Raspberry Pi hardware setup


Raspberry Pi models are quite inexpensive, as they are 'bare bones' boards. Sometimes you can purchase all the required hardware accessories as a package. The hardware is often so common that it is already laying around your house. Either way, here are the necessary and optional things you will need to purchase (or scrounge) in order to start up your Raspberry Pi and to get the most out of RuneAudio.

Required Items

Raspberry Pi, any model

Raspberry Pi Model A

Power Supply

Raspberry Pi models function on 5V DC power. To avoid possible brownouts on the board, the minimum recommended current rating is 2A. 'Wall warts' are the most common form of power supply used. Make sure your power supply is appropriate for the grid power in your country, and that the power cable terminates in a micro-USB plug.

Raspberry Pi power supply

There are also many variable AC-DC switching power supplies on the market with either narrow or wide voltage output ranges.

[WARNING] Make certain your power supply is adjusted as close to 5V DC as possible!

The Raspberry Pi board requires a fairly tight supply voltage tolerance. It is susceptible to both brownouts (below 4.75V DC) and frying your circuit paths (above 5.25V DC). Make certain your power supply is adjusted as close to 5V DC as possible, to allow for voltage swings in either direction. Brownouts will also occur if the power supply is underrated, or the power draw is too high.

When adjusting a variable power supply, the voltage should be measured at the Raspberry Pi circuit board (some Pi variants have test points for that purpose), and NOT at the power supply terminals. This is because micro-USB cables often have a large voltage drop from the power supply to the board, especially if longer than 1m (3ft).

4GB or larger SD card

The Raspberry Pi B+ and later models require a micro SD card. Earlier variants require a full size SD card, or a Micro SD card adapter.

RuneOS requires somewhat less than 4GB. SD cards larger than 4GB are not necessary, although models smaller than 8GB tend to have poor read-write speeds. Do yourself a favor and pick up a high-speed type, Class 6 or 10. 40MB/s read times or better will make for a quicker response, and more satisfying experience.

Standard micro SD card

Card reader

You will be installing RuneOS on your SD card, and that card has to interface with your computer. If your computer does not have an integrated card reader, you can pick up USB card readers very cheap.

USB card reader

Media storage

  • Flash Drives. For small libraries, flash drives are usually the ticket. Flash drives draw very little current, so there is no chance they will brown out your Raspberry Pi. Rpi B+ models have four USB ports, earlier variants have two, all of which can be filled with cheap USB flash drive storage space. Make sure your flash drives are physically small enough that they can be plugged in next to each other. (You're going to have troubles with that novelty-flash-drive-encased-in-a-cricket-ball.) Before filling your flash drives with music, remove any pre-existing proprietary software that may interfere with RuneOS. Sometimes it's best to simply reformat the flash drive prior to use.
  • USB external hard drives. Both Solid State and Spin-up types may be used, but both tend to draw more current than a Raspberry Pi can offer. If hard drives are to be used, they must have their own power supply. Again, make sure that any pre-installed proprietary software has been deleted prior to populating with your music collection.
  • NAS Drives. A hard drive mounted via ethernet on a local connection can be used as the system storage device. Find setup details here.

Small USB flash drive

Ethernet Connection and Wireless Router

On first use, RuneAudio requires a 'wired' Ethernet connection, and a local path for accessing the RuneUI. Wireless dongles may be used after setup.

Cat5 Ethernet cable

Optional Items

DACs and Digital output boards

By comparison to a true 16- or 24-bit DAC, the native headphone output on all Raspberry Pi variants is pretty noisy and poor quality. Several small manufacturers have developed output boards (DACs) that may be mated directly with Raspberry Pi variants. They provide either direct, high quality analog sound output ready for your amplifier, or S/PDIF Coax and TosLink digital signals for stand-alone DACs. These 'HATs' may not be required with your system if you own a DAC which can be connected to the RPi through a USB cable.

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Wireless dongle

If you do not usually have a local network set up near your soundsystem, and connecting to your local router using a long Ethernet cable is not practical, a wireless dongle can be used to access the system.

Wireless nano USB dongle

EMI filter

Switching power supplies commonly used with Raspberry Pis are known to be quite 'noisy,' and may introduce some switching 'noise' if plugged into the same power receptacle, even worse if plugged into a switched power supply as exists on many amplifiers. If you are trying to get the best possible sound from your high-fidelity source, an EMI filter placed between the power supply and power source can reduce a fair bit of that noise.

A Sweet Crib

We all like the neat look of a bare board and RuneAudio quietly doing amazing things with our music, but if you want a cleaner look, consider cramming everything into a classy chassis that can sit alongside the rest of your sweet looking audio gear. Check out the forum for some great inspiration! (If your project involves rhinestones, please post photos.)

Alright, looks like you have everything you'll need. Let's head over to the Quick-Start Guide and put all this together.

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