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

    Mar 8, 2013
    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

    Mar 8, 2013

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

    souen Active Member

    Jun 23, 2014
    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

    May 16, 2013
    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.
    souen likes this.
  5. texteditor

    texteditor Premium Buffalo-based Hosting

    May 19, 2013
    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

    May 29, 2013
    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

    Apr 2, 2013
    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

    Jun 23, 2014
    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