foundation & it's relationship with BroadCOMM, but which competition are you referring to? I tried searching for RPi-like boards a while back but only came up with HardKernel & the bananaPi, and I don't think either is a proper competitor.
Oh, and that Olimex article smells of FUD. As they themselves point out, the price they were quoted for the SoC in the C.H.I.P. wouldn't be competitive - it's the same as a modern quad core SoC for a outdated single core. It's not a new die either, just another (possibly repackaged) version of the old and cheap Allwinner A13, so there's little in the way of R&D costs to recoup.
(Although it lacks WiFi AC that the new chromecast has, and probably way weaker graphics, but a cheap WiFi adapter or ethernet and having most stuff streamed should be workable.)
This irks me a bit with the new "$5" RPi. Yes, it's $5… For a device without a power cord, without networking, and where you need adapters (and/or solder on a UART) to plug anything into it.
And soon you're paying four times as much for the accessories than for the RasPi.
Who uses ethernet anymore?
The ELM 327 data sheet (this is the chip in most OBD devices you'll find on amazon): http://elmelectronics.com/DSheets/ELM327DS.pdf
Wikipedia's article on OBD PIDs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OBD-II_PIDs
"A complete guide to hacking your vehicle bus on the cheap & easy": https://theksmith.com/software/hack-vehicle-bus-cheap-easy-p...
There's a PyOBD python module out there (my carputer is built in python), but it's a fairly simple process so I just rolled by own using pyserial.
My issue is with the Pi's use of micro USB for power, I'd rather it use a barrel connector, it's not like it doesn't have the space. Yes, I know the choice is based on the presumption that everyone already has a micro USB power adapter from a cell phone. The use of micro USB for power on this Pi Zero makes a lot more sense given the form factor.
Yes. Phone chargers provide plenty of power for the Pi itself, but once you add several USB devices like wifi/ethernet you'll need beefy ones.
But even that is normally not much of a problem, because (especially on the B+) each device has their own port. If you plug several into a hub, however, you'll quickly exceed the hub port's power rating. Hence the need for an active hub.
I seriously doubt about your first point. Adding the cost of accessories (mouse, keyboard, screen) and a shipping cost, Raspberry Pi costs the same as a decent, used laptop that can be used to install a full Linux distro. Even getting Raspberry Pi Zero with essential kit (cabels + the smallest SD card) to my country rises its costs to 20£, add the cost of accessories, and you can get another working used laptop (and as a bonus Ethernet/WiFi connection which RPi Zero lacks).
Don't get me wrong, Raspberry Pi is great for tinkering and home projects, I have much respect for what they are doing, but getting "computer to every home" is not it's strongest point.
When I (only ~5 years ago) took GCSE (last compulsory qualification) 'IT' - even though it was the slightly different course for 'more able' pupils - we were learning how to make Flash animations, use MS Office, Windows Movie Maker, and sorry things like that.
Forget "fifth point" - I think it's impact on schools is #1.
Curious about that.
(really, no needs to downvote me. I would love to see this thruth, just sceptical)
Not saying it proves or disproves anything. I'm also interested in this aspect of cheap-o-computing
The way it's designed now, it's kind of unusable for anything useful without making it a 3X larger package. Add a Wi-Fi dongle and the converter from regular to micro-USB is about the size of the board itself. And since it only has 1 USB port, you'll need a full-blown hub to connect any other stuff like sensors, keyboards, or whatnot.
From the differences amongst the Arduino, I see the hdmi as a necessary evil. Otherwise it'd be too cumbersome to debug.
That's where the Pi excels since it has a micro-SD slot (and a much faster CPU of course). But then, no Wi-Fi ...
Done then abandoned. Doesn't work with their currently shipping hardware/OS.
The cost makes it a great choice for students with less resources.
This is easily my pocket pc now.
Some people are bound to gripe about the "lack" of ports but its not like this one displaced the A or B models. Its just another spin of the concept where you don't have to pay for expensive physical parts you don't need. Its a linux server at a price cheap enough to buy one for each little project you want to do and then leave it there. Makers rejoice.
I've got to hand it to the Raspi folks. They've really done an outstanding job creating their product line and getting it out to the masses. When they started, there was nothing but a sea of vaporware and "next-year" promises in the inexpensive SBC linux world. I rather famously doubted them at first. I am very happy to have been wrong.
It needs to reach a tipping point so the price drops but we're probably only a year away.
I agree that it's not a great platform, though. I personally prefer STM32 these days; it's dirt cheap (a basic development board is <$5) and powerful (72 MHz / 20 KB RAM / 128 KB flash on one of those boards). I believe there's even a way to integrate it into the Arduino IDE nowadays!
You can get more performance for less money with other boards, but you'll have to figure out a lot more stuff on your own.
By contrast, I have several Arduino boards sitting here, and never found a good use for them. For me the appeal of the Pi lies in the combination of low energy usage, low price, networking, and comparatively high computing power. Once you get over the "woah, wasting an entire computer just for [insert menial task]" barrier, it's simply incredible what this single component enables you to cook up on a whim. The Pi allows me to make things that are not yet (or will never be) available commercially.
However, I would not say this thing is necessarily useful for all hackers or nerds. It's only useful if you have ideas for small, self-built devices that require programmable intelligence. Take note that this is also fundamentally different from the stated purpose of the Pi, as stated by its manufacturer.
I lost track of this idea a few years ago, so the situation may have changed. But if it hasn't, I see the following options for you:
1) find a cloud-synced scale that offers an SDK or at least some way of retrieving the data from the cloud.
2) buy a low-cost digital scale, take it apart and see what you can do with a voltmeter and a soldering iron. At the very least, you should be able to hook into the raw analog weight data which you could feed to a Pi with an A/D board. The nicer solution would be to siphon off the digital value. Even in scales where one chip does everything you could still try to pick up data going to the LCD. However, that might require some epic cabling and soldering, not sure it's worth it.
3) cheesing it: hook up a networked camera and point it to the scale's display. You can do this with any old android phone and a remote webcam app. Have the software on the Pi (or some other computer) pull the image when you step on the scale, run OCR on it, write the value out to wherever you want.
Yes, in principle. If they are not obfuscating and/or encrypting their data, which is a big if. And you'd be bound to keeping that packet sniffer online forever, piping matching data to where you need it.
I had a conversation the other day about side projects. People would ask me what I did for side projects, since I have experience in software, electrical engineering, control systems, mechanical assemblies, etc.
My answer was generally that at my day job I got to write software to control electromechanical systems with a budget in the millions. What am I going to do on the side to compete with that?
Sound familiar? I'm guessing that a lot of your "I don't know what to do with it" is because even a cheap laptop, desktop, or tablet is so much easier to work with and has pretty much greater capability than the RPi that the latter just sits and gathers dust.
Oh, and if it helps, in addition to my RPi gathering dust, I also have a BeagleBone and about a dozen flavors of Arduino :-) At least I do some consulting work with Arduino code, so they get used a bit.
But recently I used one as an IRC bouncer, and another as a XBMC host.
Before that I just wanted to see how arch+dwm+emacs would feel on a 700MHz prev-gen. ARM CPU. Acceptable. I tried to underclock it down to my first desktop computer freq (p75), I've never seen linux run on such slow freq.
I also enjoyed the pre-compiled cross compiler so I could write factorial on my x64 machine and then deploy it on my rpi cluster of 2. None of this is amazing and no hard requirement on a pi (I could have done the same in VMs or with MIPS emulators but ... it would be more setup and less toying).
Impulse buy for most.
ps: One more major downer for me, hardware compatibility, too frail. SDCard would fail, usb would fail, first psu would not push enough amps ... It made you realize how the ATX desktops shielded you. And now I was at the point where I couldn't be sure of anything without researching wikis for hours. Again electricity.
* ZNC for IRC connectivity
* connected to backup server for incremental backups
* connected to backup server for bittorrent downloads
* media server streams bittorrent downloads to macbook
* test web server
* git server
* owncloud or ftp server for sharing files
* controls light switch via http->gpio
* nes emulator through hdmi to tv with usb nes controller
* ddclient for dynamic DNS of c1.jrcii.com on afraid.org
* Run printer jobs/server
* snort + snorby
* web SDR
* WPA2 cracker
* in-room temp humidity to menubar and blinds
* pet feeder/waterer
As for hardware projects... I've never had an idea for one I'd actually want or care for. Things like a lightbulb that flashes when you get a tweet, and that reads it out loud when you wave your hand infront of it... pet feeders... etc I can do without. Would be fun to build but I'm so busy these days I can only motivate myself to make time if I like the end product I'm building, too.
That said, they have been used in the past for various things - a simple SSH server, a networked webcam, a serial interface for my Atari ST, and I've even done some tinkering with a breadboard and the GPIO, so I have had some use out of them at least.
But It's good to know. The down-vote seems unnecessary.
The command-line interface for omxplayer is a bit verbose, so I wrote a basic wrapper in BASH, so all I need to do is type "play <url>" and the video will begin streaming after a 10-second buffer. I keep a Screen session open on the Pi so I can drop in and command it from anywhere. At any given point, that little Pi can be simultaneously playing 1080p video, while downloading another two videos in the background. Incredibly capable little devices!
It feels a lot like a tipping point for something.
Old, old business model - cut the headline price to the bone, make it back on cables.
I've recently figured out that there's no point in designing your own PCB for placing sensors at home, when you can get an Arduino and an ESP8266 for $5; add power (and some ~$0 of voltage regulation) and you have a base station. Or just buy NodeMCU for $3 and skip on wiring Arduino and ESP8266 together.
If I get an ESP8266, I can have something that run code, sit on my home network wirelessly and use it to do things like report on sensor inputs? Am I missing some larger expense that would be required as this seems very cheap compared to other options I've seen.
I have done exactly this, it sends values to an MQTT server on my NAS every second or so, which the NAS then adds to Graphite and plots them in Grafana. It also has some logic to act on these values and send commands back, like turning lights on and off, etc.
I feel like this comment could be turned into a popular blog post.
I'll write up the details, but this is a good chunk of it.
I'm pretty disheartened, I'll try some more and either succeed or go back to an Arduino over serial... Do you have any experience with making it not crash?
By the way, if you don't want to keep checking the comments, you can follow me on Twitter at @stavros and experience my frustration first-hand. I'll be posting about it there.
Just be careful not to connect the 5V VCC to the ESP8266, it will probably kill it.
You need to run it on 3.3v which means 3.3v versions of your sensore or external level shifting. You've got limited IO compared to, say, Arduino.
But of you've got 3.3v sensors - yeah - all you need is an ESP8266 and some way of providing 3.3v. (And probably some pulldown/up resistors and decoupling caps...)
And given the power, you can start offloading computation on what would otherwise be "dumb" control/data acquisition units. Hell, with that much compute you can start running serious DSP on it, which opens some additional use cases.
My current solution (to be deployed in a week or two, after I get home): $2 Chinese fast charger with 4 USB ports (2x 2A, 2x 1A). I had a chance to test them personally before buying; they're decent enough for the task and cheap enough to buy a bunch. You can then use either an Arduino ($2-3 with USB cable) and ESP8266, or NodeMCU + $3 USB cable.
The price on Aliexpress is stunningly high though; I bought it for something like $2-$3 in person. I guess this is one of those cases (I've noticed a few), where Chinese just leave the same price numeric value but change the unit from CNY to USD.
Are you sure about this? It doesn't sound... legal.
But if you are not planning on using shields you can get arduino mini for ~$1.3 or nano for ~$1.8
You can get a Pro Mini clone for less than $1.50.
A full-size Arduino R3 clone (with a cheaper USB chip, the CH340G) is less than $3 with free shipping.
They can't even have a profit margin with that price point. So why not open-source it anyway to let go of the burden of manufacturing? That would be a great boost for the Raspberry platform.
Or at least it used to be so; sadly, in the last few years the US was pressuring Chinese government to crack down on it. Anyway, you can read more about this phenomenon here: .
Oh, and one more thing. It may not apply to RPi in terms of cloning it because it's still quite a niche product, but in general, they actually recycle electronics here. Like, seriously, when you throw away your smartphone, it'll likely end up in China for desoldering. So will your laptop. The amount of desoldered components and especially ICs available for sale is staggering. I have no data for this, but I'm pretty sure people here are making small-scale production runs out of recycled ICs. So Broadcom may not sell you their chip, but the lady on the first floor of SEG building in Shenzhen just might.
BTW., I love how they recycle components so much, and how it leads to interesting situations sometimes. For instance, I recently got my phone fixed - $15 and 15 minutes of waiting was all it took to get the front half of Galaxy S4 replaced with a brand new part (screen + touch surface + glass + box) and to get a new camera (electronics, lens and all). The equivalent repair at home would cost me around $240 and would take a few days. The secret of such cheap and fast repair? They took the broken parts from me. They'll regain 90% of value of that repair by simply replacing broken subcomponents in their own time, and then pushing the fixed modules back onto the market.
 - http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?cat=20
And she will also happily affix a holographic "genuine" sticker to the part and package it in "original" "tamper proof" packaging. Just like brand new!
don't have any data on that either. but I'm guessing it is more likely than getting what you ordered.
I'm curious to see how far optimisations could go. Analagous to the old consoles where developers could squeeze incredible performance out (compared to the equivalent processors elsewhere) since it was so uniform. e.g. the later games on a nintendo or neo geo were incredible compared to what was capable on a typical 8/16 bit computer of the time.
A $5 version is just going to accelerate this ecosystem... looking forward to it.
I know there are ethical implications here, but that doesn't mean that something like this shouldn't or won't exist eventually.
You could use it more easily for hosting hidden services though, as those only require an outbound connection to be made to the Tor network. Hidden services on a hidden device.
I am very optimistic about the future, given that people (and children) these days have trivially cheap access to powerful programmable and easily connectable computers, and hopefully they'll start to demand more and more that all their other devices are equally hackable. If most people have a microcontroller at home that they made themselves that controls the coffee maker, they will want to be able to connect other stuff around the house up, and that can only be done with open protocols.
The next few years are going to be very interesting on the maker scene.
I ported the web interface for pi-hole to Go single executable (https://github.com/girishso/pi-hole-web)
Now looking for something interesting to do on my second pi!
Edit: Added pi-hole-web link.
I have a pi as a media server* connected to a projector via HDMI, that reads media files from a NAS on my home network; very efficient and lightweight.
I will definitely try pi-hole; maybe I can have both running on the same pi.
* via Raspbmc, which I just found out has apparently ceased to exist...
Try OSMC , it's a massive improvement over Raspbmc and is being developed actively. Works like a charm.
If I'm correct, the main Raspbmc dev went over to OSMC a while back.
I might upgrade to a 2B though, it's probably a lot faster (the current setup tends to freeze a little on rapidly changing frames).
Both of mine are perfectly stable at that speed.
I have ATSC (North American Over-The-Air TV) which is similar to DVB-T. I use an HDHomerun Network TV tuner. I watch using my Pi running OSMC and an Add-on for DVBLink, and when I select record, I use DVBLink software which runs on my Synology NAS. DVBLink however is paid software that can run on the Pi, as well as many other platforms (Windows, Linux, Asustor, Netgear, QNAP, Synology, Western Digital).
I tried using TVHeadend but found the interface and support of DVBLink to be better.
My other Pi currently runs Volumio (https://volumio.org) for music streaming.
Still haven't done anything truly original, but I learned a lot about the hardware and the kernel writing the scaffolding and plumbing - and hoping that this will make the curve less steep for the ones that do.
Great deal nonetheless, especially when considering the bit where he mentioned being much faster that version 1, which is considerably slow if you ask me.
At last count I've got about 7-8 different devices like this sitting around that I've aspired to play around with at one time or other, all of them have seen way too little use.
I have a Tessel here (Nodejs base micro controller) and never used it...
But I have no idea what I should do with it, haha
LCD screens are like, $100, a mouse is $10-$20 new and low-end keyboards are $10-$30.
At that combined price, why does it matter if the computer is $25 or $5?
And if one is going to outlay the 150 bucks in peripherals, they might as well spend a bit more than $5 on the computer to get a significantly better computing experience.
Is there anything else going on here? Do they have a different approach that I'm not getting? It feels like, yeah, Moore's law is great and computers are cheap, but once RPi got to around or <$50 (which it did with the first version anyway), the computer was already cheaper than everything you needed to plug in to it.
In countries like India, that's expensive. Not prohibitively, but you think twice before using a Pi for a project. I'm currently studying at a tech institute and have been part of the group trying to get folks to do more tech. Generally we focus on Arduinos for freshmen because they're 3x/4x as cheap as a Pi and easy to get your hands on. I'd love to have more folks doing projects with Pis, but it's just too expensive.
Peripherals? They're lying around. You can find an old monitor or TV anywhere, or just share one with an existing machine. A lot of projects with Pis don't even need peripherals.
On the flip side, I don't need a screen for all my computers. Some are network devices now (SSH only) and some share the same screen because I use them for different things at different times.
>a mouse is $10-$20 new
Who are you quoting there? It's not the article.
Is Raspberry Pi being marketed at beginners, or for conventional desktop use? That wasn't my impression.
IMO the Raspberry Pi Zero is more of a reaction to the C.H.I.P $9 computer on Kickstarter and not a cheap computer for people who cant afford a full size Pi.
Maybe it also makes it easier to do more daring things with it? it it breaks it's only $5.
A mouse is optional too, you can do everything you need to from the keyboard.
So really, it's only a keyboard that you need.
To be honest the cheapest android phone costs 60 bucks, so I wonder if there should not be some attempt to have a development suite that can be usable with a touch screen.
The use cases for such a device go as far as one's imagination.
Sure, it won't have the same IO capabilities as there's much more layers but it will be pretty close and I don't really need great performance anyways.
I guess, I'll have to switch to the Pi, it's not even a fair race at this point.
(luckily for me, I was mostly writing the SaaS that would work with the Arduino and only spent about a full day's work doing C/C++ coding so far)
Such step would increase price, I know, but AFAIK, most people are almost always buying either wifi or bluetooth dongles anyway.
All in all, RPi ables to deliver exciting, rather (for me) unexpected and most importantly great and user-friendly products.
But still the best thing will be that:
- you will not need any dongles
- can embed your project immediately
- better compatibility with hardware and software (hopefully) :)
99% problems you'll see on your RPi, you can find a solution to them in 5 minutes with Google.
Maybe it will sound like nitpicking and also RPi has versatility and extensibility for rapid development. Want add camera? No problem. Connect to screen? No problem. Few USB devices? No problem. GPIO control? No problem.
Probably it's just a rant with possibly very long discussion, but if you do not know what crazy or fun thing you going to do tomorrow, RPi probably got your covered, whereas others - not so much. So if RPi (let's say the 'normal' one, not the Zero) had builtin WiFi and BT, personally I would be covered in any way I need and would not need any dongles at all.
No. The Raspberry Pi GPIO header doesn't include all pins, and in particular it doesn't include pins that were used for other peripherals, such as the camera and display interfaces.
I've seen some variants on the "Kippah" to directly drive VGA.
The sheer amount of "stuff" you get for $5 (albeit USD) is staggering.
I am designing some simple electronics gadgets for Burning Man, and the electronics (low-end MSP430 based) for that is costing me a significant portion of $5 yet its significantly less powerful.
I know, I know, volume is a key issue, but honestly, that doesn't make it any less impressive to me.
Probably a neat little board too, but unlikely to be $5. It's at £11.88  ex VAT ex shipping at farnell UK (and can't be ordered anyway) -- that's more like nearly $20 these days.
That pi zero might become an alternative (for me) to the Olinuxino Micro  and the NanoPi  -- these are ARM9 based so even more dated than the Pi Zero; however I can boot these two in 0.7 seconds to an application, so they've been the first draft of quite a few professional projects for me...
- A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor
- 1GHz ARM11 core (40% faster than Raspberry Pi 1)
- 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM
- A micro-SD card slot
- A mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
- Micro-USB sockets for data and power
- An unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header
- Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
- An unpopulated composite video header
- Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm
And if you're into shader programming, the GPU has a 24 GFLOP shader unit.
Only suitable for very specialised purposes, but astonishingly fast.
I ordered one from PiHut in the UK because that was the cheapest I could find (AUD$16 including shipping).
Also, the compute module has support for USB Slave mode but there is no documentation for this - I'd like to see some expansion in this area as well.
Or choosing of a CPU with a MII interface to allow real GBit or, heck, fiber/powerline/wifi adapters...
And you could choose where the pin-outs leads - either straight out to connect to some electronics on the outside, or straight down to a router in the bottom.
Then you could dedicate some pins on all boards to link to the router, making for a small compact HPC setup (easy to ventilate too) and connect stuff like per-module LED rows for module status info and whatever else you might like.
Bonus point for a "split" tower with modules on both sides, folding down like some toolboxes do: https://www.howdentools.com/data/howden/ul/1406847600/140933...
Of course if you could guarantee a production run of 5 million then a contemporary PC/104 board could probably cost as little as a ras-pi.
Note that there's PC/104 the concept and form factor, and another concept with the same name was a 104 pin header that was vaguely a PC/AT bus. After all, S-100 can do almost anything so an extra 4 pins shouldn't hurt anything LOL. Anyway my point is if you find references to the 80s era 286-AT level of performance bus, don't worry for a decade there's been stackable PCI equivalents and all that.
Something to think about WRT "limited" PC/104 bus speed is its not like spec-ing gamer graphics cards... if the purpose of the bus is to connect a 4 kilosamples/sec 12 bit A/D converter, even something as slow as RS-232 would not be a limiting factor, for example.
Probably would be more plausible when high speed optical links becomes cheap and ubiquitous enough so that a single thin cable can be drawn from each module to an PoE equipped router, so there's not a large mess of wires. Then the on-chip pinouts could be used independently of the networking.
On a long term view from many decades of observation, the digital world is bifurcating into one world thats 100% utilized all the time in data centers or real time control or video gaming, and another world that's 99.999% idle but when its active the users want it infinitely fast. And the two worlds don't talk or cross pollinate and are gradually using separate hardware.
Having spent some time in electronics labs, given experimental results with smoke emitting diodes, and given the GPIO ports, there is minimization of the total cost of hardware experiments. If you assume 5% of boards will be destroyed per PID/motion control lab, then minimization of board cost is key to minimization of cost of running the lab. Implementing a PC that costs 20 times as much but provides 100 times the performance would only result in increasing the cost of the lab by 20 times.
There is also a total wattage ecological argument. I have a pi running a 3-d printer and it works great and only draws a couple watts, but the web application is extremely fat and pointlessly featureful "because the cycles are there so may as well use them" and its not like installing a 100 watt PC would make better prints, it would just make an even more elaborate UI to use all available CPU cycles thus burn more coal. A 300 watt tor node doesn't really do anything a 3 watt tor node does, other than burn 100 times the coal.
A fair accounting includes the fragility of software, not just hardware.