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Boot Raspberry Pi from a 16MB SD card

Posted by Mike Redrobe | Posted in PC Hardware | Posted on 12-05-2014



The Pi boots from SD card, and this normally means you have to have at least a 2GB SD card,
but you can instead use a small SD card and a USB pendrive, as I show here.

The Raspberry Pi only needs an SD card at bootup time, it can immediately hand over to a USB pendrive later, and here’s how:

Take one ancient 16MB SD card – yes, 16MB – not the 1000x larger 16GB cards we use nowadays !

You’ll also need a USB pendrive of 2GB or bigger (or usb HDD of course)

1) select your usb pendrive in win32diskimager instead of the sd card, and write the image
(e.g. 2GB raspbian: http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspbian/images/raspbian-2013-09-16/)

2) copy all the pre-boot files (9mb) to the SD card
(I had to remove kernel_emergency.img from the normal boot files as that was 9mb in itself)

3) edit the cmdline.txt on the SD card to read /dev/sda2:

That’s it – all done, put SD card and USB pendrive into the Pi and boot up.

Arduino Starter Kit

Posted by Mike Redrobe | Posted in PC Hardware, Technology | Posted on 01-03-2012



Well, what is Arduino ?

Arduino is an open-source platform for microprocessor projects, or as the Arduino website puts it:

“Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.”

Basically its a little CPU that you can program in C, and easily attach servos and sensors to. The open-source nature means there’s a wealth of example code and libraries out there to modify for your own use.

Available in the UK from oomlout for around £50

So what do you get ?

  • Arduino Prototyping Bundle (Arduino Uno board (328), breadboard & acrylic holder)
  • 75 Piece Jumper Wire Bundle
  • Printed 29 page Experimenter’s Guide
  • 11+1 Breadboard Layout Sheets
  • USB Cable
  • Multi-compartment Plastic Storage Box
  • 9v Battery – Arduino Adapter
  • Loads of components
    • 5mm Red LEDs (x10)
    • 5mm Green LEDs (x10)
    • 10mm Red LED (x1)
    • Toy Motor (x1)
    • Mini Servo Motor (x1)
    • 8-Bit Shift Register (74HC595) (x1)
    • Piezo Element (x1)
    • Pushbuttons (x2)
    • Potentiometer (10k) (x1)
    • Photo Resistor (x1)
    • Temperature Sensor (TMP36) (x1)
    • Relay (5v DPDT) (x1)
    • Transistors (2N222A) (x2)
    • Resistors (560 Ohm x25, 2.2k Ohm x3, 10k Ohm x3)
    • Diodes (1N4001) (x2)

The manual goes through 11 projects, from a simple blinking LED to using shift registers and relays, as well as giving a brief overview of how to program for the board and some more complicated tasks after you’ve built each of the individual projects (such as making the blinking LED fade instead).


Michael Jackson 500GB portable hard drive – ripped apart

Posted by Mike Redrobe | Posted in PC Hardware | Posted on 31-08-2010

Tags: ,


This seems to be a great deal at the moment at amazon (and elsewhere)

Around £40 for a 500GB portable usb hard drive emblazoned with a Michael Jackson “This is it” logo:

michael jackson this is it 500gb

500GB portable hard drive – includes pre-loaded full length movie

Luxurious colour and elegant pattern – Sony Pictures special edition

Premium materials – hi-glossy finish and leather-like material

Compact size and streamline shape

AutoBackup and SafetyKeyTM – SecretZoneTM encrypts data on a virtual drive

Available at £39.99 @ Amazon.co.uk

It also comes with the movie preinstalled on the drive.

Pictures of the drive with the included sleeve case:

This external drive is actually currently cheaper than the price of an internal drive,

but opening it up, instead of a standard SATA drive, there is a non standard drive with a usb connector soldered to it:

michael jackson drive inside

It’s still a bargain of course, but don’t buy one if you intend to open it up to use the internal drive inside your laptop !

Intel rolls out Dual Core processors for netbooks

Posted by Mike Redrobe | Posted in PC Hardware | Posted on 24-08-2010

Tags: , , ,


Intel has just launched a new dual-core Atom processor, the N550. This new processor is geared toward enhancing the processing power of highly portable devices. This means the new dual-core CPU will be found in netbooks, and possibly even some tablet PC’s. To add to this, there are some big names such as Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, and Toshiba already shipping netbooks using the new core.

Along with the additional core, the N550 supports DDR3 memory, comes clocked in at 1.5GHz and has a TDP 8.5W. With these specifications the Intel Atom N550 will have improved multi-tasking capabilities, but still only create minimal heat. Additionally, the low TDP will also prolong the battery life of netbooks, which is due to the N550 having a similar power requirement as the single core, N450.

The netbook market has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years, so it makes sense Intel is aggressively pushing its Atom processor line.

“In their short history, the netbook category has experienced impressive growth,” said Erik Reid, director of marketing for mobile platforms at Intel. “Having shipped about 70 million Intel Atom chips for netbooks since our launch of the category in 2008, there is obviously a great market for these devices around the world.” and will see action in netbooks that arrive from next month onwards.

Full specs below:
Atom N550

A barebones PC for £52?

Posted by Mike Redrobe | Posted in PC Hardware | Posted on 06-08-2010



A barebones PC for £52 ?
Low power atom cpu, case & psu – just add your own ram and HDD @ aria.co.uk

Read more: http://tlnk.me/7080