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back to article Raspberry Pi gets snappy with camera add-on

While the the Raspberry Pi foundation continues to struggle to meet the demand for its £16 Linux machine, it has already revealed improvements. The latest: a prototype camera add-on. Raspberry Pi camera module The peripheral plugs onto the CSI pins found in the middle of each Raspberry Pi board by means of a ribbon cable. …

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Stop

Funny how a £16 Linux computer becomes £30.87 at RS...

Anyway gave up on that and got a Mele A2000 instead. Real SATA port - tick. Open-source supported GPU (Mali 400) - tick.

Camera you say? More closed firmware rubbish as it relies on the Pi's closed GPU.

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Re: Funny how a £16 Linux computer becomes £30.87 at RS...

Don't forget only the higher spec'd Model B is (for want of a more accurate word) 'available' currently.. Model A out later in year..

Been able to order my PI at last... hoorah.. just awaiting delivery.

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Facepalm

Huh?

So you spent 3 times as much and wonder why the Pi is a bit limited in comparison?

(The only UK price I can find for a Mele A2000 is £100, Dealeurx link via TinyURL)

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WTF?

Re: Funny how a £16 Linux computer becomes £30.87 at RS...

I can't work out why 'It'sa Mea... Mario' has been downvoted. His comment was purely factual, save for his 'hoorah'. Really.

Maybe some Sega fans have survived in some isolated South American valley....

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Anonymous Coward

@The BigYin

Got mine for £50 delivered mate. Look around the Chinese sites, you'll find it there.

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JDX
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Re: Funny how a £16 Linux computer becomes £30.87 at RS...

Probably because expressing 'surprise' things cost more at retail is really daft.

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Re: Funny how a £16 Linux computer becomes £30.87 at RS...

Got my one the other day. Still dealing with lots of niggling issues after updating the default software and firmware to the latest available from git / apt-get.

USB is sometimes unreliable (recorded cases of USB packets just disappearing into the ether despite being acknowledged by the device - which hit me by disconnecting my 3G USB stick at random points while on 3G but no problem on GPRS, etc.), a couple of people have hit heat problems on the Ethernet/USB chip (hot to the touch when there should be no real temperature there), there are power problems galore because it needs such a regulated supply (and thus battery use etc. requires additional circuitry), SD cards are still a bit up in the air - ones that I've used for years in a myriad devices start spewing out errors and putting it into unfathomable boot loops (but then, next time, it just boots fine) and the online compatibility lists are a load of junk (too many false negatives AND false positives). I also can't get it to put out a composite signal that my old Sanyo 32" TV will actually see as a colour signal (strange that every other composite device works fine including brand-new DVD players, Wii, etc.)

That's AFTER you read about people breaking off one of the capacitors quite easily / accidentally, finding incomplete solder points on their new boards, etc.

The default (and recommended) Debian image is supplied with the iptables command but without any iptables modules, rendering it useless unless you feel like recompiling the kernel yourself. The default firewall is thus "ACCEPT ALL" while some people are demoing it downloading things in Midori (which is being universally commented on as "slow").

There's a lot that's nice about the device but it's far from ready for mainstream use yet, so the camera is the LAST thing to be worrying about.

Hell, I still can't work out how to get it to boot reliably from several of the handful of SD cards that work perfectly in every other SD device I own.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Funny how a £16 Linux computer becomes £30.87 at RS...

It's disingenuous to talk about a £16 computer, when the lowest retail price you can buy one now is £30.

El Reg doesn't state any other computer prices in £ without taxes and the usual retail markup, so why the exception for the Pi?

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@JDX Re: Funny how a £16 Linux computer becomes £30.87 at RS...

You might want to read a little more carefully..

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Re: downvoted

> I can't work out why 'It'sa Mea... Mario' has been downvoted. His comment was purely factual, save for his 'hoorah'. Really.

ISTM the Pi has gained "iPhone" status - there is a (small but vocal) collection of fanb admirers who will not hear a bad word against it. Whether there's a correlation between its fans and those who have actually touched one, is something I'd be interested in knowing.

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Re: downvoted

Pointing out that the £16/$25 dollar target price is for the Model A which is not yet being produced hardly makes me a fanboy. (I actually think the 'launch' was a shambles not matter what I think of the intentions of the Raspberry PI org. The org and the two distibutors were by no means 'on the same page' for quite a while over the launch)

however, something you'd be interested in knowing apparently: http://www.raspberrypi.org/

But alas where there are perceived fans rabid anti fans are sure to follow.. sigh.

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Re: downvoted (who are you calling a cult?)

> Pointing out ... hardly makes me a fanboy.

Errrrm, I though I was agreeing with you. it's the people who can't stand any criticism that amuse me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Funny how a £16 Linux computer becomes £30.87 at RS...

A very useful post. I'm on the RS waiting list but will take myself off it as I don' t have the necessary skills to troubleshoot to this level and other people who are far more technical deserve to have it before me.

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Happy

Re: downvoted

Heck, if showing enthusiasm for a cheap-and-probably-cheerful gadget on a tech-site forum gets frowned upon, I don't know what's going on : D

I don't doubt that a fair few buyers will have have a play with it and then consign it to the drawer of yesterdays toys, but even if the pleasure is mostly in the anticipation it has got people thinking about what they might do with it. And that seems a good thing to me, even if most people don't use it make their own motion-tracking paintball turret gun.

Similarly, Tripath-based class D audio amplifiers... it's not so much that that people think they are the best amps in the world, but just that they sound good and only cost £20, so any shortcoming are more easily overlooked. And you get to make your own case for them too!

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FAIL

Re: Funny how a £16 Linux computer becomes £30.87 at RS...

> His comment was purely factual

Nope. The £16 price was for the $25 Model A. So far only the $35 Model B has been produced.

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The "£16" Pi is the future"Model A" coming later in the year and will be £16 + delivery + VAT (and should be inclusive of case I believe). Wish The Register would get the basic facts right.

The "£30" Pi is the current "Model B" which costs £21.60 (a fair exchange rate for $35) plus VAT and delivery. Its slighly less than £30 from Farnell / Element14 when delivered in the UK.

The RasPi foundation FAQ has always stated the pricing was $25 (A) or $35 (B) PLUS taxes and delivery. The fact they have managed to get 2 global distributors on-board and kept the baseline price the same everywhere (delivery and taxes vary country by country) .. is pretty good going for an NPO.

I believe the RasPi foundation would be very happy if someone in China produces an even cheaper "PC" as well.

I got my first one from RS last week and it seems to work fine (key is decent pwr supply) .. this one is going in the car for OBDII / GPS / 3G Access Point / front+rear webcam trip recording / HUD, all using open source and as cheap and low-power as possible components.

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Anonymous Coward

I LOVE the Pi

Got one early on, completely useless as a computer: non-accelerated X server, always struggling to run even just one browser given the measly 256MB, took 3 SD different cards before it finally liked one. Wifi stick never worked. Keyboard locked up often. Kernel panic at random times.

(this was with the latest Debian image before you ask)

BUT

Sold it to some muppet for £117 on Ebay. So made plenty of beer money.

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Linux

Re: I LOVE the Pi

that made me laugh my ass off!!!

I got mine last week, and to be honest you need to be well keen to get it all working and set up. but hey, this thing is new and bugs'll get ironed out eventually ... oh and the documentation needs a bit of commitment too.

i took it into work and the guys there got it connected and running citrix over bb and got xen desktop working and running windows 7 on the corp network.

we showed it to the managers and they are well impressed. as far as they are concerned, this does have the potential to save us loadsa money in the near future ... as they're thinking that when it comes round to refreshing the PC estate, we should be able to go thin client for very low cost.

the main issue with this tho is that peeps expect this thing to kill windows now! it will kill windows eventually, it just needs to do a bit of rocky balboa training first (... running up steps ... chasing chickens ... kinda thing)

;-)

plug

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Re: I LOVE the Pi

Great, so after you encase it, install the SD card in it, connect peripherals enough to make it access the network, have a keyboard, mouse, power button, reset button, etc. USB extenders and soundcard ports that the user can't break the port on (RPi is extremely fragile), add a reliable power supply integrated into the box, do all that, box it, ship it, and provide support for it when it goes wrong (they're having lots of problems with SD cards currently, and 100mbps Ethernet isn't the given you expect either, and you're basically running a full Debian distro to make it work properly which is booted from a proprietary GPU boot code that you have zero access to) then you might be able to get a basic "thin" (actually fat, but who cares about destroying decades-old terminology) clients that are in the same price range, power usage, size, etc. as other thin-clients and can spend the rest of your "savings" on Windows/Citrix licences.

Bargain. Except they don't exist commercially "yet" and there's no cases for them, so you'll be doing all that on your own, with the associated startup costs (or buying Nano-ITX cases, etc.). Or you could just buy any-old thin-client or even just desktop or laptop and have done the same anyway with ZERO performance concerns.

The RPi is good for several things. Thin-clients isn't one of them. Desktops is another area that it's horrible at (solved only by thin-clienting them). Hell, it struggles to play a simple MP3 from the command-line at the moment.

I'm making an in-car GPS / SMS monitoring device with my RPi at the moment - something I've done half-a-dozen times with everything from a full laptop down to Mini/Nano-ITX. The RPi has given me more headaches than anything else so far (can't even get it to hold a USB connection on a 3G stick, for instance, despite identical software to all my previous setups) and I've put it on a backburner until some of the issues are solved. That's a project where the size, speed, power requirements, capabilities, ports etc. are all perfect matches for the Pi.

So far, my Pi is still having its backside kicked by a GP2X ARM Linux handheld console (that CAN run off two AA's by default for hours and play just about the same software but better), and that's YEARS old now and been superceded at least twice by newer models.

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Unfortunately, it might not fit too well in your custom Raspberry Pi fag packet, though

That sounds like a challenge! :-)

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Superkings.

That should do it.

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Anonymous Coward

How to f*** the Pi

No, not like the movie. The other kind where the magic smoke is released.

1) Send 5v to GPIO pin while it's set high.

2) Short the 3.3v and 5v pins (both very conveniently placed at top and bottom left of the connector)

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Anonymous Coward

Why all the hate

Just why is there some much whinging about the Raspberry Pi, if you don't like em, don't buy em, sure they are not quite as cheap, or quite as open, as we might like, and the software may not be quite finished, but for £30 they do seem to be quite good bang for the buck.

I just don't understand the hate mail, it's not as if the foundation is a big and wealthy corporation or that they will sue the arse of anybody making something similar.

I don't even think the hardware is the main purpose of the foundation, the promotion of study and use of computers in education , programming et al, seems to be the driving force.

I'm pretty sure just dragging real computer studies back into schools would be seen as a success.

The hardware is just the enabling device, the noise and interest around the hardware is the real gift to education. The Raspberry Pi raises the profile of computer programming and stirs the dark and turgid waters of the education pond, helping it to change. I've not seen so much coverage of a device designed for education in many years, it may not change everything overnight but then again a bit of a shove in the general direction my well help.

If your not interested in them just ignore them, just what is the pleasure in pissing on a charitable foundations parade, just what did you do to make a difference, you whinging ........TL;DR

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Thumb Up

I got my Pi a few weeks ago. downloaded debian, installed onto an old Sandisk SD card using some SD boot maker tools I found somewhere on a PI related website. Stuck an HTC phone power supply in, wireless mouse, wired keyboard and plugged it into an HDMI monitor. Worked perfectly first time, had a play around the x desktop, used the browser and tools. now just looking at what arm binaries I can use and how to cross compile on windows (if I can).

It's pretty straightfoward to get working, although beyond that the community support isn't there yet. But it half the folk using them providing something back in the way of a tool, assistance to others, forum support etc then there is no reason it shouldn't take off. There is a bit too much negativity in the IT world.

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Headmaster

Hardware issues

I don't have an RPi but have considered it on occasion but one thing I do know about the linux community is this. Sure the RPi has some USB and other issues at the moment, but it would just be a case of buggy or slight incompatibilities with the drivers in the kernel.

With the popularity of the RPi, the SOC device will get the required driver fixes and the board specific driver files will also get some work to iron out these issues. Give it time and all will work out.

I really wish though the board had at least a gig of ram, if you want to run a GUI+Apps 256Mb isn't enough!

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Re: Hardware issues

Actually, we don't know what the problem is with USB or SD cards at the moment. Broadcom (who make the chipset and designed the RPi) don't seem to know either. I have just posted off a "non-working" SD card to a Broadcom employee who is going to post it to Taiwan so their "driver author" can have a look at it and (hopefully) fix the issues the RPi (and only the RPi) has with it. This is a card that I've used in about 20-30 other SD card devices without ever hitting a single problem, but the RPi can barely mount an ext partition from it in 1 try out of 20. They literally had to put a topic on the forum begging for cards that showed problems only on the RPi because they obviously don't have the testing regime themselves to discover them.

That *COULD* be software. We would hope it is. But if it's due to an electrical problem (e.g. PCB traces too thin can affect the capacitance / resistance of a circuit even if the PCB simulated perfectly and the circuit - in theory - works perfectly - see the OpenPandora project for examples of things like that happening!), or some bad design of the SD circuit, or operating slightly out of ranges then you're stuffed and won't be able to fix it in software. That means a complete reissue of 10,000 plus boards to get vaguely reliable booting with any SD card. Do you think schools will be buying the most expensive, brand new SD cards (some of which still exhibit problems with the RPi, but which are generally better) for every single student?

Similarly, the RPi drops USB packets *after* acknowledging them. That's PROBABLY a software problem, but something that only someone who understands ARM Linux kernels, the Broadcom chipset, the combined LAN/USB chipset used and can understand oscilloscope traces of a USB transaction would be able to identify, let alone fix. That's not to say those people don't exist, but we're not just talking a two-line patch to a bash script here. And Broadcom are not always going to work for free on things like that.

And that's just what we know. I listed at least 4-5 problems within 24 hours of receiving a board numbered "4011" (so, within the first "pre-order" batch). All of those issues are known in the community already and still not fixed (months after the pre-orders went live) and many have no reply to them at all except "wait and see if someone works it out". The troubleshooting forums and Wiki are horrendous and barely touch on most of the problems noticed. There are literally a handful of people (not associated with RPi) actually doing anything interesting with their boards or trying to solve those problems (after over a week, and given several HUNDRED reports of faulty cards, in the past etc. I was the only person to even reply to the call for SD cards!). Now go look at the problems of power supplies (there is no "official" power supply, and it's incredibly easy to get any amount of problems from no Ethernet to no booting at all to weird shutdowns, etc. with a power supply that looks/works perfectly fine on any other device).

RPi better hope that these things are fixable in software. But even if they are, it's going to take MONTHS to fix them. And virtually all the pre-orders are out in the wild and have been for months/weeks depending on what second of the 10-minute window the orders were open for you actually ordered in. Mass production is supposed to start soon. Going mass-production on boards that even the pre-orderers, two HUGE electronics distributors, and the company that designed it can't get working with perfectly-working, brand-new SD cards, power supplies and USB devices is a recipe for disaster.

Don't even get me started on how the default "recommended" distro is mis-configured and butchered.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hardware issues

Just what is your point, the first iteration of the firmware/os is a bit flakey, I mean that never happens in the commercial world does it, this is a cheap device desiged in spare time by some talented professionals, the massive takeup for it has not suprisingly pushed the range of PSU's Keyboards / Mice / SD cards in use past the small number used for testing, I'm sure further testing would have found these incompatibilities, then again I'm sure it would have doubled the price.

I'm also sure that when it comes round to there being an educational pack available, it will all work (most of the time). To be honest I'm rather pleased that so many have been sold, it will improve the Raspberry Pi greatly by the time the next iteration is produced, and will have funded more R&D for the product.

This will benifit greatly the education sector, which was the target audience. Now if you want to have a go at all the PE teachers out there that also teach a couple of sessions of ICT, with less knowlege that some of the students, be my guest. but don't have a go at the charitable foundation for having a go at poducing something that has stirred much interest in the education sector.

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Anonymous Coward

Cool things that people have done with it?

I've tried looking on Google to find cool stuff that people have done with the Pi, but can't find anything. When I was a teenage electronics hobbyist something like this would be like a dream come true, surely someone has got it to do something interesting, a robot hoover? remote control for your cat? Any links would make interesting reading.

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Terminator

Re: Cool things that people have done with it?

remote control for your cat?

Do you mean:

(a) A device that controls your cat remotely?

You're not another of these fans who think this thing is actually magical, are you? I'd believe in this more if anyone had even cracked non-remotely controlling them yet.

(b) A device your cat can use to remote-control things?

No. Just No. See icon.

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MrT
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Paris Hilton

I think the remote control...

... for Pollyanna Woodward is more interesting...

https://fwd.channel5.com/gadget-show/videos/other/dubai-robot-build

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