Aug 222014
 
New Raspberry Pi Speaker from ThePiHut

I got a new speaker in the post yesterday morning. It’s been redesigned specifically for the Raspberry Pi by ThePiHut. I charged it for a few hours (it has an internal lipo battery, which powers it for 7 hours of use) and then plugged it into the 3.5mm stereo outlet of an HDMIPi screen. This takes the sound from the HDMI output of the Pi (so it’s digital and high quality, much better than the Pi’s analog output). I tested it with Bug Buck Bunny, which has superb graphics and sound. It also makes an [...more...]

Aug 182014
 
PiHut WiFi dongle vs Edimax - Power Usage

At the May CamJam, Jamie from The Pi Hut handed me a couple of his Raspberry Pi Wifi dongles for testing. I did some measurements a week or two later on a Raspberry Pi model B and sent them to Jamie. But I thought it would be fun to repeat this now with the new B+ and show all the results together. I’m doing a comparison test against the Edimax EW-7811Un which is my current ‘Go To wifi dongle’. Differences & Similarities? The Edimax is very slightly smaller. Both have blue LED activity indicators. The [...more...]

Jun 242014
 
Raspberry Pi Compute Module

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module was launched yesterday and I felt I owed it to you, dear readers, to get one. ;) OK. So, maybe it’s not fair to blame you guys for it. I’d have bought one anyway, but you helped me to not dither over the decision. I also have ideas for something I might do with it. But that’s top secret, so don’t tell anyone! So What is the Compute Module? It’s a small module in the same SODIMM form factor as a laptop memory module. You can see it in the [...more...]

May 192014
 
Bitscope Micro. USB Scope that works on Raspberry Pi.

When I first saw the Bitscope Micro on the Raspberry Pi Foundation blog, it ‘ticked all my boxes’. A couple of weeks later, when Pimoroni tweeted about having the first batch in stock, I ordered one immediately. In my circumstances, it would have been rude not to. Why? The reasons are too numerous to list them all, but here are the first few that spring to mind… I need a small, portable, USB scope since I spend about 20% of my time abroad and take my work with me. It’s also a logic analyser – [...more...]

May 042014
 
Best Wire Strippers for Electronics?

I needed some new wire strippers as I got fed up damaging my thumb by using a knife. Not knowing which were best, I decided to buy four different types and try them out. The findings are quite interesting. One wasn’t any good, one was the best budget pair, another was the most flexible, and another was the best for electronics work. Have a look at the video to see the results.

Apr 282014
 
Banana Pi Review - First Impressions

While I was away in Poland for Easter I had an email from someone called Jet (jetxu@lemaker.org – he asked me to share that) about a board called Banana Pi. I’d heard of it already. I also knew that other people in the Raspberry Pi community had been approached (we talk to each other ;p). They wanted me to join their forums and submit a request for a sample. I didn’t want to play that game so I said I was happy to have a look at it if they sent me one, but otherwise [...more...]

Mar 312014
 
RasPiCamcorder 3 - the PiTFT screen upgrade

Back in December, you might remember I blogged about using Texy’s 2.8″ touchscreen with the Pi camera. At the time I was also aware of the very similar, but slightly more compact, PiTFT by Adafruit. The space for four slim buttons on the PCB made it look ideal. So, this week, when SK Pang tweeted about having PiTFT back in stock, I snapped one up. I also thought I’d put it in a nice case. The Pimoroni PiTFT Pibow looked ideal, so I ordered one of those as well. Both arrived 2 days later. It [...more...]

Mar 282014
 
The Plinth

On Sunday night, Matt Hawkins tweeted to me about a KickStarter campaign he thought complemented our HDMIPi screen really well. So I went to take a look. I thought it was a really clever design, so I got in touch with its creator, John Bull, to see if we might be able to get a branded one as an additional product to go with HDMIPi. He mentioned that his campaign could do with a shot in the arm. I thought the best way I could help would be to get my hands on one and [...more...]

Mar 242014
 
Adventures in Raspberry Pi - Real World Review

General Observations Adventures in Raspberry Pi is a 144 page book written to encourage teenagers into real computing by an experienced teacher, Carrie Anne Philbin. This book makes wonderful use of lots of graphics and screenshots. It’s very nicely laid out with plenty of colour and white space. The pages are all visually interesting and the text clearly explains things in a friendly manner. But it’s more than that. By being easy to follow and fun to read, the learning will sneak up on you. By breaking everything up into logical bites and taking them [...more...]

Mar 142014
 
A Quick Look At My New Soldering - Rework Station

I’ve been hankering after a hot air rework gun and a soldering station for some time. The main problem is that most rework stations are hundreds of pounds. I don’t really need an ‘industrial strength’ one, so when the most recent CPC Tradesman offers came through the door, two items by TENMA caught my eye. One was a simple soldering station for about £30 (+VAT), the other had both soldering iron and hot air gun for £99 (+ VAT). In the end, I opted for the combined model (SDO174105). I ordered it on Saturday and [...more...]