The Raspberry Pi is a low cost small footprint computer running Debian Linux. It’s primary use is educational however it is also widely used in all sorts of projects and embraced by the geeks of this world. The specs are moderate in the sense of modern computing but so is the power consumption, use of an embedded device that runs on battery or use it as a server 24/7. Measured power consumption is approx 3 watt, and no moving parts so no operating noise. Server use was the first project I completed. You should be aware that it is good to have some Linux knowledge. You will not use a GUI especially when used as a server, it will run in the so called headless mode. Great help is available through the forums and it you make a mess it is easy to flash the SD card that contains the operating system. Basic file functions are very easy to implement, in my case I have a 2 TB disk connected through USB that contains the whole of our digital archive and is accessed throughout our local network and some parts through remote connections. The archive contains pictures, music, movies and some documents. File protection locally is user based using unix conventions. Pictures are shared to the outside world through the griepsite.nl website, to show the pictures JAlbum is used. For music I use the Logitech Mediaserver that serves connects to the alarm clock and on each windows PC through Squeezeplay. To listen to music outside home the Logitech port is forwarded.on the router.
Documents are shared to the outside using https, nextcloud and WEBDAV. For this a certificate is created through let’sencrypt. The webserver is NGINX
This configuration is completely stable and running for a couple of years. It provides functionality that any commercial available NAS will provide not only at a lower cost but also configured to your needs.
The 2 TB disk is connected through USB to an external cabinet which has no fan and is completely quiet. The whole unit located in the space between the walls. The network adapter supports 100mb only so there is no need to upgrade the rest of the network. Large file transfers are ok (10mb/sec max), streaming of music and movies is never a problem. The USB connector supports version 2. I use a Raspberry’3 to accomplish this, the system is stored in the cavity wall near the router from the internet provider which contains four wired ports.
Computer called Radio
This computer runs on a RaspBerrypi 3 with Jessie version of Linux
WordPress 4.8 with Headway theme 3.88
NGINX webserver 1.6.2,
MySql, serving WordPress, NextCloud, KODI and PHPMyAdmin version4.2.12deb2
Apache with SVN,
CUPS Printer server,
Key to using the file services on the attached USB drives is the EXT 4 file system. To serve windows systems Samba and WebDav is used, between the other raspberry’s it is NFS.
The Logitech media server is the system that is used for the squeezebox which we use as alarm clock.
SVN is used to maintain file versions of development files. It requires Apache2.
CUPS is used to approach the HP1300 Laserjet printer for all devices including the IPhone (with the exclusion of Samsung mobile phones which requires a Samsung printer(!))
AVAHI is a nice tool from Apple to get the IP-number out of the system recognition, it goes by simple names like radio.local.
Computer called HIFI, audio 2.0!
This is the second project, I wanted a media server and the PI has a HDMI port so that is very well possible. KODI 17.0 on a RaspBerry is very popular and runs quite stable. There are some performance issues when scrolling through large lists. Playing movies, radio and listening to the music archive, watching pictures using the TV set works good. The control of this computer can be done through the remote of the television or through an app on IOS or Android.
I have upgraded this computer to a Model B running WIFI. Main reason to upgrade was to add a DAC to the system. I use a HIFI Berry Dac for this purpose. this is a HAT card that slots directly on the GPIO connector of the Raspberry. This to bypass the rather poor audio when using the 3.5 audio jack.
The music can be any radio station or the stored digital archive. Handling of KODI is either through the remote of the TV or through a mobile phone.
At the time of writing it needs proof whether this is a stable configuration, especially the bandwidth of the wireless. A second change is that the collection of movies and music is stored in a MySQL database. Listing and searching of the collection is done through the network.
Configuration of the HIFI Berry was a bit strange, in the end it worked. Got a bit mixed up in howto’s for older versions or not specific for KODI on Jessie.
Boot.config content (addition of 1 line, delete 1 other line)
type hw card 0
type hw card 0
That’s it. In KODI I could choose the new HIFI Berry sound card and it worked. The TV still plays over HDMI when viewing movies.
Radio and media player using a home build amplifier.
This is still in development. Basically it works however getting good audio out of a Raspberry needs the right balance of components. speakers and digital output should be there. The audio coming out of the 3.5 mm jack is simply not good enough. I will divert to using Bluetooth and speakers for it. Bluetooth is working but I do not manager to get the sound from the Rasp to a Bluetooth device. So far I have used my IPhone to get this done. I will stay with wired networking during the setup.