Archive for July, 2012

So, my wife would like an iPad, so we take a look at eBay to see how much 1st gen ones go for.

Well to say I was shocked is an understatement, because you can go and buy a refurbished 2nd gen one for less straight from Apple.

Why do people persist in paying more on eBay, I just don’t get it.

Shop around fools……

So, my Rasperry Pi finally arrived last Thursday, just in time for me to spend some quality time with it whilst on my holidays. Here it is in all it’s glory.

My lovely Pi

So far I’m impressed for a PC that costs just £30 including delivery. Admittedly, you need a few extras to get things working, but happily I got a double pack of 8GB SD cards from PC world for just £13, each of which is more than enough to store either the Debian or Arch distros that are available. And since I already had HDMI and ethernet cables, plus a Samsung mobile phone charger that provides just the right amount of power, my costs were kept down even further.

Although everything worked out of the box, there was one thing I did have to do to make the HDMI work properly.

On the first and subsequent boot ups, It was obvious that the display was being cut off at the left hand side, and had quite large margins on all the other sides.

After doing some digging, I found that a configuration file was required. Unsurprisingly, it was called ‘config.txt’, and it lives in the /boot/ directory.

There is a really good explanation of all the options to be found here: config.txt options

For me, the options that worked are as follows:

# Set stdv mode to PAL (as used in Europe)


# Force the monitor to HDMI mode so that sound will be sent over HDMI

cable hdmi_drive=2

# Set monitor mode to CEA


# Set monitor resolution to 1080p 60Hz 


# Make display smaller to stop text spilling off the screen

#Left Border


#Right Border


#Top Border


#Bottom Border


These options can be copied over exactly to form the basis of your config.txt, but you’ll need to edit the values to suit your particular TV. Yes, the top and bottom values are negative for my set up, otherwise I have a half inch border there. Bear in mind I’m in the UK.

To find out supported modes you’ll need to run the following commands:

/opt/vc/bin/tvservice -m CEA or /opt/vc/bin/tvservice -m DMT.

/opt/vc/bin/tvservice -s will show your current status.

If you get a value wrong, as I did, you can end up with a blank screen. I resolved this by taking the SD card out of my Raspberry Pi, and plugging it into my Linux laptop, and just edited the values there. You can always comment out the lines, or delete/rename config.txt if you need to go back to default.

Bear in mind, I’m just passing on the info, and what you do with it is your responsibility. In other words, if you break your Pi, it’s not my fault.

Good luck, and enjoy your Pi.