Skip navigation
> RoadTest Reviews

New Year's Grab Bag RoadTest - Review


Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Product was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 10
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 60 / 60
  • RoadTest: New Year's Grab Bag RoadTest
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: Raspberry Pi 3B & 3B+
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: System crashes But - I don't know the sure reason. Was it incompatibility of the new system with old board or maybe faulty SD cards.

  • Detailed Review:

    "The Time Machine"

    Back to the era of early RPIs




    I'm really happy I had opportunity to get and test the first generation of the Raspberry


    Raspberry boards (and all related stuff) are widely and well known for years.

    Worth to emphasize - as I remember, my first association of element 14 was exactly the Raspberry.

    It was a time when the target of my roadtest, model Pi1B remained in the middle of interest!

    This is why it would be relatively hard to add something new as most of the fields of RPi application, have been implemented.

    On the other hand, thanks to the release of new RPi version, there is still the temptation to make some new comparison work.


    As the Raspberry Pi microcomputer is well known, especially the very old model is also well documented and wide described,

    nevertheless, I feel an obligation to attach base description of features and parameters of that model of RPi below.


    Basic technical specifications


    The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer with an ARM processor that can run Linux.

    Here I honestly admit, that after receiving the new - old raspberry I had some difficulties with proper identification of the version.

    Thanks to the following notice :the rev 2 boards have 2 mounting holes drilled through the board. The rev 1 boards don't have any mounting holes

    I could visually confirm which version I have

    According to my identification I’ve been provided with the Raspberry Pi Model B, revision 2.0, which has 512 MB of RAM,

    an Ethernet port, HDMI output, RCA composite video output, audio output, two USB ports, and 0.1″-spaced pins (26) that provide access to general purpose inputs and outputs (GPIO).


    The Raspberry Pi B is the first generation Raspberry Pi. It was released in the very beginning of the Raspberry Story (before simpler and cheaper model A). Correct me if I’m wrong : release date was February 2012.


    CPU, GPU and SDRAM - Consequently, all RPI models are equipped in  Broadcom system on a chip (SoC) with an integrated ARM-compatible central processing unit (CPU) and on-chip graphics processing unit (GPU).

    In our case we have SoC: Broadcom BCM2835

    High Definition 1080p Embedded Multimedia Applications Processor

    Cost-optimized, full HD, multimedia applications processor it uses Broadcom's VideoCoreIV technology to enable applications in media playback,

    imaging, camcorder, streaming media, graphics and 3D gaming. ( )


    • 512 MB of RAM Memory (SDRAM)
    • Network: 10/100 Ethernet RJ45  port
    • USB: two USB2.0 ports
    • Two video output options: HDMI or composite RCA
    • 3.5 mm audio output jack
    • 26-pin GPIO header with 0.1″-spaced male pins, compatible with 2×13 stackable headers
    • CPU: 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S core (ARM11 family)
    • GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV, OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenVG 1080p30 H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High-Profile decoder
    • Mass storage: SD/MMC slot (The Raspberry Pi requires an SD card with an operating system on it)
    • Power supply: 5V/700 mA (3.5 W) via microUSB
    • Dimensions: 85.6 mm x 53.98 mm  (3.35″ × 2.2″ × 0.8″)
    • Weight40 g
    • No WiFi
    • No Bluetooth

    According to Wikipedia: Raspberry Pi has the real-world performance equal to 0.041 GFLOPS.

    On the CPU level the performance is similar to a 300 MHz Pentium II of 1997–99.

    In the standard RT this is the time and place for description of the subject of the test. But honestly,

    I think that more complex description can be omitted as there are a lot of information about RPi.



    Moreover Raspberry is, in my opinion one of "flagship" device of Element 14 depicted on the site and still commented in the forum.

    Comparison of versions

    The age - release date: Raspberry Pi - 1 Model B -  February 2012, Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ was released In 2014,

    Raspberry Pi 2 which extended RAM was released in February 2015, It could be up to 14 times faster than our Raspberry Pi 1 Model B

    Raspberry Pi 3 Model B was released in February 2016     It is approximately 80% faster than the Raspberry Pi 2


    Simple comparison is presented in the following table


    Comparison of Pi1 model B to Pi3 B+

    • 700 MHz ARM11 family vs Quad Core Cortex-A53 1.4GHz CPU
    • Broadcom BCM2835  vs BCM2837 SOC 
    • 32 vs 64bit instruction set
    • 256M vs 1GB RAM
    • 10/100 Mbit/s vs 10/100/1000Mbit/s  Ethernet
    • NONE WiFi & BT vs BCM43438 wireless LAN and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) on board
    • 8 (26pin) vs 17 (40pin) extended GPIO
    • 2 vs 4 USB2 ports
    • SD card  vs micro SD port
    • 700 mA (3.5 W)  vs 1.13 A (5.661 W) load

    Remaining supposed to be the same:

    • 4 Pole stereo output and composite video port
    • Full size HDMI
    • CSI camera port for connecting a Raspberry Pi camera
    • DSI display port for connecting a Raspberry Pi touchscreen display

    Technical documentation overview

    Well as usual, practically there are no documents inside the RPI box. Some safety issues - regarding to requirements and regulations.

    For me It's correct. All necessary information you can find on the net... before the parcel arrived,

    so you can be well prepared to use the brick when you open the box. Above concern all RPI versions most recent as well as “historical objects”.

    First switching on

    Raspberry launch

    It's as usual - simple and pleasant, nevertheless system downloading is time consuming relating to the connection quality.

    My decision of use NOOBS system installation option was obvious as my set was provided with the original 8G SD Card.

    "Out Of the Box Software" NOOBS is user friendly and intuitive indeed!

    The version delivered on the card was NOOBS v1.2.1 from Jun26 2013

    From the early versions NOOBS provides a selection of alternative operating systems to be  downloaded and installed.

    I wasn’t very extraordinary - just chose Raspbian option .

    Some ancient graphics:

    Screens taken just only for sentimental purpose:

    The system starts to boot:

    Above: improper date/time but the chip recognized properly: BCM2835

    Following screen: the system time was corrected

    Then I got automatically the prompt to fine-tune base settings in raspi-config

    Does anybody remember the old Raspbian appearance?

    One notice here: For me, the good habit using RPi is starting the job with update/ upgrade commands:

    sudo apt-get update

    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

    I try to keep the system fresh!

    Let’s update/ upgrade our system:



    I tried to recall some old raspbian/ debian activities

    Take a look at tasks, CPU & memory load etc...


    Soon I realized, that the old version of Raspbian is not only impoverished but most of all less convenient as new I used to work with.

    That's why I decided to install new Raspbian on my old board.

    8G SD is still enough to carry the new system, nevertheless I decided to use the new card.


    The SD card can be prepared individually, using SD card image burner (I like  Etcher) previously downloading the system image.

    It's more convenient if there is a problem with fast enough internet access or you plan to burn images on more than only one card etc.

    Moreover using the image,  the new, clean system can be set very quick after system fault/ damage - which is quite common when experimenting with the RPI.


    Above : Raspbian Stretch Lite: Linux version 4.14.79+

    ??? some old RPI version incompatibility with the new system…?


    At the beginning - something went wrong…


    I had to recover the system, now it is working properly


    No BT/ WiFi but we have ethernet:

    Raspbian system on SD memory card in different RPIs

    I was quite suspicious of information that the same SD memory card with the system can be used in different RPI versions.

    It was a very nice surprise, when I realized that system on my “old” card from RPI3B+ works on the “new” RPI1 !

    VNC in Raspberry

    It's probably very old notice but I will still glorify the simplicity of use of remote control of RPi using VNC.

    It helps very much if our fruit is located in "strange" place or is used in extraordinary project.

    Most of all, I don't need to connect it with the screen, USB ports (only 2 in our case) remain free as the remote system doesn’t need a keyboard and mouse!

    Simple requirements: SSH & VNC must be enabled

    Using the raspi-config:

    Or taking the modern way:

    VNC installed

    My tests were conducted having RPi on laptop's screen.

    The only issue is resolution. If RPi starts without the monitor, the default setting make the screen difficult to tune-up

    as well as minimum resolution is... big too much.

    Sometimes RPi windows oversize main window which make troubles.




    According to the definition, Thingspeak is an IoT platform that enables collecting, store, analyze, visualize,

    and act on data from sensors or actuators from devices as Raspberry, Arduino etc.

    TS is the perfect tool to upload data i.e. from RPi sensors. That gives the simple way to create cheap IoT data logging/telemetry system.

    The benefit and difference from base data logger is idea of remote data collection and free access to these data from any place with the internet.

    Thingspeak gives us also tools for data visualization and dashboard creation.


    I decided to add data to my old RPI channel

    onewire bus

    My old projects based on temperature registration created using RPI3 and onewire DS18B20 temperature transducer work fine on the old RPI1.

    sudo modprobe w1-gpio

    sudo modprobe w1-therm

    cd /sys/bus/w1/devices/


    cd 28-00000XXXXXXXXXXX

    cat w1_slave



    TESTING - benchmarks etc...

    Now I moved to real tests of RPI 1

    Let me introduce the good, old Raspberry achievements:

    At the beginning simple linux commands to learn RPI parameters

    lscpu    CPU identification

    cat /proc/cpuinfo    Number of processors


    How it looks with quad-core RPI3B+  ?

    Here we are:



    lsusb  Identification of connected USB devices

    Vs RPI3B+ with two USB 2.0 HUBs onboard


    ifconfig -a   lets’ learn about the network parameters


    ls /proc    which processes are active


    Commands below are strictly related to benchmarks:

    sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/cpuinfo_cur_freq 

    sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/cpuinfo_max_freq 

    sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/cpuinfo_min_freq

    sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_available_frequencies  

    sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/cur_freq  

    sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/governor

    sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/max_freq

    And above resulting with the same value: 700MHz


    Another simple test can be performed using:

    openssl speed -elapsed -evp aes-256-cbc

    Below - results a little different:


    Lets compare it with RPI3B


    Differences are shown in the table below:

    Doing aes-256-cbc for 3s on X size blocks

    aes-256-cbc's in 3.00s




    X = 16





    X = 64





    X = 256





    X = 1024





    X = 8192





    X = 16384






    The 'numbers' are in 1000s of bytes per second processed:






































    current clock speed on a running RPi

    vcgencmd measure_clock arm

    Temperatura CPU

    vcgencmd measure_temp

    Which is lower than the average temperature of RPi3B+



    Then I conducted SYSBENCH test

    First - it have to be installed:


    sudo apt-get install sysbench

    sysbench --test=cpu --num-threads=4 --cpu-max-prime=9999 run

    sysbench 0.4.12:  multi-threaded system evaluation benchmark


    And another one: AikonCWD

    Aikoncwd Raspberry Pi Benchmark





    Running CPU test...

    total time: 12.5586s

    min: 4.48ms

    avg: 5.02ms

    max: 14.01ms


    Running THREADS test...

    total time: 240.7668s

    total time: 12.2423s

    min: 52.97ms

    min: 4.71ms

    avg: 96.29ms

    avg: 4.89ms

    max: 298.56ms

    max: 25.74ms



    Running MEMORY test...

    Operations performed: 3145728 (68113.96 ops/sec)

    Operations performed: 3145728 (2055722.75 ops/sec)

    3072.00 MB transferred (66.52 MB/sec)

    3072.00 MB transferred (2007.54 MB/sec)

    total time: 46.1833s

    total time: 1.5302s

    min: 0.01ms

    avg: 0.05ms

    max: 83.25ms

    max: 5.37ms



    Running HDPARM test...

    Timing buffered disk reads: 66 MB in 3.07 seconds = 21.49 MB/sec

    Timing buffered disk reads: 68 MB in 3.05 seconds = 22.31 MB/sec



    Running DD WRITE test...

    487870464 bytes (488 MB, 465 MiB) copied, 871.443 s, 560 kB/s

    536870912 bytes (537 MB, 512 MiB) copied, 72.7018 s, 7.4 MB/s



    Running DD READ test...

    487870464 bytes (488 MB, 465 MiB) copied, 28.4687 s, 17.1 MB/s

    536870912 bytes (537 MB, 512 MiB) copied, 23.1917 s, 23.1 MB/s





    Below is the old code for primes calculation which works perfectly in simple benchmarks:


    import time

    start_time = time.time()

    def primes_sieve1(limit):

        limitn = limit+1

        primes = dict()

        for i in range(2, limitn): primes[i] = True


        for i in primes:

            factors = range(i,limitn, i)

            for f in factors[1:]:

                primes[f] = False

        return [i for i in primes if primes[i]==True]

    print (primes_sieve1(20000))

    print("--- %s seconds ---" % (time.time() - start_time))



    With parameter of 20 000 (finding primes in the range from 0 to 20 000)

    --- 5.637781858444214 seconds ---


    With parameter of 200 000

    Well for RPi3B+   with the range to 300 000



    From my previous RPI tests I know very handy “pystone: test:


    results are quite stable:

    How it looks with RPi3B+?

    New model is almost 10 times beter!

    Sense Hat emulator

    Try to use the Sense Hat emulator on the old RPI

    What is demanded:

    from sense_hat import SenseHat

    from sense_emu import SenseHat


    And It works!:








    GPIO buses etc...

    I2C bus:


    And its state visualization

    sudo i2cdetect -y 1



    I like “pinout” command




    dmesg command gives many important and interesting information about the device

    “dmesg” of Raspberry Pi Model B Rev 2


    pi@raspberrypi:~ $ dmesg

    [    0.000000] Booting Linux on physical CPU 0x0

    [    0.000000] Linux version 4.14.79+ (dc4@dc4-XPS13-9333) (gcc version 4.9.3 (crosstool-NG crosstool-ng-1.22.0-88-g8460611)) #1159 Sun Nov 4 17:28:08 GMT 2018

    [    0.000000] CPU: ARMv6-compatible processor [410fb767] revision 7 (ARMv7), cr=00c5387d

    [    0.000000] CPU: PIPT / VIPT nonaliasing data cache, VIPT nonaliasing instruction cache

    [    0.000000] OF: fdt: Machine model: Raspberry Pi Model B Rev 2

    [    0.000000] cma: Reserved 8 MiB at 0x1b400000

    [    0.000000] On node 0 totalpages: 114688

    [    0.000000] free_area_init_node: node 0, pgdat c09c6650, node_mem_map db010000

    [    0.000000]   Normal zone: 1008 pages used for memmap

    [    0.000000]   Normal zone: 0 pages reserved

    [    0.000000]   Normal zone: 114688 pages, LIFO batch:31

    [    0.000000] pcpu-alloc: s0 r0 d32768 u32768 alloc=1*32768

    [    0.000000] Built 1 zonelists, mobility grouping on.  Total pages: 113680

    [    0.000000] Kernel command line: bcm2708_fb.fbwidth=1360 bcm2708_fb.fbheight=768 bcm2708_fb.fbswap=1 vc_mem.mem_base=0x1ec00000 vc_mem.mem_size=0x20000000  dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=ttyAMA0,115200 console=tty1 root=PARTUUID=5600e06f-02 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline rootwait quiet splash plymouth.ignore-serial-consoles

    [    0.000000] PID hash table entries: 2048 (order: 1, 8192 bytes)

    [    0.000000] Memory: 435232K/458752K available (6435K kernel code, 588K rwdata, 1992K rodata, 444K init, 673K bss, 15328K reserved, 8192K cma-reserved)


    whole dmesg report in the file

    “dmesg” with Raspberry Pi Model B Rev 2




    java -version

    java version "1.8.0_65"

    Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_65-b17)

    Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 25.65-b01, mixed mode)


    Old RPI with BLYNK

    Why Blynk? - doesn't matter, it could be any IoT platform. At this time I try to experiment with blynk projects thus the decision was relatively simple.

    You can learn about blynk at its site. The platform is dynamically developing.

    "Blynk is a hardware-agnostic IoT platform with customizable mobile apps, private cloud, device management, analytics, and machine learning"

    Using IOS or Android apps (no control site available for the PC) to control Arduino, Raspberry Pi and similar devices over the Internet.

    Using smartphone dashboard we can build a graphic interface for the project by simply dragging and dropping widgets.

    Unfortunately free version capacity is limited.

    Anyway simple demo project can be prepared in easy and extremely quick  way!

    I had to install wiringPi     (wiringpi )

    and:           git clone      - of course

    results of the installation are visible

    Now I have RPI connected


    clicking "the button" on the application I switched the LED on GPIO 25 ON/OFF


    GPIO status visualization

    (wiringpi is required!)


    gpio allreadall


    Above shows the behaviour of PIN25 during my GPIO control tests


    During my roadtest I encountered quite serious system crashes:


    EXT4-fs error (device mmcblk0p2): ext4_iget:4708: imode #153898: comm env: bad extra_isize 65535 (imode size 256)

    Above appear after system update/ upgrade. (apt-get install i guess…)

    System on the SD must have been damaged!

    why/ how ???


    And more serious fault:

    Kernel Panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(179,7)

    Now I’m working with that issue.





    RPi 1B  is still very useful tool, although more than 7 years old, thanks to its versatility, It could be employed in comprehensive projects.

    Moreover low power demands makes it even more convenient for many projects, than most recent RPI versions!

    All versions of RPI are extremely easy to learn how to deal with and use.

    Clear instructions, myriads of forums wih active RPI enthusiasts, examples and advice will not allow you to feel lost when encounter hardware or software issue.



    It is ashamed for my to dare write critic words about that old, retired machine.

    This is like complaining about elders nowadays, in quite different circumstances, wih better knowledge etc…

    Designers learned how to improve modern Raspberries thanks to the early RPI models.

    Hence my admiration for Raspberry Pi model 1B!

    Nevertheless let me throw my two cents here...

    I can’t be absolutely sure but I think the most recent Rapbian isn’t 100% compatible with old RPI and that may resultiing with errors

    or even system damages as described previously.

    Lack of WiFi & BT - obviously but these are the benefits of new versions rather than disadvantages of primary RPI.

    If you think of the use of the RPI for fast calculation operations, don’t think about that old man,

    definitely new models would be recommended!



    Raspberry papers, manuals      Raspberry Pi official site

    Many users blogs etc...


    Thank you for selecting me as the roadtester and give me the opportunity to deal with that old but still amazing as well as... - despite time pass - extraordinary tool.



Also Enrolling

Enrollment Closes: Jul 10 
Enrollment Closes: Jul 28 
Enrollment Closes: Jul 20 
Enrollment Closes: Jul 17 
Enrollment Closes: Jul 14 
Enrollment Closes: Jul 10