Thursday, 12 September 2013

Play Room Media Centre: Hail the PiHub!!

In my previous post regards the development of a play room media centre, I cited one of the key goals was to attempt to build a solution that was going to be more green than other games/media centres on the market - and trying to keep the power consumption as low as possible.

Now there might just be something to help gain that all needed advantage, thanks to the pirate crew at PiMoroni - all hail the PiHub.  When I saw the post pop up about this earlier tonight, I was all set to go and buy one, damn the torpedoes!  Problem; they seem to be shipping with power packs for the UK and EU market.  Any chance that they could do one for the Australian market?

The Drawing Board
Looks like this post is therefore relegated to the drawing board.  So what was all my excitement about?  Given that I am still at the research and planning phase of my media centre project, I don't need to rush out and get a PiHub right this minute.  Well the PiHub is a powered four port USB hub built with the Raspberry Pi specifically in mind.  As you may recall from my previous post, my initial plans for a media centre incorporate USB keyboard, USB mouse, USB WiFi dongle, and USB HDD.  So that's four USB devices.  Now, if we configure the +RasberryPi so that it is drawing power from the PiHub, that means that we have just enough USB ports left on the Pi itself and the hub to cater to the four peripherals.  Great - that should then be quite tidy.

Shooting from the Hip
What we do know about the PiHub is that it's power pack supplies it with 3000mA (3A) of power.  My current Raspberry Pi power pack only supplies 1A, and consumes 36 W.  What I have not been able to discover yet is, how much power does the PiHub power pack consume?  For now, I am going to shoot from the hip and assume that since it's output is 3 times the amps of the Rasberry Pi power pack, its consumption is also 3 times greater.

If this assumption holds true, that means that the media centre project project built around a PiHub, would consume approximately 108W.  Based upon my initial research of the current media centre market makes it competitive.

From Here...
From here I need two things; to confirm the power consumption of the PiHub power pack, and to seek another edge to make my idea a worthy opponent of the current market products.