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back to article Raspberry Pi Linux micro machine enters mass production

CES 2012 Week The Rapberry Pi Foundation has begun manufacturing its pocket-sized Linux-based micro in volume, with the first batch set to roll off the line by the end of the month. The charity revealed the news this week after finalising payment details, stating its Dyson-esque regret that Raspberry Pi production had to be …

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Dumb question

Why does it not have an enclosure ?

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DIY

An anti-static bag and some gaffer tape?

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Go

re Dumb Question

So you can " tart " it up any way you want....multiple Pi's in one box = Raspbery Tart (multicore server?)

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The whole point is to make them as cheap as possible.

If they'd had to design and manufacture injection molded cases then they'd be more than £23.

There will be enclosures on offer not long after they start selling I suspect, based on discussions people have been having over on the raspberry pi forums.

At a pinch, just make something out of lego :).

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Cost

They are trying to get people interested in the workings of computers. Inspire a generation etc.

They are also trying to make it cheap. When you are trying to do that, every penny counts and a few quid for an enclosure plus tooling costs etc all adds up.

I expect there will be plenty of people selling cases for them soon enough, and there are a few that you can print on a 3d printer if you have one or get one from Shapeways etc al...

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Boffin

Or...

www.reprap.org, make your own! ;)

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They've mentioned that an optional case will be made available for it in time.

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simple answer

so you can build your own of course!

I'm making mine out of Meccano :)

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@lurker

I really, really like the Lego idea.

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Hmm

You do know that anti-static bags are conductive, right?

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Why does it not have an enclosure ?

Back in the early 80's I assembled a UK101 single board 6502 system. That was used in the cardboard box the board came in until I could afford a case

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@ Jean Le Pharmicien

A cluster of RasPi's is known as a Bramble

These look like such fun, I plan to get one just for giggles, I will mainly use it as a media hub behind my TV in the lounge, but hope to just tinker with it for shits and giggles.

If I get it working well as a media hub, I can dispense with the ATX tower I shoehorned behind the TV cabinet.

Power consumption is < 1W at 5V on a micro-USB connector. I plan to use a redundant HTC phone charger.

My home router is behind my TV anyway, so networking is sorted. I have a wireless keyboard with a built in trackpad, connecting via a USB dongle, so that's easy. The RasPi has HDMI1.3, so the telly is plug'n'play.

I think the only thing I might need is a USB hub to connect an external USB HDD at the same time as the keyboard. However if I can get TightVNC running on the RasPi, then I can forgo the keyboard and the hub, and drive it from my laptop.

As for enclosures, the idea is that you build your own (no cooling required!), but the Foundation do plan to sell enclosures in the near future.

If this project takes off, I think there will be a nice market in accessories & expansions etc.

This really is a genius project, and I can't wait to get my hands on one. Takes me back to hacking around with my ZX-81 in the early '80s. This will open up Linux, Python and several other languages to me, as I've become detached from programming over the years. Damn you, Windows 3.1/95/98/2000/XP/Vista/7 !!!!

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Anonymous Coward

CDT Enclosure

Given that it's intended to be employed in schools then schools can also teach making enclosures in "craft, design and technology" lessons. My school was broke so the most challenging thing we ever made was a vac-form container for an egg-timer, and they couldn't afford the insurance for the workshop so the actual construction was handled by a teacher.

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Boffin

Where we're going, we don't need cases...

I'm glad it doesn't come with a case - I want to buy a bunch of them and rack mount them in a blade-like chassis. I want to experiment with ARM based clustering and Raspberry Pi seems to have the lowest bang to buck currently available. Its just a shame the boards seem to have their I/O ports spread around the board rather than just front and back, but I think with the GPIO pins and maybe a bit of soldering, this shouldn't be a problem.

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FAIL

ratio arse-about-tit ?

HIGHEST bang to buck, shurely???

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+1 for the Back to the Future reference

Strangely apt, too.

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Trollface

vnc or bluetooth dongle?

Go on, plug in dongle and connect a mac BT keyboard and trackpad. The irony will make someone's head explode. :)

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@Buttars

Aye, good spot, that is what I meant!

On a related note, I assume the CPU/RAM stack is as susceptible as any other semiconductor. However, I've only ever noticed catastrophic (ie permanently dead) component failures which I may have caused due to ESD. Whilst I'm sure subtle failures can be caused, I would hope the Pi's would not be involved in anything involved in safety-of-life, high-precision or mission critical work, so any odd behaviour will likely be put down to software bugs or the board will be replaced (especially given the low cost).

And don't call me Shirley...

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Flame

Shouldn't be too hard to find something to mount it in. my only worry is how hot will it get.

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It doesn't

It doesn't get hot at all - you can still touch the processor/memory stack when running quake III

http://www.raspberrypi.org/page/6

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Box

Get a cheap project box from Maplin, a tool to dig out the necessary holes and some epoxy or polymorph plastic to fit the board inside (though if only doing one system those three items will nearly double the price).

Thumbs up because there is fun to be had here.

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Anonymous Coward

Simple but effective ...

... just cut holes as required:

http://www.ukpackagingproducts.co.uk/100-small-brown-mailing-posting-pizza-boxes-free-pp--sc11-1324-p.asp

Disclaimer: I do not guarantee that this box will actually fit.

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When I was a lad, I used tobacco tins (which I was given by teachers at school - honest...) to build guitar effects in...I think this would fit...

http://www.shivaheadshop.co.uk/shop/tobacco_tins___pouches/2oz_airtight_tobacco_tins/index.html

Something for all tastes there

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Altoids tins in the States have taken over from the non-pc tobacco tins.

http://artofmanliness.com/2011/01/30/22-manly-ways-to-reuse-an-altoids-tin/

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@Efros

Liz at Raspberry says that the board will not fit in an Altoid tin because the board has square corners. (Just imagine the license fee they'd have to pay to Apple if it did have rounded corners :)

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Re: Dumb Question

Guessing its really an OEM product. You will probably be able to buy this at for example Maplins with a case..

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It is what it is...

It isn't OEM. The idea is that kids will want to know what all the bits do and how they can connect up home made electronics to it, program it and get it to do stuff.

Kinda like the Arduino on steroids.

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Anonymous Coward

Use?

What can one do with this piece of motherboard? I mean really !

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Facepalm

Re what can you do.........

Anything you want of cource

Its basic so easy to use for all sorts of dedicated jobs.......

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Not a piece...

It is a full blown system. Just needs an OS on an SD card and you can boot Linux. Oh yeah and a keyboard/mouse/monitor unless you are going to run it headless as a low power server...

It will have enough oomph to run an X session so you can use it as a basic computer and learn to program on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

A credit card sized computer that can run linux and is bristling with GPI/O pins and other assorted connectors?

If you cannot think of 10 uses off the top of your head it's probably not for you.

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Take a guess

I mean, really - just take a look at the spec and have a wild stab in the dark.

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What can you do with a computer?

Given a second (USB) ethernet port it'd make a decent (and extremely cheap) firewall.

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Stop

Re: Use?

I was thinking the very same thing. The PFY's of today have an attention span of bored goldfish. If they can't load a pirated game in less than 3 seconds then they are not going to be interested.

I can imagine the feedback "What do you mean, I have to program it?"

Now back in my day, I disassembled a ZX81 to solder on the connections for a joystick so I could actually fly the plane in the program I had just written. It also saved the system crashing when you pressed the keyboard to hard which caused the connection to the 16K ram pack to flex.

Ahhhh. Happy days.

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Happy

@Use?

Learn to code (if you were previously unable to afford a machine).

Put together a browsing machine to hang off the back of your big telly without annoying you with fans or excessive power drain.

Run a very low power home web server or torrent machine.

Have fun and expand ones idea of what computers are beyond the frankly rather tedious Wintel view.

The next big thing (heck, I don't claim to know everything).

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PFY

That the modern day PFY won't know where to start with this is a danger. But the project also has the intention of providing educational/classroom material to go with it.

If it does miss the target audience at least that will make it easier for us tinkerers to get our hands on one!

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TRT
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Happy

Indeed

I still have a home-hacked ISA multi-IO card in my cupboard because I wanted more than 4 IDE devices on my Win95 box.

And when I built a Maplin Speech Synthesiser card for my Vic-20 as a teen, I wanted to use it with my RAM pack, so converted the connector to use the User I/O port instead.

Talking of Commodore, I found a bad request on the Crossrail document portal caused the server to report a Guru Meditation code. :-)

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Not just a browsing machine

I've got a MythTV frontend bolted on the back of my Telly. The only connectors are ethernet, HDMI, power and USB-remote. This could replace it and be powered from one of the TV's own USB ports. I feel a project coming on.

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Linux

Control Your Squirrel Cannon!

https://us.pycon.org/2012/schedule/presentation/267/

Seriously, you need some exercises to expand your imagination. This is the age of *doing*!

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Linux

Control a 3D Printer!

Here are plans for a free (as in open source) 3D printer that you can build yourself. It uses a PC for downloading and printing objects. Why not adapt a Raspberry Pi to control it? Less expensive, dedicated, and just plain cool!

Best of all, once you've built your first 3D printer, you can print another 3D printer! :-D

http://www.reprap.org/wiki/Prusa

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In a similar line

Father-in-law is building a home made CNC router from plans on the web, videos on youtube.

the controlling device is an ex business tower case PC with a Linux install. It's in his workshop where it can suck huge amounts of sawdust through the fans and blow it all through the CPU cooler and PSU.

A Pi would be much more resistant to heat exhaustion due to wood-based asphyxiation and could be mounted on the device itself.

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Anonymous Coward

What can you do?

You can bet you will be voted down for that negativity! And I bet I will too as it seems to have attracted quite a fanbois following.

It may be a "cheap Linux box" but I do wonder how it will fare once people get over their excitement and realise that it isn't perfect and "designed to meet costs" introduces inconveniences of use. No case (yet) so build one but no mounting holes to make that easy, wiring and connections coming out of all sides, and then there's the cost of everything else needed to make it work including a TV or HDMI supporting monitor as it does not seem to support VGA.

Having read the latest on the cost of manufacturing I can not understand how anyone could find this out so late in the day and it does cause me some concern. There seems to be many things to finalise and it even appears the boards are to be sold without any warranty as development boards rather than finished product.

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Not downvoting but...

think outside the box to think inside......you can mount the board to a box using those wonderful sticky pads. that gives you good control plus a little flex in case you didn't quite gets the holes in the side of the box in the right place.

With regards to the rest, yes this is a development grade product and probably deliberately to encourage people to just have a go. If it came in a highly polished box with all the cables in pretty plastic bags etc etc then the very people it is aimed at would ignore it and the populace would complain as it doesn't run the Internet (or Internet Explorer 236 as it is better known).

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It clocks in at around 500bogomips, the Sparc2 I used to do Hubble image deconvolution on 20years ago was around 1/100 of that - so for advanced space research it will be great!

It does anything a Linux PC can do and plays 1080p video with hardware decode if your queue of pre-cospar Hubble images is running low.

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That's about the least imaginative use for a computer.

The ethernet port shares the bus with theUSB so the throughput isn't great and you can get a Linksys router running Linux for about the same price with more hardware.

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Linux

Really Really

I can think of plenty of uses for this thing once it becomes a complete system and not just a non-standard component to make a complete system out of.

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Anonymous Coward

@TRT

Wait, you're me, I built that VIC20 Talkback kit and converted it for the user port too, I hacked up a few IDE interfaces for 'odd' addresses and had more COM ports than was intended as well.

Nuuurrrssseeeee!

I must have missed a few dried frog pills if I'm posting here under multiple personalities again.

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Windows

"But the project also has the intention of providing educational/classroom material to go with it."

I've a feeling a Wiki will be born based on this....(re-)educating the PFY's and budding BOFH's....

I'm on the dole, but I'm still getting one - for exactly that purpose. Cheap as a Friday night Guinness and a curry...

I applaud them. Good move. Just hope it doesn't go the way of "Tux Droid".

Mine sits forlornely in the corner, waiting a resurrection. (Backup CD went tits-up!)

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@AC

That's weird. Mind you - similar solutions for similar problems. WTF? What's that bottle of pills doing on my desk? Dried frog? I take powdered wahoonie root tablets.

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