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Upgrading to Raspberry Pi Model B+

Often my OpenELEC Raspberry Pi would get stuck at pre-boot. The culprit turned out to be a faulty SD card connector. Unclipping the connector pins (as suggested in the elaborate diagnostic wiki on eLinux.org) and soldering on an alternate low-profile SD card adapter (that I ordered from crazypi.com) fixed it.

By that time, I had already ordered the new Raspberry Pi Model B+. My first impression – this is how the original Model B should have been designed!

A number of reviews speak highly of this new model. You can read up the one from exptertreviews.co.uk or see one on YouTube (the only video review of B+ that makes sense!)

Simply looking at the board – the entire layout looks cleaner, ports better arranged and finally a sturdier SD card slot!

  • Lower base power consumption translating to more stability
  • Audio noise and distortion reduced
  • USB current back feed noise reduced
  • USB hot plug current rush-in issue resolved

Beyond just the physical aspects of it, I replaced my old Model B for “stability” reasons. The biggest improvement on this board (IMHO) is power management. Ditching the linear regulator not just freed up an extra 500mA but also managed to prevent the Pi from getting reset every time certain USB devices were plugged in or out – the USB hotplug rush-in current issue is reduced to a minimum. For me this turned out to be super useful as I could now easily plug in WiFi and Bluetooth adapters without worrying.

The low-noise power supply for the audio circuit has done wonders to sound quality. Previously (in Model B) I was constantly disturbed by erroneous noises on the analogue audio output port. This had literally made it impossible to play audio at high volume. Noises caused by current backfeed from USB devices has totally vanished as well. Finally!

Surprisingly, the cleaner board and better power management causes this model to run at a slightly lower temperature and as such is more stable under over-clocked configurations.

Finally, the ability to increase the limiting current drawn from USB ports to 1.2A ensured that I can safely ditch my USB hub. Not that USB hubs are not needed for high-drain USB devices, but that my specific requirement was satisfied by the extra 600 mA!

In case you are wondering which is the best power supply adapter for Raspberry Pi, after much trial and testing, I have stumbled upon Sony CP-AD2 – a very stable 2.1A power supply with very good build quality.

Overall a great upgrade and a beautifully designed single-board computer. If you are using raspberry Pi as a media centre device and facing stability issues, the upgrade is likely to solve most of it.

  • M.Wagner

    Hi.
    Thanks for your insight.

    Is it really safe to increase the usb output current to 1.2A?
    I only want to connect a external 2.5″ HDD and a wifi usb stick.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.shamasis.in Shamasis Bhattacharya

      Raising output current to 1.2A is not harmful to your Raspberry PI as long as the Power Supply is greater than 2A. The reason they did not allow 1.2A by default so that the current drawn remains low for all common use cases and hardware setups remain compatible with older model-B out of the box. The extra power that we are getting in Model B+ is primarily because they have more efficient and robust power management.

      Having said that, USB WiFi sticks (especially the older ones) draw a lot of power (the specifications does not always talk about the possible peak power consumption.) The newer low-profile USB WiFi sticks have lesser range, but they consistently draw acceptable range of power.

      Example of such WiFi adapters:
      https://www.crazypi.com/Raspberry-Pi-WiFi-Adapter-Dlink
      https://www.crazypi.com/RASPBERRY-PI-WIFI-EDUP

      The 2.5″ external HDDs draw sustainable amount of power as well. They are meant to run with peak 500mA supply.

      As such, you should not have any problem whatsoever.

      • M.Wagner

        Thanks a lot for your reply!!