Raspberry Pi 2

Early adoption or jumping on the bandwagon?

Raspberry Pi 2

So last week the Raspberry Pi 2 was announced.  I saw it first on the BBC website so went straight to RS and ordered one.  The order said it was the last one in stock.  Although I got the order confirmation for next day delivery - the next day I got an email saying there had been large demand and I wouldn’t get one for 10 days.  I called fowl.  And the next day took delivery of one.  Read on for my initial thoughts.

The boards are approximately the same size as you can see in the picture at the top of the post - but a few things have been moved around. 

The first thing I noticed was the micro-usb power socket which has moved to an adjacent side.  This nearly messed up a future project - until I realised that the Pi will leech power from a USB hub so you don’t actually need to pump power via the micro-sd. 

Also something I hadn’t noticed in my reading of the press releases was that now it has a microSD socket.  This suits me just fine as there are an abundance of cheap used microSD cards available on eBay as everyone wants larger ones for their phones.

Pi2 now has two more USB sockets.  But it has lost the composite video out port.  I removed this from my original Pi anyway to make it lower form factor for a project.

Finally the header has changed - its got longer - but I’m not 100% sure why this is at the moment.  My first concern was that my that my tft touch screen would not fit, but as you can see - it does:

Why did I buy it?  Well I just thought if I ordered one straight away I might get one and not be on a waiting list.  But the clincher for me was that I liked the idea that Microsoft would give away a windows 10 version for it.  As I was coming to the end of my original Pi project - another different one to play with seemed appropriate.

I’d read that the Pi2 was backward compatible with my other Pi - but I’ve had some difficulty with my assumptions about this.  The first was with a small tft touchscreen.  I had a backup of Adafruit’s Cupcade image which was for driving their screen (mine is a eBay version) with MAME and it worked fine on my original Pi.  The screen lights up when powered by the Pi2 - but nothing boots.

I’d read that you might need to recompile things to get the benefit of the extra speed on the Pi2 - so in the end I downloaded the wheezy disto which was compatible with the Pi2.  This booted to an HDMI screen.  I then ran the Adafruit TFT install but instead of working it just corrupted the output even via HDMI and the touch screen still didn’t work.  I think this is because the Adafruit ‘drivers’ seem to apply a hack to the kernel - which may not work with the new Pi.  So I’m going to leave it for a while and hope that they eventually release a Pi2 compatible version of cupcade.

Wheezy itself (before I broke it) works fine - I only played with a few things as I don’t usually have a spare HDMI monitor to hook up the Pi to normally.

If I can’t put cupcade on the Pi2 touch screen I probably don’t have a use for it at the moment I’ll  just keep it in the box until Pi Windows 10 is released.

13-Feb-2015 Add comment

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Matthew Norman...

... who lives in the UK, who is not an actor, not a clock manufacturer, did not write a rough guide to cuba and also has never written for the Telegraph. I have written books on coldfusion and web databases.

(c) somewhere in space and time: M.Norman