THE PI TOP

The Pi Top is, as the name implies, a Raspberry Pi laptop. It has a sister product, the Pi Top CEED. whch is a 14" AIO design for the Pi.

UPDATING THE OS IMAGE

Updates aren't that bad to do, no more challenging than on any other Pi.

EXISTING INSTALLS

Just do the following at the terminal:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade

FRESH INSTALL

  1. Go to [https://pi-top.com/get-started](https://pi-top.com/get-started] and grab the zip of the disk image.
  2. Blast it onto your SD card as you see fit (their Etcher method, dd, GNOME Disks ... )
  3. Insert SD card into Pi Top's Pi.
  4. Boot
  5. Enjoy

BATTERY ISSUES

This thing had SEVERAL bad batches of TI branded batteries that went out early on. The fix, if it can be applied, boils down to two parts.

  1. Software
  2. Firmware

SOFTWARE UPDATING

For the software, just keep your OS up to date. That simple.

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade

FIRMWARE UPDATING

For the firmware, this is where things can go sour fast if the battery is toast. Source material links will be below. The following steps can be used to get the battery back into operation as it should be. 1. If you haven't already done so, get the battery monitor for LXDE. This will help see what is going on. To do so, open up a terminal and issue the following commands:

    cd ~/Downloads
    git clone --depth 1 git://github.com/rricharz/pi-top-battery-status
    sudo apt-get install wiringpi
    cd pi-top-battery-status
    chmod +x install
    ./install
    sudo systemctl reboot
  1. Download firmware update tool.

    cd ~/Downloads
    wget assets.pi-top.com/patches/pt-battery-fw-update
    sudo chmod a=r+w+x pt-battery-fw-update
    
  2. Update the firmware Run the following command repeatedly, and aim to stop only after 5-10 successful patches. The repeated attempts are due to the way that the Pi interfaces over i2c. This is from the Pi Top team's mouth.

    sudo ./pt-battery-fw-update -d
    

ZRAM

ZRAM is a form of memory compression for Linux kernels to use when managing RAM. This is similar to the old RAM doublers for Windows back in the day. Some performance gains, but it is very hit and miss if you get much out of it. My attitude is why not? Its free, unlike the old Windows crapware.

Below in the references section are both my source of this particular script, and a link to the Wikipedia article on what ZRAM is.

To accomplish this on a Pi3 based Pi Top, create the following shell script (zram.sh), and run it (copy/paste is the easiest here):

    #!/bin/bash

    # Raspberry Pi ZRAM script
    # Tuned for quad core, 1 GB RAM models
    # put me in /etc/init.d/zram.sh and make me executable
    # then run "sudo update-rc.d zram.sh defaults"

    modprobe zram
    echo 3 >/sys/devices/virtual/block/zram0/max_comp_streams
    echo lz4 >/sys/devices/virtual/block/zram0/comp_algorithm
    echo 268435456 >/sys/devices/virtual/block/zram0/mem_limit
    echo 536870912 >/sys/devices/virtual/block/zram0/disksize
    mkswap /dev/zram0
    swapon -p 0 /dev/zram0
    sysctl vm.swappiness=70

Then as the comments in the script instruct:

    sudo cp zram.sh /etc/init.d/
    sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/zram.sh
    sudo update-rc.d zram.sh defaults

Thats, it!

REFERENCES

https://pi-top.com/ - Pi Top main page
https://pi-top.com/get-started - Pi Top OS download page
https://github.com/rricharz/pi-top-battery-status/blob/master/battery_problems.md - Firmware Updating & Battery problem troubleshooting
https://github.com/rricharz/pi-top-battery-status - LXDE Battery status application
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zram - Wikipedia article on ZRAM
https://gist.github.com/sultanqasim/79799883c6b81c710e36a38008dfa374 - ZRAM script