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Raspberry Pi 4 buying advice

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Posted on August 27, 2020 at 18:56:28
zacster
Audiophile

Posts: 1570
Location: NYC
Joined: November 22, 2003
I'm looking to buy an RPi 4 to run Volumio for my E30 DAC. What do I really need? I already have a 3B+ up and running with this, and have many power supplies already.

I understand the 4 draws more current, and a 3amp supply is recommended, but do I really need yet another switching supply? I would rather it run off of battery in any case. My current setup runs all day on a single charge of my Anker 13000mah battery. Will the 4 + E30 DAC last on that. It doesn't have to be the whole day since I don't have it on that much, but an evening's worth of listening at least. I have two of these Ankers too so I could split the load but that would mean not having the extra for my phone.

The other question is heat. Do I need the fan and heatsinks that the kits come with? I'm just trying to limit the buy to what I need because I already have too many parts laying around for all of my hobbies that I don't use.

So, what should I get? The $99 kit or go a la carte and just get the pieces I need?

 

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RE: Raspberry Pi 4 buying advice, posted on August 28, 2020 at 00:18:33
AbeCollins
Audiophile

Posts: 36328
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
February 2, 2002
Many of your questions are a just a matter of personal choice. Kit vs piece parts and what you already have on hand.

To determine the power draw you would need to know what all is connected to the RPi and if they get power thru the RPi. A USB disk, USB powered DAC, etc.

And as you know, just because a power supply is rated for 3-Amps doesn't mean that's what the whole system is actually drawing.

You might want to get a USB Power Meter. They have them for USB-C and placed inline with USB-C power to the RPi, it will show you the current draw and maybe calculate the power. Otherwise just multiply the current draw times the voltage (5V). From there you can calculate the approximate runtime based on your battery's capacity in Watt-Hours.


 

RE: Raspberry Pi 4 buying advice, posted on August 28, 2020 at 07:03:22
Cut-Throat
Audiophile

Posts: 14496
Location: Minneapolis - St.Paul Area
Joined: September 2, 2000
According to the PCP Developers, you can run LMS and Squeezelite on a 2GB Rpi 4 just fine... So, that can be had at a Microcenter for $29 now.

It will run just fine for days on your Battery... I'd just try what you have and you can always tweak later.

Get a Rpi 4 and Case and use your existing Power Supplies.






 

RE: Raspberry Pi 4 buying advice, posted on August 28, 2020 at 15:59:43
zacster
Audiophile

Posts: 1570
Location: NYC
Joined: November 22, 2003
Thanks. The $29 offer has disappeared from my local Micro Center and is back at $35. Still a bargain.

 

RE: Raspberry Pi 4 buying advice, posted on August 29, 2020 at 07:57:25
kh6idf
Audiophile

Posts: 1287
Location: Texas
Joined: May 2, 2001
I use the FLIRC case, it is fanless therefore totally silent. The whole case is a big heat sink.

As for power supply, I use the switching wall wart that came with the RPi 4 Canakit and it sounds fine. No audible noise or distortion.

The USB battery banks have switching regulators to produce the 5VDC. I tried mine and it didn't make any difference compared to the wall wart.

 

RE: Raspberry Pi 4 buying advice, posted on August 29, 2020 at 11:00:50
zacster
Audiophile

Posts: 1570
Location: NYC
Joined: November 22, 2003
I was going to go fanless for sure. I saw a case that claimed to be a heat sink so maybe that is a good idea. I'm sticking with the battery as I found it to be the quietest when using it with my 3B+ and Allo Boss and right now my E30 is plugged into the battery directly, along with the 3B which still has the Boss HAT on it. I may be drawing more power that way but it doesn't seem to matter as it still lasts all day. I very rarely go below 3 dots of 4 on the battery supply level so it is probably sufficient even for the RPi 4. I also have a linear supply for the E30 that I haven't even tried yet, mostly because it is a physically big pack to plug in and I'm out of room. I just looked before hitting post and I had one big PS brick spanning 3 slots and I rearranged them so that it sticks off the end, so now I have room. I'll give it a try.

At these prices we can afford to experiment. Imagine spending $2000 on a piece of equipment that requires $500 for a power upgrade!

 

RPi option with a screen, posted on August 30, 2020 at 11:45:12
mlsstl
Audiophile

Posts: 380
Location: Midwest
Joined: September 1, 2015
I bought an RPi 4B 2GB, an official 7" RPi touch screen and a SmartiPi 2 case, all for about $130 combined. Use with the PiCorePlayer 6 software and you have either a Squeezebox player or a player with the full LMS server -- your call during the software setup. The screen will display the album cover and what's playing info (or your choice of some VU meter options) plus give you screen-touch music selection, start/stop/pause/forward and volume control if you wish. Pretty slick, IMO.

BTW, the Smartpi 2 case includes a CPU fan option. I run mine on low speed (3.3 v) and it is completely noiseless in my room. CPU temp runs right at 45 degrees centrigrade. The only downside I see is that you have to keep an eye on the fan for dust buildup and may have to replace it every couple of years.

That's the neat thing about the RPi - lots of options to customize things to your liking along with great sound at an incredible price.

 

RE: RPi option with a screen, posted on August 30, 2020 at 16:47:00
zacster
Audiophile

Posts: 1570
Location: NYC
Joined: November 22, 2003
Since I'm using it mostly as a DLNA endpoint I don't think I need the touchscreen. I could see that if it were to be my server though. I've already been using Volumio as it supports DLNA, and run Audirvana on my iMac as my server. I like browsing Qobuz on the big screen and I'm always finding albums that way that I miss when I use my phone with the small screen.

Great sound for sure with very little knowledge needed, contrary to what a lot of people keep claiming here and elsewhere.

 

RE: RPi option with a screen, posted on August 30, 2020 at 18:30:21
mlsstl
Audiophile

Posts: 380
Location: Midwest
Joined: September 1, 2015
I just wanted the thread to show the bigger range of options available with the RPi.

To be honest, I don't use the touch screen on mine much in terms of controlling the music -- I have a Kindle Fire that I use as my primary method to select and play music. However, I do like the way the RPi with the screen displays the album info (or its VU meters, depending on my mood) when playing. And, as a bonus, it has a great clock feature that can display when the system is off.

Frankly, I find the display capabilities of even a lot of expensive streamers to often be embarrassingly poor.

 

RE: RPi option with a screen, posted on August 31, 2020 at 07:33:51
zacster
Audiophile

Posts: 1570
Location: NYC
Joined: November 22, 2003
The screen on my Topping E30 has all the info I usually need, the sample rate! I can barely see my 50" big screen TV these days, never mind my iPhone, and a 7" screen across the room is mostly just useless. Now a 7" touchpad that is wirelessly connected to the RPi might be useful, that could sit on the coffee table. But what I'm using to control the music is Audirvana Remote on either my iPhone or iPad, and that is likely to stay.

Anyway, so many options, so many ways to do it. This is why I don't get the dedicated streaming boxes.

 

RE: RPi option with a screen, posted on August 31, 2020 at 09:18:09
AbeCollins
Audiophile

Posts: 36328
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
February 2, 2002

Pretty nice for an all-in-one setup with built-in display. I've seen some standard RPi screens around but have never played with one. Good to know it works with PiCorePlayer 6.

Did you have to install any additional software like drivers? And did it come right up with PiCorePlayer or was there some configuration settings you had to go thru?



 

RE: RPi option with a screen, posted on August 31, 2020 at 10:14:57
mlsstl
Audiophile

Posts: 380
Location: Midwest
Joined: September 1, 2015
The Picoreplayer 6 software includes all of the packages needed for both the visual display and touchscreen control using the standard 7" official RPi screen. It was fairly easy to setup and get going. One can spend more time getting the USB output optimized than getting the screen working.

I'm out of town this week but will post a photo of the setup when I get back in about a week.

 

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