Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Setting Up My Raspberry Pi With Pidora

I finally got my Raspberry Pi and can say the little device is quite impressive! I bought mine from the Seneca bookstore and it cost me just over 45 dollars.

I should apologize for the spam on the CDOT planet, I updated the tags in my previous blog posts and apparently the planet thought that they were new posts and pulled them in. I should also apologize for not posting this sooner; I had it done about 2 weeks ago. I was waiting for my Raspberry Pi case to come in the mail so I could take pictures of it and show it off, haha!

Accessories

About 2 weeks before buying the Pi, I went on ebay and bought an HDMI to DVI converter dongle for about $1.50 this was a steal as they are about 8-10 dollars at a local computer store. I will use this to connect my Pi to an old monitor I have. I also bought a PS2 to USB adapter (~$1.00) so I can use an old keyboard of mine if/when I need to access the GUI. I also ordered a transparent case for $5, it even comes with little heatsinks for the CPU, peripheral controller, and voltage regulator!

Here is my complete setup

I am aware the lid was installed incorrectly here



Set Up and Install

The set up of the Pi was simple; I am using the USB ports from my main PC to power the device. I am using an 8GB, class 4 SD card from Sandisk. I downloaded the NOOBS system from the Raspberry Pi website and put it onto the card. After plugging all my inputs in, I booted up the Pi. There were no problems during the Pidora Linux install process. The first thing I did was configure my DHCP server to issue a static IP to the Raspberry Pi. A static IP coupled with port forwarding will allow me to access the SSH server on my Pi from anywhere. It also means I can free up a monitor as well as my desktop by removing the extra keyboard and mouse from it.

Impressions

Upon booting the Pidora Linux system, I was actually rather impressed at how well the whole system ran. The GUI is sluggish due to the XWindows system running off the processor instead of the GPU (this issue is being addressed by a classmate of mine here). However, when switching to command line, the system is quite responsive. Yum updates still take a while due to slow SD card write rates but overall I am impressed with the power consumption and performance of this little machine.

Date Update Script

The Raspberry Pi does not keep dates when power is removed from the system. I have written a script that you can paste into the /etc/rc.d/rc.local that will contact an ntp server and update your time (You need an internet connection to do this). This connects to the Canadian NTP server. Ensure the rc.local file has execute permissions.

#!/bin/bash
# Script to contact ntp server and update date on Raspberry Pi
ntpdate ca.pool.ntp.org

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