Pi NoIR, the infrared version of our camera board, is available to purchase for $25 plus tax from today. You’ll find it at all the usual suspects: RS Components, Premier Farnell and their subsidiaries; and at Adafruit. Other stores will be getting stock soon.
Pictures courtesy of Adafruit, who, unlike us, actually have a studio for doing this stuff in – thanks guys!
What’s that mysterious square of stuff, you ask? I’ll let you know tomorrow.
By now I hope many of you have had a chance to play with NOOBS, the new out of box software we released back at the start of June. Although originally aimed at providing a better experience for newcomers to the Pi, we now reckon NOOBS is the best way for almost everyone to get the most out of their Pi.
With this in mind, from today our partners RS Components and element14 will be offering an optional 8GB NOOBS SD card with every new Model A or Model B Raspberry Pi, for only $5.
The NOOBS SD card in all its glory.
We designed the Pi so that pretty much all the extras you need can be found around the house: there’s not much point in making a $25 computer if your customers need to go out and buy $100 of accessories to use it. Most people can rustle up an old TV, a small SD card and a mobile phone charger. But we’ve noticed that not everybody has access to a large enough card to take advantage of NOOBS, or to a device which can write to SD cards. Fast, pre-programmed, high-capacity cards like the Samsung ones we’re bundling (and which have turned out to be our favourite cards in testing; they’re optimised for random read/write behaviour, unlike many cards which are designed for the large continuous reads and writes that digital cameras make) have been the best-selling Pi accessory offered by our partners since launch, so we’re expecting a lot of you to take us up on this offer.
NOOBS in action.
$5 is an incredible deal for a fast 8GB card. (Just Google how much these cards usually sell for with nothing on them.) We’d like to thank our partners, and our friends at Samsung, xel and Cardwave for pulling out all the stops to make this happen.
A note on SD card nomenclature. The card we’re offering here is rated as Class 4 – in some metrics, Class 4 means slow. This is not the case with this card, which has outperformed many Class 6 and Class 10 cards in our tests – classification seems not to correlate well with random read/write performance. Samsung’s unusual focus on random-access performance on their SD memory means that this card performs very fast and very reliably: we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Here’s a guest post from our friend Pete Wood at RS Component’s community arm, DesignSpark. Pete is one of the organisers of the Oxford Raspberry Jams. This post was first published at www.designspark.com.
Raspberry Jams are now being held all over the world; I’ve been trying to go to about one a month, and am lucky enough to be in Tokyo for some press and meetings while the Tokyo Jam is on later this month. There’s a list of events in each month’s MagPi, and if you’re looking for something near you, it’s worth checking the events page on our forums. If you can’t find a Jam near your home, why not look into setting one up? There’s information on how to get started at the Raspberry Jam website, which Alan O’Donohoe tells me will be getting a redesign in the coming months.
Over to Pete!
This month’s Jam held at DesignSpark HQ in Oxford UK was our biggest turnout yet, with over 30 Pi Geeks crammed into the room!
Raspberry Pi Camera
I kicked off the event by showing the new Raspberry Pi camera module, which will be available from RS Components later in May. In the picture is a pre-production module, the production version is a couple of millimetres taller. The camera gives stunning HD video from a 5MP sensor at 30 FPS.
Next up was one of my RS colleagues, Pete Milne, who showed us his Digital Signage application. Pete has connected up a network of Raspberry Pis to flat screen TVs here at the RS Oxford Offices and at our main facility in Corby, Northamptonshire. The Pis run a libreoffice slideshow in a continuous loop and display Health and Safety messages for RS employees. He’s been running these continuously for over 8 weeks without having to re-boot, so it’s very robust. The Pis runs without a keyboard or mouse and the content can be updated remotely over the network.
If you want to create your own Digital Signage Application, Pete has shared how to do it on GitHub. Just follow the INSTALL file for setup details.
Wii Controller Car
Oxford Raspberry Jam regular Alex Eames presented another cool little project using a Wii controller and Nunchuck. This one was for controlling a remote control car that has an on-board Raspberry Pi with Bluetooth dongle. It also allows the control of brake lights, headlights and indicators and also drives an aircraft propeller. Alex plans to build all this into the car itself, which would need to accommodate the Pi, the electronics hanging of the GPIO, some model aircraft batteries and the motor and fan. Alex, I think you need a bigger car… how about a Monster Truck?
Our next demo was one that has been featured on the Raspberry Pi site a few weeks ago for a Raspberry Pi powered video wall. Alex and Colin from the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) have built this system in C and some Python Code. It has clever features like bezel compensation to accommodate different styles of screens. They showed a 4 screen setup, but have also run a 9+4 configuration. The software is scalable to any size or shape. Each screen needs a Pi, and one separate Pi is used as the master. This is a classic example showing that you can build your own video wall for a fraction of the price of a commercial solution that would certainly cost a lot more! Chaps, I can see a business opportunity here for screening big screen sporting events on a budget down my local pub. ;0) They expect to licence the software/design at some point. More details are available on their website.
Motion Detected Camera
Another Oxford Jam regular, Dave R, showed his Pi with a webcam motion detection system and linked to a DSLR. Dave created this for his bird table, to capture pictures of birds when they land on the table, I think I need to build a similar solution to stop my kids from stealing my Haribos…
Touch Screen Display
Paul had two projects to show. The first was a simple touch screen for the Pi to allow control and display. Paul was reading and displaying temperatures. The screens are semi-intelligent, storing screen images and having a sound output available. The screen images are loaded via a Windows app and USB connection. The Pi can then control the display of those images.
Sky Remote Controlled LED Lighting
The second demonstration was a programmable LED strip and infrared receiver, controlled by a Sky TV remote control. A simple Python script reads the codes from a remote control. He could the use this to flash the LEDs in various patterns and colours. The LEDs are driven by SPI and can be daisychained up to 1024 LEDs.
Paul M and Annierei L, showed us their ChiPhone box. ChiPi is an Electronic messaging system for children allowing them to send and receive voice messages. They have designed a child friendly box with large buttons and microphone. With simple record and ‘To/play’ buttons it makes for an easy messaging system connected to the internet via WiFi. You can find out more about their project on their website.
Pi Keyword Cruncher
Pi Jam regular and Data Geek John finished off our live demos by showing us his Pi based RSS feed collector and keyword analysis tool. The Pi collects data from various RSS feeds every 30 minutes and stores the results in a MySQL database. The data is then used to monitor trends in keywords, which over time show either peaks of activity or trends of ‘chatter’ about specific topics. The advantage of John using his Raspberry Pi Instead of his 50W laptop, is that it the Pi only takes 2W and can be left on all the time. It also frees up his laptop to do other tasks.
RaspBMC Toddler In-Car Entertainment System
The final presentation of the evening from one of my Jam co-hosts Alex Gibson, who in true Hollywood awards winners style couldn’t attend in person so sent a video message! Alex’s video featured his project for a Pi based RaspBMC In-Car Toddler entertainment system. One of the most impressive bits was a headrest bracket he had printed out on his Raspberry Pi-based 3D printer.
Thanks to all those who showed their projects. Looking forward to the next event!
RS Components and Premier Farnell/element14 have Model A Raspberry Pis in stock as of this morning. (See the Where To Buy area on the right side of the page for links.) For the first tranche of orders, Model A will only be available in Europe. We’ll lift this restriction very soon so the rest of the world can order too.
The Model A is a stripped-down version of the Model B Raspberry Pi, with no Ethernet, one USB port and 256MB RAM. If you’d like to learn more, check out this post from a couple of months back.
Stripping down the Model A means it has two important differences from the Model B: we can make it ten dollars cheaper, at $25; and it consumes roughly a third of the power of the Model B, which is of key importance to those of you wanting to run projects from a battery or solar power: robots, sensor platforms in remote locations, Wi-Fi repeaters attached to the local bus stop and so forth. We’re working on software to get the power consumption even lower. And we’ve seen how well XBMC works on the early 256MB Model Bs we sold last year; it’ll work just as well if you want to make a $25 media centre out of your Model A.
RS customers outside Europe (Allied in the US) can order a Model A now, but there will be a short delay in processing their order because we’re waiting on some paperwork before the Pis can be shipped. Farnell customers outside Europe (Newark in the US) will see Model A appear on their local sites when this paperwork has been filled.
We are very, very pleased to finally be able to offer you a computer for $25. It’s what we said we’d do all along, and we can’t wait to see what you do with it.
Last year, we auctioned the very first Raspberry Pi Model Bs to come off the line to raise money for the Raspberry Pi Foundation. We’re doing the same this year, but instead of raising money for Raspberry Pi, we have selected (and asked some of our closest partner organisations to select) twelve other charities to benefit from the funds raised. Each of the trustees has also chosen a charity – you’ll get to find out what those were as the auctions progress.
The Pis we are selling on eBay are the first production sample Raspberry Pi Model As to come off the line. They’ll have a tantalisingly low serial number, and you will be one of the first people in the world to own one. We’ll also be bundling some other goodies too, including a Pi Plate from Adafruit, a signed copy of the Raspberry Pi User Guide by Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree, a lovely Raspberry Pi t-shirt, and a signed certificate from the Foundation stating that you are the owner of one of the very first Model As ever to be made.
Pete Wood at RS sent me this video yesterday. He’s been at Electronica 2012 in Germany with Rob Bishop, where RS have been demoing the Raspberry Pi (the large wall-slapping game you can see being played in the video is driven by a Pi) and, most interestingly for you guys, the camera board.
The camera has a 5 megapixel sensor, and can record 1080p H.264 video at 30 frames per second. This board will plug into the currently unused CSI pins on the Pi, using I²C for control. We’re also working on a display board, which will come to market after the camera board.
Pete has, in the tradition of makers and hackers everywhere, employed sellotape and what appears to be a broom handle in his demo. We’ll be making a little mount for the production camera, so sellotape will not be necessary. Broom handles, however, are almost always useful for something or other.
This camera board is a prototype of the production model; we’ve a (very) little way to go before we’re able to send it out to manufacture. We’ve got some testing chamber time booked in December; we need to be sure that that big ribbon cable doesn’t emit any forbidden electromagnetic radiation. We’re hoping to get these ready for sale in the new year, all being well at a price of $25. Keep watching this space!
Do you have plans for the camera add-on? Let us know what they are in the comments.
Up until now, we’ve had to restrict purchases of the Raspberry Pi to one per customer because the demand has been (and continues to be) so high. Both of our manufacturing partners have been working at building capacity so you we can lift that limit – right now, 4000 Raspberry Pis are being made every day. As of this morning, you’ll be able to buy as many Raspberry Pis as you want from both RS Components and element14/Premier Farnell. (See below for ordering instructions.)
This is of special importance to those of you who are using the Raspberry Pi in your businesses, and to people looking to buy classroom sets for schools and universities. And if you’ve been waiting for the Raspberry Pi to be in general delivery before you order, now’s the time to get your order in; it helps us to plan the supply chain efficiently if we have a bit of visibility of what’s just down the road.
Jo from RS says:
We’re delighted to announce that as of 08.30am BST on 16th July, RS and Allied are now taking general orders for Raspberry Pi. Orders can be placed by visiting http://pi.rsdelivers.com.
This means that customers worldwide can now order multiple quantities of the Raspberry Pi Model B board, along with the associated accessories, including SD cards pre-loaded with the latest Raspberry Pi operating system and Raspberry Pi cases for safer storage. Customers will be provided with a forecast future delivery date when placing their order, and these orders will be fulfilled after all orders placed before 16th July have been shipped.
We’ve opened up the RS and Allied websites so that businesses, engineering professionals and educational institutions can now place their Raspberry Pi order through our usual business-to-business channels. Anyone who wants to buy the Raspberry Pi for personal use will be directed to the Pi Store to make their purchase.
While existing orders for Raspberry Pi will continue to be fulfilled through the next few months, the ramp-up of production has enabled us to lift the restrictions on the number of units per customer. Orders can now be placed for unlimited quantities of Raspberry Pi board and accessories without the need to register or to receive an invitation to order. We’re currently forecasting that these orders will start reaching customers by the end of September.
The Raspberry Pi boards from RS and Allied are priced at £21.60, plus tax, shipping charges and import duty as applicable.
Jenny from Farnell says:
element14 are pleased to announce that we will now be taking volume orders for Raspberry Pi Model B, on an expected delivery lead-time of 4-6 weeks, as our order backlog improves and our production capacity continues to increase.
Anyone wishing to purchase 10 or more Raspberry Pi’s should email email@example.com for the very latest delivery information.
These orders will be serviced and delivered in the date order that they’re taken, and will not impact any deliveries already committed to other customers.
Pete, some primary school students, and ten Raspberry Pis. (That's Sue looking on from the corridor.) Click the image to watch on the BBC website.
Our good friends Dr Sue Black of the GoTo Foundation, and Pete Wood from RS Components, took a class of seven to nine year-olds (years 3 and 4) at St Matthew’s Church of England Primary School in Surbiton, Surrey, and got them programming the Raspberry Pi in Python as part of a GoTo Foundation event. The results were pretty fantastic – the kids were buzzing, got playing with embedded hardware as well as software, and gave us all a neat demonstration of just how tractable and enjoyable programming can be for children, if they’re only given the opportunity to dig a little into it.
Some kids of this age have trouble with the dexterity needed to type accurately (which is one of the reasons we recommend Scratch for younger students), and this is reflected in the video; it can be very frustrating to type a piece of code in over and over and keep getting it wrong. But others were flying with the Raspberry Pi, and were clearly more than ready to tackle some Python, getting lots out of the experience.
We’re really proud to see so many happy faces from the lesson. Work continues on getting stuff ready for the schools release (which will also include cases for the Raspberry Pi) later in the year. We hope to see lots more of this kind of teaching session to come.
Just landed in San Francisco for Maker Faire – please come and visit us if you’re in the area this weekend! (I’m near death – this is my fourth trip to and from the US this year, and my soul still thinks it’s somewhere over Iceland.) I found this in my inbox from Jo. RS customers take note!
Hi Everyone. Just a quick update for you on the information Liz posted here on Friday.
As promised last week, we have started inviting the next customers in our queue to place their orders for a Raspberry Pi. Delivery dates for these orders will be through June and July.
By this time next week we expect to have invited everyone that registered for a Raspberry Pi with RS on the first day – some 100,000 of you – to place your order. We’ll also have an update on expected availability for those left in the queue.
As always we will be regularly updating our FAQs and sending further updates to Liz to put on the Raspberry Pi website.
This just arrived in my inbox from Jo: I hope you find it helpful! I’ll be asking the RS Raspberry Pi team to swing by the comments section later if you’ve got any questions for them.
Thanks to all those of you who have posted comments – positive and negative – since our last update. We recognise that many of you are still wondering where you are in our queue and when you will be able to purchase your Raspberry Pi.
While this won’t resolve all of your questions we hope this update will give you a clearer picture of what is happening right now.
A secure delivery schedule is in place for the next 75,000 Raspberry Pi boards, which will take us through May and June. Next week we will be opening up our online Raspberry Pi store and inviting the next customers in our queue to place their orders.
To give you some idea of what this means, by 5pm GMT on the day that Raspberry Pi launched, 29th February, we had received around 75,000 registrations. We expect to invite all of these people to place their order over the course of the next 7 to 10 days.
We’re preparing further communications that will give more detail on our queue and what this means for people who registered post 29th Feb, which we’ll share shortly. In the meantime, we’ve also updated our FAQs and will continue to post updates on a regular basis.