Month: February 2019

Raspberry Pi 2 B

After 3,5 years of owning and never using (let us talk about not being a finisher later) Raspberry Pi 2 B I finally decided to see for what it can be used in practice.

Yes, I know that now already Raspberry Pi 3 B+ exist and that it has better performance.

I did use the original Raspberry Pi in 2012 to make a simple version of Screenly, but that is a story for another time.

First, I went to the official webpage to see what is new and how to install operating systems (I will use abbreviations OS from here on).

There I have found out that the best way for beginners is to use NOOBS.

My experience with NOOBS is positive, there are few OS that can be installed with it.

Another software with similar capabilities is BerryBoot, it has some additional OS that NOOBS does not have, but also NOOBS have an OS that
BerryBoot, so best is to try both.

One tip, label of miniSD card must be called boot.

Just for information, all tests have been done on 22inch DELLmonitor.

Using Raspberry Pi 2 B as desktop PC

My test was basically how good youtube is working.

Surprisingly better than I expected, Raspberry Pi 2 B on Raspbian is able to play 360p videos with no problems, even 480p video worked, but the video had some lags but the audio was fine.

Form my opinion the biggest drawback for using any Raspberry as a desktop computer is lack of software (eg. no DropBox) because the software needs to be compiled for RISC processor.

Retropie

Retropie is OS for playing retro games.

NES and SNES games were fine, but N64 (N64 was my first 3D console, so there is an emotional connection) was not so good (GoldenEye on 10 FPS, not playable).

Raspberry Pi 3 is working better according to Reddit.

CCTV

Using motioneye as CCTV on Raspberry Pi 2 B is working better than expected.

You can add a local camera to motioneye or even remote IP camera.

Motion detection is supported with upload to FTP, DropBox, Google Drive, etc.

Just be aware that you can not expect the same quality as of specialized dedicated CCTV system, but it is perfect for a hobby project.

Public Facing Screens

You can use Raspberry Pi 2 B as a public facing screen, one useful OS for that purpose is Screenly.

It offered as a monthly subscription model, but if you use it just in a local network, it is free.

Tools and links

The tools:

balenaEtcher cross-platform tool to flash OS images to SD cards

SD Memory Card Formatter formats SD/SDHC/SDXC Cards

Links:

https://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/raspberry-pi-3-performance-and-verdict-page-3

https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2018/raspberry-pi-3-b-review-and-performance-comparison

FOSCAM FI8908W network IP camera

I bought this camera from Deal Extreme, almost a decade ago.

Anyway, if plan to use this camera first step is to upgrade to the newest firmware, on official website I found nothing, but they do have some software tools, luckily there are instructions on Deal Extreme Forums.

I did my firmware upgrade step by step, from a version on my camera to the next firmware version.

Maybe upgrade to last would firmware work also, but I did not want to take unnecessary risk and brick my device.

There is an upgrade for System firmware and Embedded Web UI first upgrade System firmware and then Embedded Web UI.

Also, there is similar model fi8918w, AFAIK last firmware version should not be upgraded to this model.

Be sure to understand procedure from Deal Extreme Forums before starting the firmware upgrade process.

My experience with a version with last firmware

The camera is giving 640×480 image, during the daylight it is acceptable, during the night you can see that somebody is there but not who, so it is not useful in a night mode.

Movement of a camera is possible, it is working fine but web UI for control is not working on IPad only regular PC browsers.

The device should offer an audio connection, but I have not used it

WiFi connection I have used, I just trust the cable more :-).

The camera also has an IO port for motion detection and trigger, but I have not used it.

There is also a possibility of motion detection, recording of video/pictures and sending to email and FTP upload.

I have not tested this feature because it is only working on Microsoft Internet Explorer so to use it you have to have one PC with it always running

Electricity consumption is about 3.5 till 4 watts/hour on 230 voltage.

I did notice that it need to be restarted once per week, otherwise, it will just get stuck.

Should you use this camera

It depends on what purpose you want to use it.

If you want to have a daylight live stream without recording and alarms and it is OK for you to restart it every week that it is fine.

Also one decade ago this was a great device for its price, today it is better to get a camera on Raspberry Ri with motionEye.

If you plan to use this camera with motionEye add it as Network Camera.