raspberry pi

Time Card mini adds Pi, GPS, and OCXO to your PC

For LTX 2023, I built this:

CM4 Timecard mini GPS locked

This build centers around the Time Card mini. Typically you'd install this PCI Express card inside another computer, but in my case, I just wanted to power the board in a semi-portable way, and so I plugged it into a CM4 IO Board.

The Time Card mini is a PCIe-based carrier board for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, and by itself, it allows you to install a CM4 into a PC, and access the CM4's serial console via PCIe.

But the real power comes in 'sandwich' boards:

How Raspberry Pis are made (Factory Tour)

This blog post is one of the few instances where, no matter how much you prefer reading to watching a video... you're going to want to watch the video.

The day after I interviewed Eben Upton, co-founder of Raspberry Pi, I went to the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed, Wales to tour the factory where almost every Raspberry Pi has been made—50,000,000 of them (as of this month!).

Jeff - Raspberry Pi Milestones in Sony Technology Centre

I got to snap a picture with the milestone Pis:

Build your own private WireGuard VPN with PiVPN

I am frequently away from home (whether on family vacation, a business trip, or out around town), but I have a number of important resources on my home network—as any homelabber does.

There are services I like to access remotely like my NAS with my giant media library, my edit server with all my active projects, and especially Home Assistant, which lets me monitor all aspects of my home.

Some people rely on individual cloud services from IoT vendors and have a bunch of apps to connect to each type of device independently. As someone who has dealt with numerous security breaches for numerous services, I know not to trust 50 different cloud-connected devices in my home.

That's why I'm a 'self-hosted' homelabber, and why I try to find devices that don't leave my local network.

Testing Raspberry Pi's new Global Shutter Camera

Today Raspberry Pi launched their new Global Shutter Camera.

Global Shutter Camera showing image sensor

Outwardly it is almost identical to the 12 Megapixel High Quality Camera, and like that camera it accepts C and CS mount lenses, or most anything else with the appropriate adapter.

But flipping it over reveals a black plastic cover over the back of the board that is not present on the HQ or M12 HQ Camera:

Testing Raspberry Pi's new Debug Probe

Raspberry Pi Debug Probe Pi 4 model B and Pico W

Yesterday, in tandem with Raspberry Pi's announcement of their new $12 Debug Probe, I received one in the mail (pictured above).

The Debug Probe is powered by an RP2040, and lets you connect from USB to UART (serial) or SWD (Serial Wire Debug), perfect for debugging most embedded devices.

UART is useful to connect to a device's console when you don't have a display or other means of controlling it, and you can find UART/serial/console ports on almost any device with a processor or microcontroller.

The Rock 5 B is not a Raspberry Pi killer—yet

Rock 5 model B on desk with Raspberry Pi in background

Radxa's Rock 5 model B is an ARM single board computer that's 3x faster than a Raspberry Pi. And that's just the 8-core CPU—with PCI Express Gen 3 x4 (the Pi has Gen 2 x1), storage is 7x faster! I got over 3 GB/sec with a KIOXIA XG6 NVMe SSD.

It's still half as slow as modern ARM desktops like Apple's M1 mini, or Microsoft's Dev Kit 2023 (see my review here). But it's way faster than a Pi, it comes with 2.5 Gig Ethernet, it has two M.2 slots on board... and, well—it also starts at $150!

Using PiBenchmarks.com for SBC disk performance testing

For many years, I've maintained some scripts to do basic disk benchmarking for SBCs, to test 1M and 4K sequential and random access speeds, since those are the two most relevant tests for the Linux workloads I run on my Pis.

I've been using this script for years, and it uses fio and iozone to get the metrics I need.

And from time to time, I would test a number of microSD cards on the Pi, or run tests on NVMe SSDs on the Pi, Rock 5 model B, or other SBCs. But my results were usually geared towards a single blog post or a video project.

In 2021 James Chambers set up PiBenchmarks to move to a more community-driven testing dataset.

You can run the following command on your SBC to test the boot storage and upload results directly to PiBenchmarks.com: