Who wants pi? The Raspberry Pi has made quite a splash since it was first announced. The credit-card sized computer is capable of many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. 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 under $50.
The secret sauce that makes this computer so small and powerful is the Broadcom BCM2835, a System-on-Chip that contains an ARM1176JZFS with floating point, running at 700MHz, and a Videocore 4 GPU. The GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode and is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24 GFLOPs of general purpose compute. What’s that all mean? It means that if you plug the Raspberry Pi into your HDTV, you could watch BluRay quality video, using H.264 at 40MBits/s.
But wait, there’s more. The new Model B+ also has a 10/100 Ethernet port so you can surf the web (or serve web pages) from right there on the Pi. The system volume no longer lives on an SD card but instead a microSD card, so it’s even easier to prepare, run and debug several different operating systems on the same hardware. This means no more large SD cards and no more deceptively difficult to handle adapters Most Linux distributions for the Pi will happily live on a 2GB microSD card but larger cards are supported.
The Model B+’s FOUR built-in USB ports provide enough connectivity for a mouse, keyboard, or anything else that you feel the RPi needs, but if you want to add even more you can still use a USB hub. It is recommended that you use a powered hub so as not to overtax the on-board voltage regulator. Powering the Raspberry Pi is easy, just plug any USB power supply into the micro-USB port. There’s no power button so the Pi will begin to boot as soon as power is applied, to turn it off simply remove power. The four built-in USB ports can even output up to 1.2A enabling you to connect more power hungry USB devices (This does require a 2Amp micro USB Power Supply).
On top of all that, the low-level peripherals on the Pi make it great for hardware hacking. The 0.1" spaced 40-pin GPIO header on the Pi gives you access to 26 GPIO, UART, I2C, SPI as well as 3.3 and 5V sources. The first 26 pins are identical to the Model B to provide 100% backward compatibility for your projects.
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 12 ratings:
2 of 2 found this helpful:
I do a lot of arching based embedded controller stuff and was recently tasked with figuring out the Ras Pi because of the camera interface. After dusting of 15 year old Unix skills and leaning on the RasPi internet community, I was able to get what I needed out of this compact computers. All in all it is impressive what it can do, but if you don’t need the HDMI, camera, or the Linux OS then you’ll be better off with something like an Arduino. No regrets though, it is a cool little computer!
I’d done a little bit with the Raspberry Pi Model B before I bought a B+, and the additional USB ports make using it a lot more straightforward. I used it as the “brains” behind my Internet Connected Fundraising Sign and configured it to auto-boot and run a python script at startup. If you need help getting the Raspberry Pi up and running, there’s a lot of notes in the instructable. I used this enclosure, which worked great! I wish SparkFun sold a Wi-Fi adaptor that is supported by Raspian out of the box – I used the Tenda W311Mi, which worked well, and needed no configuration.
Raspberry Pi B + is a very good article. Thanks for sending hope to do more business with you.
works as expected
Compact design, good educational tool, tailor-made for hobbyists and it’s a steal!.
0 of 2 found this helpful:
I had not received mine yet
International Economic postal service is too slow.
I made my order at 2014-11-21
Hi, Sorry to hear this. We do generally suggest a higher level shipping method for international delivery. We do recommend a trackable and insured method to ensure your items arrive in a timely manner.
This little single board computer is so handy! One runs openELEC and my media. I have another built for retro gaming. Now I’m starting to build media centers for friends and family. I plan on using one in a robotics project too. For the cost you can’t beat it!
RPi A, B, B+, Pi2B are all great. Can’t wait for the C, D, E, F…. And service from sparkfun is fantastic.
We use the Model B+ as an “appliance” server for a system that uses 125KHz EM4100 tags to track cars on a model railroad. We switched to the model B when we ran out of the original rPis and are pleased with them. Since we run headless the extra i/o isn’t really relevant to us but it’s always nice to have it.
You can see our RFID server at http://www.modelrailroadcontrolsystems.com/radio-frequency-identification/