Monthly Archives: November 2020

Cyber Monday at SparkFun

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

You’ve got one more day left in our month of sales - today! If you’ve waited all month, this is it. If you haven’t waited all month, this is still it, because tomorrow is December and it doesn’t make sense to have November sales in December.

Cyber Monday Deals

Rules & Info:

  • The sale will run until 11:59 p.m. MT tonight.

  • No rainchecks or backorders will be allowed. We will not be allowing the combining of orders during this sale.

  • Distributor and Reseller accounts are eligible for sale prices on the following SKUs: 14658, 15595, 14234, 14540, 15349, 11494, 14971, 14725 and 15871.

  • We will be working hard to get as many orders out as quickly as possible, but we cannot guarantee same-day shipping during the sale days. For more information on holiday shipping deadlines, check out our guide here.

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New product: Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan

via Raspberry Pi

Today we’re launching a stocking-filler product to help you squeeze more performance out of your Raspberry Pi 4. The $5 Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan clips inside the lid of the Official Case, and keeps your Raspberry Pi 4 cool even when running the heaviest workloads, at the most aggressive overclocks.

Raspberry Pi 4 power optimisation

Like all electronic products, Raspberry Pi generates waste heat as it works. Along with most fanless products – like most mobile phones – Raspberry Pi 4 was originally designed to operate in a “sprint-and-recover” mode: if run at maximum performance for an extended period it would heat up, and eventually throttle back to limit its temperature.

What’s in the box?

In practice, the power optimisation work that we’ve done over the last eighteen months has largely eliminated throttling for an uncased board, operating at the stock clock frequency of 1.5GHz, and in a typical ambient temperature.

Here’s a graph of temperature during a quad-core compile of the Linux kernel: you can see the temperature barely exceeds 70C.

Quad-core kernel compile without case

Turning your Raspberry Pi “up to eleven”

But maybe you want to put your Raspberry Pi in a case; or you’ve noticed that your Raspberry Pi will overclock to 1.8GHz or more; or you want to use it in a higher ambient temperature. All of these things can put us back in sprint-and-recover mode.

Here’s the same workload running on a board in a Raspberry Pi official case: now we hit the 80C throttle point and slow down, and the compile job takes (slightly) longer to complete.

Quad-core kernel compile in Raspberry Pi 4 Official Case

To run indefinitely at full speed under these conditions you’ll need either a passive cooling solution (like the excellent Flirc case), or an active one like the Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan. It draws air in over the USB and Ethernet connectors, passes it over a small finned heatsink attached to the processor, and exhausts it through the SD card slot. Here’s our workload running with the case fan: now the board remains well below 70C, and as expected the compile job takes the same amount of time as on the uncased board.

Gordon Hollingworth will be here on Wednesday to talk about how he designed the Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan ducting with the aid of a stack of Chinese takeout boxes and a glue gun. 

Get your Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan today

As with all our products, the Raspberry Pi Case Fan is available from our Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers. Simply head over to the Case Fan page and select your country from the drop-down menu.

If your country isn’t on the list yet, don’t worry, we’re constantly working to add further countries and resellers to the list. Until then, check out some of our Approved Resellers that offer international shipping.

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App note: Driving electronic paper displays (E-paper)

via Dangerous Prototypes

Silicon Labs’ app note on driving E-paper with their EFM32 micro. Link here (PDF)

Electronic Paper Displays (EPDs) are types of displays that are reflective and bistable. Reflective in this case means that they rely solely on ambient light and does not use a backlight. Bistable is the property of retaining an image even when no power is connected.
EPDs are commonly used in e-readers, industrial signage and electronic shelf labels. Their properties are ideal for applications which do not update the image frequently. Since the display draws no current when showing a static image, they allow for a very long battery lifetime.

App note: Designing with an inverted-F 2.4 GHz PCB antenna

via Dangerous Prototypes

PCB design guide for an inverted-F 2.4 GHz antenna from Silicon Labs. Link here (PDF)

One of the main reasons to use a PCB antenna is to reduce cost. Since the antennas are printed directly on the board, they are generally considered to be free. On boards with room to spare, this will be true. On boards that need to grow to account for the increased size of the printed antenna, you must include the added cost of the larger PCB when calculating cost savings.

Controlling a gas convection heater with a custom thermostat

via Arduino Blog

Redditor “Higgs8” had a gas convection heater that is (or was) controlled manually, but they wanted something a bit more. To accomplish this, they came up with a small Arduino-based thermostat.

This allows you to set the desired temperature using a potentiometer, and it senses the current temperature value via a DS18B20 thermometer unit. It then adjusts the formerly manual knob with a stepper motor and custom gear reduction in response, maintaining the desired comfort level.

Feedback is displayed on a small OLED screen, which charts the room’s temperature over a 24-hour period. It also shows if the heater was on, letting you see if it was working properly.

More details can be found on Higg8’s Imgur page here.

New book: The Official Raspberry Pi Handbook 2021

via Raspberry Pi

Hey everyone, come and see, come and see! Here’s a great new bookazine from the makers of the official Raspberry Pi magazine. We do love the folks at The MagPi. Clever, they are.

If, like us, you’re over 2020 already, dive into the pages of The Official Raspberry Pi Handbook 2021, and pretend it never happened. That will totally work.

The front cover of the Raspberry Pi Handbook featuring a Raspberry Pi 4 on a dark background

To help you get the most of out of your Raspberry Pi computer, this official Handbook features 200 pages of essential information, inspiring projects, practical tutorials, and definitive reviews.

Beginner-friendly

A blue double page spread on Starter Electronics

If you’re an absolute beginner, you can learn from the Handbook how to set up your Raspberry Pi and start using it. Then you can move on to the step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to code and make with your Raspberry Pi.

Shiny new stuff

A double page spread about Raspberry Pi 400

You’ll also (re)discover the new Raspberry Pi 400 and High Quality Camera, both released this year. And you’ll find out about the top kits and accessories for your projects.

Be inspired

A double page spread about Reachy robot. Robot is white with big black eyes and a stripy torso

And finally, we’ve also picked out some incredible Raspberry Pi projects made by people in the community to inspire you to get making and coding.

Where can I get the Handbook?

A double page spread on problem solving with Raspberry Pi

You can buy The Official Raspberry Pi Handbook 2021 now from the Raspberry Pi Press online store, or at the Raspberry Pi store in Cambridge, UK.

Personally, we prefer new book smell and the crackle of physical pages but, if you’re less picky and don’t mind on-screen reading, the lovely folks at The MagPi have a PDF version you can download for free.

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