Raspberry Pi

From ArchWiki
Revision as of 10:18, 5 January 2014 by DrFUNK (talk | contribs) (Added configuration instructions for feeding random numbers from the hardware random number generator to /dev/random.)
Jump to: navigation, search

Raspberry Pi (RPi) is a minimalist computer built for the ARMv6 architecture. More information about this project and technical specification.

Article Preface

This article is not meant to be an exhaustive setup guide and assumes that the reader has setup an Arch system before. Arch newbies are encouraged to read the Beginners' Guide if unsure how to preform standard tasks such as creating users, managing the system, etc.

Note: Support for the ARM architecture is provided on http://archlinuxarm.org not through posts to the official Arch Linux Forum. Any posts related to ARM specific issues will be promptly closed per the Arch Linux Distribution Support ONLY policy.

Installing Arch Linux ARM

See the archlinuxarm documentation.


Note: The requisite module snd-bcm2835 should be autoloaded by default.

Install the needed packages:

pacman -S alsa-utils alsa-firmware alsa-lib alsa-plugins

Optionally adjust the default volume using `alsamixer` and ensure that the sole source "PCM" is not muted (denoted by double MM if muted).

Select an audio source for output:

amixer cset numid=3 x

Where 'x' corresponds to:

  • 0 for Auto
  • 1 for Analog out
  • 3 for HDMI

Caveats for HDMI Audio

Some applications require a setting in /boot/config.txt to force audio over HDMI:



HDMI / Analog TV-Out

To turn the HDMI or analog TV-Out on or off, you can have a look at


Among other, you can use the -s parameter to check the status of your display, the -o parameter to turn your display off and -p parameter to power on HDMI with preferred settings.

Adjustments are likely required to correct proper overscan/underscan and are easily achieved in boot/config.txt in which many tweaks are set. To fix, simply uncomment the corresponding lines and setup per the commented instructions:

# uncomment the following to adjust overscan. Use positive numbers if console
# goes off screen, and negative if there is too much border

Users wishing to use the analog video out should consult this config file which contains options for non-NTSC outputs.

A reboot is needed for new settings to take effect.

X.org driver

The X.org driver for Raspberry Pi can be installed with:

pacman -S xf86-video-fbdev

Onboard Hardware Sensors


Temperatures sensors for the board itself are including as part of the raspberrypi-firmware-tools package. The RPi offers a sensor on the BCM2835 SoC (CPU/GPU):

/opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp

Alternatively, simply read from the filesystem:

cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp                

For human readable output:

awk '{printf "%3.1f°C\n", $1/1000}' /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp 


Four different voltages can be monitored via /opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd as well:

% /opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_volts <id>
  • core for core voltage
  • sdram_c for sdram Core voltage
  • sdram_i for sdram I/O voltage
  • sdram_p for sdram PHY voltage

Lightweight Monitoring Suite

MonitorixAUR has specific support for the RPi since v3.2.0. Screenshots available [here].


The RPi can be overclocked by editing /boot/config.txt, for example:


The optional xxx_min lines define the min usage of their respective settings. When the system is not under load, the values will drop down to those specified. Consult the Overclocking article on elinux for additional options and examples.

A reboot is needed for new settings to take effect.

Note: The overclocked setting for CPU clock applies only when the governor throttles up the CPU, i.e. under load.

Users may query the current frequency of the CPU via this command:

cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_cur_freq

Tips for Maximizing SD Card Performance

Enable TRIM and noatime by Mount Flags

Using this flag in one's /etc/fstab enables TRIM and noatime on the root ext4 partition.

/dev/root  /  ext4  noatime,discard  0  0
Note: /dev/root entry maybe missing from your /etc/fstab; by default it is mounted as a VFS by the kernel during system boot.

Move /var/log to RAM

Warning: All system logs will be lost on every reboot.

Add this entry to your /etc/fstab to create a RAM disk that is 16MiB in size.

tmpfs   /var/log        tmpfs   nodev,nosuid,size=16M   0       0

Delete your existing log directory.

rm -R /var/log

Reboot system for changes to take affect.

Link bash_history to /dev/null

Warning: Your bash history be lost at the end of each session.
ln -sf ~/.bash_history /dev/null

Serial Console

Edit the default /boot/cmdline.txt

Change loglevel to 5 to see boot messages


Change speed from 115200 to 38400

console=ttyAMA0,38400 kgdboc=ttyAMA0,38400

Start getty service

systemctl start getty@ttyAMA0

Enable on boot

systemctl enable getty@ttyAMA0.service

Creating the proper service link:

ln -s /usr/lib/systemd/system/serial-getty@.service /etc/systemd/system/getty.target.wants/serial-getty@ttyAMA0.service

Then connect :)

screen /dev/ttyUSB0 38400

Raspberry Pi Camera module

The commands for the camera module are including as part of the raspberrypi-firmware-tools package - which is installed by default. You can then use:


You need to append to /boot/config.txt:




Hardware Random Number Generator

ArchLinux ARM for the Raspberry Pi is distributed with the rng-tools package installed and the bcm2708-rng module set to load at boot (see this), but we must also tell the Hardware RNG Entropy Gatherer Daemon (rngd) where to find the hardware random number generator.

This can be done by editing /etc/conf.d/rngd:

RNGD_OPTS="-o /dev/random -r /dev/hwrng"

and restarting the rngd daemon:

systemctl restart rngd

Once completed, this change ensures that data from the hardware random number generator is fed into the kernel's entropy pool at /dev/random.

See also