Cep, I'm totally in the dark on this thing but it resembles a microcontroller with graphics and sound. In the photo with the board laying on the antistatic bag, are those logic IO pins at the upper left? Very cool that it supports so many peripherals on such a small PCB.
It's a full-blown computer with graphics capable of rendering movies in full HD at full movie frame rates. It has enough processing and graphics power to play games like Quake 3 at full speed. You can run a web browser, a media player, email, word processor - anything you'd run on a regular PC.
It has a built-in ethernet port, two built-in USB ports (use a USB hub if you need more), a HDMI port for hooking up to a TV or monitor, sound can be routed via the HDMI to your TV or also via an analogue (earphones-type) port. There's also an analogue output video port.
Operating System runs from an SD card. Once the OS (choose from one of several distros of Linux right now) is up, you can access network drives, USB drives, and so on to get extra storage.
The GPIO pins allow the usual digital signals, but you can also run RS232 or I2C etc. over them.
Best of all it only costs $25. Of course, you need a keyboard, mouse, phone charger to act as the power supply, HDMI cable and SD card to get up and running, plus a TV or monitor to connect to - but most people have many of those things already.
Highly recommended if you like playing around with such things. I'm having a blast with mine. I'm also learning Python (the default programming language of the Pi). I know I could have learned Python any time on any computer, but the Pi has motivated me to do it.
If you've never tried Linux systems, the Pi is a great way into them because if you mess things up and brick the system, all you have to do is reformat the SD card, copy an 'image' to it and away you go again. You download the initial SD card images, but once you have the Pi working the way you want, you can make your own SD card images and then revert back to one of those if you later screw things up.
Okay, I am a derper but I want to ask about this thing. lisarea helped us get an ancient, huge laptop with a borked HD running from Linux on a thumb drive, and we used it to access some Internet TV and stuff like that. Bought a wireless keyboard and mouse and everything. Problem, of course, is that this set up requires a whole big fucking laptop sitting on my small and crowded TV furniture.
Can the Raspberry Pi thingies support the wireless keyboard and such and the Internet be run off the wireless router?
Again, I know I am stupid, but I want to be less so so am asking the question
The Raspberry Pi can do that, but it only has two USB ports, and it doesn't have wireless capabilities built-in.
If you want to connect to your wireless router, then you'll need to plug a WiFi 'dongle' into one of the Pi's USB ports.
Do your wireless keyboard and wireless mouse share the same receiver dongle on your current laptop? If so, then you could plug that dongle into one of the USB ports and a WiFi dongle into the other. If not, then you'd also need a USB hub. The Pi and hub together would still be smaller than a laptop, but if you can do without the hub, that's better.
The Pi won't be as fast at regular internet browsing as a laptop, but it's fine for streaming internet TV - probably with better graphics than the laptop when it's doing that.
Setting up the Pi to do what you want will need some geek abilities, especially if your models of WiFi dongle and mouse/keyboard dongle haven't already been checked out by other Pi owners.
You should totally get one on order though anyway!
I second that you should get one. It's a really good media streaming platform. That's pretty much what I'm going to do with mine, although I might actually use ethernet instead of wireless, partly because it's already onboard, and partly just so I can have a solid, wired connection.
You could actually do it yourself, too, and Kiddo's about old enough now that you could work on it with him, even. It's a simple little card and would be a good tool to start showing him basically what the different parts of a computer are and what they do.
I cannot do wired, because the way the house is doesn't allow for it. I figure we must have a dongle for the keyboard and mouse. Now a WiFi one, and presumably it takes some kind of wire to hook to the TV? Oh, can I hook it up to the A/V receiver since all our sound runs through that? A USB hub isn't all that big is it?
Best way to send video to the TV is with a HDMI cable, assuming your TV has a spare HDMI socket. For older TV's the Pi also has a composite video output (phono style connector) but the picture quality isn't as good as via the HDMI port.
The Pi can either output sound via the same HDMI port (to play the sound through your TV) or it also has a 3.5mm audio output (earphone jack - like most computers and mp3 players) that you could hook up to your sound system.
A usb hub (if you need one - and you probably don't) is about the size of the Pi - say four inches by two inches by an inch. But if you need a USB hub, you'll probably need a powered one, which will come with a (wall wart) power supply. You also need a phone charger (or other similar 5 Volt charger with a micro USB connector) to power the Pi. Look for one that puts out close to an amp - some of the smaller ones are a bit too weak to power the Pi properly - especially if you're fitting it with wireless adapters.
I fitted a four port hub to my Pi, so that I could try plugging in USB memory sticks at the same time as the keyboard and mouse. I found that I needed to power the hub, as the Pi doesn't put enough power out of the USB sockets to work a memory stick and a mouse or keyboard at the same time.
The USB 2.0 hub I had was an old 'Trust' one. It used to run hot as the unregulated wall wart put out about 10 volts that then had to be regulated down to 5 volts inside the hub. So I hacked the hub and wired a 5 volt, 2 amp regulated adapter straight into it. I also rigged one of the USB sockets on the hub so it would put out more power than USB sockets are supposed to - and now I use that socket as a power supply for the Pi.
So I'm back to only having one adapter plugged into the mains. The hub is left with three usable ports, plus there is still one spare port on the Pi after connecting to the hub.
I've hooked up a 60GB solid state SATA drive (in a 2.5 inch USB 2.0 caddy) and that is powered by the hub power supply too. I've moved the operating system onto that SSD, so now I only have a tiny SD card for the initial boot. After about a second the SSD is mounted and then the rest of the operating system loads from there. The Pi runs noticeably faster with the O.S. on the SATA drive.
He's been tweaking the little computer to get better performance, like adding a solid state hard drive instead of running off the little SD flash card.
Oh, and futzing with the wiring so he can power the whole thing off a single plug.
I have been mostly ignoring this thread, but a coworker just told me he's been playing with one - his plan is to use it to display the family's multiple calendars in a single place where everyone can see it.
Hmmm. I've been planning something kind of similar--making a little household wiki thing to run on Chumbys. If you can gather any confidential intelligence from your coworker about his setup, just in case he has any good ideas I haven't thought of, I would remunerate you handsomely with some of The Free Thought Forum's finest emoticons.
My main plan, at the moment*, is to build the Pi into a radio control model plane so that the plane can operate in auto-pilot mode.
To handle the low level hardware, I have an Arduino Uno: this is an even smaller board than the Pi - nowhere near as powerful but better, in some ways, at simple hardware stuff. The Arduino connects to the Pi by USB.
The Arduino reads the servo control signals from the radio control receiver and converts them into numbers to pass to the Pi. It reads numbers back from the Pi and these are fed to Arduino outputs that control servo positions. I use one channel as a 'master switch' - if the Arduino sees that channel go to 'manual mode', then it just passes the received signals straight through to the servos - so I can take over and fly the plane myself; the Pi can still see the servo signals, but can't control them in this mode.
The Pi works at a higher level. It will have a GPS receiver for position and speed information and (I hope) a web cam to give extra orientation information and record photos / video for later playback. The Pi will learn the circuit that the plane is being flown over when the plane is in manual mode, and then control the plane around that same circuit when switched to auto-pilot mode.
If I get that far, then I'll probably try to develop the program so that eventually the plane can take off, land and perform stunts, all by itself.
Kiddo's about old enough now that you could work on it with him, even. It's a simple little card and would be a good tool to start showing him basically what the different parts of a computer are and what they do.
Raspbmc is now (release candidate 3) pretty stable and working well. This morning, I was able to listen to music and watch videos shared over my network from uPnp network drives. I also got a local weather report (it automatically knows roughly where you are, from your IP address I suppose). It has easily installed add-ons for browsing Tapatalk enabled forums (such as ), playing internet radio and TV plus loads of extra add-ons that I've not investigated yet. All this via a simple point-and-click interface - no geek actions required whatsoever. There is even an option to add a simple cheap infra red receiver, so you can control it all via your TV or video remote.
It looks to be better than my PlayStation 3 as a media centre, and uses a lot less power! I plan to get a second Raspberry Pi to use for that, so as not to tie up my main 'development machine'