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Raspberry Pi 2 Model B- an overview

Last Monday, the Raspberry Pi foundation announced the launch of the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. Being a massive geek, I had to purchase one, and on Tuesday evening, one landed on my doorstep.

The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is a huge improvement compared to both the first and second revisions of the original Raspberry Pi Model B. The original Model B had a 700 MHz single-core ARM1176JZF-S processor and 256MB RAM. The newly released Raspberry Pi 2 Model B features a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and 1GB RAM. Saying that it’s much faster is an understatement!

The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B also features 4 USB ports, 40 GPIO pins, HDMI port, Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio jack/composite video port, camera interface, display interface, micro SD card slot and a VideoCore IV 3D graphics core. All for just under £30 which is an absolute bargain!

The new Raspberry Pi will also be capable of running Windows 10. Microsoft announced the version of Windows 10 for the Pi will be free and will run natively. Currently, the Maker community is being encouraged to register as a Windows Internet of Things Developer. The link is- https://dev.windows.com/en-us/featured/raspberrypi2support.

Though I haven’t yet had much time to play with the new Raspberry Pi, I’m really excited about the development. I think the foundation are making computing education more accessible and affordable. Purchasing my first Pi inadvertently taught me about electronics, and it even got me soldering again (something I hadn’t done since my first year of High School). If a Pi has had that effect on me, a seasoned nerd, it must be fantastic for those just starting to learn about computers.

Anyway, I’m off to think up some new projects for my new Pi!

Benchmarking Resources

Since I have a variety of Raspberry Pi models in my possession, I wanted to benchmark them, out of sheer curiosity. When looking for suitable benchmarking programs, I found a link to Roy Longbottom’s site, where he has a large collection of such tools. The website can be found at http://www.roylongbottom.org.uk/Raspberry%20Pi%20Benchmarks.htm.

I’ve got the results from my Model B, Model B Plus, and the newly released Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. Once I’ve analysed the log files produced, I’ll write a blog detailing my findings. Admittedly this is the first time I’ve tried benchmarking anything!

Playing with single-board computers

raspberry pi

Over the last few years, I’ve been tinkering with small gadgets. It all started when I got one of the original Raspberry Pi Model B devices. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about Linux, and what you can do with these tiny computers. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with additional single-board computers- namely the Raspberry Pi B+ Model, the Arduino Uno and the Intel Galileo (1st generation).

Compared to the original, the Raspberry Pi B+ Model has 4 USB ports rather than 2, an extended GPIO header and a micro SD slot. I received the new Pi days after it was released and I was impressed. The layout of various ports have also been rejigged to allow power cables etc to sit in a “better” position. Additionally, I purchased a Pibow Coupe case from Pimoroni which allows for easy access to the GPIO header. This permitted me to place an LCD screen on top of Pi and build a Lego frame around it to make it sit upright. I then wrote a small program that scrolls my Twitter feed across the screen (I’m still making improvements to my Python script).

The Arduino Uno was purchased a while ago but I didn’t really do anything with it. I have been learning more about microcontrollers in my spare time and decided to see what I could make. Thus far, I’ve made an LED on the board blink (…amazing, huh?), connected an old Nokia 5510 display to it to scroll data and connected retro bubble LEDs, originally used in the Hewlett-Packard 3x-series of calculators. The bubble LEDs are rather cute and I want to use these in a larger project. There’s various components sitting on my desk at the moment such as small DC motors, propellers and sensors so I’m hoping to make something neat. Still have lots to learn!

That brings me to the Intel Galileo (1st generation). I applied for a free one a while ago when Intel were giving them away. Unfortunately, they were in high demand and I missed out, however, I managed to borrow one from work. As with the Arduino, my first task was to get the blink program running on the board (let’s face it, it’s “Hello World” for microcontrollers). Getting it to work with the Nokia screen was difficult and I couldn’t get it to work with my AdaFruit LCD Display- additional libraries may be required…it wasn’t clear. I managed to get the bubble LEDs to work with it however, the board was very slow. I tried to display the word “code” and the letters flickered considerably (see my YouTube video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWpmZ09_h0w). It’s possible to install the “Bigger” Linux image on the Galileo via a micro SD card. I managed this and was able to SSH into the board. At this stage, I haven’t tried anything else with the device as I’m finding it a bit slow. As I mentioned before, I’ve got lots of components to play with, so I *might* be able to get something more impressive working with it!

More updates when I’ve built something else.

Joining GitHub

At the beginning of the year, I joined GitHub. I figured it might be useful for scripts etc I write when fiddling around with the Raspberry Pi. This month I actually created a repo (don’t worry, it’s nothing exciting- it’s just a script to stop the Raspberry Pi wifi disconnecting).

You can find me at https://github.com/Lynsay

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