… there is a new Raspberry Pi competitor that is quite affordable. In fact, some folks may view it as a Pi-killer. The $30 FriendlyElec NanoPi M1 Plus has an arguably superior design and layout, plus important integrated features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It even has an IR receiver, onboard microphone, 8GB storage, and both power and reset buttons. Best of all? It is ready to run Debian, Ubuntu Core, and Ubuntu Mate from the start.
Forget fruit, wood is where it’s at when it comes to miniature computing – or at least that’s what the makers of the Pine 64 would have us believe, a rivalling board that undercuts the Raspberry Pi 3.
As far as connectivity goes, you get two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, and HDMI – this little board is capable of piping out 4K video. There’s also a 3.5mm stereo output mini-jack and a microSD slot into the bargain.
It’s been a big week in the world of inexpensive single board computers, and everyone’s talking about the new Raspberry Pi 3. It blows away the competition they say, nobody can touch it for the price.
Almost nobody, that is.
With a lot less fanfare on these shores, another cheap and speedy 64-bit quad-core ARM-based SBC slips onto the market this week, Hardkernel’s Odroid C2. And looking at the specification it seems as though the Pi 3 may be given a run for its money.
When the Raspberry Pi team launched a tiny, low power computer priced at just $35, it was pretty remarkable. But that was 2 years ago, and while the Raspberry Pi has seen a few updates in that time, it’s still powered by the same single-core 700 MHz Broadcomm BCM2835 ARM11 processor.
Over the past few years a number of other single-board computers with more powerful hardware have appeared, but they usually also have higher price tags.
Hardkernel’s ODROID-C1 doesn’t though… it’s a quad-core mini computer that sells for just $35.
Consider that a Raspberry Pi costs $35 (for the higher end model) and for that money you get no case and no power supply. Now look at what you can get for $45, or perhaps a bit more if you want a more powerful device. If you were going to use a Raspberry Pi with XBMC or some other media center software, you might want to wait until the reviews for this device come in (we’d love the chance to review one, if anyone from SolidRun happens to read this!). Note that it has optical audio SPDIF out, which is something the Raspberry Pi doesn’t offer!
I was recently looking into the options to buy a living room “home server” to centralize certain services like file and print server, media server, etc.
It didn’t take me long to realize that for less money I could get a whole legion of small microcomputers that do the same work better and more securely; and use less energy while doing so.
This was of course the pretext to buy my first Raspberry Pi. A few more should follow… This article starts a little series explaining what I did and how I did it. Today, I will look at the first and simplest type of server …
I needed to control a DC motor from my Raspberry Pi’s GPIO port as part of my time-lapse dolly project. I had to be able to turn the motor on for approximately 150ms which would in turn move the dolly along by 3mm.
Did you know that you can measure temperature, from one or more locations, with a Raspberry Pi or Arduino? And that you can do it with as few as two wires (or even just a single wire with ground return, though three wires are preferred if available) connecting to as many temperature sensors as you want to use? Here are a few articles that explain how to do this:
A note on that last link, only “Step 1” is needed to get the temperature sensor working on a Raspberry Pi. All the steps after that are just to install and use their software, which you might not wish to do if you don’t plan on completing their Home Alarm System project.
Note that the DS18B20 temperature sensors are available for only a few dollars at eBay, Amazon, and other places. You can even buy them in the form of a waterproof probe, which would be preferred for outside temperature readings.
By the way, there are more types of 1-Wire Devices than just temperature sensors available. One that seems like it might be useful in Raspberry Pi projects is the DS2413 1-Wire Dual Channel Addressable Switch, though I don’t think many people have explored that option yet. But if I understand it correctly (and I might not, so don’t take my word for it), you could use one or more of those to emulate GPIO pins (sort of) but without any real limitation on the number, and also they could all be placed on the same wire(s) and controlled from the same GPIO pin on the Raspberry Pi or Arduino (maybe even on the same wires that the temperature sensors are on, if you’re also using those?). And there are many other 1-Wire Devices available.
There’s something exciting about crossing the boundary between the abstract world of software and the physical ‘real world’, and a relay driven from a GPIO pin seemed like a good example of this. Although a simple project, I still learned some new things about the Raspberry Pi while doing it.
People are using the Raspberry Pi for many applications these days, including as a VoIP PBX server based on Asterisk. One thing that many people forget is that you can only write to an SD card a limited number of times before it fails. Asterisk in particular likes to write a LOT of information to log files, and let’s face it, if you are honest and you are like 99% of Asterisk system administrators, you will admit you never read them unless perhaps you suspect there is a problem with your system. Yet every one of those many writes reduces your SD card’s lifespan by a small amount.
So with that in mind, here are links to a few threads that may or may not be helpful, in no particular order: