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  • Simple Raspberry Pi Fun Without a Power Supply

    This afternoon I decided I needed a small project. This happens once in a while. For some reason I'll think of a project that I've had on my mind for literally years, and finally decide to get it done. Today's project was to setup a Raspberry Pi 4 B as a Roon Bridge and HQPlayer NAA. But, that's not what excited me about the project. I've done the aforementioned setup a trillion times. The exciting part that I've wanted to try for years is to power the Raspberry Pi with the PoE HAT. Using power over Ethernet enables one to not use the standard, or upgraded, power supply. Just connect an Ethernet cable and a USB cable to the DAC and that's it. 

     

    I know, I can hear the card carrying, knuckle-dragging, old school yet new school audiophiles cringing because I'm not using a $4,000 linear PSU to power my $89.23 (including MN state tax) project. Get over it. I'm a member of that infamous audiophile group too and sometimes I just want to create an audio endpoint that's dead simple and enables me to get rid of one extra piece of the puzzle. And no, I'm not moving away from my Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical, APL HiFi DNP-SR streamer, or the new unannounced CAPS Twenty. Yes, I just said that. Thanks for reading. You never know what nuggets you'll find in our articles here at Audiophile Style.

     

    Anyway, here are the pieces to the puzzle and a a couple tips. 

     

     

     

    Hardware


    Raspberry Pi 4 B (4GB) https://amzn.to/3gpcAFw

     

    The 4GB version isn't necessary, but I purchased this one because I tend to repurpose tiny computers like this down the road and I don't want to run into some unforeseen roadblock. Plus, the price isn't prohibitive. 

     

    Based on the system stats, I have 3.5GB of free memory when it's receiving audio.

     


    Official Raspberry Pi PoE HAT https://amzn.to/2XsJVGS

     

    Note, you will need a network switch that supplies power over Ethernet. I used this one for my Powerless-Pi (link).

     


    Samsung Evo MicroSD card (64GB) https://amzn.to/2LWP0C2

     

    The 64GB version isn't required, but I also like to repurpose these cards for years to come. 64Gb is way larger than needed for this audio endpoint project, but it's large enough to give me room for other projects I may want to do down the road. Again, the price isn't prohibitive. 

     


    Optional: HiFiBerry HighPi Raspberry Pi Case https://amzn.to/3ejxzHV

     

    See notes about the case in the Tips area of this article.


    * Using our links gives us a tiny kickback and doesn't cost you anything. We're experimenting with this, so please no phone calls or letters just yet. 

     

     

    raspberry-pi-4-labelled@2x-c1a040c7511610e7274e388432a458c4.png b047e09cf9d833615760747414238e7fe5e99e4b_770a6339-1619x1080.jpg

     


    Software

     

     

    Operating System

     

    I elected to use the official Raspberry Pi operating system Rasbian Buster Lite. This is a project aiming for simplicity and there's nothing simpler for me than skipping all the homework and downloading the official image. I used the operating system without a desktop as it isn't needed for this project. 

     

    Raspbian Buster Lite - https://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspbian_lite_latest


    Note: After finishing this project, I downloaded the 64 bit version of Ubuntu 20.04 and also installed Roon Bridge as a test. It works identically to the Raspbian Buster Lite install. 

     


    Roon

     

    I installed Roon Bridge the simple way, by following the instructions here - https://kb.roonlabs.com/LinuxInstall

    Readers should note that the Raspbian Buster Lite operating system is only 32 bit and the hardware appears as ARMv7 the OS. Thus, installation of the ARMv7 version of Roon Bridge is required even though the Raspberry Pi 4 B hardware is an ARMv8 / 64 bit SOC. 

     


    HQPlayer NAA

     

    Installing HQPlayer's NAA is pretty simple given that Jussi Laako provides the packages pre-compiled for easy installation. Here are the commands I used to get it installed. If one is reading this after a new version is released, just make sure to browse the NAA images to get the correct link (https://www.signalyst.eu/bins/naa/images/).

     

    HQPlayer NAA doesn't require a fit processor at all. While receiving very high sample rate DSD audio, NAA is only using 10% of the CPU.

     

    curl -O https://www.signalyst.eu/bins/naa/linux/buster/networkaudiod_4.1.1-46_armhf.deb
    chmod +x networkaudiod_4.1.1-46_armhf.deb
    sudo dpkg -i networkaudiod_4.1.1-46_armhf.deb
    sudo reboot

     

     

     

    Tips

     

    The official Raspberry Pi PoE HAT contains a fan that's fairly noisy. It's a tiny fan that spins up often and runs loud. To resolve this issue, add the following two lines to the config.txt file on the Pi. Here are the commands.


    sudo nano /boot/config.txt
    dtparam=poe_fan_temp0=80000,poe_fan_temp0_hyst=5000
    dtparam=poe_fan_temp1=82000,poe_fan_temp1_hyst=2000
    crtl+o
    ctrl+x
    sudo reboot

     

    Note: If you want to get the fan under control and you're using Ubuntu 20.04 on the Pi, download this file (link) and place it in the /etc/udev/rules.d/ directory.

     

    One other note about the fan. It is taller than most Raspberry Pi cases. This requires one to cut a hole in the top of the case for the fan to both breathe and the case to fit. I currently don't have a case on my Powerless Pi, but I found a case from the guys at HiFiBerry will work. The HiFiBerry HighPi Raspberry Pi Case works and according to these guys the temperature shouldn't be an issue. 

     

     


    Conclusion

     

    Seriously, this is all I had to do to complete a project I'd thought about for several years. I just wanted an audio endpoint that was powered via Ethernet. Partly just because I could but also because it's nice to get rid of an extra PSU. Plus, there are many use cases where simplicity is required. I'm now listening to DSD512 streamed to this new PoE Pi and enjoying my afternoon. Ah, the simple life.

     

    P.S. I'm not giving up my Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical anytime soon.



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    21 hours ago, MikePM said:

    Great article.  My question is the overall merit of doing PoE.  I can get a PoE switch that injects power into the system relatively cheaply, but does it also add noise generally or otherwise degrade other parts of the system.  If its one device, maybe just adding power to the R Pi would be better?  

    Hi Mike, there may be many "better" options but it really depends on what one's goal is. Mine was to create an audio endpoint with PoE so I could run a single cable to it (Ethernet) and a single cable out of it (USB). The simplicity is what I want out of this device. I have Sonore Rendu devices for everything else.

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    2 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Hi Mike, there may be many "better" options but it really depends on what one's goal is. Mine was to create an audio endpoint with PoE so I could run a single cable to it (Ethernet) and a single cable out of it (USB). The simplicity is what I want out of this device. I have Sonore Rendu devices for everything else.

     

     I run a Cisco 2960 switch via poE (from another Cisco 2960 that supplies the power) and it was a subtle upgrade over just the main Cisco switch. The poE switch only carries audio traffic. Worth the $50 or so I paid for a used one. 

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    FWIW, new Rasberry Pi 4 8GB mem 64bit os just released. Backordered everyware🥵

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    5 hours ago, greyscale said:

    FWIW, new Rasberry Pi 4 8GB mem 64bit os just released. Backordered everyware🥵

     

    Are you referring to the 8GB version only? I ordered a 2GB version off Amazon yesterday.

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    On 6/2/2020 at 1:13 PM, vortecjr said:

    We have Sonic Orbiter ported to the Pi platform. Any interest in this from the DIY community? 


    Downloaded for free ?🤓

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    12 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Even better, they pay you. 

     

    Only kidding. 

     

    I demand this, this is where I draw the line... 😉

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    On 6/4/2020 at 12:12 PM, greyscale said:

    FWIW, new Rasberry Pi 4 8GB mem 64bit os just released. Backordered everyware🥵

    The 64 bit OS is in beta, and that's optimistic.  You might want to read my initial evaluation of it for audiophiles.  It's simply not ready for our use yet, e.g. I couldn't get Roon Bridge to install after an hour of trying Roon's easy install - it throws an error about the ALSA libraries that I simply couldn't decipher well enough to fix.  It's not fully coded for audio or video, can't use VNC, won't run VLC, has an altered root structure for multiple files compared to Raspbian, etc.  I'm sure they'll fix it all, but for now we still have to use the 32 bit Raspberry Pi OS (formerly known as Raspbian).  Click the image to open the thread.

     

    OS64 thread

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    Up and running here.  I used Ubuntu 20.04 and downloaded Roon Bridge.  Using a PoE injector from the B side of an EtherRegen to the Raspberry Pi.  Other than a temporary issue with my DAC (thanks Chris) it's working perfectly, and sounds much better than I thought it would.  

     

    Colin

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    16 minutes ago, frederick184 said:

    Up and running here.  I used Ubuntu 20.04 and downloaded Roon Bridge.  Using a PoE injector from the B side of an EtherRegen to the Raspberry Pi.  Other than a temporary issue with my DAC (thanks Chris) it's working perfectly, and sounds much better than I thought it would.  

     

    Colin

    Very cool Colin. 

     

    Did you use the linked file to quiet the fan noise? Or, did you get a PoE hat without a fan?

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    On 6/2/2020 at 7:13 AM, vortecjr said:

    We have Sonic Orbiter ported to the Pi platform. Any interest in this from the DIY community? 

    I asked about this on your site and the answer was "no plans to do this anytime soon"

     

    Colin

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    On 6/2/2020 at 1:13 PM, vortecjr said:

    We have Sonic Orbiter ported to the Pi platform. Any interest in this from the DIY community? 

    Really interested ... one of my RPI4 is already waiting!

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    Chris,

     

    Maybe you could schedule a future article on your network, or networking in general. I'm considering a future network upgrade, which will include POE for security cams (Nest et al. do not cut it, and the security issues bother me). Running Pi + Dragonfly to the bedrooms seems like a good idea for my future update, and fiber to the listening room seems like it would make sense as part of the project.  An in depth overview of your network, with discussion of the whys and hows, might be a nice little feature.  

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