Raspberry Pi experience

Recently I started the Raspberry Pi experience, and I find it extremely exciting. Although by the time I decided to buy one, Pi 3 was already available on the market, I opted for the Pi 2 as I judged this version more mature for a 'production' environment. I bought it from Amazon and I choose the Sony made one for reliability reasons. I can tell you that I am completely satisfied by the choice. I never had any freezing, overheating or whatever issue with, though it runs 24/24 7/7 and is 'medium' over-clocked.

One precision though, the SD card choice is important. With Samsung 8Gb EVO Micro SD Class 10, raspbian may freeze on cold boot, then a reboot might go through. So for the 'production' environment, I opted for Sandisk 8Gb Micro SD Class 10, perfectly compatible. Check compatibility list before buying an SD card unless you use the Raspberry original one. The iClever Rii wireles mini keyboard is a gadget with it's small touch pad, just that it may freeze from time to time and the only way to go through it is to restart the keyboard from the power button. If you want a more reliable keyboard, buy a professional (flexible if you want) wireless keyboard. With the omxplayer on raspbian, I was able to watch my HD movies in a seamless way. With the audio through HDMI, it is simply brilliant.

Lately I installed OpenELEC (official) Version: 6.0.3. as replacement for my former raspbian and for a full multimedia experience. Main features: tons of add-ons to access weather, photos, music, on-line radio, movies, TV shows, web-casts, remote control over the TV remote, wireless access to a home made NAS and many more. Although control can be provided through the TV remote control, for a full experience I recommend a wireless mouse as often access to additional menus can be provided only through the mouse right click. To get the same from a TV remote would require complex key mapping which would not be as easy to use as a simple mouse.

 

Update January 2017.

OpenELEC seems stuck in the release 6.0.3 with Kodi 15.2. and doesn't update automatically anymore.

Besides, I had some issues playing DVDs with an external DVD player, although I updated the configuration with a proper MPEG2 license which checks out with vcgencmd codec_enabled MPG2 .

Well, I had several issues with DVDs, so to speak.

  • First, the power. It was no way to power up the DVD player, a Samsung one, even setting the max_usb_current=1 in the configuration and buying a 3A power supply for the Raspberry. It was my fault, though, because checking the specifications of the DVD player, I noticed that at start, the power peak goes up to 1.4A and the supply on the USB port goes up to 1.2A theoretically, with max_usb_current=1 set. The solution I found is to use a Y USB cable, allowing to get power from 2 USB ports.
  • Now I come back to the issues with playing DVDs. It seems that according to the DVD encoding, the player behaves randomly, even after a cold boot. Sometimes it won't load the disk. Then it loads it but in might crash in the playback after 20 minutes, and so one. But evenually, you are able to play them.

As there is no automatic update for my currently OpenELEC 6.0.3 release since quite a while, I thought I would give a try to LibreELEC 7.0.3. coming with Kodi 16.1, so I backed up my current SD card on my Ubuntu desktop with sudo dd if=/dev/mmcblk0 of=/path/to/file/OpenELEC.img . To quickly roll back, use dd if=/path/to/file/OpenELEC.img of=/dev/mmcblk0 if needed. It didn't solved my issues with playing DVDs, so I roolled back.

To edit the configuration file in a ssh session:

mount -o remount,rw /flash
vi /flash/config.txt

Make your changes, then save.

mount -o remount,ro /flash
reboot