It can be really annoying having to run your home PC overnight to complete a batch of NZB downloads. Using the Raspberry Pi 2 (retail value: $35.00), you can build a low-budget, low-power Usenet downloading machine that runs Raspbian and SABnzbd. In this multi-part series, you will learn how-to to successfully create a fully functioning NZB downloader complete with web-based queue management and a network-attached storage setup for all of your downloaded Usenet binaries.
Why the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B?
The cost of the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, especially when compared to the set of technical features that it offers, can’t be beat at $35 for the core unit. The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is the second-generation Raspberry Pi. Replacing the original in February 2015, the Pi 2 delivers six times the processing speed of its predecessor with an upgraded Broadcom BCM2836 processor. The board also features an increase in memory capacity to 1GB of RAM. The Raspberry Pi is an open-source product designed to be supported by Internet-based user forums. As a starting point, you can refer to their official website for your base operating system needs.
Other Features Include:
- GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
- GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
- 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
- HD 1080p video output
- Composite video (PAL/NTSC) output
- Stereo audio output
- 10/100 BaseT RJ45 Ethernet socket
- HDMI 1.3 & 1.4 video/audio socket
- 3.5mm 4-pole audio/composite video out jack socket
- 4 x USB 2.0 sockets
- 15-way MPI CSI-2 connector for Raspberry Pi HD video camera (775-7731)
- 15-way Display Serial Interface connector
- MicroSD card socket
- Boots from MicroSD card, running a new version of the Linux operating system
- 40-pin header for GPIO and serial buses (compatible with Raspberry Pi 1 26-pin header)
- Power supply: +5V @ 2A via microUSB socket
- Dimensions: 86 x 56 x 20mm
What You Need to Build the Pi
Once you have the Raspberry Pi 2 that is great, but it might as well be a $35 paper weight without the other components needed to prepare it for some serious downloading action. Remember you will need a proper power adapter to power the device and although the Pi 2 Model B has an Ethernet port, you might as well have WiFi capability to save yourself another wired connection. You are also going to need USB storage to store your data and USB input devices (keyboard and mouse) to setup the Pi on its initial boot. The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B has 4 USB 2.0 ports, but it’s always good to have more so we recommend throwing a powered USB hub into the mix as well. Finally, you will need a decent sized SD card (4GB or more) to load and store the Raspbian Linux operating system that your Pi will run. Here is our list of recommended components you’ll need to build the Pi 2 downloading machine:
- Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
- microUSB Power Adapter (+5volts @ 2Amps)
- USB Wifi Adapter (We Recommend the Panda 300Mbps Wireless-N USB Adapter (PAU05))
- USB Mouse & Keyboard
- Powered USB Hub to Support Additional Devices (We recommend the D-Link DUB-H7)
- External USB Hard Disk Storage (Two is better for data redundancy)
- HDMI Cable for Video Display on Initial Boot
- 8GB microSD card (We recommend 8GB, minimum of 4GB)
If you’re looking to save time and money, a kit can be ordered here that contains most of the components needed to get started on this project. But if you’re looking for a more customized build, a full list of compatible hardware can be found here.
A bit about audio and video: For digital video to a standard computer monitor that lacks an HDMI port, an HDMI to DVI cable is needed for the video signal and a 3.5mm stereo cable for the sound (as you’ll lose the sound in the HDMI to DVI conversion).
What’s Next in Our Series? Time to Load the OS, Raspbian
In the next installment of UsenetServer’s How-to Build a Low-Budget Downloading Machine, we walk you through imaging your microSD card with the latest release of the Raspian operating system. Go to Part Two: Setting Up the Raspbian OS