Notes on building a receiver using Raspberry Pi model B+

I’ve just received the model B+ today, so I though I’d jot down some notes.

First about the differences between B and B+.

  • Most notably, B+ has 4 USB ports instead of 2.
  • USB ports no longer protrude over PCB edge so the device is a bit smaller than before.
  • The LAN indicator is now moved to the LAN port housing instead of being on the PCB next to power and activity indicators. Since these indicators are on opposite sides, B+ is a bit less convenient for visual monitoring.
  • Although some users have mentioned needing a powered hub on B+, my experience has been different.

There are other changes that are more interesting to electronics people, but I won’t go into these.

Some users have reported that externally powered USB hub may be required to connect a tuner to B+. First of all, B+ has power requirement of 5V and 0.6~1.8A. This is quite similar to model B, which requires 0.6~2A. In theory, if you can charge a phone on an USB port, you can connect your Raspberry Pi to it and expect it to output enough current to whatever you connect to it. However, if that does not seem to be the case, you have two options:

  1. Use your smartphone charger if it has a micro USB cable or an USB port to which you can plug in a micro USB cable
  2. Get an externally powered USB hub and connect all power-hungry devices to it

My phone charger provides 5V DC with 1A current (low-end HTC Android phone), so I used it instead of PC’s USB port, and that worked just fine. Of course, nothing wrong with my PC’s USB ports either. Before simply plugging in your smartphone’s charger, please read the declaration on it and make sure it has 5V DC and over 0.6A (600mA).

Installation is as usual. Use NOOBS or you favorite Pi image, follow the install guide, and that’s pretty much it.

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