RoadTest Review a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B ! - Review

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RoadTest: RoadTest Review a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B !

Author: pialamode

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: I modified a case (see attached pictures).

What were the biggest problems encountered?: The biggest problem I encountered was finding an 'easy' way to set up the current date and time within the OS (OpenELEC) and Kodi. Needing a stronger, beefier PSU made it work much better (no more annoying colored box in upper right corner).

Detailed Review:

First of all, I want to thank all the fine folks at Element14 for choosing me to Road Test the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B!! Now, on with the show.


My previous Raspberry Pi was the Model B with 512MB RAM, Ethernet, and 2 USB ports. Getting online via Ethernet and my ASUS Wi-Fi dongle was O.K., but dragging on videos, considering my current network connection from my ISP at 6 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up, and approximately up to 7 other family devices sharing this connection. Given this scenario, I was hoping the more powerful R-Pi 3 would be the ideal platform to work as a multimedia device for the family, possibly breaking away from our current cable TV company in the future (a la 'cord cutting'). To be fair in testing, I have not changed anything with my network during this test, especially for comparison's sake.


I installed OpenELEC Operating System on a new, Class 10 32GB SD card, via NOOBS along with latest Raspbian, Jessie; allowing me to 'dual boot' as necessary. The OpenELEC OS came with Kodi Multimedia Center program, version 16.1. Guidebook location:


My original case plan was to build one out of Legos or other material handily available - done (minimally).

  • The Legos-attempted case fell apart when unplugging devices. Purchased "Really Useful Box" at Office Depot ($1.99); will need to modify case for mounting holes, openings for connections, ventilation. I used screw size #6 screws, nuts, and spacers after I increased the built-in mounting holes slightly, being extra careful NOT to go beyond the holes' boundaries.
  • When modding the case, I ensured the Pi's board had some breathing room underneath it, using the 1/2" spacers from a company called Micro Connectors, Inc. (; purchased at local Fry's Electronics store. This package of 8 round nylon spacers worked just fine. In order to use a secure mount, I used the full 1/2" spacers under the board and cut 2 more spacers in half to keep the nuts on top from contacting the board's components. The screws came through the bottom. Once mounted, I marked the locations for the connection ports, removed the Pi (of course) and proceeded to drill, file, and rout the openings. The board sat just slightly away from the side with the power, HDMI, and sound connections, so I had to ensure the openings allowed for full connections. Please note that I removed the lid to the case while running the Pi; I may add ventilation slots later if temperature issues warrant. See pictures below for details.

After reading several blogs and reviews, I eventually decided to continue experimenting with the 'OpenELEC/Kodi' combo for my multimedia experience. I was experiencing a couple issues with the OpenELEC and Kodi that was driving me bonkers, thinking that I should try another option. However, speaking with my friend Brian M. and reading other blogs, I realized I needed to upgrade my Power Supply Unit (PSU). He explained the 'color box' phenomena I was experiencing was due to possibly a power issue; either the cable to the Pi from the powered USB hub I was using or the hub itself is not producing the required amperage and voltage required for the Pi 3 (2.5A and 5.5 V respectively). Brian also mentioned an Android app to control the Kodi app called 'yatse' or something similar. Downloaded 'Yatse' from Google Play store, version 6.3.5, to my Samsung Note 3, running Android version 5.0. Purchased extra USB cable (standard 2.0 to mini-USB connectors) to see if a different cable will improve the power issue (small colored square in upper right corner); Brian M. said that seemed to fix his R-Pi 2. The cable did not change things for the Pi3, and I submitted my order for the 'official' Raspberry Pi 3 PSU from Element14. I could not believe how quickly my unit arrived...less than 7 days from order to delivery. Element14 ROCKS!!


Further research in the blogs and YouTube videos showed a way to set the time correctly. I added the '' as my Timeserver entry within the settings of the OS and ensured I was in the correct country, region (West Coast, USA)…it worked!


After adding several Video Add-Ons for various shows, I set the Pi up on our living room TV to watch a video/show or two. My keyboard and mouse are wirelessly connected (not Bluetooth...yet). One of the PBS Think shows experienced a lot of lag/buffering with both the video and sound. However, my wife suggested watching a 'Hallmark Channel' show and it played wonderfully throughout the 45 minutes without any hiccups whatsoever…wirelessly at that. [Note: See  network scenario above.]


Overall, I am very impressed with this latest version of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. I intend to do more projects with my grandkids, ages 7 and 14, who are the most interested in my endeavors...coming soon to a blog post near you. Enjoy!



David R.

alias: pialamode