To make up for the shorter post last week there are many topics to cover this week. So, let’s get straight to it…

New PiStorm Wiki

There has been a lot of work by abrugsch to port over all the PiStorm knowledge from various parts to the new PiStorm Wiki. For now the FAQs, a tutorial and a few other bits have been ported over. But there will be many more things coming soon, such as the mini tutorials I write for this blog series.

If you have any issues or questions with PiStorm, this will be the first place to go!

Seller Pricing

I know this has been discussed before, but it came up again this week. I covered this on Facebook but I’ll reiterate it here…

Some people ask why people running online retail shops charge more for PiStorm than it costs to manufacture it (the manufacture cost is quite high at the moment too).

A user bought a PiStorm from a batch built by me and claimed it didn’t work, booting to a green screen. Due to the rules of the selling platform the customer had to be refunded. What was returned was a PiStorm that clearly had a total of 4 pins broken and someone without the equipment and skills to do so attempted to repair it. Excuse the poor photography, this is a smartphone camera down a microscope lens.

This board is so badly damaged I’m going to use it for salvage / scrap.

The cost of selling via retail includes costs incurred for dealing with bad customers such as this, returns in general, support, etc… Not just the cost of a board.

Eventually chippageddon will end, it probably won’t be this year. When it does then groupbuys will likely get back up to speed for much cheaper PiStorms. In the mean time, hand manufacturing and retail is going to be the faster way to get it, which does mean paying a little more.

Scaling Features

This week _Bnu added some prototype RTG scaling / filtering feature to wip-crap. To complement this I’ve added buttons (which need moving a bit) to the GUI software to control them. You can see a video demo of it below.

Creating HDF Files

Time for a very quick tutorial. If you want to create a blank HDF file to use with PiStorm simply run the following on the Pi’s command prompt, adjusting for the size you want:

fallocate -l 2GiB test

This pre-allocates 2 gigabytes of space on the disk for the file, when a read is attempted it will be read as blank and the space will actually be used when written. Doing this is much faster than writing a blank file using tools such as dd and has less wear on the SD card too.

Performance Improvements

There have been a couple more experimental improvements to the performance of the PiStorm software in wip-crap. In particular the chip RAM speed performance has improved again as can be seen below.

This particular change only came in today so it is still not know how much this improves things in the real work or whether there are any issues with this change.

ZZ9 Code in Main

If you have not seen it already, ZZ9 is the PiStorm testing board created by abrugsch which can be found on GitHub. It requires a tool similar to “buptest” to run which well help the board indicate where any problems are with the PiStorm board. The source code for the software to run with the board is now in the main tree of PiStorm. It can be built using ./build_zz9tests.sh.

This removes the copy step from setting up the ZZ9 software for the first time.

Community Videos

There have been a few videos from community members this week. First of all there is a video from CRG about updating PiStorm:

The Claude’s friend, Simo, has created a video about using Alien Breed 3D II with PiStorm:

Finally Franky Byte has created a German language video on installing a PiStorm:

The End

Did I miss anything? Or is there anything that you want covered next week? Let me know! I can be found as LinuxJedi on the PiStorm Discord or LinuxJedi on Twitter.