A rather long wait ended today, when DHL dropped this little package off at work in the morning. I had placed my Raspberry Pi order in the first 24 hours when they started taking orders (or actually, registrations of interest) from RS Components, but it took about two months for me to receive the invitation to order, and three more weeks for the order to arrive.
Opening up the box, I was greeted with a very small computer, and two small leaflets, a quick start guide and a regulatory and safety pamphlet. The board is really quite small, just a few millimeters larger than a credit card. Two USB slots, HDMI, coaxial and stereo audio plugs and micro-USB for power, plus an ethernet jack.
I ran a quick test to see if everything worked. Initially, there was flicker on my projector (the only device with native HDMI input I currently have), but that turned out to be incompatibility with the HDMI switch I had – without it it worked just fine. I used the premade Debian image on a SD card and it worked perfectly.
I haven’t quite yet decided on the first hacking project I would like to do with this, so I’m open to suggestions. Some initial ideas from the top of my head include:
- Combining the ethernet functionality with an AVR programmer to make up a nice web-accessible MCU flashing tool
- Checking out the performance and bandwith of the GPIO pins
- Using the SPI/I2C/UART functionality of the GPIO pins to communicate with a microcontroller
- Utilizing the Rasp-Pi as a “HDMI shield” or “audio shield” for an Arduino
An additional idea that I had, and anyone’s free to pick up this one, would be to write a piece of software that uses the SPI pins to program AVR microcontrollers directly. The Pi is basically the same price as many dedicated ISP programmers, and I’d much rather have a full-blown ARM Linux computer with the same price!