Raspberry Pi hits my letterbox…

August 31, 2012

After having some raging successes with the Arduino I thought I’d have a crack with the Raspberry Pi.  Unlike Arduino this isn’t a microprocessor board for bit-bashing, etc, but a fully operational computer.  It has an SD card which you can plonk Linux on and away you go.  Oh yeah, and it’s only US$25…

Hardware-wise it has ethernet, USB, HDMI, audio and a very capable graphics chip.  So as soon as I heard about RaspBMC, a version of the XBMC media centre software designed for this board, I was pretty sold on having a crack with it.

To be honest getting started was pretty easy.  I bought an SD card, I downloaded the Windows-based RaspBMC installer and burnt an image to the card.  Slotted the SD card into the Raspi and booted up.  It does a little bit of initialising and install on its first boot.

Then it’s just a case of customising add-ons and configuring XBMC.  Within the hour I was already streaming ABC iView…

And Samba shares were equally easy to set up to fetch network hosted media files off my desktop PC.

I found a small problem with the mouse failing to work and the keyboard dropping out, but this apparently is a symptom of insufficient power supply.  I was running mine off a USB wall-wart.  Raspi needs 700mA and upon closer inspection mine was only 500mA.  Swapping it out to a 1A supply fixed the problem instantly.  Worth knowing.

Lastly XBMC Remote for Android is super excellent.  You can browse your media library on your phone and queue things to the Raspi, as well as control playback.  Which in many respects is easier to navigate than trying to do it all on-screen.  It’s early days, but I’m enjoying this a lot.