raspberry pi

We recently did an inventory of all of the Raspberry Pi computers we had kicking about:

1x pi1b 2014ish 1 core 700 MHz, 512MB, 2xUSB2, ethernet, hdmi
1x pi2b 2016ish 4 core 900 MHz, 1GB, 4xusb2, ethernet, hdmi
3x pi3b 2017ish 4 core 1200 MHz, 1GB, 4xusb2, ethernet, hdmi, wifi 802.11n

The oldest pi1b we had used as a command line interface datalogging from a davis vantage vue weatherstation, since 2014. Then the weather station died. I wanted to try and see if this would drive a 55″ display running in a lobby, putting out a dynamic website with the chromium web browser *and* using xrdp, use windows remote desktop protocol to command and control it remotely.

One step at a time. Downloaded and installed the latest Raspian OS, “Buster” and used “Balena Ethcher” to flash the biggest graphical version with software onto an 8GB microSD card with SD adapter. That took a couple of hours but did in fact worked.

The Pi came up, repartitioned itself, came up again into a nice graphical desktop. Opening up a terminal we did a “sudo apt-get update” then a “sudo apt-get upgrade” then a “sudo apt-get install xrdp”.
A little bit of research showed how to start up the built in chromium web browser automatically, and in kiosk mode:
sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart”
Add the following line:
/usr/bin/chromium –kiosk –disable-restore-session-state
also, start up the web browser, go to the website we wanted, and added that into the startup settings as the initial home page to open up.
Rebooted and it all worked!
Now mind you, displaying on a 1080p display was a little slow, but the functionality was there.
Attempting to remote desktop from a windows machine did also in fact work… but very slowly. On the order of a minute and the background wallpaper appeared. another minute and the web browser appeared.
It was unmanageable.

So the moral of this story … old tech is in fact a little too slow for some things. So we will shelve this model pi and try the next one up… the Pi2B with 4 CPU cores instead of 1 core, 900 MHz clock speed instead of 700MHz, and more RAM.
We should be able to remove the microSD card and transfer it across to the new Pi… will find out tomorrow!