songsmyth
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:29 pm

So many pis, so little desk space...

Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:28 am

Hello all,
Due to a serious lack of desk space, I need to cut the number of desktop devices, such as use kvms to share keyboards, mice and monitors (currently using 3 kbds, 3 mice, 2 monitors and an official 7" touch screen) I understand that I could use a kvm type switch and do away with 2 of the kbds and mice BUT, I have been searching high and low for an answer to the multiple monitor problem only to be met with a lot of "nope, can't do that cause xyz..." when I want to share 1 monitor between multiple pis. I wan't to be able to see the gui from each pi, when I want, so "just ssh" isn't a viable solution for me! I tried using a monitor (which itsef was too big) with multiple hdmi inputs, but selecting the various inputs when I needed/wanted to view a different pi, was more than inconveneint and in some cases a boot failure for seemimgly no reason.

I would greatly appreciate any help in helping me resolve this to the point where I could use 4 pis with just 1 kbd, mouse, and monitor (hdmi if possible). Is it possible to use a kvm type product? Are you using one successfully? What, if anything, could be used as a work around for the monitor issue? Again, I would be extremely greatful for any guidance or help.
Cheers, David

stderr
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:43 am

songsmyth wrote: when I want to share 1 monitor between multiple pis. I wan't to be able to see the gui from each pi, when I want, so "just ssh" isn't a viable solution for me!
I don't have this perfect, but I am going to suggest including ssh in what you are doing but with the -X option. What I have is a central system that is running X2Go. I can view this system from various machines. From the X2Go system, I can then use ssh -X to any pi or other system running Linux, even one that isn't running the desktop itself locally but has enough files to support X. These systems can then run individual X programs such as firefox.

I also use byobu mostly from one central machine to control multiple ssh logins that aren't using X on various machines. So when I switch from one machine to another, all I have to do is run a script that I have in the path called 'reattach' and all those shells are switched over to the new location.

In the past, I've had this sort of thing set up with multiple screens, sometimes with dual heads and sometimes with dual machines each with a single head, but the way I've configured the main machine right now makes that something I need to work on. But in principle, one should be able to have any number of monitors at each station switchable with just a script file.

Ideas in that direction include having two monitors each of which is running a different remote X2Go but share keyboard and monitor. This could be a pi connected to each monitor which has the job of viewing and displaying one screen from the main machine. The screen sharing could be done with Synergy, https://github.com/symless/synergy .

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 11286
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:40 am

Stderr tells how to get the desktops to display on a single monitor.

As for the KVMs... Yes, they work. For Pis, you really want an HDMI/USB KVM. I have a 4-port "MiniView HD KVMP Switch" with 4 Pi or "Pi like" devices attached to it. (At the moment, the Pis are an original Model B and a CM in a WD SATA adapter carrier. The other two devices are a Cubiboard 2 and a Cubieboard 1. I have had a Pi2B or a Pi3B on the CM port in the last few days.)

Just to show that life can get more interesting, the output of that KVM goes through suitable adapter and converter and is input to an 8-port VGA-PS/2 KVM, together with (if my count is right) 6 other computers of various vintages (two of which run different Linux distros). The actual monitor, keyboard and trackball are on the output of the 8-port KVM.

smug-stacy
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:41 pm

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:12 pm

.
Last edited by smug-stacy on Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

songsmyth
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:29 pm

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:17 am

Thanks All,
I appreciate all the suggestions but I really am looking for just a kvm type solution that can handle the hdmi video, usb kbd and usb mice from 4 Raspberrys to 1 hdmi monitor, 1 mouse, and 1 keyboard.

I did see the reall pricey $3,000 + Raritan units but they're about $2,700 above my price point!

Has anyone gotton a regular 4 or 6 port unit to work?

Again I greatly appreciate any and all help on this issue!

Cheers,
David

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 11286
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:10 am

songsmyth wrote:Thanks All,
I appreciate all the suggestions but I really am looking for just a kvm type solution that can handle the hdmi video, usb kbd and usb mice from 4 Raspberrys to 1 hdmi monitor, 1 mouse, and 1 keyboard.

I did see the reall pricey $3,000 + Raritan units but they're about $2,700 above my price point!

Has anyone gotton a regular 4 or 6 port unit to work?

Again I greatly appreciate any and all help on this issue!

Cheers,
David
This http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 24G28N3934 is the one I'm using. It's a bit finicky, since it doesn't want to switch to device that it doesn't see as "live", but you can start booting a Pi and then hold the switch until the KVM recognizes that there are signals. Once any Pi is up, there are no problems.

Going beyond 4 ports does get expensive, and much more so for HDMI/USB KVMs than for VGA/PS-2 KVMs. I've no idea why. My 8-port VGA one is around 20 years old now.

MaxK1
Posts: 1043
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:34 pm

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:02 am

You seem to have overlooked the obvious: Get another desk! And more Pi's....
You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
When General Failure and Major Disaster get together, Private Parts usually suffers.

songsmyth
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:29 pm

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:35 am

@ maxK1 :D - though my wife threatened us both with bodily harm when she saw your comment!

In all actuality, I already have 3 desks (well 2 desks and 1, fairly complete single engine (Cessna) cockpit flight trainer with associated multi monitor, multi system hardware) in the room leaving a narrow gap along 1wall which I need for wheelchair access. I have 3 pis on 7" touchscreens which help but when ya need a keyboard ya need a keyboard and all this swapping is getting tiring.

Oh, and illogically, Mrs. Reeves-Brown does not see the utility in letting me take over a bigger room... or a bigger house :(

The IOgear switch looks like it'll work. I will give it a try and post back.
Thanks everyone I appreciated all the suggestions (which may be handy in the future)!
David

MaxK1
Posts: 1043
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:34 pm

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:02 am

Hmm - maybe a different wife? (Just kidding)

Stack them or think vertically...
You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
When General Failure and Major Disaster get together, Private Parts usually suffers.

richrarobi
Posts: 271
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:13 pm

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:28 pm

I have to say that you really should look at the ssh approach. One system with a screen as master to all the others - put multiple screens on it if you wish!
viewtopic.php?f=66&t=11833&p=728951&hil ... fm#p728951

But how else are you going to take over the REST of the HOUSE???? You need a camera pi on an upstairs window-ledge, a pi with SDR also upstairs to get the best reception, and enviromental detectors in the garage? Pi's should be on the back of all the TV sets. Wherever will it all end???? Motion detectors will be needed so the pi's can hide themselves when wifey approaches?
What about that roving robot?
Sorry, couldn't help myself...

Zebu
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:57 am
Location: Australia

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:55 am

its slightly less convenient but much cheaper option is to find an inexpensive KVM with vga and usb, and then get a cheap hdmi switch.

http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Switch-Wir ... dmi+switch

means you have to press 2 buttons to switch but otherwise its pretty handy

beta-tester
Posts: 1306
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:57 pm
Location: de_DE

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:38 am

songsmyth wrote:Thanks All,
I appreciate all the suggestions but I really am looking for just a kvm type solution that can handle the hdmi video, usb kbd and usb mice from 4 Raspberrys to 1 hdmi monitor, 1 mouse, and 1 keyboard.

I did see the reall pricey $3,000 + Raritan units but they're about $2,700 above my price point!

Has anyone gotton a regular 4 or 6 port unit to work?

Again I greatly appreciate any and all help on this issue!

Cheers,
David
i have a KVM from ATEN, an old version of 4 DVI/USB to one for all my desktop PCs - and i am happy with it...
today, i would look for something more modern, like 4-Port USB 2.0 HDMI KVMP™ Switch...
but those are not cheap... but far away from 3000,-
my old one costed me 250,-€ (inclusive vat and shipping) eight years ago.

(most of my RPi i use headless via SSH or VNC.
none of them are connected to the KVM, but they do work with it, i tried it once longer time ago)
{ I only give negative feedback }
RPi B (256MB), B (512MB), B+, ZeroW; 2B; 3B, 3B+; 4B (4GB)

User avatar
Cancelor
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:09 pm
Location: UK

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:28 am

Bin all the cables and switches and use software.
Can't find the thread you want? Try googling : YourSearchHere site:raspberrypi.org

masa-aud
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:20 am

Re: So many pis, so little desk space...

Sat Apr 02, 2016 5:19 am

reply to songsmyth on desk space
My image is like a pipe organ console having several KBs with each different height heels on the desk top and kvm switches and relating indicators on one side wall and Pi's on the other side and main and several sub displays in front.

Return to “Advanced users”