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Test Equipment PiCow - the Raspberry Pi Computer Originated World

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Doz
 Doz
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OK, here's the "beta" image for PiCow. It's worth noting I'm not sure the aspect ratio is quite right, as I've only got my tiny workshop monitor at the moment, and it's geometry is woeful at the best of times, so your feedback is most welcome. 

The hardware is identical to the PiPatGen https://andydoz.blogspot.com/2023/02/pipatgen-raspberry-pi-television.html

Although I have made an improvement to the shutdown system (eliminated the separate shutdown switch, so easily overlooked), which involves a slack handful of passives and a 4049 inverter. I'm writing it up over the next week, so stand-by if you're thinking of making one. 

If you need to ssh in to make changes, the user is doz and the password dtw , as before.

IMG20230317170216

Please use a decent unzipper, such as 7-zip to expand the file, and not the carbuncle that is the windows built-in unzipper. Be aware that the download is ~643MB, so a bit like passing a melon for those of you on slow connections. 

https://www.mediafire.com/file/sg4pyh07waam1cf/PiCow2beta.img.gz/file

 
Posted : 17/03/2023 5:58 pm
ntscuser and WayneD reacted
WayneD
(@wayned)
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Looks very interesting!

 
Posted : 17/03/2023 6:14 pm
Doz reacted
Doz
 Doz
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IMG20230323140600
 
Posted : 23/03/2023 2:25 pm
WayneD, Lloyd and crustytv reacted
Katie Bush
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Desperate Dan used to eat 'em, and now, Not so Desperate Doz makes 'em - It's a genuine "Cow Pie"!!

I'd say that could be quite a desirable bit of kit. Not that I'm up to the level of computer generated magic, and if I were, I'd probably want something other than BBC on my screen. Unfortunately Aunty Beeb is not my favourite aunt right now.

 
Posted : 23/03/2023 6:20 pm
Doz reacted
hamid_1
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I tried the PiCOW image and it worked very well, as expected. It actually seemed a bit strange to see the old BBC globe spinning non-stop. Back in the day, we only saw it for a few seconds between programmes. For a while I kept thinking a programme was about to come on, why isn't it starting?

I haven't implemented any sort of safe shutdown mechanism, as hinted in Doz's first post. For now, I just wanted to see how the globe looked.

Thinking about it a bit more, it isn't really necessary to use a Raspberry Pi. The cow.h264 video file can be easily converted to MPEG2 (I did this with VLC media player) then burnt onto a DVD which can be played on any DVD player. The Raspberry Pi does have the advantage of being small and silent with no moving parts to wear out. Then again, at the last place I worked, DVD players were used to display some test signals. They were left running for hours a day for many years without any problems.

For those who don't like the BBC globe, the old animated ITV logos could be used instead, like Thames, ATV and Anglia Television with its knight going round on a turntable, that always heralded the start of "Sale Of The Century" or "Tales Of The Unexpected". It's easy to replace the video file in the Raspberry Pi with another one.

The ultimate prize would be to create a DVD with a menu allowing you to select animated or still-picture test patterns, or implement this on a Raspberry Pi by pressing a key for a specific pattern. Mikey405 released a Test Card DVD some years ago with both still and animated test patterns, so it's definitely doable. I had a laptop with Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 on it, which also supported making HD-DVD discs. This was a short-lived rival to Blu-ray disc. A decade ago I made a HD-DVD disc with the BBC HD testcard on it (can only be played on HD-DVD player or Xbox 360 console). I dug out the old laptop a few days ago but it didn't want to play ball. I'll have to see if I can find some more DVD authoring software and produce a COWDVD (?)

 
Posted : 24/03/2023 7:17 pm
Doz reacted
Doz
 Doz
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Thanks for the comments, Hamid. The whole point of these projects was to move away from DVD, which I find inconvenient. Something with an in-built modulator, that could sit on a shelf and be ready in a matter of seconds is what appealed.

I've changed the image slightly to get a faster boot, it can now be found here : https://www.mediafire.com/file/sg4pyh07waam1cf/PiCow.img.gz/file" }"> https://www.mediafire.com/file/sg4pyh07waam1cf/PiCow.img.gz/file

I've had a look on a decent monitor now, and the aspect ratio looks close enough for government work 😉

Details of the project and the shutdown board are here : https://andydoz.blogspot.com/2023/03/picow.html

I've made the obligatory YouTube video, that should be up shortly..

 

 

 
Posted : 25/03/2023 8:13 pm
Doz
 Doz
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... may contain an attempt at humour...

 

 
Posted : 25/03/2023 9:29 pm
WayneD and Jayceebee reacted
WayneD
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I'll definitely have to give this a go! I used to use a Pi with some pre-loaded files but it was a pain to have to load it, click on the file and then maximise it on another TV just so it was ready for the TV I was wanting to test. I had been using a VHS player with the test card recorded onto a tape but again that brings it's own problems.

 
Posted : 26/03/2023 9:35 am
Doz reacted
Hurty
(@hurty)
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Hi Doz, Downloaded the file and unzipped with the win7 zip program. loaded the image onto an SD card. The program runs up o.k. on the HDMI output at 1920 X 1080 at 60Hz but no video PAL output from the video nphono. Any ideas? Tried two Rasberry Pi's Program when loaded says Powering on SDTV then says failed to power SDTV, any ideas?

 
Posted : 01/10/2023 9:19 pm
crustytv
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@hurty

By default, the Pi will output on HDMI, you need to force standard definition. Edit the /boot/config.txt file and enable standard definition, to do this uncomment the line #sdtv_mode=x and x should be set to value 2 (PAL). To uncomment, just remove the #

If for some reason that still fails, comment out this line hdmi_force_hotplug=1 by adding # to the front and then adding hdmi_ignore_hotplug=1

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Posted : 02/10/2023 6:38 am
Hurty
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Hi Chris, It was me being to bit daft, tried this to late in the evening, plugged my audio and video leads crossed over!!, couldn't see the difference between white and yellow. Would like to speak to you on your workshop distribution but I will take that up there. On the subject of COW would you really like the original? It will pull considerably more power than a pi.

 
Posted : 02/10/2023 9:31 am
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