Adventures with Raspberry Pi - Part 1

Raspberry Pi has been around for a few years. It was initially launched in 2012 by the UK based Raspberry PI foundation. Over the years, many flavors of the Raspberry PI have been created.

While the Pi computer has been created as a learning tool, it can be used for some practical use cases too. These can be for both home and business use.

Below is my Raspberry Pi setup at home.

The bill of parts for the above setup consists of (left to right) -
  1. Mi 20000 maH Power Bank
  2. USB to Micro USB cable with a power on/off switch
  3. Raspberry Pi case with heat sink
  4. Raspberry PI Model 3
  5. Class 10 SD Card 16 GB capacity
  6. Western Digital 1 TB external hard drive
  7. The storm troopers just showed up! 😊

There are many tutorials available online which show how to put all of these together. Here are some useful links -
  1. Installing Operating System in SD Card
  2. Connecting to Pi
  3. Enabling VNC Server in Pi

My initial observations are -
  • The default OS in the Pi is Debian based. This means one can use the "apt-get" package manager to install required software like Java, Python, NodeJS etc.
  • Containers like Docker and databases like MySQL can be setup on the Pi.
  • Given the limited resources (CPU/memory/disk) on the Pi, some of these software may not perform at "full throttle" but at least functionally they will work.
  • Keep an eye on the "heat" from the Pi. Without the heat sink, the temperature Raspberry Pi was around 10-15 celsius higher.
  • Normally Pi's are powered from a main power source. The power bank is a quirky addition. One can now literally run a portable and fully functioning Pi computer for several days. Imagine, you could now run a Hadoop cluster on a handful of Pi computers and carry it around in a bag.

My experience with Pi started more as a hobby. But, the ease and stability of using the Pi encouraged me to explore more use cases. Some of the home/personal use cases I have tried are -
  1. Setup a file server in the Pi
  2. Setup a streaming media server in the Pi
  3. Build a personal assistant
  4. IoT style integration

More about this in the next blog post.


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