Yes, that is a Raspberry Pi on the bottom of my rubbish bin. I’m not saying the RasPi is rubbish, but I am not weeping about its loss, either.
As with many new things there is a hype and with the RasPi there was no exception: “What a bargain to get so much computer for such a low price.” Well, you pay for what you get, so when I got mine last year September I soon found out I also got a lot of problems to solve. More than I was willing to. The USB/network problem has been mentioned a lot on various sites. Stable power would solve that, so I build a very stable solid state PSU with 78S05 regulators and 6800uF capacitors. Even after that you just had to look at the USB ports and the network would come crashing down. Since I was running the RasPi headless this meant rebooting over and over again.
So my plan to build a solar powered weather and APRS digipeater were soon abandoned and with only a single USB 1-Wire dongle attached it just collected weather data. Uptimes were great, the longest one being over 100 days – until I accidentally switched the power off.
Then we had this, on July 14….
I shot the video just after fixing a drainage problem: the water was almost entering the shack. At 14 seconds you can see the first flash of thunder (the EMP hit the camera). It was a forebode of what was to come: a hit right behind where we live. The result: all the garage door openers and video doorbells were broken within a 50 meter range. Two of our routers were out and……the weather station. Network cables make great antennas, so the 1-Wire dongle didn’t respond to incoming signals after the hit any more. The RasPi was also dead, but later that night I put 5 Volts on the GPIO pins and it came back alive, albeit running very hot. I had a spare 1-Wire dongle, so the weather station was up and running again – for the moment.
But not a month later the expected happened: slowly the colourful LEDs on the RasPi main board dimmed until there was no life in them left. It must be a problem with the on-board voltage regulator, but they are glued to the board (yes, I tried removing one), so the rubbish bin it is.
Added bonus is that I now have a much cleaner spectrum, too! There have been projects to get the RasPi transmitting using the GPIO pins on the FM band, WSPR and what not. I found out that the RasPi was acting as a little spread spectrum transmitter, putting out carriers every 30 kHz on HF and 6 meters via the network cable. Unplug the network and it’s gone, plug it in and you broadcast 24 hours a day on multiple frequencies.
I already had a Atom board prepared and with some extra time spent the weather station was back up in a jiffy. My little PicoLCD screen also worked with the new set up, while with the RasPi it would just stall. Therefore, you can surf to pa2bx.nl, again, for the latest weather in Longtan, Taiwan.
So, the Pi is dead, long life the Atom!