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A better battery Pi

For a long time, I have been running a Pi 1 with my little seven inch LCD screen (1024×600). But the Pi 1 is tragically slow. However I persisted with it, because taking forty three seconds to load and render https://www.riscosopen.org/forum/posts was less hassle than upgrading an entire machine.

However, now that I'm starting to play which Rhapsody, I have crashed into a problem. I have a wired mouse, a wireless keyboard with a little dongle, and my Yamaha musical keyboard. Three USB devices, two USB ports.

Since I had my previous Pi, the ARMv7 Pi2 on the bookshelf, I decided to take the plunge. I got a 16GB µSD card and yesterday evening set about making it happen. Running it all off battery because of thunderstorms.

I downloaded the self-extracting version of "harddisc4" to have the latest boot setup, the latest RISC OS, and copied the firmware files (which were recent) along with the configuration files.
I copied these, along with SystemDisc to a RAMdisc, dismounted the SD card, and popped in the replacement.

Which is when I hit a bug, either in the firmware or RISC OS. From that point on, anything at all to do with the SD card (even when putting the original one back in) was a disc error. Error 8, if I recall, at address 0. Well, it said 00000000 but eight zeroes is the same as one.

So I dug out my SD card reader and swapped that for the keyboard. Ran SystemDisc, it wasn't interested. Told me the disc wasn't formatted. Which, fair enough, it wasn't. But it probably would have been a but more user-friendly if SystemDisc could have sorted this out for itself.

Swapped my mouse for the keyboard, then ran HForm from the command line. I popped out the original SD just to be sure I didn't make a mistake here, and had the device formatted using all the defaults.
Then I swapped the keyboard for the mouse in order to run SystemDisc to put the secret boot partition in place. With the mouse still attached, I rebooted and then copied the firmware and RISC OS image into the boot partition.

All of this USB swapping was getting to be a pain in the proverbial, so I shut down everything. Put the µSD into the Pi 2, put the original SD into the reader in one of the Pi 2's USB ports. And then - ta dah - had both the keyboard and mouse connected.

So I let the harddisc4 stuff unpack itself. Then I copied across the various extra things that I use, like the DDE and OvationPro. My various source codes, blah blah. I'm probably missing a bunch of things, but all of the devices are able to be accessed via ShareFS so I can pick up stuff as I need to. The only thing I'd need to do is reconfigure the Pi 1 (it uses the same IP address as I copied the configuration across).

NetSurf works. Once I copied over various extra modules.
Zap works. Once I copied over a bunch of extra resources.
I'm hoping Dave's PWG and URF drivers work, but I've not tried those yet. I don't think Steve's PrintPDF will work as I didn't copy GhostScript (too big, too late, and it's an old one - I might as well copy the newer one from the Pi 3 when it's next on).

Oh, and that Recent Posts forum page? Twelve seconds. ☺

 

Part of the benefit of RISC OS is that most things are self-contained. A lot of the hassle was getting various additional system resources set up (and I've forgotten CPUClock), whereas most of the apps were just a case of drag'n'drop. Some required extra resources to be copied, but these were the minority.

 

I was expecting the battery load to be heavier, given it's a 900MHz quad core ARM Cortex-something-or-other with a four port USB hub and a gigabyte of memory, as opposed to a single core 700MHz ARM11 with two USB ports and, what was it, 256MB of memory? RISC OS uses so little that with the exception of the truly massive apps (looking at you, Iris!) there's little difference in use between 256MB and 1GB, so I don't really remember what was on the Pi 1.

I was in for a surprise. Running off of battery, with an in-line power meter, the Pi 1 consumed ~0.44A at ~4.87V.

Pi 1 power consumption
Pi 1 power consumption (battery).

The Pi 2, on the other hand, booted consuming 0.32A. It did not manage to output a video display and the red power LED blinked every time I moved the mouse. This is because the battery pack outputs just slightly less than 5V (the reading was 0.32A at 4.81V) and the power meter claims some for itself. It wasn't quite enough to bring the system up properly, but RISC OS was running. Ctrl-Shift-F12 would reboot.
Testing using the mains power brick gave me the same 0.32A at 5.28V and a fully booted system.

Pi 2 power consumption
Pi 2 power consumption (mains brick).

So, yeah, it looks like the more capable Pi 2 uses a quarter less power than the Pi 1. So instead of my battery running for less time because it's a more powerful machine, it'll actually run longer!
It's not quite as nippy as the Pi 3B+, but compared to the Pi 1 it's leaving a smoke trail. This very blog renders in a mere four seconds (it's not complicated!).

 

British Home Secretary

What is it with these bloody children-of-immigrants who get put into high places in government and flex that power to turn into a right wing nutter gleefully gloating about getting rid of the sorts of opportunities that permitted their own parents to become resident British citizens who then gave birth to this person who grew up to slam the door.
The hypocrisy is absolutely staggering.

Speaking of staggering, I kind of figured Bitchy Patel as being a nasty piece of goods with a massive chip on her shoulder and a mostly defenseless group of people to aim her displeasure at, however it would seem as if her successor Suella Braverman is dragging government even further to the right and she'll be an even bigger bitch. Watch your rights being summarily dismantled in a haze of nationalist fervour.
You'll need to try really hard, mind you. As they'll scream and shout about how many migrants have turned up in the past twenty four hours, and you'll be so busy paying attention to the hate aimed at people fleeing conflicts (you know, like Braverman's parents) that you might miss the Human Rights Act being flushed down the toilet and replaced by something that effectively says your rights are what the government says they are.
Which should worry the hell out of everybody, as most of the big ECHR decisions against the UK were precisely down to the government's lack of concern for people's rights.

Well, today Truss filled her cabinet with sycophants and hardline crazies (Jacob Rees-Mogg as Business Minister? seriously?). Tomorrow, we'll see how she plans to deal with the energy issue, and by extension inflation and how she'll balance the books.

And if that and her cabinet choices don't terrify you, here's a sombre thought to leave you with. In the next couple of days, if it hasn't already been done, she will write her Letters of last resort.

 

 

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Last read at 07:46 on 2022/10/05.

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