Old Skool NES Classic Case Fan Mod

This is a followup to my awesome Old Skool NES Classic RetroPie build (click here to view).  When I posted my build on Reddit several users that already had the case noted that the case tends to get very hot.  That’s not good, but since the case is so awesome I was determined to find a solution.  This mod requires no soldering, no drilling, and is dead simple and cheap.  It also does not modify the look of your NES Classic RetroPie setup at all.  We will use the preexisting vents in our case to create air displacement and pull the heat out of our case and let the cool air flow in from the lid gaps across the board.  Without further disposition:

Pi Classic Fan Case Open

Raspberry Pi 3 NES Classic RetroPie Build < $100!

I confess I have never been a big fan of emulation.  It never felt like playing the real thing to me.  However this setup really looks, feels and plays like the genuine article.  We will use a nice case, premium controllers and a Raspberry Pi board with RetroPie to create a truly authentic retro gaming experience.  If you haven’t heard about RetroPie yet it is a Raspberry Pi distribution that supports emulation on dozens of systems such as the NES, SNES, N64, Sega Genesis, and a whole bunch of other awesome retro systems.  An entire system can be built for less than 100 dollars.  If you missed out on the $50 NES Classic release before it was shortly discontinued (I did) then here is a really cool build that will let you build your own version that has many advantages such as being able to play NES / SNES / GameBoy / Sega / N64 / many others.  It’s also about half the size of the NES Classic.  Here’s a comparison of a NES Classic (the new tiny one, not an original NES) vs our build:

NES Classic vs RPI 3 Build

Measure Raspberry Pi Undervoltage + True Clock Speeds

I uploaded a quick gist that will measure your Raspberry Pi’s true clock speeds using the vcgencmd. Don’t believe what other tools like cpufreq tell you that your Raspberry Pi is running at because they are lying to you! The true clock speeds are controlled by the firmware and vcgencmd is the official way to interact with the Raspberry Pi’s firmware and hardware and are the only readings you can really trust! Available at https://gist.github.com/TheRemote/10bda1ac790f959210db5789f5241436 or click read more to view it directly on my site.

Backing Up amiibo Figures for Mobility and Safety

My girlfriend and I are huge fans of the Nintendo Switch and especially The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The Switch is praised for its portability but whenever she comes over she brings the Switch but carrying all the accessory was a big pain. There are over a dozen Amiibo figurines that work with Breath of the Wild and can give you very powerful items and abilities. But bring her whole collection of Amiibo figures on top of the switch itself became too big of a load. To solve this she found a very compact and protective carrying case that made it very easy to take the Switch around safely.

With that problem resolved, we now had to figure out how in the world we were going to transport a dozen Amiibos back and forth all the time. Thus, we looked for a way to be able to back up the Amiibos so that she could just bring that instead and I was able to discover several other methods. The easiest and cheapest solution is to buy NTAG215 tags from Amazon and back them up using a NFC capable Android phone. The most robust solution is to buy a special chip called a N2 elite or sometimes called “Amiiqo”. I will cover using both of these methods to make working backups of your Amiibos in this article.

Kali Linux 2017.1 + Raspberry Pi 3 + RPI 7″ Touchscreen = Plug and Play!

The Kali Linux penetration testing distribution has been available for Raspberry Pi for quite some time. However, it can be quite a chore to set it up, especially with a touchscreen. Recently I purchased the official Raspberry Pi 7″ touchscreen and was astonished when I put the SD card in and Kali booted up right to the desktop ready for me to log in with the touchscreen not only displaying but actually fully functional with touch enabled! Read on to see the setup and some basic instructions to do it yourself!
Kali actually running and connected to local WiFi

Raspberry Pi 3 + Samsung Pro + 32GB MicroSD Overclocking to 99MHz

In my quest for maximum performing MicroSD cards in the Raspberry Pi I decided to purchase the top performing card in most benchmarks which is the Samsung Pro+. However, the common overclock for the Raspberry PI SD port to 100MHz does not seem to work with these cards and they become unstable. However, through a little bit of tweaking and experimentation, I found that these cards can be clocked to 99MHz and work just fine and provide a substantial performance boost. Read on for the details!

Benchmark Your MicroSD Cards – Fakes Everywhere!

For the past couple of weeks I have been putting together a Minecraft 1.12 Raspberry Pi Guide and have been using my several year old Samsung Evo 32GB cards. After reading several blogs and benchmarks I decided to purchase some Samsung Evo+ 32GB cards off Amazon because they benchmarked better than my orange Evo cards I already have.

Let me start out by saying I love Amazon and am a Prime member and buy almost everything there. I bought two Evo+ 32GB cards from Amazon and received them very quickly as usual. However, once I started using them, I figured out that they were either fake or Samsung had revised the model and it performed terribly. I don’t just mean slightly underspec bad either. I mean worse than my Walgreens ghetto off the shelf cards I bought on clearance!

In this article I’m going to show you how to benchmark your SD card on the Raspberry Pi, and I’m also going to include how to use a popular utility to benchmark them on Windows if you don’t have a Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Minecraft V1.12 Server – Excellent Performance Guide

The world of color update 1.12 has finally arrived! This walk through will show you how to set up a playable Minecraft server running on the Raspberry Pi.

I have read many tutorials on Google about how to set up a “great performing” Minecraft server on your Raspberry Pi and have been sorely disappointed by the results. Most tutorials are very outdated and tell you to turn your view distance all the way down to 4 (meaning you can’t see very far), or turn your entities (monsters/animals) down to settings so low that they hardly spawn or you can walk right up next to them before you see you.  After much research, trial and error, and spending time in the #Paper IRC channel talking to the smartest people in the Minecraft server configuration world I have been able to get the Minecraft Server (popular Paper fork based on Spigot) to run at vanilla settings (view distance 10, no reduction in entity settings). This means the server is suitable for full survival mode just like a regular vanilla Minecraft server.

Should you try this?

Let me answer a big question right off the bat. Should you buy a Raspberry Pi just to run it as a Minecraft server? Absolutely not. If you just want to run a Minecraft server, especially one with more than a few people, you are much better off buying a realms subscription or one of the many dedicated Minecraft server options. $35 would get you approximately 6 months of a Realms server and probably much more from private hosts. You may also be better off just running the server off your own computer because your CPU and RAM in a desktop class machine is almost certainly going to be better than a Pi.  However, if you already have a Pi just laying around or want to use it to learn a bunch of cool new stuff like setting up a headless Linux server on an embedded device then by all means proceed. It’s a great setup to play Minecraft with a few friends.

Second big question: Do you have a good SD card? Because this tutorial will overclock your SD port from 50hz to 100hz. If you have a good Sandisk/Samsung name brand class 10 card you should have no problems. However, although the risk is minimal, there is some risk of SD card corruption if you don’t have a high quality card. I am not responsible if your card dies,
your Pi explodes, your house gets hit by a meteorite, or anything else that happens! This is solely at your own risk!
These are very common overclocks though and the risk is minimal, but you have been warned!

If you are prepared to continue, then read on!

Site Updated

A lot of changes have happened since I last updated the site and I have updated it with current information about my employment and project changes. Merry Christmas everyone!