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Over-clocking the Raspberry Pi:

Over clocking refers to increasing the clock frequency of the processor to a value which is more than what the processors was built to work upon. Over-clocking is the processor on steroids. Like steroids gives extra strength to athletes with side effects of damaging the body, same way Over clocking boosts the performance of processors with a side effect of over heating and making the processor unstable. Each processor is designed to work with a certain clock frequency, higher the clock frequency higher is the performance of the processor but this does not mean that the clock frequency can be increased to infinite value and expecting a super high performance with small RPi processor. As the clock frequency is increased, the CPU gets heated up during use, once the clock frequency is increased and set to a value which is beyond the normal range, the processor will get so much heated that it will eventually burn and melt thereby making the Raspberry Pi useless. However a small performance boost in Raspberry Pi can be achieved by increasing the clock frequency (over clocking) upto a certain limit where there is no chance of RPi getting melted. Please note this may void the warranty of the product and is not advised by the manufacturer, so do it at your own risk.

How to do Over clocking in Raspberry Pi:

  1. Type "sudo idle" in terminal.
  2. In next window (which will open) go to file->open.
  3. Move up the directories upto Boot directory.
  4. Keep option "Files of type: All files".
  5. You can now see config.txt. Open it.
  6. Keep backup of file if needed.
  7. Type in file: arm_freq = 1300 (you can use any number of Mhz but its safe to slowly increase from its safe maximum of 1200 Mhz since its risky).
  8. Save and Close.
  9. Reboot the Raspberry Pi.

How to check if Over clocking has given a performance boost:

  1. In the terminal, type cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_cur_freq
    It may show 1300000 (meaning 1300Mhz) or the 600000 if the processor is idle.
  2. In order to stress processor, type in an empty python file:
    sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 --num-threads=4 run >/dev/null 2>&1
  3. Save it and execute in a separate terminal.
  4. Now use cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_cur_freq
  5. If it shows 1300000 or any other value*1000 which was saved in the config.txt file, the overclocking is in effect.

Applications and Conclusion:

Raspberry Pi is a tiny / little and cheap mother board with processor that can be used to build up a computer which is portable and mobile. It can be used to build various projects which require less processing power and portability like a simple basic robot. It can be used as a wireless bridge than connects Ethernet with WiFi. RPi can be connected to other devices which support GPIO connectivity. To build a basic computer, R Pi needs only a micro sd card, keyboard, mouse and a monitor along with connecting cables of power and HDMI. Its an excellent technological gift and may be given to kids on birthdays to start learning about computers and programming. It can be gifted to elders who are not having much knowledge of computers and wants to do basic web surfing. RPi can even work in a car or other moving vehicle. Power it up with the car's power out, connect it to the car's display and use a 2G / 3G / 4G / 5G sim enabled data card for internet connectivity. It can be connected to GPS receivers for building up vehicle tracker or even a taxi meter. Raspberry Pi can be used to process electronic payment on the go, build up a flight / air craft / air space monitoring system. The list of possible uses / applications of Raspberry Pi is never ending. In a line, it can be used in any task where there is a need of a computer system which is cheaper to buy and portable.

External References and Feedback

  1. Colin Law author of the article A complete Pi based VPN Server for under £20 has pointed out the fact that while handling the RPi board one should hold it by the edges in order to minimize the likelihood of damage by static discharge.
  2. However, Scott Porter believes that unless one actively try to damage a Pi with ESD, it's extremely unlikely that the way one handles it will cause any issues whatsoever.
  3. Jack Burton has asked to include more options to buy from other than amazon and more open source projects to include in the article.

Author Joseph Isaac would like to thank all the people mentioned above for giving their valuable time to read and provide feedback for the article. We try to incorporate all the feedbacks we receive.

If you have some feedback on this article or if you have written an article about Raspberry Pi then do share the URL with us in the comments section below or email at [email protected]. We will approve your comment and include the URL in our external references and feedback section.

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