Pi4 Gotchas

I’ve started a project based around a Raspberry Pi4 and thought I’d share some of the “gotchas” that I spotted and in some cases didn’t spot.

Power

The Pi4 is faster and more powerful than previous models. This means that it generates more heat when running. My application is fairly graphics heavy (hence the need for the Pi4) and I felt the whole board getting noticeably warm. It’s going to need a heatsink. I’m currently investigating if one of my old PC ones might work (with a bit of hacksawing)

Also, the power input has a couple of gotchas. Firstly it’s been upgraded to a USB-C connector. The second issue is that it does not play well with some of the “smart chargers” that mistake the Pi for some headphones and won’t power it. I knew about this issue when I purchased the board so I got a Raspberry Pi official PSU.

Connectors

As well as the above-mentioned USB-C power connector, I got caught out by the HDMI. I’ve got a small HDMI connector, I thought, from another project. But these ones are really tiny and need a Micro HDMI connector. So another cable needed purchasing.

SDCard

Again, I thought I could save a bit of money here by having an existing SDCard. However, the latest Raspbian O/S based on Debian Buster + Desktop needs 3.8GB of the 4GB I needed. That left very little slack for other applications. So I needed to get an 8GB card for the project.

Memory

There are 3 different memory options for the Pi4. I guessed at the middle 2GB option as I’m only running one application, that seems to be working ol for me but I’ve not checked in detail. For headless stuff that is not doing big audio or video processing, the 1GB version should be fine. If you are going for a desktop replacement or want to run something like Blender then the 4GB might be a better choice.

Followup

As I learn more I’ll post a followup article. For example there are commands to read the temperature of the core and it should also be possible to see how much memory is being used.

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