Wednesday, 5 September 2012

My Raspberry Pi

My latest gadget arrived on my desk yesterday. I haven't had a chance to turn it on yet. It features a 10/100 Ethernet port, 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 RCA port, 1 3.5mm audio jack, SD Card slot for the OS, 1 micro USB connector for power and a number of other not so obvious connectors.

I've looked through the schematics and figured out what the other connectors do, what access I have and what are my current posibilities. So far I've figured there's a DSI port (Digital Serial Interface) for use with a touch screen. Nintendo DSi screens would be an example of the screen that can be used here, some other possible screens feature in the Apple iPhone or other Smart phones. There's a CSI camera connector as well, possible use could be something like the XBOX's Kinect. There's another connector which allows JTAG connection to the Broadcom SOC, which may he helpful in debug at some point, but I can't imagine it being much use without more specifics about the Broadcom BCM2835. The last connector is a large connector with GPIO's, I2C, Serial and a SPI interface as well as pins to provide 5V and 3.3V to external circuitry.

The one difficulty I can see so far is power. The Model B variant can use as much as 1.1A from a 5V source. The power comes from a micro USB port, which most people would power from a USB port on a desktop, laptop or TV. In most cases, USB ports only provide 0.5A at 5V. If the device tries to draw more current than available, then a drop in voltage will occur, causing some parts of the device to behave outside specification. This is all mentioned on the Raspberry Pi (RasPi) forums. Looks like I may need to sort myself out with a decent power source or build one myself. That's just my initial thoughts for the moment.

With regards what I'm going to do with it, I have a few ideas, most of which are robbed from everyone
  1. Multimedia server attached to my TV, giving me access to online streaming of videos, movies, tv series and music.
  2. Touch Screen Hi-Fi system, could be troublesome, no drivers exist yet for DSI port.
  3. Home Automation using zigbee around the house, turning on and off lights, controlling temperature, monitoring power and all that kind of thing.
  4. Serious car stereo upgrade providing music, name of song and easier use while driving.
  5. Attach a camera to allow for some sort of XBOX kinect gaming platform.
I'll have bigger and better ideas once I turn the thing on. Watch this space :)