Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: Mortal enemies or greatest buddies? Have a look!

You may never have used Raspberry Pi or Arduino, but you probably have heard of them. Raspberry Pi has been the UK's top selling computer for years, and Arduino has changed the DIY community board by board. There is no shortage of options for a little bit of electronic control over your projects. Still, the budget-friendly Raspberry Pi and plethora of solutions under the Arduino brand are undoubtedly two of the most popular.

But comparing the two can be like judging a number of cats and dogs. They are both animals that lick themselves, but they dig holes for very different reasons. We saved you the trouble of pitting Arduino against Raspberry Pi to figure out what is best to buy for your next project.

Arduino versus Raspberry Pi
Say hello to Raspberry Pi

In essence, the Raspberry Pi is a fully functional computer. It has all the functionality of a PC with a dedicated processor, memory and graphics driver for output via HDMI. It even runs an optimized version of the Linux operating system called Raspbian. Most Linux programs are easy to install and allow you to use the Raspberry Pi as a working media streamer or video game emulator with little effort.

Although the Raspberry Pi doesn't have built-in onboard storage, you can use microSD cards to store any operating system, whether it's Raspbian, Ubuntu Mate, or even the Internet of Things version of Windows 10. You can also install other operating systems on different microSD cards for swapping platforms, testing updates, and debugging software. And since the card includes Wi-Fi and Ethernet-based connectivity, you can also set it up to access via SSH or transfer files to it via FTP.

Technically, there are six versions of the Raspberry Pi board that you can currently buy. However, there are only two sizes in total: full-size and miniature. The latest Raspberry Pi boards are the fourth generation, third generation full-size Model B for $ 25-40 and the miniature Raspberry Pi Zero for just $ 5. For the latter, you can get a version with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for $ 10. The other three Raspberry Pi boards in the market are older, full-size models: Gen2 Model B ($ 30-35), Gen1 Model B + ($ 25), and Gen1 Model A + ($ 20-25) U.S. dollar).

Here is a comparison between the two main models with built-in WiFi:

Raspberry Pi 4 models
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. Raspberry Pi Zero W.
Processor: Broadcom BCM2711 Broadcom BCM2837 Broadcom BCM2835
Processor cores: 4th 4th 1
Processor speed: 1.5 GHz 1.2 GHz 1.0 GHz
Memory: 1-4 GB 1 GB 512 MB
Camp: MicroSDHC MicroSDHC MicroSDHC
Connectivity: 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11b / g / n / ac WLAN, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE

Gigabit Ethernet

802.11 b / g / n WLAN, Bluetooth 4.1 and
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
802.11 b / g / n WLAN, Bluetooth 4.1 and
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Ports: 40-pin extended GPIO

2 × Micro HDMI ports (up to 4Kp60 supported)

2-lane MIPI-DSI display port

2-lane MIPI CSI camera connection

4-pin stereo audio and composite video connection

2 × USB 3.0 ports

2 × USB 2.0 ports

Micro SD port for operating system and storage of data

5 V DC via USB-C connection (at least 3A1)

5 V DC via GPIO header (at least 3A1)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) – enabled

(requires separate PoE HAT)

100 basic ethernet

40-pin extended GPIO

4 USB 2 ports

4-pin stereo output and composite video connection

Full size HDMI

CSI camera connection for Raspberry Pi camera

DSI display connection for touchscreen display

Micro SD port for operating system and storage of data

Micro USB power source upgraded to 2.5 A.

1x mini HDMI
1x Mini USB OTG
1x micro USB
1x 40-pin GPIO
1x CSI camera connection
1x composite video header
1x reset header
Dimensions: 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.76 in 3.370 x 2.224 x 0.669 in 2.56 x 1.18 x 0.20 in
Price: $ 35- $ 109.95 $ 25- $ 40 $ 10

As shown, Raspberry Pi products are the brains of your project. For example, the Piper Computer Kit we tested last year is a Linux-based laptop with Raspberry Pi 3, as is Kano's Computer Kit Complete, which kids can use to create a Linux-based all-in-one PC.

These are two examples of kits you can buy, but there is a great community out there that can steer you in the right direction to build projects from start to finish such as: B. a Game Boy Zero, a working miniature Macintosh, the Pip-Boy from Fallout 4, and more.

Meet Arduino

Unlike Raspberry Pi, Arduino boards are microcontrollers and not full computers. They don't run an entire operating system, they just run written code as their firmware interprets it. You lose access to the essential tools that an operating system provides. On the other hand, running simple code directly is easier to manage and runs without operating system overhead.

Arduino Integrated Project Environment is open source software that can be used with any Arduino board and runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Individual boards and kits cost between $ 10 and $ 20, while kits for students and advanced projects cost between $ 25 and $ 200. The Arduino UNO Rev3, the current version of the Arduino base board, costs $ 23 and allows a USB connection between your PC and the board for easy use and programming.

The main purpose of the Arduino card is to interface with sensors and devices. So it's great for hardware projects where you just want things to react to different sensor readings and manual inputs. That doesn't seem like much, but it's a very sophisticated system that allows you to better manage your devices. It's great for interfacing with other devices and actuators where a full operating system would be too expensive to handle simple read and reply actions. The cost starts at around $ 20.

However, since Arduino isn't the “brain” of your project, solutions aren't tied to a handful of boards. Instead, there are more than 50 solutions for entry-level products, advanced devices, Internet of Things projects, training, wearables and 3D printing. They all have processors, memory, and in some cases memory, but serve primarily as controllers rather than miniature computers.

You can find good examples of Arduino projects here. One project is the Arduino servo catapult, which fires a bowl of food when a cat walks on a pressure sensor mat that is sitting under its bowl. Another project is turning a Nerf Vulcan cannon into a watchtower that can track its enemies. Arduino devices can even attach a fingerprint scanner to a garage door opener. As mentioned earlier, many of the children's robot kits that you can buy on Amazon are based on the Arduino software and hardware platform.

Arduino versus Raspberry Pi
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: power

The two systems have very different performance requirements. To start with, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B card consumes 1.5 watts when idling and up to 6.7 watts when connected to the monitor, keyboard and mouse. The smaller Raspberry Pi Zero W consumes 0.5 watts when idling and 1.75 watts when connected to the monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Both Raspberry Pi cards require five volts to stay on. You will therefore need a wall adapter or a rechargeable battery with a higher voltage. For example, both of the Raspberry Pi-based kits we tested provided an internal battery that was connected directly to the board. These batteries contained an additional micro-USB port for charging via a wall adapter or for using the device as with any other electrically connected PC.

Meanwhile, Arduino devices start executing code when powered up and stop executing as soon as you unplug. To add functionality, either wire directly to the pins on the Arduino board or stack chips called "shields" on top of the base unit. There are hundreds of shields, each designed for a different task, connected to specific sensors, and working together to build a complete control unit.

So for Arduino, all you need is a battery to keep the voltage above a certain level, as well as a primary shield to manage the power. Even if the power fails on the Arduino, a damaged operating system or other software errors won't occur: the code won't run until it's plugged back in. For Raspberry Pi, you have to shut it down in the operating system like any other computer, or you risk corruption and software problems.

Arduino versus Raspberry Pi
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: networking

The Raspberry Pi 3 has both an integrated Ethernet connection and wireless N connectivity, which enables easy access to any network with little setup. Once connected, the operating system allows you to connect to web servers, process HTML, or post on the Internet. You can even use it as a VPN or print server.

Unfortunately, Arduino devices are typically not designed for network connectivity right away. While it is possible, they will have to do a little more tinkering to make a proper connection. You need an extra chip that comes with an ethernet connector and you need to do some wiring and coding to get everything working properly. This is enough in itself that some vendors sell comparable Arduino devices with a built-in Ethernet component.

Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: sensors

While Raspberry Pi and Arduino devices have multiple interface connections, connecting analog sensors to Arduino devices is easier. With the code you enter, the microcontroller can easily interpret and respond to a variety of sensor data. This is great if you want to repeat a series of commands or react to sensor data to make adjustments to servos and devices.

For Raspberry Pi boards, however, software is required in order to be connected to these devices. This isn't always what you need if you're just trying to water plants effectively or keep your beer cold. Using both in a project is not uncommon. The Arduino device can act as a control card that executes commands issued by the Raspberry Pi software before reporting the sensor information back for recording or confirmation.

What solution is your match in DIY heaven?

We think it is best to use a Raspberry Pi board if your project involves a task that is suitable for a personal computer. Raspberry Pi boards specialize in making things simple and easy to manage, whether you're viewing media, connecting to the Internet to read and write data, or connecting to an external display.

A Raspberry Pi board is practically ideal for a variety of network tasks. It can act as a VPN, process HTML, compose an internet post, and connect to web servers. It also has built-in Wireless N connectivity and an Ethernet port.

It is important to remember that these two devices perform very different roles. Therefore, it may make sense to use both devices instead of one or the other. With Raspberry Pi, for example, you can access your code and settings on the client side, while Arduino takes over device activation and data acquisition.

There are several ways to connect the two devices. You can use a USB connection or a local private network or integrate I / O ports on the Arduino device into the Raspberry Pi.

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