SARPi Project - Slackware ARM on a Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Model B+ Review

The first thing you're most likely to notice on the Raspberry Pi Model B+ is that there are now 40 pins on the GPIO, 4 USB ports, the RCA video socket has vanished, and the plastic SD card socket has been replaced with a metal microSD socket. It seems the Raspberry Pi Foundation have taken a lot of the feedback over the last couple of years and have produced an updated Raspberry Pi with many fixes, improvements, and additions. In essence, it's the same old Rapberry Pi that we're familiar with, with a revised design and slightly more user-friendliness. Many existing accessories such as USB hubs, keyboards, mice, (etc.) work as normal. Many Pi Plates (PCBs that plug into GPIO port directly) will also work. However 26-pin GPIO cables do not fit on the new 40-pin GPIO! So you're not able to use classic Cobblers, and/or GPIO-cabled boards like the GertBoard/PermaProtoPi, without a GPIO downgrading cable. Existing Raspberry Pi Model B enclosures will not accommodate the Model B+, and vice-versa. Cases/enclosures must be designed to house the Model B+ specifically, because all the ports have been moved around and there's a microSD card slot now instead of a full size SD card slot. The good news is that the new Raspberry Pi Model B+ is the same price to purchase as the original Model B (US $35 / GBP ~£25 / Euro ~€30 - ex tax).

Looking for a Model B+ case/enclosure? We highly recommend the Raspberry Pi Case Model B+ Compatible from Cyntech Components. It's intuitively designed, expandable, flawlessly practicle, very robust, and extremely affordable.

The most important question is, "Does it run Slackware ARM Linux???"
The answer is, "OH YES! It runs Slackware ARM Linux very well indeed!!!" ;-)

NB: The Model B+ was succeeded by the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B on 02 February 2015. (see this link)

A Raspberry Pi Model B+ (top view - microSD card slot is underneath)

At the SARPi Project we fell in love with the Raspberry Pi all over again with the release (and procurement) of the evolutionary Model B+. In our opinion it is every bit as good as the original Model B, but better in the way that it's more user-friendly with 4 USB ports and a revised design. We find the Model B+ runs Slackware ARM Linux flawlessly and is as stable and reliable as ever.

So, is the Raspberry Pi Model B+ worth buying if you already have a Model B? We would say definitely, "YES, it is!"

Raspberry Pi Model B+ Hardware Revisions

There have been a couple of revisions of the Raspberry Pi Model B+. Depending on the hardware revision of the device, these subtle distinctions can include; different manufacturer and place of origin, and different manufacturer of RAM chip.

To find out the hardware revision of your Raspberry Pi(s), use this command, as 'root' user, at the command prompt:

root@slackware:~# cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep Revision

The currently available Raspberry Pi Model B+ revisions are:

HW Revision RAM PCB Rev Release Date Manufacturer
0010 512 MB 1.0 Q4 2014 Sony (UK)
0013 512 MB 1.2 Q4 2014 Embest

Raspberry Pi Model B+ Spec's

• System-on-a-chip (SoC): Broadcom BCM2835 (CPU + GPU. SDRAM is a separate chip stacked on top)
• CPU: Broadcom BCM2708 700MHz ARM11 ARM1176JZF-S core (ARMv6)
• GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV,OpenGL ES 2.0,OpenVG 1080p30 H.264 high-profile encode/decode
• RAM: 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM @ 400MHz
• Micro Secure Digital / microSD card socket
• Size: 85mm x 56mm x 17mm
• Power source: 5 V (DC) via Micro-B USB socket or GPIO header
• Power consumption: 650mA (3.0W) up to 1.8A @ 5V

• HDMI socket
• 4x USB 2.0 socket
• Push-push type Micro Secure Digital / microSD card socket
• 10/100 BaseT Ethernet socket
• 3.5mm audio out/video out jack (composite video requires 4-pole adapter)
• CSI camera port for camera
• DSI display port for touch screen display
• Micro-B USB power socket
• 40 pin General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pins, Serial Peripheral Interface Bus (SPI), I²C, I²S, I2C IDC Pins, Universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART)

New and updated features on the Raspberry Pi Model B+:
• 5V supply has polarity protection with a 2A fuse
• More power efficient than the Raspberry Pi Model B
PWR (power) LED turns off if supplied voltage drops below 4.7V (instantaneous low power indicator)
• Improved power management allowing you to manage more devices
• Dual step-down (buck) power supply for 3.3V and 1.8V
• New USB/Ethernet controller with hot-swap protection (i.e. unplugging USB devices will not reset the board)
• 4 USB ports instead of 2 ports
FDX/LNK/100 (Ethernet) LEDs have been moved to the Ethernet port
• 40 GPIO pins instead of 26 pins
• First 26 pins of the GPIO are identical to the original layout, with 9 additional GPIO and 2 EEPROM Plate identification pins
• Composite (NTSC/PAL) video now integrated into 4-pole 3.5mm 'headphone' jack
• A push-push type microSD card socket instead of a full size friction-fit SD card socket
ACT (activity) and PWR (power) LEDs have been moved to the opposite end of the board, next to the GPIO
• Revised form factor (many connectors have been moved around for ease of use and tidiness)
• Four mounting holes (rectangular layout)

Features that are the same as the Raspberry Pi Model B:
• Slackware ARM Linux runs just as well on the new Model B+
• Same approx. size, 85mm (L) x 56mm (W) x 17mm (H)
• Same Processor (Broadcom SoC @ 700MHz)
• Same 512MB RAM, mounted on top of the Broadcom SoC
• Same power connector, Micro-B USB
• First 26-pins of GPIO are the same
• Same HDMI port
• Audio part of the A/V jack is the same
• Same camera and DSI display connectors

What doesn't work anymore on the Raspberry Pi Model B+:
• Cases/enclosures designed for the Raspberry Pi Model B will not accommodate the Model B+, and vice-versa
• RCA (phono) video connectors no longer have a socket (it's been combined in the 3.5mm audio jack)
• 26-pin GPIO cables do not fit on the new 40-pin GPIO connector
• Full size SD cards do not fit in a microSD socket

For those interested in further information on the Raspberry Pi Model B+, see Adafruit's "Introducing the Raspberry Pi Model B+" tutorial and the Raspberry Pi Model B+ page on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's website.

Updated: 2021-04-06 12:46:18 UTC

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