How does a more compact and more economic Raspberry Pi sound to you? The Raspberry Pi 3 A+ is here and, like the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, it boasts a 64-bit quad core processor running at 1.4GHz, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless LAN, and Bluetooth 4.2/BLE. The RPi3 A+ is still equipped with the same 64-bit processor as the B+ version but has removed the Ethernet connector and three of the USB ports (leaving you with just one). It still also has the same 2x20 GPIO header and CSI/DSI connectors, making it usable with all of your existing HATs, cameras, and other peripheries. This single-board computer is capable of many of the things your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word processing and playing high-definition video and games. It can run several flavors of Linux and is being used to teach kids all over the world how to program… Oh yeah, and it does all that for about $30.
As mentioned before, the Raspberry Pi 3 A+ features the Broadcom BCM2837, an ARM Cortex-A53 64-bit Quad Core Processor System-on-Chip operating at 1.4GHz, making it both small AND powerful. Since the A+ version only has a single USB port you may want to add more, you can still use a USB hub to provide enough connectivity for a mouse, keyboard, or anything else that you feel the RPi needs. Keep in mind, it is recommended that you use a powered hub so as not to overtax the onboard voltage regulator.
Powering the Raspberry Pi 3 A+ is easy: just plug any 5V/2.5A USB power supply into the microUSB port. There’s no power button, so the RPi will begin to boot as soon as power is applied. To turn it off, simply shut down the Pi 3 A+, then remove power.
On top of all that, the low-level peripherals on the RPi make it great for hardware hacking. The 0.1" spaced 40-pin GPIO header on the RPi gives you access to 27 GPIO, UART, I2C, SPI, as well as 3.3 and 5V sources. Each pin on the GPIO header is identical to its predecessor. If you are planning to run a NOOBS card with the RPi3 A+ make sure that it is up to date with the latest version!
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 2 ratings:
Works great. Using to replace a system I built for my grandson. I have plenty of room for a powered USB hub so I don't need the additional connectors
Small size but quad core, plus wifi and bluetooth. full size HDMI and USB. Standard micro-USB power. Using /dev/gpiomem memory mapped IO and programming in C can easily control 3 stepper motors in an X Y Z stage using stepper drivers, up to their max RPM. Lots of compute power in a small package, runs buster no problem.