Raspberry Pi HackChat

Happy Birthday Raspberry Pi!

Friday, March 3, 2017 12:00 pm PST - Friday, March 3, 2017 12:30 pm PST Local time zone:
Hack Chat
Similar projects worth following

Join the Raspberry Pi Hack Chat by clicking on the JOIN HACK CHAT button. Then, request to join #Hack Chat. Don't request to join from this page, click the JOIN HACK CHAT button.


It's almost Raspberry Pi's 5th birthday, and to celebrate, we're having a chat all about the Raspberry Pi!

Come hang out for 30 or so minutes and talk to @Roger Thornton, the Principal Hardware Engineer at Raspberry Pi. Ever wondered how they can make it so cheap and so good all at once? Now's your chance to discuss, ask questions, give feedback or compliments about the product.

Roger works for Raspberry Pi as Principal Hardware engineer where he oversees design, test, compliance and production for Raspberry Pi products.

Previously working for Broadcom where he was part of the team who characterized and tested numerous SoC’s including BCM2835/6/7; the processors used on the Pi. He also has experience of the Smart home and IoT from his time working in a Cambridge consultancy where he helped deliver a series of dedicated Smart Home energy monitoring and automation chips to market.

We're meeting over at the #Hack Chat on March 3rd, noon PST.

We have a list up for discussion. We're also doing a board giveaway, so get your ideas ready!

  • (edited) transcript of Raspberry Pi Hack Chat PART 2

    Lutetium03/03/2017 at 21:00 0 comments

    Arsenijs says:14 minutes ago

    @Brandon Aaskov Elelemt14 had this customization service exactly for the reason you're mentioning.

    Nick Sayer says:14 minutes ago

    (I guess maybe that doesn't alter the price)

    Brandon Aaskov says:14 minutes ago

    @Arsenijs that makes sense. Thank you!

    steverobillard says:12 minutes ago

    @brandon Aaskov note elemt14 customiztion 5000 unit minimum we get this question a lot on

    Roger Thornton says:12 minutes ago

    @Arsenijs AH I see your issue. So 2835 is a mobile chip, but the Pi software doesn't take advantage of any of those features. There is a lot of clever gating, where you turn of sections of the chip not being used, or wake them up only when there is data ready. There's no need when we are plugged into the wall (the assumed use case). We also leave the SMPS and LDOs on all the time, again in a phone everytihng is turned off when not in use. Designing a board for a mobile and a Pi are quite different. HDMI is also a big power drain (processor time wise)

    Lutetium says:12 minutes ago

    Next question is from @王: Are you planning to release light weight linux distros?

    Roger Thornton says:11 minutes ago

    @MobileWill CM3 LITE (no eMMC) is failry cheap at $25!

    erik pax says:11 minutes ago

    I dont think they (element14) do custom zeros, only a/b

    altometer says:11 minutes ago

    Jeeze, I wonder how much 5000 units would set you back

    Arsenijs says:10 minutes ago

    @Roger Thornton That's what I suspected. Is there any way a person unaffiliated with Raspberry Pi Foundation could solve these problems? I know some interfaces are exposed to Linux, while some aren't and even the registers aren't documented, which is a problem.

    h3liosphan says:9 minutes ago

    @Arsenijs yeah pretty facetious of me, NASpi wud be awesome tho

    Roger Thornton says:9 minutes ago

    @Brandon Aaskov @Arsenijs is right and Farnell have a custom Pi Program. They have the license to take the Pi boards and add / remove anything you don't want. You would pay them for their deicin time and be expeceted to payt for an initial build but opens up a world of opportunities.

    clarkhensley says:9 minutes ago

    Trying to fill in my project proposal and questions in the spreadsheet, on the cost of being able to read the chat

    Edgar says:9 minutes ago

    @Arsenijs what is your current goal?

    Evan Juras says:8 minutes ago

    @Arsenijs just curious, whats the mAH capacity of the Li-ion batteries you're using?

    Arsenijs says:7 minutes ago

    2000mAh, single 18650 Li-Ion cell.

    Roger Thornton says:7 minutes ago

    @王 There is a lot of work going on with our distibutions, we already offer Jessie Lite whch removes a lot of the programs we bundle with the standard Raspbian image. How light are you thinking?

    Stefan-Xp says:7 minutes ago


    Thank you for the Link. In my experiences it worked a lot better in December 2016... The main issue seems, that there are not a lot people who are willing to use it. I downloaded and used the VS Studio 2015 community version and was up and running with some simple apps in the matter of hours. But I'm also a bit sad, that you cant use the os like WinCE

    Arsenijs says:7 minutes ago

    Pi Powered directly from the cell.

    altometer says:6 minutes ago

    @Arsenijs Not using a boost converter or anything to step up from the cell to 5v?

    Arsenijs says:5 minutes ago

    Yeah, it's an approach which works, but the one which brings me to my second question.

    Edgar says:5 minutes ago

    but how? are bypassing the LDO? those are 3.7 batteries

    Roger Thornton says:5 minutes ago

    @Arsenijs It's an interesting idea but you are going to hit a lot of power related issues be it board design or Software.

    erik pax says:5 minutes ago

    if i won the lottery I would make a custom pi (

    Evan Juras says:5 minutes ago

    @Roger Thornton How many hardware engineers are on the Pi's design team?

    h3liosphan says:5 minutes ago

    But WinCE sucked! It's also probably a bit architecturally old for the platform?

    Arsenijs says:4 minutes ago

    @Roger Thornton I know, but...

    Read more »

  • (edited) transcript of Raspberry Pi Hack Chat

    Lutetium03/03/2017 at 20:32 2 comments

    Roger Thornton says:27 minutes ago

    Hello everyone, it's great to be here and I am looking forward to talking to you all.

    altometer says:26 minutes ago


    altometer says:26 minutes ago

    Hi Roger, thanks for coming!

    mediocreengineer says:26 minutes ago

    @Roger Thornton This is the first event I've attended. Please ensure you give the question before you answer it, so we all get the context.

    h3liosphan says:26 minutes ago

    hi roger!

    steverobillard says:26 minutes ago

    welcome roger

    Arsenijs says:25 minutes ago

    Also, there's a "message" button in the top right corner of this messagebox, it kind of makes the mesages easier to keep track of.

    Nick Sayer says:25 minutes ago

    Hi, Roger. My project is SPI driven, so this will be a first for me on R-PI (done it a lot with bare AVR).

    Roger Thornton says:25 minutes ago

    @mediocreengineer It's my first time here too so will be sure to answer as everyone wants!

    Arsenijs says:25 minutes ago

    Like, it's a "message" icon, right under the "Add a Project" in the top bar.

    Nick Sayer says:25 minutes ago

    (don't really have a question, just thought I'd open with SPI discussion)

    Sophi says:24 minutes ago

    What new features are you considering for the next iteration of the Raspberry Pi? How do you make it so cheap?? (from @Edje13)

    Roger Thornton says:24 minutes ago

    OK , well the 40 pin header gives you access to an SPI port so you can add any SPI device you want, alot of common IC's have drivers already

    Nick Sayer says:23 minutes ago

    I didn't think to check to see if there was a driver for my chip already. I was planning on using /dev/spi.* and... the ioctl interface?

    Arsenijs says:23 minutes ago

    Especially the Linux kernel drivers, they're pretty good. For example, with MCP23017, you can use a kernel driver for it, and it'll actually make the MCP GPIOs available like Linux GPIOs, you could use them like you'd typically use Raspberry Pi GPIOs - so you don't need to bother with I2C stuff at all, just load a driver.

    Nick Sayer says:22 minutes ago

    A quick google doesn't show anything helpful for the MAX6951 in terms of kernel drivers. But I have mucho experience with talking to this chip from AVR, so I don't mind "byte banging" it in user space.

    Roger Thornton says:21 minutes ago

    @Edje13 That's a great question, we have constant conundrum of trying to work with what are great features and what the whole user base benefit from. We are also tied to the Processor we use and the interfaces it has. Pi is cheap beacuse we spend an awful lot of time trying to remove excess components, looking for new suppliers and understanding where costs are based on a board.

    Neil Cherry says:21 minutes ago

    but byte banging in Linux can't be time dependent

    Evan Juras says:21 minutes ago

    Thanks Roger! Are you looking at new processors at all?

    Brandon Aaskov says:21 minutes ago

    I have an "am I taking crazy pills" kind of question: I can never see the raspberry pi as a bluetooth device from my iphone. I can request to pair to the iphone from the pi, and that works. I can see the pi in any other device (namely computers), but not iOS. Am I missing something here? Is there something about an Apple device that's making this so illusive? Happy to do the ground work but I want to make sure it's possible before I pull my hair out (what's left of it).

    Nick Sayer says:20 minutes ago

    @Neil Cherry Well, I'm referring to using the SPI interface to perform individual transactions... Not bit banging, meaning I'd be clocking the individual bits out on GPIO lines by hand.

    Nick Sayer says:19 minutes ago

    @Neil Cherry And actually, bit-banging the 6951 works reasonably well - it isn't sensitive to timing. But user-space bit banging on R-Pi would be slower than I'd like.

    Arsenijs says:19 minutes ago

    MAX6951: Oh, that must be because it's not anything Linux typically uses - with RTC, GPIO, PWM etc, it makes sense to write a kernel driver because there's a subsystem in Linux to make work with this easier, and I think there isn't a 7-segment display subsystem in Linux =)

    bengt bäverman says:19 minutes...

    Read more »

View all 2 event logs

Enjoy this event?



Interested in attending?

Become a member to follow this event or host your own