Arduino and Raspberry Pi are two hardware platforms that have revolutionized several markets: developers of technological solutions, hobbyists, students, among others. Its main advantages are the large number of "features" or characteristics and its low cost. Additionally, the large number of users form a community that generates a lot of information in the form of documentation, manuals and information, which greatly facilitates learning. Find for example a Raspberry Pi courseIt is a matter of searching in Google, there is something for all tastes and all colors. In any case, with any of these electronic cards we can all dream of being inventors and manufacturing a product in record time, from a camera to a robot.
We are talking about brands that have revolutionized the history of technology and that have democratized knowledge and product creation. An example of this is the maker culture, which is basically based on the philosophy that anyone can build practically anything. For example, a fact that few know is that the Raspberry Pi is the most manufactured electronic device in the entire history of the United Kingdom, with more than 40 million units sold until 2021.
What is the difference between them?
The short way to answer this question is that Arduino is basically a microcontroller board, while the Raspberry Pi is an all-in-one computer or SBC (Single Board Computer) including USB, HDMI an audio ports. Thus, at first glance one can venture to think that a computer will always be better than a microcontroller card. But the truth is more complex.
It happens that in many applications we do not want a computer, and be careful, we are not talking only about price, but that it is not convenient to use a computer (computer) in the traditional way. We are talking about situations where hardware is needed where a more “predictable” operation can be guaranteed. Let's see what I'm referring to.
Advantages and disadvantages of Raspberry Pi
- Much CPU. Which makes it very suitable for demanding processing applications. For example, computer vision.
- HDMI. The advantages of that do not need to be explained much. Being able to connect the card directly to a high definition television will always have enormous advantages for some markets.
- Embedded WiFi.
- Higher power consumption than a microcontroller card, which makes it not suitable for scenarios where low consumption is important, for example IoT
- Disadvantages in sampling. a) In general, SBCs (and RPi is no exception) use task-based operating systems. The problem with this is that it cannot be guaranteed very accurately (in microseconds) when a given task will run. This is not a problem in most situations, but for example, if an electrical wave is being measured, if we cannot reliably guarantee sampling, our measurement will be distorted. b) It has no ADC inputs, which means the acquisition of additional hardware to measure analog signals.
- More complex to set up. Raspberry Pi is more laborious to set up than an Arduino, since you have to install the operating system and configure the necessary services to do what you want. Luckily there are operating system distributions, such as Raspbian, which make this task somewhat easier.
Advantages and disadvantages of Arduino
- Great portfolio. Arduino has dozens of boards with different characteristics, which results in a great advantage when selecting a platform that is the right fit for our project.
- Easy programming. The Arduino IDE has undoubtedly been one of the great advantages of the Arduino since its inception. Having a tool with a compiler included and quite intuitive has allowed even children to program hardware.
- Low price.
- Relatively low power consumption. While Arduino is not what it is called Ultra Low Power, at least it consumes a lot less than a Raspberry Pi, making it acceptable for IoT
- Little processing power. At least when compared to a Raspberry Pi or similar.
The latest models
The latest Raspberry Pi are the version 4 models. I'll leave here some links to buy if anyone is interested. Its most popular model is the Model B. It is a 64-bit Quad Core with WiFi and Bluetooth included. A complete computer for practically a little more than $60. Interesting, right?
The best selling Arduino board so far is this.
They are no longer the only options
Arduino and Raspberry Pi were just the beginning of a great revolution. Currently there are analog cards to Arduino such as Particle, Teensy, Netduino, Spartkfun Thing, Yubox, Adafruit Feather, among many others. In the same way, there are competitors for Raspberry Pi such as Beaglebone, Rock64, Banana Pi, among others.