The MiniPiRack uses Raspberry Pis but I don’t know anything about Raspberry Pis. What learning curve is there to use Linux on the MiniPiRack?
None! Each Raspberry Pi is running a debian Linux variant called Raspbian that’s put out by Hypriot. All your favorite Linux commands are ready to run.
You shell in with ssh. The package manager is apt-get. You can run bash, zsh, csh or any other variant you’d like. It’s completely configurable just as you’d expect a linux OS to be.
The usual suspects – python, java, go, gcc, C – work exactly as you are used to. All your software will work, too. Even docker and kubernetes!
Check out these screen grabs of terminal sessions to see it in action.
Can I buy the MiniPiRack™ as a kit?
The MiniPiRack™ is only available preassembled and ready to use. There are TON of other options available if you reeeeeally want to build your own cluster.
Can I provide my own Raspberry Pis?
The Raspberry Pis, along with the rest of the hardware, are built into the MiniPiRack™ as part of the factory assembly process.
How do I connect two MiniPiRacks™ together?
The MiniPiRack™ is DESIGNED to scale!
The MiniPiRack™ has two network ports, side-by-side. Either port can be used for network in or network out. To connect two MiniPiRacks™ together, use a normal ethernet cable to connect one network port to a network port on the other MiniPiRack™.
How many MiniPiRacks™ can be networked together?
Well, actually, we don’t know yet. We’ve tested five and we know that works. We’ve been too busy building, testing and shipping MiniPiRacks™ to test more. Stay tuned….
Can you pre-install Linux version/distribution ‘X’ for me?
The MiniPiRack™ ships with a Raspbian flavor of Linux from Hypriot OS. If you would prefer a different version, just follow the steps you’d normally follow to install your preferred version onto a Raspberry Pi 3. The micro SD cards are easily accessible and removable from the bottom on the unit to make it simple to update the image on the card. You could even install different versions of Linux on each Pi, if you wanted to.
What data speed does the MiniPiRack™ support?
Each MiniPiRack™ network is tested during the post-assembly burn-in using iperf3 and the results are saved in /home/pirate/.
What other color options are there?
One beautiful color.
Can I use the MiniPiRack™ to mine Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ripple, or <fill in any other crypto currency here>?
Yes, anything you can do on a regular Linux instance, you can do on the MiniPiRack x3! There’s even Bitcoin-specific Linux distribution designed for Raspberry Pi 3. However, we don’t encourage mining cryptocurrencies with the MiniPiRack™.
I connected the ethernet cable to the port but the lights at the port didn’t light up. Is my MiniPiRack™ broken?
No, it’s not broken. Somebody around here **cough** **cough** made a mistake. **cough**
The lights to watch for link confirmation are the six lights in a row on the side of the MiniPiRack™. The bottom two green lights indicate link and network traffic for the two externally-facing ethernet ports. This is a known issue and will be resolved in the next incremental version of the hardware. The lack of functioning LEDs on the ethernet ports is merely cosmetic and has absolutely no effect on how great the MiniPiRack™ works.
Can I access all the GPIOs? Can I access all the HDMI ports? Etc…
The MiniPiRack™ is designed for use as a headless device. That said, the HDMI ports and the 4-pole, 3.5mm jack are easily accessible. The GPIO header has limited accessibility but for two of the three Raspberry Pis, there’s about 1 cm of clearance to access the GPIOs.
How do I hook up a keyboard and mouse to the MiniPiRack™?
The MiniPiRack™ is designed for use as a headless device. If you absolutely need to hookup a keyboard or mouse via the USB ports, the top panel can be removed by removing four screws. However, this is not recommended and will void all warranties.
How do I add more storage space?
The MiniPiRack™ is configurable on purchase for either a 16GB, 32GB or 64GB micro SD card for storage. If you need a larger size, these micro SD slots are easily accessible through the bottom of the MiniPiRack™. Just pull out the one that’s installed and install a larger one.
If you need ‘mass storage’ then we suggest using a low profile USB flash drive. To install the USB drive, the top of the MiniPiRack™ will need to be removed by removing four small screws. This is easy to do, however, this is not recommended and will void all warranties.
If you have special storage needs, reach out to us to discuss.
I turned on the MiniPiRack™ and got lots of blinking lights. Now what?
Congrats! You now have three fresh, shiny Linux instances waiting eagerly for your commands!
Each Linux instance is configured for DHCP so you’ll need to find what their IP addresses are and then ssh into them using the following username and password:
(This is the default username and password set by Hypriot OS.)
Can the MiniPiRack™ run Windows?
No. Just…. No.