I had some difficulty in locally procuring Raspberry Pis because even if there is a local RS branch, they initially sold a single batch for almost twice the price. When we last checked they are no longer selling them unless we are ordering by the hundreds to make it their while to import it. They said we could order directly from the UK office. Bummer.

Then I heard that Filepp, a colleague from a previous project, is on a short-term assignment in UK. So we grabbed the chance to ask a favor to procure a couple of RPis for us and now they have landed and the cases were given as gifts. (Note: Thank you Filepp. I’ll try not to torture you too much if I get to work with you again. Crap, we know I cant keep that promise 😉 ).

RPis come with only the board itself so the buyer needs to buy the case, SD card (for the BIOS and operating system), HDMI/RCA jack for connecting to your TVs or monitor, cables and power supply. The power is supplied via a micro-USB connection but the catch is that the current needs to be about 5V but the kicker is that the amperage should not go down below “.7A”. Most smartphones have charges that output anywhere between .2 to .6A. Tablets usually have chargers that output more than 1A so I had no choice but to buy two outlet adapters from the ever accessible CDR-King:

I still have a couple of spare micro-usb cables and I sacrificed the SD card that I use for my old car’s mp3 transmitter and this is the result:

The next challenge is that I dont have a spare USB keyboard so I had to move my work table around and “untangle” my desktop’s keyboard. After a few grunts this is my reward:

From what I can see, running X with a light desktop manager will have minimal hit, however I was able to max out the CPU cycles by running one of the bundled python games while launching a browser. Not bad for an hour’s work. Next steps are

  • hunt down that spare microSD card that used to be in the Tab7.7
  • load one of the RPis with the XBMC image
  • procure either a compatible USB WLAN adapter or a WDS compatible router so I can cover the TV and Wii downstairs when I place one of the RPis there to function as a media center
  • And one of those Rii mini keyboards. 🙂
  • Wait for the batch of “free time” to be delivered 😉

A slice of Geek heaven. 🙂