New Pi has arrived, now with moar memory!

October 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

I bought a backup Pi right after my first tests with the unit I bought at Maker Faire because I knew I was going to be playing with the GPIOs and interfacing with the real world, and equally sure that I’m going to blow it up eventually because I make some mistake with the wiring. So rather than living in fear, I simply accept it’s going to happen and plan for it. That means having a backup. So I ordered one from Element14 / Newark, and was pleasantly surprised a few days ago that the new units are shipping with double the memory (mentioned in an earlier post). The new Pi arrived yesterday and I printed a case on the 3D printer I have access to through work. The model STL file used to make the case was from Thingiverse, and it works pretty well, though I wish the area for the power connector would allow a deeper push into the seat… but that’s the beauty of having open hardware… I can modify the model to fix the issue :).

The new Raspberry Pi in a 3D printed case downloaded from Thingiverse.

Setting up the new unit was similar to the old one, with the exception of adjusting the firmware and boot process to accomodate the extra RAM. It took me a while to find a concise set of instructions for doing this, so here is what worked for me in the end:

    1. Install Hexxeh’s rpi-update utility, which grabs the firmware files and applies the updates (for the most part). The instructions at the Git-Hub site are easy to follow to install rpi-update.
    2. Run sudo rpi-update and follow the prompts.
    3. As of this writing, rpi-update does not take care of everything in the process, so edit /boot/config.txt and define how much memory the GPU should get by adding at the end: gpu_mem=128
    4. There are some other files that need to be copied to /boot, so use: cp /root/.rpi-firmware/* /boot
    5. Optional: clean up the /boot directory by removing the arm*_start.elf files, they are no longer needed.
    6. Reboot

Much of the above instructions were cobbled (pardon the pun) from the Raspberry Pi Community Projects web site. I can report that the Pi seems much faster with the extra RAM, especially on launching memory pigs like Chromium, which now pops up in a very reasonable amount of time (farewell Midori).

For now I’m going to leave the new Pi parked on the HDTV for the kids to play with.

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Working with the GPIO on Raspberry Pi Awesome quadcopter video

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