tuitui
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Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 2:39 pm

Hi,
i'm a photographer and i'm looking for a new solution to copy my cards when i travel.
My very old macbook is old but the main problem is that i don't want to spend more money into batteries that last just not long enough... so i want to create me a new device for copying my cards when i travel.
I think of using the Pi 400 because i'll still have a keyboard and i'll be able to use it with the tv that i often have in hotel or with my smartphone as a screen when i'm in a more remote place.

I would like to know if the Pi400 will have enough power (perf) to transfer and copy hundreds, thousands, of files (around 50MB to 100MB)) from a usb3 card ready to an usb3 external drive (HDD or SSD) without taking me too much time ?

The main goal will be to be able to copy the files and check if everything is ok, and i prefer to have a visual and have more control like with an OS than just a simple automated Backup Device.
I don't want to edit the files on the Pi400.

Or maybe use a Pi4b with an external keyboard to have something even smaller.

I'm a noob in the raspberry (and linux) world, but i'm into computer since i'm a child.
Thanks for your advices and ideas :)

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thagrol
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 4:19 pm

I'd expect perofrmance to be fine though total bandwidth ebtween devices will be limited to that provided by a single PCIe lane.

The real problem is likely to be power. Like other models the 400 can only supply a total of 1.2A (at 5v) shared between all connected USB devices (I think that includes the keyboard). A power hungry drive can hit that on its own.

There isn't much you can do about this:
  • Add a self powered USB hub between Pi and drive. (More to purchase and carry)
  • Use a self powered drive. (Again more to carry)
  • Use a drive with lower power requirements. (If you can find one)
A "Y" cable won't help as current limiting on the Pi isn't per port. Oh, and no PI does USB PD so they can only output 5v.

Frankly, this is a use case a Pi isn't really suited to. I know you've mentioned Macs but a cheap windows laptop is lieky a better solution than a Pi.
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KeithMck
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 5:42 pm

You can save some USB power by using a mini wifi keyboard/touchpad instead of a regular keyboard & mouse, which is conveniently a lot smaller & lighter - I would add it to a RPi4B with official power supply.

One something like this - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zedo-Wireless- ... 42&sr=8-15

tuitui
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:06 pm

Hi guys, thanks a lot for your detailed answers.
I hadn't thought about the power limitation !
And i just checked and my external 2"5 HDD is 5V 1.0A

I'll keep looking about the power possibilities, because i really wanted to have a small Pi solution like this and avoid buying a new laptop, i don't want a new laptop...
And i was looking forward to play with Linux^^

Maybe if i use the camera as card reader instead of an external one, that will reduce the power usage from the Pi.
The almost all in one solution with the Pi400 was something i really like but if it's more doable with a Pi4B and an external keyboard i'm still open to it.

Edit: the official power supply is 5V 3.0A, that do not leave much space.
i saw this bench for a Pi4B : 400% CPU load (stress --cpu 4) ----> 1280 mA (6.4 W)
Like thagrol said, according to the doc, the Maximum total USB peripheral current draw is 1.2A, basiclly my external HDD.
So if i really want to do this i will need a powered USB hub.

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thagrol
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:36 pm

tuitui wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:06 pm
Edit: the official power supply is 5V 3.0A, that do not leave much space.
i saw this bench for a Pi4B : 400% CPU load (stress --cpu 4) ----> 1280 mA (6.4 W)
According to the doc, the Maximum total USB peripheral current draw is 1.2A, so basiclly my external HDD.
Yep. It's 3A primarly to power the board under load and still to be able to supply 1.2A to USB. An idle board will use less current but the excess cannot be passed to the USB devices.

This might be worth a read: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md

And that figure quoted for the drive, if it's spinng rust rather than an SSD it may draw more during startup. It takes more energy to spin up the platters than it does to keep them spinning.

By all means go with the Pi and dabble with linux. I just don't believe it'll be a better experience than a laptop for the use you have in mind.

And one more thing to consider: if you can't get to the HDMI port on a hotel TV you're stuffed.
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tuitui
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:44 pm

Thanks,
yeah that's where i saw the power usage, but you already mentioned everything in your great first reply.
I agree with you, this is not the easiest way to do what i want, for sure.
If there's no tv i was thinking of something like this, but that will require another device, money and stuff to take with me :
https://www.tomshardware.com/how-to/use ... -pi-screen
That would be more of an emergency solution.

But you're right and the more i dig into it and the less i am from an all in one cheap and fun solution ^_^

aBUGSworstnightmare
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:48 pm

Your Macbook had an integrated screen and battery, so how do you solve this?

A SSD drive may consume less power than an HDD.

The perfect device could look like this; roughly 6 by 6 inches, powered by a tool LiPo. A Pi4 btw.
Image
Image

tuitui
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:53 pm

:D that's a great project ! ;)
But i'm looking for a more portable solution, at least regarding the battery.
I need to use less space and weight as possible.
I thought of using my old macbook (from 2007 or something like that) and change the hdd by a ssd and install linux or something like that but the main problem is the battery, they are way tooo expensive for a durable solution. And the macbook is also a bit too big.

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thagrol
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 7:13 pm

aBUGSworstnightmare wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:48 pm
A SSD drive may consume less power than an HDD.
Check before you buy. I've one here that wants 1.0A and one that wants 1.7A. Atleast that's what the labels say.
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Ernst
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 7:30 pm

Have you considered using 400GB MicroSD cards instead of HDD/SSD ?
A very nice and reliable card reader for such MicroSD card is the "Kingston MobileLite Duo 3C microSD Reader with Dual Interface USB-A and C".
https://www.amazon.com/Kingston-FCR-ML3 ... B07416LQVM
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tuitui
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Thu Jun 24, 2021 9:26 pm

Yeah some SSD can need more power than an old HDD.
For the micro SD solution, yes now we have pretty big cards, but i'm not a big fan with this solution because it's really easy to lose them even with the best precautions. It's way more difficult to lose an external HDD ^^ And they are not safe enough (for me) for preventing big corruption of the data.

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thagrol
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 12:17 am

A further though occurs.

If the HDD is in the same bag or vehicle as the SD cards there are some situations that backing up to the HDD won't help with: lost or stolen bag, lost or stolen vehicle, car crash, etc.

If your plan is to use a hotel (or a third party's) tv for a display would it not also make sense to use their WiFi and a VPN to upload the files to your home network?
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memjr
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 4:47 am

Not to discourage you from a Pi solution, as I love them, I have a few, including a 400, but...

I have a 10 year old laptop with lubuntu on it. Runs great and would more than meet your needs. Especially since you were eager to try Linux.

And by it runs great, I mean it is spectacular. I have newer laptops running windows that have worse performance.

Might be an option.

tuitui
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 7:46 am

Yes but for me the main issue to use my old macbook is the battery, it's dead and i had a few since 2007 and i don't want to put 100€ in a Apple battery anymore... The last one swollen after a short time of use and they didn't care at all, no refund or exchange...
And the MagSafe (charger) is also dead... Apple is a one in a lifetime mistake for me ^^
@ thagrol yes of course, there's always the possibility to lose the HDD in different ways but the chances are lower i think.
I tend to double the saves on two drives rather than upload one save in the cloud, because usally the wifi is too slow or limited to upload all my work, but sometimes it's also a backup solution.

Ernst
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:50 am

After a lot of thinking, research, and consideration, I scrapped the idea of using a raspberry with external HDD/card reader (or similar like RavPower RP-WD03) as a backup device for my camera memory cards. Instead I will be using my Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (which I would take with me anyway) with an internal 400GB micro SD card and an external USB C card reader (goobay 59090). Considering a Raspberry Pi 400 is a nice idea and could be an interesting project but you still need a power supply, external USB hard disk and a USB card reader, a monitor or TV would not really be necessary. The problems are bulk (cables, psu, disks, physical space), complexity (many devices plugged in), and reliability (many possible failure points).
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JMK8
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:34 am

You could also consider a stand-alone sd card duplicator but the only ones I have seen are over $100. No computer needed, light and compact.

tuitui
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 2:26 pm

@JMK8 yes i used to have an old Standalone backup device like but with a hard drive. But i don't like to have no control at all, you must trust and have faith ^^

A Tab is also a solution indeed but you are also limited with the OS and you also need almost the same amount of cables (if you want to keep using HDD and not only SD cards), you can use the same psu with the smartphone but otherwis it's almost the same (but you already have the screen).
At the beginning i wanted to do a fun project without putting to much money and use many stuff that i already have but buying a new Tab just for this, i never use a Tab in my daily life so i'm not sure i want to do this, but at the end that might be a good solution, i don't close this door.

memjr
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 3:40 pm

Ernst wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:50 am
After a lot of thinking, research, and consideration, I scrapped the idea of using a raspberry with external HDD/card reader (or similar like RavPower RP-WD03) as a backup device for my camera memory cards. Instead I will be using my Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (which I would take with me anyway) with an internal 400GB micro SD card and an external USB C card reader (goobay 59090). Considering a Raspberry Pi 400 is a nice idea and could be an interesting project but you still need a power supply, external USB hard disk and a USB card reader, a monitor or TV would not really be necessary. The problems are bulk (cables, psu, disks, physical space), complexity (many devices plugged in), and reliability (many possible failure points).
The tablet is definitely an option.

I had not meant using the apple notebook with lunbuntu on it, but a very cheap, even free laptop that you may get from craigslist. Some companies will even get them away for free to their employees or at asking from people in the neighborhood. They have to pay to dispose of them, and giving them away to someone who can still use them is free.

I have several laptops acquired that way, including the 10 year old mentioned.

Anyway, for $100 to $300, you can get a basic laptop, put Lubuntu (or other light weight linux distribution made for old laptops (L is laptop + Ubuntu if that was not obvious) and you'll have yourself a very nice setup for a long time to come. And the only thing you'd need to carry with it would be its powersupply, and maybe a mouse (I'm not much of a moudepad guy).

Anyway, good luck.

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thagrol
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 4:31 pm

memjr wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 3:40 pm
The tablet is definitely an option.
i've been down the tablet route before. These are the lessons learnt:
  • Avoid tablets that use propriatry connectors. If yuou're lucky you can find a cheap adapter. If not expect to pay over the top for manucfaturer ones.
  • Avoid tablets with only a single USB port. Especially where that port is also used for charging.
    A single USB port means you'll probably need to cary a USB hub.
    If the port is also used for charging, you're into additional adapters to allow charging and USB use at the same time or only using USB devices when the tablet is running on battery
  • Not every tablet can provide enough current to drive an external HDD/SSD. Those that don't need you to carry and use an additional power source for the drive.
  • The file manager apps on a tablet (at least the built in ones) can be pretty basic.
When my last tablet died I switched to an ultra portable win10 laptop. Not much bigger than a tablet and avoids most of the issues.
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tuitui
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 5:02 pm

Yeah i agree with you on all of these points and also a cheap tablet won't have a usb3 port.
My main problem with a new laptop is the price and the problem with batteries that don't last enough for my taste (i mean in years).

memjr
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 6:03 pm

In your post you say "to transfer and copy hundreds, thousands, of files (around 50MB to 100MB)) from a usb3 card ready to an usb3 external drive (HDD or SSD) ... ... and check if everything is ok ... ... I don't want to edit the files on" the device.

To do that, whether it's a tablet, old or new laptop, rPi, it's a trade off. You get rid of the batteries and have to carry a power supply, or you get rid of the power supply and rely on the batteries.

I'll argue that any device with good or bad batteries is going to do the job because even with good batteries you still have to carry the power supply with you to recharge the battery after use anyway.

A pi + supply + drive + powered hub (if the drive is too hungry) is going to cost you pretty much the price of a cheap laptop, used or new and is going to be bulky to carry around. A cheap laptop + its power supply is less bulky and it has it's own hard drive which works like an external drive that you copy your images from the cards to. After copying the images from the cards to the laptop, if you want peace of mind of having a second copy of it just in case your laptop dies (and you can still send it for recovery) you can then copy the images from it to as many USB sticks as you want.

For my travels, I carry 2 full size DSLRs, tripod (not light at all), camera's batteries (4 extra), who knows how many uSD cards, at least 3 canon L lenses (wide, medium, tele). The laptop just goes everywhere by default, even if photo gear stays at home, but for travelling, the old surface pro 3 is the choice there, since it's really just to check emails and copy the RAWs from the uSDs to the laptop and from there to a number of USB sticks. I also carry one around my neck wherever I go. It's got lubuntu in it, so I can boot it from any computer I have access to, and a second one can easily be added to the lanyard for a second copy if I fell like it. Hell, for the weight, I can add 3 or 4 more to the lanyard.

All fits in a backpack. The surface pro 3 is light, thin, and in battery saver mode, sips energy from the batteries, and its power supply is tiny too since it only needs to recharge the batteries overnight once or twice in a two week trip.

tuitui
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 6:42 pm

Thanks for your detailed point of view and experience about this.
I also travel with a dslr (canon) and many lenses and tripod, i know what your talking about :)
The more we talk about this, the more i see that this Pi400 idea is not suited for this job.
I want to play with linux and a Pi since a long time and i though this could be the project to do it, but at the end it might not be.
I still have some time to find a good solution because the borders are not all open yet^^
Maybe i need to check on those Surface tab, maybe not a Pro version but a cheaper one instead.
But there's only one usb port on those Tab right ?

memjr
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Fri Jun 25, 2021 7:19 pm

The one I have has 1 USB port (not USB3) and 1 uSD port and a mini display port (which I never used). So I put the uSD in it's port, then copy to the internal drive, and from there to an external USB drive (the one I have carried around has been a 1TB MyPassport, which both an rPi 4 (and 400) and the surface pro have no problems powering.

But no need to use 3, you could look for a 4 or 5 model. Maybe those have more ports.

Bonus on the surface/laptop (for me anyway), I have Lightroom on it (the last version you could buy instead of monthly payments). Nice to do quick bulk edits to send those pics to family/friends while I'm on the road. Serious editing happens back at home.

But you can do that with any laptop you choose.
Last edited by memjr on Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

tuitui
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Re: Pi 400 performance for a photographer Cards Backup Device ?

Mon Jun 28, 2021 2:51 pm

Thanks i will keep looking at the surface tab, it's more expensive than what i wanted to spend but i think i can't find a much cheaper solution anyway. (I also work mainly on Lightroom.)

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