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Raspberry Pi 3B
Subsystem Checkout

Jim Carter, 2018-02-06

This is for the Raspberry Pi 3B, MAC address b8:27:eb:d4:e5:13 . When the new machine was received, I checked out these features. In summary, every one of the features that the machine was supposed to have, performed with no hassle out of the box.


Box Worked out of the box.
Conf It needed editing a configuration file or running a setup GUI.
Add-On Needed additional or patched software: download it; follow instructions to compile and/or install it; it works.
Fiddle As with Add-On, but it required some workarounds in the procedure, which might seem minor to an experienced user but which might prevent a newbie from making it work.
Hack So you call yourself a guru? This one will challenge your skills. But this guru eventually got it working.
Fail I wasn't able to get this one to work, at least so far.
In Progress I'm still working on setting up or testing this component.
N.T. Not tested.
* A prerequisite did not qualify for the Box or Conf rating, but once that was set up, the listed component worked with no further hassle.

Checklist of Features

Does it boot at all? Box
 Yes, it boots the XFCE image for OpenSuSE Tumbleweed (2018-02-03), counting as a pass on this item. However, the usual criterion for this test is booting the SuSE installer(s), and both are ISO-9660 images, which the boot ROM cannot read. See Installing an Image under Setup.
Processor: Broadcom BCM2837 Box
  Cores 4
  Nominal clock speed 1.2GHz
  Powersave clock speed 0.6GHz
  Bogomips 38.40
  Jimc's benchmark (Mb/sec) 26773
  MPEG-2 playback (ffmpeg), CPU% ?
Graphics: Broadcom VideoCore IV (vc4), 300/400MHz Box
  Using the HDMI port, with a 1920x1080px display (1080p)
  Video RAM (shared), choose 256, 128 or 16Mb 128Mb
  glmark2 average frames/sec (without acceleration) 17
  Need to turn on acceleration, buy the codec license, and test MPEG2, H.264.
Memory Box
  Memory parameters reported by /proc/meminfo:
  L2 Cache size (shared with all cores) 512kb
  RAM on this machine 1Gb
  Video RAM reservation 128Mb
Disc Box
  Samsung 32GB 95MB/s (U1) MicroSD EVO Select Memory Card with Adapter (MB-ME32GA/AM). 32Gb may be the addressing limit.
  Standard Microsystems Corp. SMSC9512/9514 Fast Ethernet Adapter (100MHz). smsc95xx driver. Integrated with the USB controller and accessible as a USB device.
Wi-fi Box
  Broadcom BCM43438 (802.11-n and backward compatible with b/g). Connects to CouchNet.
Bluetooth Hack
  The Bluetooth HCI is part of the Broadcom BCM43438, which I'm fairly sure is part of the BCM2837 SoC rather than a standalone chip. I have not actually gotten it working, but patches are extant that fix the problem in bluez-5.43 (latest, which I have, is 5.48). See the Setup section for more details and for progress so far. I'm cutting this off so the rest of this writeup can be finished; I'll come back to Bluetooth later.
Audio (onboard) Conf
  On my Raspberry Pi 3B, with the SuSE XFCE image (kernel 4.14.15), the driver isn't loaded for the onboard audio. In partition 1, mounted on /boot/efi, you need to create extraconfig.txt containing dtparam=audio=on (and reboot). This done, the onboard audio appears as an ALSA device, and functions with good sound quality. Forum postings suggest that the DAC (on which model?) has only 11 bits and is subject to pops and crackles at the start and end of tracks. I don't hear those symptoms.
Audio (USB) Fail
  Replying to complaints about onboard audio, forum posters invariably recommend using a USB audio dongle. I have an old Turtle Beach dongle, identified as a C-Media Electronics CM102-A+/CM102-S+ Audio Controller (USB ID 0d8c:0103), or in the mixer GUIs and /proc/asound/cards, Audio Advantage MicroII. It produces sound as expected, but it has two fatal issues: it hogs the USB bus so the Ethernet NIC loses most (over 90%) packets, and its volume does not respond to the mixer, attributed to a recent driver bug.
Audio (Other) Conf
  • S/PDIF on HDMI: If the display has speakers, the GPU will automatically divert audio to them unless you do a magic incantation. The audio over HDMI works fine (as does the magic incantation to always use analog audio). However, the ALSA driver to use S/PDIF explicitly claims there is no such device.
  • Microphone: There are said to be arcane ways to get audio into a Raspberry Pi, but I don't know them. Some USB audio dongles have 4 wire connections for capture from a headset, but not mine.
USB Ports Box
  One bus; the controller handles USB-2.0 and USB-1.2. There are four female type A connectors, and the Ethernet NIC is also on this bus. There is no sign that the Micro-USB power connector has any data capability at all.
Special Features
  Auto boot when power returns Box
  PXE boot: Supposed to work, but not tested. N.T.
  Watchdog: Barks. But this inadvertent sequence of tests was brought on by a kernel oops, and recovery (e.g. a reboot) did not happen. The driver is bcm2835_wdt. Box
Suspend and Wake None
  The Raspberry Pi cannot do sleep states; it is always on. In Linux, hibernation is pure software, should work, and appears to go down OK; however, power stays on. When power is turned off and then on, the boot scripts do not load the saved image and do a normal boot. Times for non-sleep activities, in seconds:
  S5 (power off / reboot) 5 / 82 sec
  Greeter to XFCE desktop, 1st time 14 sec
  Greeter to XFCE desktop, repeat 10 sec
Power consumption (watts) OK
  Maxed out, one core
  Maxed out, both cores
  Playing MPEG-2 1080p video
  Beware: It's essential to use only one power supply with this and similar machines. If you have a powered USB hub, get one with a power supply big enough to run everything, and disconnect from the motherboard's micro-USB power port. See the USB setup section. Beware
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