Why I own several Raspberry Pi’s

When the original Raspberry Pi was first released I jumped on board – the idea of having a tiny computer that cost less than $50 fascinated me.

My first Raspberry Pi I used to control media within my house, including automating downloading and distribution of TV content. It did this reasonably well but the limited RAM and CPU power definitely became noticeable.

So when the Raspberry Pi 2 was announced, again I was fascinated about now having the same form factor device but with more power! The price was still quite low so I ended up ordering a few more.

Armed with my Raspberry Pi 2 I set out to see what I may be able to use it for – this time I ended up turning it into a retro games emulator (More info on that here) – with the addition of a bluetooth USB module I purchased from Jaycar I was able to wirelessly connect in Playstation 3 controllers for a more authentic gaming experience. Thanks to Playhard Gaming I was able to purchase the genuine controllers that I needed for that project

It wasn’t too long after completing the retro games project that the Raspberry Pi 3 was announced. The big difference here with the Pi 3 was again more processing power and RAM but on top of that – built in Bluetooth and Wireless – it was no longer necessary to plug in USB devices just to get a wireless or bluetooth connection. So naturally – I ordered a couple of these to tinker with.

The first one I turned into a media centre using Kodi – the aim of this project was to make it easy enough to give to someone so they could just plug in and get started – and, then if they returned a media USB stick to me I could update just the USB stick and they could go plug it back in and easily get access. The Kodi Pi had a miniature keyboard, a USB drive (for holding a lot of media) and all the things required to connect to a TV. It worked perfectly fine, quite a good little media centre for <$200 (including all cables, adaptors etc)

The second Raspberry Pi 3 I used as a master computer in a Christmas Light Show that I completed last year. This allowed me to keep the overall power usage and the cost of the light show reasonably low. You can view the full show here

Since I’ve been able to use them for several different applications I’m always interested in what other people are doing with them or what else I can use them for. More recently I’ve used one to replace a DHCP Server in an office, which again allowed me to replace a large chunky power hungry server with a device thats total power supply is only 10W maximum.

If you’ve used a Raspberry Pi for something interesting be sure to comment or reach out to me to let me know what you’ve done.

I’m looking forward to seeing now as well what people will use the even more powerful but similar form factor ASUS Tinkerboards for – I’m yet to get one of these but I think they’d be incredibly for emulation purposes. Maybe I’ll retire the Pi 2 and upgrade it with one 😉