What are you using Raspberry Pis for?

Discussion in 'SBC, ARM, Home Automation' started by MannDude, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. MannDude

    MannDude Just a dude vpsBoard Founder Moderator

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    MannDude
    I've recently dusted off one of my Raspberry Pi's and decided to put it to work!

    Right now it's connected to my home network serving as a DNS server for my router and running Pi-Hole to accomplish that, I'm blocking ads, trackers, malicious domains, etc at the network level instead of using browser plugins to accomplish this. This allows me to set it and forget it for the most part for any device connected to my home router, including smart phones and tablets that normally serve in app banners. No more!

    Also currently using it as a makeshift media player. I've got a 32GB USB thumb drive attached with music and albums that's connected to my stereo system. Because I now have commercial WiFi internet at home and monthly data caps (uhg) I'm trying not to stream as much media as I used to. Why stream albums and songs over the internet multiple times when you can just do this? Gotta save that precious bandwidth.

    Next plan is to just install some VNC software on it to control it from other devices connected to my home network, that way I can change music or media without having to get up and go over to the TV where I have it connected to do that.


    I have another Pi that I am going to eventually use as a weather station and weather cam... But that'll be a while.
     
  2. MannDude

    MannDude Just a dude vpsBoard Founder Moderator

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    MannDude
    jSXLXxG.png

    In case you're wondering what Pi-Hole looks like.
     
  3. souen

    souen Active Member

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    That PiHole setup looks sleek. :)

    Nothing at the moment. Maybe I'll give PiHole a try sometime, or have another go with one of those personal server OS and a USB stick plugged in. The last time, I tried to use a Pi as gateway for a LAN storage server and media player streaming from the storage. For some reason the on-board wifi would drop the network after a while, couldn't ssh in so I had to reboot it every few days as a result. Eventually I got of those Adafruit 3.5" screens so I could probably plug that in and a keyboard to see what's going on, but it was still a little annoying. The audio output was mediocre for music (light crackling and noise, no issue with the same speakers on another device).

    If none of those personal server OS sticks, I may use the Pi as an ambient or plant water temperature monitor (have an infrared camera and a sensor, haven't sorted out the sensor part yet).
     
  4. raindog308

    raindog308 vpsBoard Premium Member Moderator

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    Built my wife an RPi photo frame for Christmas last year. Bought a $150 Asus monitor and setup a Pi on the back of it.

    Had to write my own software, but that was fun:

    - Uses fbi (frame buffer) for full screen

    - Every hour, generate the next hour's photo list, which consists of 240 images at 15-second delay

    - For each image, select a random background and prepare a full screen picture: the photo, the background, date taken in the corner, etc.

    - Every time it generates, it checks the date against a table and if it's Christmas, it salts in holiday photos and backgrounds, etc. There are about 20 holidays/birthday periods scattered through the year.

    I was going to also have it intersperse weather forecasts, sports scores, etc. but haven't got that fancy yet, and my wife pretty much just likes the pictures.

    To add new pictures, she just opens it up via samba and does a drag/drop and there's an importer job that runs.

    It turned into surprisingly complex code but was a fun project.
     
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  5. texteditor

    texteditor Premium Buffalo-based Hosting

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    Was going to say "using mine for collecting dust".

    I just got my first Pi, a v.3, around 5 months ago.

    The board has a lot of issues, USB is unusable for a lot of things, I'm terrified on installing anything that creates even a minimal amount of logs because microSDs are so easy to burn out, and having ethernet speed capped at 100Mb/s over an adapter that is actually OTG USB makes me worry about its stability (plus, I'm on gigabit fiber now and want gigabit on everything. I figure anything I might want to build on a RaspberryPi would require me to buy a second one for the inevitable failover.

    What I really want is an industrial-grade x86 board with Gigabit Intel NICs and a more durable disk, but the only things than become remotely close in price are those $100-$150 Qotom boards that cost $30 to ship and ship out of China, which always takes forever, and the PCEngines APU2 boards - both of these options would cost me around $200 when all is said and done, where the RPi + Case + PSU + card cost me around $75.


    Maybe I'll just throw PiHole and a personal Dokuwiki which is backed up elsewhere on it.


    Things I've done with it before:
    Run RetroPie to play Mario 64
    Run a little toy Hyperboria node on it.
    Hooked it up to an old monitor + keyboard and installed dwm, tmux and weechat for a minimalist always-on IRC terminal

    Edit: one thing I'd like to do is hook a DAC up to it and have it be a hi-def FLAC player, but the USB can't supply enough power for my DACs
     
  6. maounique

    maounique Active Member

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    I gave up on using the Pi like boards for anything else than something which requires an electrical switch of some kind.
    That is because I am collecting old android phones from whatever friend happens to no longer need them and i have various always on things from cameras around the house to wifi hotspots and repeaters. Yes, i can login into one from my pc and start the internet radio in the kitchen or watch the camera streams at a power usage similar to one of the Pi like boards. I have tried to share an external hdd through them wirelessly, however, something is wrong and i get random disconnects which feel like the wi-fi stops working after a certain amount of data transferred. When I will be able to do that and host vms on them, will finally retire my bobcat based "server".
     
  7. ChrisM

    ChrisM Cocktail Enthusiast Moderator Verified Provider

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    Anyone got any good places to get a Raspberry Pi from that is in stock and isn't jacked up 500% above retail?
     
  8. souen

    souen Active Member

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    Is Element14 considered too expensive ($35, stock available)? Never tried but heard positive things about Micro Center stores as well.

    Tried ordering from DX, shipping took a while (about 5-6 weeks?), which is okay for basic free shipping I guess, nice if you also want accessories or other items you can't find locally.

    For older models, try your luck at a local surplus goods store. Saw one selling RPi 2 for half the local average price of the RPi 3.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  9. MannDude

    MannDude Just a dude vpsBoard Founder Moderator

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    My Pi has been running great as a "Pi-Hole" (see above).

    Think my other one will get some use as a weather station... stay tuned. :)
     
  10. Aldryic C'boas

    Aldryic C'boas The Pony

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    I've been thinking about picking up a Pie for awhile to play with.. but I have a handful of those little Lenovo bricks still floating around that would honestly be a better option for... well, anything I could think of using a Pi for <_<
     
  11. maounique

    maounique Active Member

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    Yeah, many things are better than Pi for similar jobs, I use old android phones, however, something to flip electrical switches may need a Pi or something based on the concept.
    I prefer to lose time playing with old laptops and android phones i can get almost for free if not free altogether, than with such a low powered and kinda limited device i cannot get for free yet.
     
  12. Aldryic C'boas

    Aldryic C'boas The Pony

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    Aldryic
    I do like the premise of limited devices - forcing you to be economical and crafty with your available resources rather than charging in with a high-schooler's "PHP runs the internet" mentality. Just, a Pi isn't really the best option for the projects I'd have in mind (Zoneminder, X10, etc).
     
  13. ChrisM

    ChrisM Cocktail Enthusiast Moderator Verified Provider

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    ill checkout element. I am just trying to avoid places like Amazon which sell them as a bundle with a half a dozen things I don't need that jack the price up $80.
     
  14. raj

    raj Active Member

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    My RPi Model B+ runs 2 USB Webcams with motion as nanny cams; Combines images to a video with ffmpeg and also jpeg streams 2fps over interwebs. I also have 3 OrangePi Zeros scattered around the house with single USB webcams, same video/jpeg stream as the RPi. RPI also runs nginx which serves all 5 jpeg streams on a single HTML page (password protected, naturally).

    I have an OrangePi PC with a pair of RAID1 3TB USB2.0 Seagate drives as a NAS (samba,nfs), and it also doubles as a Plex server for my localnet. This machine also runs sickrage,couchpotato,deluge.

    I have another OrangePi Zero as a pi-hole DNS server for local network.

    I have an ODROID-XU4 booting from microSD, then loading rootfs off 2.5" SATA 640GB drive (SATA-USB bridge), as my daily driver desktop. Very speedy little box, low power. HDMI to 26" Acer display.

    I have an ODROID-C1 waiting to have an Android image loaded, but currently running Deb7 in idle.

    Overall, I like the *Pi (RPi,OPi) boards because my experience has been "set it and forget it". Once everything was configured, it's been nearly untouched for over a year (aside from an occasional apt-get update/upgrade) with zero maintenance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
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  15. maounique

    maounique Active Member

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    I am seriously considering the retirement of my bobcat based server, however, i run a couple of KVMs on it, it just happens to also host my internal network file system and an occasional image to boot across network. It runs at about 25-30 watt normally, rarely closing to 40 drawn at the socket with an oversized PSU for it's needs. It still is dualcore and does run kvm acceptably, which is a great achievement for that power usage. Due to this and a (high) number of android devices i felt no need to use a Pi-like system for regular pc stuff and camera streaming, but, yes, automation is much easier with Pi's and the like, after all, that is what they were designed for, among other things.
     
  16. MannDude

    MannDude Just a dude vpsBoard Founder Moderator

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    Nice. I'm wondering how the actual USB webcams perform versus that of a PiCam or other camera board module. Would you be able to get a higher frame rate with one versus the other? When I do the whole weather station thing I wanted to have an outdoor camera facing the sky and field behind my house as a 'weather camera' that can be streamed online.
     
  17. raj

    raj Active Member

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    If you only need one cam, a simple USB cam is a cheap and solid choice. In particular, I use this one https://ameridroid.com/products/usb-cam-720p and it captures relatively sharp images, has a nice long cord, and was plug and play out of box.

    Where I ran into a minor "gotcha" was trying to use multiple cams on boards where USB ports hang off an internal hub (e.g. RPi Model B+ and ODROID-C1). Since the cameras want to reserve all the available USB bandwidth for themselves, connecting more than 2 (even though the boards come with multiple USB ports) would cause issues. Even when setting motion to capture small images (320x240), the system would crap out and log messages about not enough bandwidth.

    I could have tried to use 3+ cams on a board like the OrangePi PC where the USB ports do not share bandwidth, but I had a handful of OPi Zero's sitting around idle so I used them instead.