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Roadtest: Bitscope Blades - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 9
Demo Software was of good quality: 8
Product was easy to use: 8
Support materials were available: 8
The price to performance ratio was good: 9
TotalScore: 52 / 60
  • RoadTest: Roadtest: Bitscope Blades
  • Evaluation Type: Independent Products
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes - -
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: Home brew solution
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: Power connector

  • Detailed Review:

    As mentioned in my Plan of action I am using the Bitscope Blade Quatro to demonstrate a Blender Render farm. Although I've not completed my mini project I have enough exposure to the board to create a review. I will be completing the rendering project in due course.

    NetworkPowerAndStorage.jpgQuickStartGuide.jpg

    The box provides the blade, some plastic standoffs and screws for the Pi, some sticky standoffs for the blade and a card explaining the connectors. There is an error on the card in that the power connector is 2.5mm not 2.1mm. I would have also liked to have seen a mechanical diagram so that you know where to plan your mounting holes if designing a case. When the board is mounted at the end it does flex a little alarmingly when you plug in a Pi to the middle two bays.

     

    When the blade is populated you can still access the USB and network, and the GPIO are broken out onto a custom "HUB Connector" below. There is a jumper to control the power and an LED to see if each bay is powered. As mentioned in my look at these Pins it would have been good to have an example on how to use the power control and perhaps incorporate the components needed to turn on the power with a digital signal from one of the GPIO.

     

    As mentioned it is possible to connect the Ethernet connection but perhaps for a specialist cluster it would be good to have some kind of onboard network. Perhaps it might be possible to build a high speed data link using the GPIO?

     

    The power supply coped fine with powering all 4 boards although my disk was externally powered so I did not stress it too hard. If you have high current requirements then it is possible you will hit the 3A limit. See Shabaz'sRaspberry Pi 3 Dynamic Current Consumption, Power and Temperature Tests

     

    The blade does a good job of providing support and power for the Pi. The documentation / support is a bit weak but there is sufficient information to get going with a cluster project. The site is changing so I hope to see more documentation as it becomes available.


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