Measuring the Raspberry Pi's Current Consumption Wed, Jun 20. 2012
The Raspberry Pi has a micro-USB jack for power input. This can be used with any recent mobile phone adapter. If you use a two-part adapter, with a plug-in AC-DC converter and a USB A to micro-USB A cable, it's easy to measure the current drawn by the Pi.
To do this, you'll need a USB A male to USB A female extension cord and an ammeter or multimeter with a 1A or 10A range.
1. Remove the outer insulation in the middle of the USB extension cable. Peel back the shielding (silver braid and/or foil) to one side.
2. Cut the 5V supply wire (usually coloured red).
3. Connect your ammeter or multimeter to the cut 5V line.
4. Insert this cable between your AC-DC converter and the USB cable going to your Raspberry Pi.
So, how much current does the Raspberry Pi draw?
It looks like the Pi can draw anywhere from 250 to 500 mA in normal operation, though I did see smaller values in the early stages of startup. When idle, my Pi draws 320-380 mA; with a basic Logitech keyboard and mouse attached and in use, and with the CPU and GPU fairly active, it comes close to 500 mA.
Update: Powering the Pi from a Laptop
The fact that the Pi's current consumption is reliably under 500 mA means that it is actually safe to power from the USB port of another system. This is convenient for developers on the go: for example, I'm in an air-conditioned library escaping the current Toronto heatwave, and have my Pi connected to the back of my laptop with a micro-USB cable for power and a crossover ethernet cable for data.
New Role: Industrial Research Chair - Open Source Technology for Emerging Platforms Thu, May 10. 2012
On Tuesday, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) announced a number of grant awards at the Polytechnics 2012 conference, including the new Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges (IRCC) grants. I am honoured to be selected as the chairholder for the NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Open Source Technology for Emerging Platforms in the Centre for Development of Open Technology at Seneca College.
This five-year renewable applied research grant enables me to continue and expand upon the work that I have been doing, along with a talented team of research assistants, with Fedora ARM and related projects. My goal is to bring the wealth of open source software currently available for x86 PCs and servers to emerging ARM based general-purpose computers. Although ARM architecture chips are the most popular CPUs made (more ARM chips shipped last year than there are people on this planet), most of these went into dedicated devices, and ARM chips are just starting to appear in general purpose computers. In order to make the transition to general-purpose ARM systems viable, industry-standard software stacks are needed. Fedora is a perfect fit for this purpose, because it encompasses both a large collection of cutting-edge open source software and a vibrant community, and it feeds many downstream distributions and projects.
My work in this new role will start with an expansion of existing work, including operating the Fedora ARM Koji buildsystem and improving the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix, but I will additionally be focusing on Fedora on ARM server-class systems. In future phases, this will encompass working with the Fedora ARM project to promote ARM to primary architecture status, extending existing open source system management (and possibly virtualization/cloud management) frameworks to manage high-density ARM clusters, doing field trials of ARM-based data centre solutions, and bringing Fedora to the next generation of ARM technology.
Although the majority of my activity will shift from teaching to applied research, I will continue to teach the SBR600 Software Build and Release course in order to bring the research experience back into the classroom. I'll also continue to participate in the TeachingOpenSource.org initiative. As an Industrial Research Chair, I will also have a bit more of a public-facing role, representing CDOT and advocating the use of energy-efficient systems to local SMEs.
Many thanks to Red Hat for partnering with Seneca on this initiative, and I look forward to (continuing to!) work closely with Red Hat's incredible technical staff. I also thank the many companies and organization who wrote letters of support for the grant application, and look forward to collaboration and possible future partnerships with those organizations. And I particularly want to thank Seneca for its support of applied research, my colleagues at CDOT for their encouragement and for creating such an awesome environment to do applied research, and for the team that wrote the grant application under intense pressure and tight deadlines last November.
Watch this space for updates!
Element 14's Wonderful Forums Considered Harmful Fri, Mar 9. 2012
This understandable requirement, probably a result of US legislation (and perhaps legislation in other jurisdictions?), is at odds with the Raspberry Pi's stated focus on children (hence the "considered harmful" jab).
Open Source Translation Database Thu, Mar 8. 2012
Andrew Smith has released his Open Source Translation Database project, which contains thousands of open source translation files and can populate new translation files based on previous translations. In the released form this in incredibly useful -- and he has ambitious plans for new features and capabilities such as suggesting strings to be used in new projects based on the number of available translations.
Congratulations, Andrew, on this launch!
Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix 14 - Release Event this Wednesday! Mon, Feb 20. 2012
The computer education, hardware hacking/maker, and open source worlds are all eagerly anticipating the release of the $35 Raspberry Pi computer before the end of the month. In preparation for the hardware release, tthe Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix 14 distribution is being released this Wednesday, February 22.
Full details of the event are on the CDOT wiki. Everyone's invited, and I hope to see you there!
Update: Fixed link above.