Linux Single Board Computers

Power input and output limits on the Raspberry Pi 4B and 400

(July 29, 2022) The Raspberry Pi can power devices attached to the GPIO pins, or to the USB bus. But it's easy to accidently overload its power system.

Using multiple USB disks on a Raspberry Pi OS on RPI 4

(July 16, 2022) With a USB powered hub and a little bit of configuration, we can attach as many USB drives to a Raspbere Pi as we like, and automatically mount them like on macOS.

Manually build a portable WiFI router/NAS/Docker on Raspberry Pi 4

(July 8, 2022) Raspberry Pi OS (Linux) can be configured to support high end WiFi router configurations. No software like OpenWRT or RaspAP is required, if you have the patience to configure it all yourself using the command-line tools.

A portable WiFI router/NAS/Docker using RaspAP on Raspberry Pi 4 with USB/SSD boot device

(July 8, 2022) RaspAP lets us build WiFi routers on Debian-based systems like the Raspberry Pi. It can easily build a complex WiFi router, while running other services at the same time.

Installing OpenWRT on Raspberry Pi 4 using USB boot device

(July 6, 2022) OpenWRT is a professional grade package for Internet routers. With a little work, running OpenWRT on the Raspberry Pi 4 can make an excellent router. But, it's best to use a regular disk rather than an SD card, for reliablity.

How to Boot a Raspberry Pi 4 or 400 from a USB drive

(July 4, 2022) The Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive Linux computer that, by default, boots from a micro-SD card. While this is great for experiments, those using it in a production mode need reliability. The best choice is booting from a regular USB drive instead.

Mounting laptop drives to a Raspberry Pi 4 using ingenious mounting brackets

(February 8, 2020) It is possible to build a Raspberry Pi NAS in a compact space using several laptop style hard drives. The project shown here shows a pair of 2.5 inch drives mounted to a Raspberry Pi 4 using an ingenious bracket. This bracket design makes it easy to mount any Raspberry Pi model with a pair of 2.5 inch laptop-style drives. Then, of course, Open Media Vault can be run giving you a very compact computer and disk drives.

Backup your pictures while traveling without lugging a large computer

(February 2, 2020) When traveling most of us take lots of pictures, and we might have multiple SD cards. So, we take them home with us, insert them into the computer, and what if the SD cards failed? There are expensive boxes from disk drive makers to automate backing up pictures from SD cards, but what if you're a DIY person, and want to do your own backup solution while saving a lot of money. Like many such projects, this one starts with a Raspberry Pi.

Build a multi-drive NAS with Raspberry Pi 4 and several USB drives

(December 4, 2019) In the back of my mind is the question of replacing my Drobo NAS with something more modern. I've had it for about 10 years and surely it's time to replace it. An idea that bounced around recently is a Raspberry Pi 4 with a cluster of USB drives. For example 4 terabyte external portable drives are less than $100 apiece, and would be a small low power disk storage solution. The question is whether a Raspberry Pi is the best file server choice, and whether to leave the drives connected and spinning all day long.

Competitive review, Raspberry Pi 4B versus Jetson Nano

(July 7, 2019) Both the Jetson Nano and Raspberry Pi 4 are new for 2019, and both have powerful specs. This review compares the two to see which is useful for what kind of project. Obviously the Nano costs a lot more, and has a huge edge in GPU as meant for AI projects.

Build an inexpensive spectrometer, and an inexpensive IR video camera, using a Raspberry Pi

(May 22, 2019) Regular spectrometers and infrared video cameras cost a lot of money. With a little effort, and a certain camera module for the Raspberry Pi, it is possible to build both an inexpensive Spectrometer and an inexpensive IR camera. The spectrometer is easily calibrated using light sources with known characteristics - for example a fluorescent light bulb has an emission spectrum governed by the mercury vapor in the bulb, which can be used in calibration. For the IR camera, the presenter found a cheap IR camera module that connects to the Raspberry Pi camera port, and then used Motion Eyes to view the video stream.

The Jetson Nano is a Linux SBC with AI hardware for DIY Artificial Intelligence projects

(May 14, 2019) The Jetson NANO board is a Linux Single Board computer, packaged with GPIO pins and other things meant to be attractive to DIY hardware hackers. While the main CPU is a Quad-core ARM A57 @ 1.43 GHz, what makes this interesting is the 128-core Maxwell GPU by Nvidia. Nvidia is the manufacturer of this board, and the GPU is there to support experimenters developing GPU-based artificial intelligence software.

The UDOO Bolt - revolutionary single-board-computer w/ advanced AMD Ryzen CPU and GPU

(February 12, 2019)

UDOO single board computers are based on x86 CPU's, rather than the typical ARM CPU's used by other SBC's. Therefore UDOO boards have a significant performance advantage, at a cost. With the UDOO Bolt, they've outdone themselves thanks to the capabilities of the Ryzen V1000 family. The UDOO Bolt is the first Single Board Computer using an AMD processor, and the V1000 family gives it phenomenal performance thanks to a 4 core CPU design coupled with a high end GPU and direct support for ethernet, 2x SATA ports, eMMC and more.

pi-top [4] is a Raspberry Pi neatly integrated as a portable IoT computer with OLED display

(January 24, 2019) The latest pi-top product is a very nice case integrating a portable power pack, an OLED screen, four buttons, and access to the GPIO pins. The pi-top team has always sought to make it easier for youngsters to get started on IoT projects with Raspberry Pi's by offering easy-to-use cases. The pi-top [4] is about building portable hand-held gadgets that can interface with real hardware. The kit includes a Raspberry Pi 3B+, the aforementioned case, a battery pack for portable power, and a handful of sensors.

Helios4 ARM-based Linux SBC DIY NAS with 4 SATA ports

(July 19, 2018) The Helios4 is an open source NAS system based on a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU that includes 4 SATA3 ports. Because the board includes SATA ports, the hard drives run at full speed giving better NAS performance. The system runs operating system distributions based on either FreeBSD or Linux, which of course includes NAS systems like Open Media Vault. Finally, a single-board-computer with which to build a low cost low energy consumption do-it-yourself NAS system.

Build a DLP2000 based pocket projector with Raspberry Pi Zero

(June 17, 2018) The TI DLP2000 is a compact low power video projector, and while the evaluation board is meant for the Beaglebone it can be easily wired to a Raspberry Pi Zero W. This project, along with the custom adapter board, makes for a very compact video projector that's easily battery powered.

Build a security camera system with Raspberry Pi Zero and cheap webcams

(June 15, 2018) Implement a full security camera system supporting multiple cameras, with night vision, motion detection, uploading video to Google Drive, all built on the Raspberry Pi Zero platform. The Zero W makes a perfect security camera because of its small size, and the NO-IR camera supports night vision (with IR light source) in a slim case that directly supports the camera.

Build your own inexpensive super-computing cluster with Raspberry Pi 3's

(April 15, 2018) Want a cheap super-computer farm? A Raspberry Pi cluster can pack a lot of computing power into a small space at low energy consumption. Single-board-computers like the Raspberry Pi 3 are inexpensive, consume a miniscule amount of power, run Linux making them instantly accessible by all programmers, and support all kinds of computing tasks, including supercomputing. The Raspberry Pi's themselves run off a USB power supply you might otherwise use to charge cell phones. Simply stack a bunch of them up, wire them to an ethernet switch, and you have a computing cluster on the cheap.

The SunFounder smart Video Car kit for Raspberry Pi

(April 6, 2018) This cool Raspberry Pi-based toy car can roam around, shoot video as it goes, panning and tilting the camera on 2-axes, all of which is sure to make any teenager go "WAY COOL".

Raspberry Pi board and accessories buying guide.

(March 3, 2018) DIY makers around the world are building customized computerized gizmos thanks to the Raspberry Pi, and similar computers. These diminuitive computers pack a lot of computing power, at low energy requirements, and by running Linux they are more approachable than microcontrollers like the Arduino. The Raspberry Pi is the best known of this class of computer. Because of the very large user community, there is a ton of accessories, books, tutorials, and more focusing on the Raspberry Pi.

Creating a Docker Swarm with Raspberry Pi Zero's for easy cluster computing

(November 18, 2017)

Docker is a powerful basis for cloud computing especially if you use Docker Swarm's. This tutorial shows how to autoscale Docker images over a cluster of inexpensive Raspberry Pi Zero computers. It's an interesting way to learn about Docker and using Docker Swarms. The example shows autodeployment of Node-RED instances to individual Pi Zero's which is raises interesting ideas in my mind.

A downside to this example is the laborious setup. Each Pi Zero must have a customized boot SD card created. Seems to me that marrying this idea with the "Cluster HAT" hardware might be easier to manage, since you don't create a customized SD card for each machine in the cluster.

The UDOO Advanced Plus versus Latte Panda - x86 SBC faceoff

(September 3, 2017)

For more information on the UDOO Advanced Plus. Both the UDOO and LattePanda are inexpensive single-board-computers that are useful for building custom computers. This video compares the two, and finds the UDOO is more powerful and more flexible. Both run Windows very well as long as your needs are somewhat modest. Both are more powerful and flexible than the Raspberry Pi, another favorite of building custom computers.

The UDOO Advanced Plus - x86 based single board computer running regular Linux

(August 14, 2017)

The UDOO Advanced Plus is so much higher priced than most single-board-computers that it doesn't fit the Maker Project idea. At $160 or so per board it's not like taking a $35 Raspberry Pi to toss into a project. Where the UDOO shines, though, is as a desktop computer. Because it has an x86 CPU, it runs regular operating systems, and the board includes normal ports for connecting to SSD's and hard disks and whatnot. The peripherals include a pair of M.2 ports for WiFi and SSD support, a SATA to connect up a regular disk, 3x USB3 for high speed peripherals, an HDMI and 2x Mini Display-Port connectors allowing you to connect three large screen monitors, etc. In other words, while the UDOO is a smallish computer, it's got a lot of powerful capabilities.

Inexpensively stream your MP3 collection with Raspberry Pi and Pi MusicBox

(April 10, 2017) Why pay megabucks to buy a commercialized music streaming gizmo that requires a monthly fee? You may already have the MP3 files, and with the right software a simple computer like the Raspberry Pi is sufficient to stream the music anywhere on your home network. The Pi MusicBox software makes it incredibly easy to setup, the only wrinkle being to have a large enough storage device. Fortunately the Raspberry Pi can easily use a USB hard drive.

Build your own security camera system with Raspberry Pi and cheap webcams

(April 7, 2017) You can build a powerful and flexible motion sensing security camera system using open source software on a Raspberry Pi and similar single board computers. The key is the MotionEyeOS that neatly bundles everything you need into a Raspberry Pi image. Simply burn it to an SD card, attach cameras, boot the Raspberry Pi, and start configuring. It easily supports monitoring multiple cameras, which can be USB webcams, WiFi cameras, the Raspberry Pi camera, or other MotionEyeOS instances. I have an original-version Raspberry Pi (low CPU power) driving two cameras and it handles things just fine.

Installing OpenVPN on a Raspberry Pi Zero W, inexpensive security for your peace of mind

(March 31, 2017) Nowadays our personal privacy is being threatened by new government policies. Fortunately the open source world gives us tools with which to secure our lives. This tutorial goes over installing OpenVPN on your home network, giving you a secure method to access resources on your home network from anywhere else. Suppose you have a NAS with many terabytes of data at home, but you're traveling thousands of miles away and need to access that data. A VPN service on your home network provides a porthole through which to do so, provided you have VPN software on the computer you're carrying.

Raspberry Pi Zero W, inexpensive Zero goodness, now with WiFi for just $10

(February 28, 2017) The original Raspberry Pi Zero was a game-changer for inexpensive computers, offering a full-fledged for just $5. The biggest problem was the lack of WiFi. The Raspberry Pi foundation have now fixed that, unveiling the new Zero W with both WiFi and Bluetooth.

OpenMediaVault on Raspberry PI 3 - Plex Media Server Plugin

(Sep 24, 2016) A short video showing you how to setup openmediavault on raspberry pi 3. How to enable Plex Media Server plugin.

How to back up your Raspberry Pi SD card, or copy it to another (larger?) Raspberry Pi SD card

(December 15, 2015) SD Cards aren't exactly the most reliable of data storage devices. What happens if you've put hundreds of hours of work into a Raspberry Pi system, it's all on your SD Card, and the card craps out. Have you saved your work? Or maybe you need to move to a larger SD Card because you've run out of space. Or maybe you want to duplicate the card to have additional systems. These tasks are pretty easy, but not intuitively obvious. It'll take some time at the command line, but fortunately the commands are easy.