raspberry pi

Monitor your Internet with a Raspberry Pi

Internet Service Providers are almost universally despised. They've pushed for the FCC to continue defining 25 Mbps as "high use" broadband, and on top of that they overstate the quality of service they provide. A recently-released map of broadband availability in the US paints a pretty dire picture:

USA map showing areas with limited high speed broadband availability

Here in St. Louis—where I guess I should count my lucky stars we have 'high use' broadband available—I have only two options: I can get 'gigabit' cable Internet from Spectrum, or 75 megabit DSL from AT&T.

That's it.

And you're probably thinking, "Gigabit Internet is great, stop complaining!"

Review of Raspberry Pi's PoE+ HAT (June 2021)

The PoE+ HAT powers a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ or 4 model B over a single Ethernet cable, allowing you to skip the USB-C power adapter, assuming you have a PoE capable switch or injector.

Unfortunately, I can't recommend this new PoE+ HAT for most users, at least not in its current state.

For more background on PoE in general, and a bit more detail about the board itself and my tests, please watch my video on the PoE+ HAT—otherwise scroll past it and read on for all the testing results:

The Wiretrustee SATA Pi Board is a true SATA NAS

In my earlier posts about building a custom Raspberry Pi SATA NAS, and supercharging it with 2.5G networking and OMV, I noted that my builds were experimental only—they were a mess of cables and parts, with a hilariously-oversized 700W PC power supply.

I lamented the fact there was no simple "SATA backplane on a board" for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. But no longer.

Wiretrustee SATA Board for Raspberry Pi OMV NAS

Wiretrustee's SATA Board integrates a SATA controller and data and power for up to four SATA drives with a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.

And their entire solution makes for a great little Raspberry Pi-based NAS, using software like OpenMediaVault.

Two Tiny Dual-Gigabit Raspberry Pi CM4 Routers

Since I started testing various PCI Express cards on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, I've been excited to see what new kinds of custom networking devices people would come up with.

Well, after months of delays due to part shortages, both DFRobot and Seeed Studios have come out with their 2-port Gigabit router board designs, and I was happy to receive a sample of each for testing:

DFRobot and Seeed Studios Router Boards with Dual Gigabit Ethernet

The boards are tiny, and even with the Compute Module 4 installed, they are incredibly small—take a look at the entire assembled DFRobot unit, complete with a Raspberry Pi attached:

DFRobot CM4 IoT Router Board with Raspberry Pi CM4 and Quarter

Setting up a Raspberry Pi with 2 Network Interfaces as a very simple router

I needed a very basic 'Internet sharing' router setup with one of my Raspberry Pis, and I thought I'd document the setup process here in case I need to do it again.

I should note that for more complex use cases, or where you really need to worry about security and performance, you should use something like OpenWRT, pfSense, or VyOS—or just buy a decent out-of-the-box router!

Seeed Studios Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Router Board

But I needed a super-simple router setup for some testing (seriously... look at the picture—the thing's about to fall off my desk!), and I had two network interfaces on a Raspberry Pi running the 64-bit build of Raspberry Pi OS. These instructions work on that OS, as well as Debian, Ubuntu, and derivative distros.

My 6-node 1U Raspberry Pi rack mount Cluster

Now that I have a half-height rack and a 3D Printer, I figured I should finally move all my Raspberry Pis from sitting in odd places in my office to the rack. And what better way than to print my own 1U Raspberry Pi Rack mount unit?

6 Node Raspberry Pi 1U Rack Mount enclosure - 3D Printed for Pi 4 model B

The rack unit you see above was assembled from 6 'frames', 6 hot-swappable Pi carrier trays, 2 rack mount ears, and a couple lengths of threaded rod for rigidity.

It was printed from these plans from russross on Thingiverse; Russ Ross also made an assembly video, and shows how you can build a 2U 12-Pi enclosure using the same basic design, with interchangeable Pi trays!

Video

There is more detail and a full walkthrough of my home rack in this video:

Trying KIOXIA CM6 and PM6 Enterprise SSDs on a Raspberry Pi

Late last year, an engineer at Broadcom sent me some hardware and offered some help getting Broadcom's MegaRAID card working on the Raspberry Pi. It took some time, but eventually we were able to get the card and a demonstrator 'UBM' backplane working on the Pi, and it culminated in my posting about Hardware RAID on the Pi, and on a livestream, getting 16 hard drives working on a Pi.

The one thing I couldn't test in those earlier videos was the backplane and storage card's 'Tri-mode' support, allowing PCI Express NVMe drives—like KIOXIA's CM6—to work in the same slot as the SATA and SAS drives I was used to testing.

So after some conversation with reps at KIOXIA, I was able to get a PM6 and three CM6 drives on loan to test them:

KIOXIA CM6 and PM6 SSD with Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

Tried Nvidia's GTX 1080 - still no external GPU on a Pi

Earlier today I did a livestream on my YouTube channel to attempt using an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 on a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.

MSI Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics Card GPU

As with all my testing, I'm documenting everything I learn in this GitHub issue, which is part of the Raspberry Pi PCI Express Card Database website.

It's only been a few hours, but I've already gotten good suggestions for better debugging than I was able to do on the stream. And someone pointed out it might be the case, due to 32-bit memory limitations on the BCM2711's PCIe bus, that no GPU with more than 4 GB of onboard RAM could work. Though it's hard to confirm there'd be no software workaround—even 1 and 2 GB graphics cards (AMD and Nvidia) are crashing the kernel in similar ways.

The full livestream is available on replay and is embedded below:

Taking control of the Pi PoE HAT's overly-aggressive fan

I am starting to rack up more Pis (quite literally) using the official Pi PoE HAT to save on cabling.

The one thing I hate most about those little HATs is the fact the fans spin up around 40°C, and then turn off a few seconds later, once the temperature is back down to 39 or so, all day long.

I'd be happy to let my Pis idle around 50-60°C, and only have the little whiny fans come on beyond those temperatures. Even under moderate load, the Pi rarely goes above 55°C in my basement, where there's adequate natural convection, so the fans would only really be necessary under heavy load.

Beautiful 3D Print time-lapses with my Nikon D700 and Octolapse

After seeing GreatScott's video on creating great 3D Printing timelapses, I knew I had to make better 3D Print timelapses using one of my DSLRs.

I had already tried using my pi-timelapse script with a Pi Zero W and the Camera Module v1 and v2, but the quality is just so-so, plus it's not synchronized with the 3D printer, therefore at least on the Ender 3 V2, the printed object goes all over the place:

Unstabilized Pi Timelapse of 3D Print on Ender 3 V2 without OctoPrint or Octolapse

What I wanted was a stable and sharp timelapse of the entire process with high enough resolution to use in HD videos I produce for my YouTube channel.

So how did I get it working with my old but trusty Nikon D700? Read on...