Q&A - Techy Stuff...Raspberry Pi, Linux, etc.



Replace or Add Hard Disk

"Hello Brennan,
I love the fact that you build consumer electronics based on the Raspberry Pi. Some questions: If I add a new/blank disk, will B2 format it or should I do the formatting first? Do you sell a version of the B2 without any storage? (I have some 2TB disks around here)"

Hi - If the new disk is formatted FAT32 it will work. If it is blank then B2 can format it with Settings->Maintenance->Fornat HDD. You can't add a hard disk to an SD only B2 because it doesn't have a hard disk controller or mounting inside. I may sell these as a kit in the future - but you can take a 500G and swap the disk. You will need a low profile disk to fit - we use 7mm hard disks. Take care disassembling - you need to remove the front panel first. Then detach the CD cable before you pull out the rear assembly very far - not difficult though. Martin

Replace Hard Disk (more)


Hi Martin I have just bought my second B2 for our holiday home. I bought the 500gb version this time. If I run out of disc space I know I can replace the hard drive for a higher capacity. In one of the answers to a question you say that the front panel has to be removed first. Please could you provide more details as I do not want to risk damaging my B2. Also in another FAQ you refer to the use of Samsung 2tb 7mm hard drives. The only Samsung hard drives I could find are 9.5mm. Would these fit the B2. Thanks again for an amazing product. Robin

Hi Robin. Yes 9.5mm hard disks are OK. To remove the front panel undo the four screws on the underside at the front. The front panel will pull away quite easily. You should then detach the ten pin ribbon connector from the front panel PCB. Be gentle - rock it a bit from side to side rather than just yank the ribbon. To assemble just reverse the steps. Martin.

Use B2 as a hard disk

Q: "Hi,We love having our Brennan and leaving it on random play means we look at each other quite often and ask 'who is this?' as it works through our 800+ CDs.
I have just built a Rasberry Pi2 with Pi MusicBox to stream other networked files, Spotify and the like around the house. Is it possible to add the Brennan hard drive as a mount to stream our CD collection too, or could you point in a direction to research this?
Thanks, Ken and Jane"

Hi Ken and Jane. I imagine it is possible but I'm not a suffiicent Linux or Pi expert to direct you but I do want to encourage you. If any readers have some pointers leave a message here and I'll be happy to post. As a starting point you can login to the B2 using a program like Putty User Root Password Brennan.

Bluetooth Out

"I (and I expect many others) already use a wireless music system. I have a Bose Soundtouch system and I would like to add the capability of mass storage of CDs so that I can Bluetooth from it to any of the Soundtouch devices. Unfortunately B2 only has Bluetooth input (rather than out to another device). Are you likely to implement Bluetooth out or would it be possible for me to modify the B2 to do it? I have software experience. Is the software written in Python?

Update - Bluetooth Out is deprecated - its in the software but we are no longer advertising it.

What Amplifier

Q: What is the output of your B2 power amplifier into 4 ohms and if the amplifier is a class T or D, is there a difference in the frequency response into these differing loads?

We use a TPA3110 power amplifier IC please refer to the TI data sheets for detailed technical information.

What make of HDD

Q: I ordered a 2Tb. What kind of internal HDD do you use? what make?

We currently use a Samsung 2Tb - because they are the only folk who do a 2Tb slim enough - 7mm - to fit in the B2 case.


Hi Martin,
I hope you're well. My in-laws are looking for an audio controller and have been recommended the b2 so I wanted to gather a little more info if I may. Firstly, great looking product, excellent to see the rPi being used for consumer grade devices and I love the fact it appears to be a ""maker-friendly"" so I was wondering if there's a public web API for controlling the unit.
I'm a Creative technologist with experience of both the pi and android dev and always looking to tinker so I would be interested in allowing them full control via a custom android app. If there is no api do you provide images of the sd or a github repo with details of the webserver contents?
Thanks in advance for any guidance you can offer and I look forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks, Rich

Hi Rich - sorry there isn't a repo with the API - what I would suggest is take a look at /var/www/index.html on the raspberry pi. That contains all the Javascript that talks to the the B2. Its not beautiful but not very complicated either. If you want you don't even have to login to the Pi - just use the Developer Tools on the Chrome Browser and you can see the code. If you do what the Javascript does (http GET requests for the most part) then you can control the B2. Martin

What Editor?

What Windows text editor should I use to edit a B2 playlist? Notepad displays it on one line without showing any CR/LF or paragraph marks: Word shows the lines and line end markers, but I have not found out how to save the edited file to preserve the original formatting breaks. Thanks Colin

Hi Colin. I use Notepad++ for all my work - can't say I've actually imported a playlist back into B2 though. Martin

Can I add DLNA?


I now have my b2 which is doing exactly what I wanted, and so far many cds have been loaded. My question is:

given that I have understanding of pi and of linux (I have used suse and ubuntu for over ten years), would I be able to install minidlna? Minidlna is a media server that would make music available to any device such as a phone or an Airstream receiver (and thus any hifi setup). It would need access to the library and to be accessed by client devices. But I can't think of a reason why it would not work. If it did, then I would have a dlna server so that everything installed on the b2 could be listened to in any room on any device. That would be special.

I have read that the b2 'isn't compatible' with dlna. But I can't see any reason why that might be. It could become a powerful selling point."

Hello - You are right there is no reason that the Pi cannot run DLNA. What I should have made clear is that my B2 app doesn't. I'm happy to help you with your endeavour. I can point you at the Github repo for the recipe to build the SD card - less the B2 app itself. You could probably add DLNA there pretty simply. Martin

Ethernet Connector

Hi Martin, why it is not possible to connect an Ethernet cable without having to open the Brennan B2? You even describe the problem with the words: ""It is pretty fiddly!""
Would your loyal customers do not deserve an external connection possibility ?!

Hi Wolfgang - Are you the Wolfgang from 2008? Nice to hear from you again. The answer is that I would have to make the B2 box bigger to add any other connector, switch or button. Making B2 as small as possible was the overriding design goal. I wasn't going to support ethernet at all but I realised all I had to do was leave some slots and it was possible even if not beautiful. Martin

Linux upgrade and SD backups

I have created a backup of the B2 SD card and written it to a new SD card as a test. Works well. I have two questions related to backing up the complete OS.

First, is it necessary to create more than one backup image? I'm interested in knowing if I create a backup when the B2 software component is at October 2015, will I be able to update it to the most recent version, or are there any changes that are cumulative and would require multiple updates to get to the current level if the backup had to be used?

Second is updating the underlying Linux OS. Is there any provision for updating the base OS? Linux is a long way from static and there will almost certainly be a number of updates to the OS. Is it safe to use apt-get update to bring the OS to the current level?

Aaagh - Paul what did I say about one question at a time. Only joking but it does make it easier to write the headline when its one question..

You should be OK with your old SD card backup. The web upgrades take any version of code to the current version.

We created a custom linux for B2 and I don't forsee any immediate need to change it. We use a custom linux so that it boots quickly mainly. B2 is a few seconds. Raspberry Pi was over a minute the last time I played with it. apt-get is not included in our distribution. If we did want to upgrade the OS I'd probably make it part of a regular web upgrade so really invisible to most owners.

Batch Delete MP3s

Is it possible to batch delete MP3 files?
I have over 200 podcasts stored on my Brennan,of which I have listened to over 100.
Obviously single MP3 deletion will be very slow!
Thanks in anticipation,

Hi Clive only possible as a Linux user. You need to login to B2 using SSH user root password brennan. You will find the music files at /media/hdd1/music. Delete what you don't want then run Settings->Scan Disk from the front panel to let B2 know what you have done.

If the above is gobbledygook then you probably should not attempt this. Martin

Backup Using NAS

Hi Martin,
I'm thinking of buying a B2 and I'd like to use my existing NAS as a backup.
Based on my understanding of the new B2 NAS feature it will allow the B2 to be visible as a NAS device. This should enable PC based backup software to copy B2 files to my NAS. Is this a reasonable assumption?
PC driven backup would be good. What would be ideal is that the B2 automatically pushes backups to my NAS device. Am I expecting to much?
Best Regards

Hi Mike
Yes you can use your Windows software to backup the B2 - as I say elsewhere the B2 appears like any other folder to the PC.
Backup to NAS from B2 is unlikely in the near future. Never keen on providing multiple ways of doing the same thing.


Upgrade with spare drive.

Can I upgrade the hard drive as I have a spare 128Gb SATA ssd and a 160Gb IDE?

Hi - I assume you have an SD only B2. Sorry your B2 has no SATA electronics or hard disk mounting hardware so you can't simply open it up and plug in a drive. If you had a 500G B2 say then no problem about opening it up and swapping a bigger drive. You need to do Settings->Maintenance->Format HDD after if its not FAT32. Martin

Extend storage with USB drive

Can I use a USB ext drive to supplement the 64Gb model?

Sorry no. The JB7 could do this but B2 does not. Martin