Uses of older RPis

I have a couple of old Raspberry Pi’s; A Pi1 model B and a Pi2 model B.

Now I don’t like waste so I am looking for ideas on how to reuse these devices with HA and my monitoring or automatons. Cameras are ruled out as I have many ESP32 cams.

Does anyone have any ideas they would like to contribute? Along with some guiding steps of course!

Hi. I find this thing interesting, keyword “Probe Requests” Here is a good video, unfortunately in German.
Unfortunately, I cannot say whether an RPi 1 or RP2 is sufficient in terms of performance …

Sometimes the true waste is in keeping old hardware running …


Use them as GPIO and/or wired sensor to MQTT bridges:

Install raspian, install pi-mqtt-gpio, configure with a YAML file.

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  1. Dedicated Pi-Hole Machine
  2. Add a Camera and set up as RPi Web Cam
  3. Open MQTT Gateway to run 433 RF sensors, IR blasters etc.

I like to use pi 's for clocks and music players

Magic Mirror.

Media player (kodi, pi-core player).

Music server (mpd or LMS).

Pi-hole (already mentioned I know).

Make a remote voice system like rhasspy or picroft.

Set up a SIP server and get rid of your landline. Also integrate a SIP capable doorbell or gate phone.

Give it to your kids to learns some software projects.

Google “raspberry pi projects”.

Already mentioned, but I run pi-hole and mosquitto (and my standby zigbee2mqtt) on an old RbPi 1
On another RbPi 1 I run a HA instance to test things out, so I can keep my production HA running until everything works as I want it.

If you want presence detection by room, try installing room-assistant. It works on a Pi Zero but you can use it for the PI 1 and 2, possibly.

Thank you all for your many ideas. Some of which I have already implemented on later Pi’s (picroft, Pihole, several kodi instances, and a magic mirror).

@amelchio I agree which is why they were in one of my many boxes. From time to time I go through them to see if I can use anything. It’s the old adage of; ‘having a libation late at night and a couple of months later post arrives and I can’t remember for the life of me why I ordered this’. AKA drunk buying!

@tom_l I’ll give that a go for the mancave monitoring.

@nickrout SIP server is interesting although I did do my google fu.

Thank you all once again for your comments.

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For presence detection, using Bluetooth, have a look at monitor.

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@Tinkerer Got to say that was timely. I have a habit of misplacing my keys so have ordered a Bluetooth tag that comes with its own app. Better that I can include it in HA too.

I use PiCorePlayer as well, it’s awesome and even runs well on a Pi Zero + DAC

I use one pi as a music server (LMS, 128 GB, no moving parts) it plays music to itself (no speakers) 24/7.
Then I have the picore players (run from memory not from sd, so no card corruption) they run from the server and are synced to it, and I turn them on and off from ha.
(I know you know this, it’s mainly for the benefit of others :rofl: )

Ok so I am not the only one!

I think my RetroPi for playing old games probably gets the most use.

I use one as a backup VPN / DNS server for my LAN.

With cheap audio DACs you can turn them into music streaming clients. Volumio is really nice, I use Squeezebox.

I have another running Octopi for my 3D printer. You could set one up as a 2D printer or server scanner if you have old hardware like that laying around.

Definitely not. I’ve even written a crappy poem for your amusement. Its called;

Life of a novice tinkerer

Oh magic smoke I see before me,
3.3 or 5 volt power,
my choice caused the sparks to shower

If I had just read the manual.
my project would have blossomed into flower.
Instead I have a dead board with no power.

leaving just an acrid smell,
my project has now gone to hell.

Back on line to order more,
If I can remember the right store.

Boxes of bits behind the sofa,
Oh my; I have found I have another!

So my project starts again,
This time I will R T F M.



I’ve always wanted to reuse the older rPi boards I have around. However, after playing with the 3 and 4, and seeing how fast they are, I think I will just give my old ones away.

  • updating packages, compiling, installing - everything takes ages on the old ones
  • the cheap wifi/bt dongles are worse than the integrated radios on the 3 or 4
  • everything just runs 2-6x slower, including RetroPie
  • limited number of USB ports, esp. with WiFi dongles

The only valid uses for me are PiCorePlayer and MQTT bridge, if a different location is needed. As much as I’m against waste, it seems a waste of time and energy (and sockets) to keep so many old PIs around.

I do have a couple of pi zero w’s I take on holiday with me.
One has an infra red camera, the other just a straight camera.
They are set up to take photos every 6 mins for 12 hours, then it waits another 2 mins and then runs a jpg to avi converter so I get a film of sunset/sunrise and the night between in exotic locations (insert name of local boring place here) even regular places (like your own garden) can take on an interesting twist.
It’s hardly HA related though :man_shrugging:

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Sorry had to write another crappy ditty.

While Last night I was drinking normally,
My YouTube viewings kind of inspired me,

Looking at this project and at that,
I thought my use case would be stat!,

Surfing hard to find components,
I find most parts come from China.

I place my order I know not why,
The delivery is very slow by sky.

I forget when I placed the order,
Some month later I’m surprised at my door.
even though my bank have labelled me poor.

These parts I purchased I remember not why,
In a box they are destined to die.

Some months later I look for a sensor,
But buying the right one while on a bender,
means I’ll obtain some from another sender.

Then one day I open the box,
only to find I have allot.

Ten Arduino’s including Nano’s,
twenty D1 mini’s with all and sundry,
leaves my mind in a quandary.

Perhaps I should refrain from my drunk buying,
It only adds to the many boxes multiplying.

A moments glimpse is an idea dying,
What about that is inspiring.

Perhaps in time I’ll find a way,
to use the bits I have stashed away.


Had to be done as I adore creativity. Even if I’m not so good at it!