BitScope News | 2017


About BitScope Blade Raspberry Pi Clusters.

Following the news of the BitScope Clusters Project for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and its exhibit at Super Compute 2017 in Denver this week, the response has been huge and very positive.

BitScope Clusters Website

You don't need to surf online long to see that many people really like the idea.

It's not just the team at LANL.

However, when people see the scale of the BitScope Cluster there is a very frequently asked question:

"Wow, that's amazing...why?"

To answer this we thought it would be a good idea to create a dedicated website.

We'll post news about BitScope Clusters at from time to time but if you want the latest information about this project and the range of new Raspberry Pi Cluster Modules we'll be launching soon, see

Lots of people also ask us where they can buy a Cluster Module, now. For answers to both these questions, Read More...


Scalable clusters make HPC R&D easy as Raspberry Pi.

Denver 13th November 2017, BitScope Designs, developer of BitScope Blade, an infrastructure platform for Raspberry Pi available globally via element14, has built a large Raspberry Pi cluster for a pilot conceived at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

BitScope Raspberry Pi Clusters at SuperCompute 2017

The 750 node cluster, comprising five rack mount BitScope Cluster Modules, each with 150 x 64 bit quad-core Raspberry Pi ARM boards and integrated network switches is the first step in a program run by the New Mexico Consortium (NMC), an organisation of three NM Universities and led by LANL.

With up to 3,000 cores working together, the cluster gives developers and researchers exclusive time on an inexpensive but highly parallelized platform for test and validation of scalable systems software technologies.

Gary Grider, leader of the High Performance Computing Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory and home of the Trinity supercomputer said: “It’s not like you can keep a petascale machine around for R&D work in scalable systems software. The Raspberry Pi modules let developers figure out how to write this software and get it to work reliably without having a dedicated testbed of the same size, which would cost a quarter billion dollars and use 25 megawatts of electricity.”

Looking around for a solution to the challenges facing HPC Systems Software developers, Grider said, he “suddenly realized the Raspberry Pi was an inexpensive computer using 2 to 3 watts that you could use to build a several-thousand-node system large enough to provide a low-cost, low-power testbed to enable this R&D.” Yet he could not find a suitable densely packaged Raspberry Pi system on the market - “it was just people building clusters with Tinker Toys and Legos,” said Grider, a widely respected innovator in the HPC world. So he turned to SICORP of Albuquerque, N.M., to collaborate on a solution.

Bruce Tulloch, CEO of BitScope Designs said: “Having worked with Raspberry Pi for quite some time, I’ve long thought it the ideal candidate to build low-cost cloud and cluster computing solutions for research and education. When SICORP approached us with Gary’s plans, we jumped at the opportunity to prove the concept.”

BitScope Blade turned out to be the perfect platform to build the solution. With its ability to power and mount multiple Raspberry Pi in a compact and robust way, BitScope was able to design, develop and build the entire cluster to LANL’s specifications in less than three months.

Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading said: “This is the first time we’ve seen Raspberry Pi packaged in such a way that clusters of potentially very large size can be built. This project demonstrates that even in the field of advanced supercomputing research, Raspberry Pi can have a fascinating role to play.”

A BitScope Cluster Module is on exhibit at The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC17) in Denver this week. Read More...


You haven't seen BitScope Blade and Raspberry Pi like this!

BitScope Blade is the premier solution for building compute cluster and cloud solutions with Raspberry Pi.

BitScope Blade Cluster Lights.

Following the BitScope Blade Launch with element14 this year Bruce outlined plans to develop larger Raspberry Pi clusters for use in industrial IoT.

We've come a long way over the past few months, working hard behind the scenes and one new development in particular excites us.

If you're in or near Denver next week, come and visit us at The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis to learn all about it!

High Performance Computing is not a field in which we've worked much before but that's set to change, thanks to Raspberry Pi, Blade and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

LANL has chosen Raspberry Pi and BitScope to solve some difficult problems they face as world leading developers of high performance super compute clusters like Trinity and Crossroads. They will explain how at the conference. Read More...


Farnell element14 interviews BitScope CEO Bruce Tulloch

In January this year we launched the BitScope Blade range through element14’s distribution channels. It's the latest result in a fruitful strategic alliance between our two companies which has seen element14 and its subsidiaries providing manufacturing and distribution support for popular BitScope products such as BitScope Micro.

BitScope CEO Bruce Tulloch.

Farnell element14 caught up with BitScope CEO Bruce Tulloch to find out more about the BitScope Blade launch, working with element14 and carving out a niche in an increasingly competitive market.

In the interview Bruce introduced BitScope Blade, some typical applications and the intended audience for what is a unique product in industrial computing.

Bruce explained BitScope's motivation for developing Blade in the first place and how working with element14, its resale partners and Embest Technologies has made it possible to have these new products made available to customers around the world.

When asked about BitScope's future plans and products Bruce gave a brief outline of the roadmap alluding to new Blade based BitScope test, measurement and data acquisition systems as well as hub cards, cluster packs, racks and power plates to construct and scale up solutions beyond four Raspberry Pi and BitScope devices to clusters of twenty, forty, eighty or more.

Bruce also talked about future directions in industrial computing and IoT and recent developments that have caught his attention which are driving the R&D direction of the company and our new products releases.

Head on over to the element14's IoT Hub where you can read the full interview.


Raspberry Pi Zero W, a wireless wonder for only $10 !

Raspberry Pi Zero goes wireless completing the picture first sketched just over a year ago with the original.

The new model adds the missing link; wireless connectivity. We like it!

BitScope Blade Assembly Guide.

This tiny little Pi is a full computer:

  • 1GHz, Single-core CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • Mini-HDMI port
  • Micro-USB OTG port
  • Micro-USB power
  • HAT-compatible 40-pin header
  • Composite video and reset
  • CSI camera connector

All this is the same as the last edition of the original version (V1.3).

The game changer in this one is full support for Bluetooth 4.0 and 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi!

It's the same wireless connectivity that impressed us at the Raspberry Pi 3 launch this time last year.

Since the Raspberry Pi team told us about it we've been hard at work looking into BitScope solutions.

BitScope is compatible with Raspberry Pi already and since Raspberry Pi 3 we've had wireless support. What's interesting here is the size and price of Pi Zero Wireless combined with the compact BitScope Micro. Read More...


How to assemble and get started using BitScope Blade.

BitScope Blade Reloaded, launched recently with element14, is an enhanced version of the original Blade.

It is available in three editions; Uno, Duo and Quattro to power and mount one, two or four Raspberry Pi.

BitScope Blade Assembly Guide.

In this post we'll get you started.

In each package is the Blade (Uno, Duo or Quattro), a Quick Start Guide, Product Compliance Statement, a Safety Guide and set of screws, spacers and tabs.

The Raspberry Pi and power supplies are available separately as there is a range of options from which to choose.

Using Blade is as simple is plugging in one or more Raspberry Pi and optionally HAT, CAP or HUB cards, inserting an SD card and connecting power.

There are a few assembly steps first.

Follow through the guide to learn the options available when assembling it including mounting and powering Blade itself and how to install the Raspberry Pis, HATs, cameras, displays and other USB, Network, I2C, SPI, serial and GPIO periperhals and expansion options that are available.

There's a lot more than meets the eye when using Raspberry Pi with BitScope Blade. Read More...


Heatwave no problem for BitScope Blade and Raspberry Pi !

We had an unexpected demonstration of just how robust Raspberry Pi is as a compute platform this week.

If you live downunder where our R&D headquarters are, you will know it's been very hot for quite a while.

BitScope Blade server survives a heatwave.

It just seems like it will never end↗.

Recently the mercury topped 40℃ (that's 104℉) in Sydney. If the airconditioning fails it's intolerable, not just for humans.

Unfortunately, that's just what happened over the weekend just past in our lab and inside it got very hot.

We had pair of Dell PowerEdge servers for our office and R&D teams in the lab but the overheating got the better of them and after years of service they both died.

Not so the 32 Raspberry Pi in the same lab mounted in Blade Racks and on the wall all powered by Blade boards.

As we wrote a few days ago, we reckon Blade Duo↗ and pair of Raspberry Pi and WDLabs' PiDrive↗ is perfect combination for replacing our old servers. There's nothing like a little dogfooding↗ to prove a product idea so we'll write up what we've done after we've migrated our server set up a new Blade Duo and PiDrive. Read More...


Raspberry Pi Applications built with BitScope Blade.

BitScope Blade Reloaded is our latest computing infrastructure platform for Raspberry Pi.

BitScope Blade Application Examples.

We've recently posted examples of how Blade was used to build a weather station and an interactive museum exhibit.

In this one we explain how each Blade edition differs and the best applications for each of Uno, Duo and Quattro.

BitScope Blade solves the "power and mounting problem" using Raspberry Pi.

Like most single board computers, a common problem using Raspberry Pi is how to power it reliably and how to mount it robustly. It can be especially challenging when additional peripherals such as HATs and USB devices like BitScope are used and/or when you're using more than one.

BitScope Blade solves these problems making it easy to build small stand-alone servers, routers and workstations up to full sized compute clusters, private clouds, industrial IoT, edge and fog computing platforms, industrial data acquisition and control systems. HATs and other peripherals compatible with Raspberry Pi are fully supported and all of them work much more reliably when powered by BitScope Blade.

In this post we explain three typical example applications to show how BitScope Blade solves these and other problems when using Raspberry Pi for industrial, commercial and educational purposes. Read More...


An Interactive Museum Exhibit built with BitScope Blade.

The MAAS PowerHouse Museum↗ has created an interactive exhibit to demonstrate how a Theremin works.

BitScope Blade Theremin Exhibit at MAAS Museum.

A Theremin is a novel electronic musicial instrument, invented almost by accident by Leon Theremin in the 1920s.

The team at MAAS are advocates of learning by doing and having fun while you do it so they sought to create an entertaining exhibit where visitors play the theremin to hear and see the results while learning how it all works.

MAAS used BitScope Blade Uno together with a Raspberry Pi, BitScope and LCD monitor to build the exibit. Adding some low cost off-the-shelf parts, they had all they needed to build the installation.

We're very impressed with the system the MAAS team built. It was a great example of how to use BitScope, Blade and Raspberry Pi to create an exhibit.

It demonstrated how easy it is to build a reliable, hands-free embedded physical computing platform with Raspberry Pi and BitScope when power and mounting issues are resolved using BitScope Blade.

With the launch of the new BitScope Blade range with our friends at element14 earlier this week, we'll publish more examples like this for use in industrial and related embedded applications. Read More...


BitScope Blade Uno Weather Station in Nepal.

A team lead by Prabesh Sapkota and Binod Kandel from the Robotics Association of Nepal↗ in Nepal built a battery backed solar powered weather station at very low cost using BitScope Blade Uno, Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

BitScope Blade Uno Weather Station in Nepal.

The result of a series of workshops in STEM created by Michelle Jensen↗ and run with the help of Nepalese enthusiasts, this amazing project showed how BitScope Blade can be used to power electronics and computers in remote areas without access to reliable power.

Weather forecasting in Nepal is difficult because there is no national weather service and the high mountains produce highly variable conditions within just a few kilometers. You need your own weather station but they're not cheap.

They solved the problem with Raspberry Pi, Arduino and a bunch of sensors to build a system which was low cost, reliable, easy to maintain, operates on solar power and uses readily available motorcycle batteries for when the sun does not shine.

Powering the entire project was the problem. BitScope Blade Uno offered the perfect solution, powering the Raspberry Pi directly and the Arduino and sensors via one of its auxiliary power ports.

It's been running successfully 24x7 since September. As project leader Prabesh said, "The Weather Station would not be possible without the Blade. It made the whole project for us." Read More...


BitScope and element14 launch new Blade for Raspberry Pi !

We're pleased to announce the release of three new BitScope Blades in partnership with element14.

BitScope and element14 launch new Blade for Raspberry Pi !

BitScope Blade Reloaded is our latest infrastructure platform for Raspberry Pi.

It allows Raspberry Pi to be used to build reliable and scalable computing solutions in industry, commerce and education.

The new models expand the features and capabilities of the original adding support for camera and display connections and full access to Raspberry Pi I/O including I2C, SPI, UARTs and GPIO via the Blade HUB connector underneath each Pi.

Like the original, Blade Reloaded boards are very accommodating, accepting DC power from 9V to 48V, and they can be used with the same wide range of rack, power and mounting solutions.

Whether it's a stand-alone solar powered weather station in a remote area, a multi-channel test, measurement and data acquisition system for factory automation, or a full scale compute cluster with 40 nodes or more, BitScope Blade makes it possible. Read More...