For Christmas 2018, I gave my 8-year-old daughter the Harry Potter Kano Kit, and while deciding on what to get I had a hard time deciding between it an a Kano Computer Kit. Then I found out that the Kano OS can be downloaded and installed on your own Raspberry Pi hardware, and also that newer releases of the OS will boot on the new Raspberry Pi 3B+ that was released on Pi Day (3/14/2018).
The Pi 3B+ improves on the 3B with
- A 200MHz increase in max processor speed, to 1.4GHz, giving a 10-20% performance boost
- Gigabit Ethernet, which although throttled by the USB 2.0 hardware, is up to 3 times as fast as the Pi 3B’s 100Base Ethernet connection.
- Dual-band 802.1ac WiFi, allowing a 5GHz WiFi connection, again at speeds around 3 times as fast as a Pi 3B’s 2.4GHz connection.
- Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) support, which allows the Pi 3B+ to be run on a single ethernet cable when used with appropriate hardware.
- Improvements to booting via Ethernet (PXE) and USB mass-storage
(For more technical details on the improvements, please see this Rapsberry Pi Blog post.)
Another great thing is that the 3B+ costs the same as the 3B.
So, encouraged by her positive experience with the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit, I decided to try using a Pi 3B+ to set up a custom Kano OS Pi computer for my daughter to continue learning about coding and computing.
As of January 2019, Kano OS does not officially support running on a Pi 3B+, but I have successfully gotten it to work great with a few relatively simple fixes for a small number of issues. Some of the issues are related to running on a Pi 3B+, and some are related to using a newer beta version of Kano OS. I will maintain a list of issues encountered in this first post of this thread, and as I add posts explaining the required fixes, I’ll put links to them here as well.
Again, as of January 2019, Kano OS beta 4.2 is the version that should be used with a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and the image file and instructions explaining how to (re)install Kano OS can be found on this Kano Help Center web page. For step 2, make sure to click the link to download for “Raspberry Pi 3 with a 8GB memory card (Computer Kit Complete and Computer Kit Sold February 2016 Onward)”.
You should be able to boot Kano OS beta 4.2 unmodified on a Raspberry Pi 3B+; however the first thing to do that may fix any of the issues listed below is to update the Kano system. After a fresh install of the Kano OS, going through the introduction, and finishing the setup of WiFi, logging into a Kano World account and viewing the Dashboard, you should see a System Update notification like this:
When you click “Install”, the screen will go blank, and the update will begin. It should look like this:
When the update is complete, the computer will restart automatically, and hopefully at least some of the earlier issues I’ve encountered will already be fixed.
Here are the issues that I’ve encountered running Kano OS 4.2 on a Raspberry Pi 3B+, along with their solutions:
TV Audio Out (via HDMI connection) doesn’t work
If the system update (as explained above) doesn’t fix this issue, then see this post for the solution.
The user-selected WiFi network is “forgotten” on every reboot.
This is a known issue in Kano OS 4.2, not specific to the Pi 3B+, as explained in this thread which gives an official workaround.
5GHz WiFi networks are not listed in the Network Settings window of Kano OS
If this happens, you should try changing your 5GHz router settings to use a “dual-band” channel (40MHz) instead of a “quad-band” channel (80MHz). Although I have managed to connect to mind manually, Kano OS on the Pi 3B+ doesn’t seem to recognize quad-band 5GHz networks. Note that changing to a dual-band configuration will reduce the maximum possible network speeds, however.
VNC (graphical desktop remote access) didn’t work “out of the box” for me.
I have chronicled my experience getting VNC working in this thread. But I hope to post much more explicit instructions in this thread soon.
Pairing an Apple Wireless Keyboards is very difficult.
This may just be a problem with Apple Wireless Keyboards, but from what I read they should be fairly easy to pair with a Pi. I think the real issue is with Kano OS’ bluetooth menu. I will try to go through my notes / recollections to put together instructions in this thread soon.
My Pi 3B+ takes quite a while to reboot / shutdown.
I’m not sure if it’s related to Kano OS 4.2, running it on my Pi 3B+, but when I reboot or shutdown the Pi, it spends well over a minute displaying a message about a “stop job” for “User Manager for UID 1001”. If you also experience this, please let me know. I am doing research on this issue, which is really just a minor annoyance.
If you are running Kano OS on a Raspberry Pi 3B+, please share your experiences and any issues / troubles you’ve encountered that are not listed above. Thanks!