Booting from SSD – Raspberry Pi

A few weeks ago I purchased a USB 3.0 Solid State Drive (SSD). My intention was two-fold:

  • to add more storage to my Raspberry Pi and
  • to eventually use it as the boot disk for the Pi.

There are some advantages that come with booting from USB 3.0 SSD, most noticebly an increase in speed but also SSD’s are more reliable that micro SD cards and more cost effective on a $/Gbyte basis.

Early Raspberry Pi’s booted primarily from micro SD card. You wrote your operating system image to the card and inserted it into the Pi before booting up. Booting from a USB device was possible but involved a bit of MacGyvering. Since the introduction of the Pi 4B and the Pi 400, USB boot has been made easier.

I had been looking at this option for a while. I found numerous write-ups on the interwebs explaining how to accomplish the task. Some were more complicated than others. But it comes down to whether you have the most up to date Operating system (I have the new 64 bit “bullseye” installed) and up-to-date eeprom.

I found a set of instructions written by J. A. Watson at ZDNet called Booting my Raspberry Pi 4 from a USB device and it seemed to be the simplest and least confusing way to go about it. The author explained that your Pi4 must have bootloader eeprom firmware dated Sep 3 2020 or later. He also explained how to check this and I was able to confirm that mine was up to date. Watson also explained that you need to be running Raspberry Pi OS version 2020-08-20 or later, which I am with Bullseye.

So having confirmed both of the above, I decided to go ahead and make my SSD bootable. The process was simple. After running sudo apt update and sudo apt upgrade I used the SD Card Copier utility from my Pi’s Accessories menu and copied the contents of the bootable micro SD card currently installed in my Pi to the SSD.

When the copy process finished after a few minutes, I shut down the Pi using the sudo shutdown command from the terminal. Once the Pi shut down, I switched off the power supply and removed the SD card.

Now for the moment of truth. I made sure the SSD was powered on (it’s on a powered USB hub) and I powered up the Raspberry Pi. The boot process was smooth and I encountered no problems.

And I have noticed an increase in speed now that the Pi is running from SSD.

Farmhouse kitchen update

After the demolition last week, it was obvious what needed to be done in order to get this kitchen ready for the new cabinets that are being installed on Friday.

Yesterday, we had the plumber out and he cut all the pipes below the floor and capped them in the basement. Where the old cabinets had been was partly on the original hardwood floor and partly just sub-floor. I needed to bring this up even to the existing floor in the rest of the kitchen. Where there was just sub-floor, I had to raise it up an inch and a half, so it took two layers of 3/4 inch plywood. Areas where the original floor was still in place needed to be raised an inch and an eighth, so I used a layer 3/4 inch plywood plus a layer of 3/8 inch plywood.

Given the price of plywood these days, I decided to use some scraps I had lying around from old projects. I had to bite the bullet and purchase some 3/8 plywood at the hardware store. I calculated that I needed about a half sheet and they sold me a piece 32″ x 46″ for just $15. My lucky day!

Plywood installed

The above photo shows the area raised up using 3/4 inch plywood with 3/8 in plywood on top. I used 1 1/2in screws to fasten the 3/4 in ply and brad nails to fasten the 3/8 inch ply on top of it.

recycled plywood

On the other side, I just needed a small piece of 3/8 in ply to cover an area about 15″ x 19″ where the original floor was intact. The rest of the opening was covered with a layer of 3/4 in plywood and screwed in place. Then the whole area was covered with another layer of 3/4 in plywood to bring it flush to the most recent laminate floor. This time I screwed everything down with the same 1 1/2 in screws.

Patchin the drywall

With the floors levelled, the next job was to patch a number of ugly holes in the walls. There was one particularly big one shown in the upper left of above photo. Another trip to the hardware store for drywall compound and a couple of drywall patches. The patches were 7″x 7″ and one patch just barely covered the bigger hole. I was able to cut the other patch in half and use these pieces to cover the other two hole. While I had the drywall compound out, I decided to spruce up the numerous small holes and cracks in the walls.

drywall patches in place.

There’s more work to do here, but I am confident this will be ready for Friday when the cabinets arrive. More updates to come.

Farmhouse kitchen demo

We began the demo on the farmhouse kitchen today. We started by tearing out the old counter tops and lower cabinets. The upper cabinets are not being removed.

What was revealed was no big surprise. Plaster walls, damaged in spots, a bit of old water damage where the sink was and the cabinets had been sitting on the old original floor. There have been a number of floors over the years so we are going to have the raise up the old floor for the new cabinets.

Whoever built these cabinets sure didn’t plan to be around when they were removed. They were built solid and nailed into place with lots and lot of big nails, some as big as 4 inches.

The new cabinets are scheduled to be installed this month. I will post updates as the project progresses.

Building a Bridge

This was a quick little project this week. Wendy wanted me to build her a bridge. Not a bridge in the typical sense, but a bridge for the horses to walk across when doing the obstacle course. This would be our own bridge for practice and rehearsal, but it might also be used at some of the horse shows we go to, so it needs to be somewhat portable.

Framing the bridge

After some discussion, we decided that the bridge would be 32 inches in width by 4 feet in length.

I had some leftover 2×6 which I could use for the frame so the height of the bridge would be about 7 inches – the 2×6 plus the thickness of the boards on top.

I cut the 2×6’s to length and made the frame as shown in the photo. Given that the horses would be walking over this, I wanted it to be good and sturdy, so I used three (3) rails to support the top boards with cross braces in between.

I had to purchase some 5/4 pressure treated deck boards for the top. I cut each of them to 32 inches in length on my table saw.

The frame was assembled and squared up with the help of four corner clamps and two longer clamps. I used 3 inch screws to hold it all together. Two of the pieces of 5/4 inch decking were used for the ends.

After assembling the frame in the shop, we carried it upstairs to the garage before adding the top boards, which would add considerable weight.

Finished

The top boards were attached using 1 1/2 inch wood screws. I also drilled a couple of holes in each side rail with a 3/8 inch bit and inserted a 24 inch piece of nylon rope through the holes.

I tied knots in the ends of the ropes and sealed them with a torch. They should last a long time.

The finished bridge is heavy (it needs to be), but 2 people can lift it and carry it with the use of the rope handles on the sides. It should fit in my truck bed if we need to take it to a horse show.

I didn’t add anything else, but there is always the option to add handrails to the sides of the bridge. These would be mostly decorative so I would probably make them so they are easily detachable. PVC pipe would be a good material for this.

All in all, this was a straight-forward project that took only a couple of hours of actual work. It should keep the horses occupied for years to come.

Another Cutting Board

Had a request for another cutting board from my real estate agent daughter. This is the second one for this client.

This was different type of cutting board than the first one, still made from solid maple laminate.

Because of the style of board, I was able to cut the letters a little bit bigger and thus a bit deeper with the 90 Degree and 60 Degree V-bits.

The logo symbol at left was a simple pocket cut with a 1.5 mm single flute downcut bit.

After giving the piece a light sanding, some clear epoxy was applied and allowed to cure for 72 hours. The epoxy fills the carved out areas and makes the surface nice and smooth.

Then it was given a good sanding to remove excess epoxy followed by a coat of my beeswax/mineral oil mixture. That finish really brings out the beauty of the maple – the photos don’t do it justice.

As before, this was designed in Carbide Create and carved on my Genmitsu 3018 PROVer CNC machine using CNCjs.