I’m sure you’ve been reading a lot about the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone and the PCDuino boards. But you might still be wondering which one is for you.
I’ll try to show you the difference between those boards, the specifications and by the end of this post I hope you find the right one for you.
What’s The Difference?
The Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone and PCDuino may look quite similar for you, but they are in fact very different devices.
The Arduino is a microcontroller. A microcontroller is just one tiny part of a computer. The arduino can be programmed in C, but can’t run an operating system.
On the other hand, the Rasperry Pi and PCDuino are computers. Those devices can run an operating system alone.
So the questions is: “Which one is perfect for your projects?”
The Arduino is simply perfect for electronics projects and prototyping. You can easy connect some LED’s, sensors, motors into the board directly. With their user friendly board it easy to do that. To program the Arduino you need their software (that can be download for free here). Basically with that software you can upload your source code directly into your Arduino through USB.
After you upload the Arduino code you can unplug the USB cable attach a battery to your Arduino Board and It will run your program forever. (Read 5 ways to Power Up your Arduino).
The heart of the Arduino is ATMega3280P microcontroller.
The most common board is the Arduino UNO. But you can choose a wide range of options. See here more options.
|Input Voltage (recommended)||7-12V|
|Input Voltage (limits)||6-20V|
|Digital I/O Pins||14 (of which 6 provide PWM output)|
|Analog Input Pins||6|
|DC Current per I/O Pin||40 mA|
|DC Current for 3.3V Pin||50 mA|
|Flash Memory||32 KB (ATmega328) of which 0.5 KB used by bootloader|
|SRAM||2 KB (ATmega328)|
|EEPROM||1 KB (ATmega328)|
|Clock Speed||16 MHz|
On the other hand The Raspberry Pi is a complete mini computer. It needs an operating system to work. All the Storage is provided from a SD card. You can connect this to your network with an Ethernet Cable.
Below I’ll show the specifications for the Model B.The brain of the Pi is a ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz. It has graphics it has a HDMI output. You can plug in a keyboard and monitor, load up Linux, and the less technically savvy might have no clue how tiny the machine driving everything really is. The Pi is an incredibly powerful platform in a very small package it’s credit card sized and perfect for embedded systems, or projects requiring more interactivity and processing power.
|Chip||Broadcom BCM2835 SoC full HD multimedia applications processor|
|CPU||700 MHz Low Power ARM1176JZ-F Applications Processor|
|GPU||Dual Core VideoCore IV® Multimedia Co-Processor|
|Ethernet||onboard 10/100 Ethernet RJ45 jack|
|USB 2.0||Dual USB Connector|
|Video Output||HDMI (rev 1.3 & 1.4) Composite RCA (PAL and NTSC)|
|Audio Output||3.5mm jack, HDMI|
|Onboard Storage||SD, MMC, SDIO card slot|
|Dimensions||8.6cm x 5.4cm x 1.7cm|
It’s similar to a Raspberry Pi but It’s more powerful, Based on the TI Sitara AM335x, an application processor SoC containing an ARM Cortex-A8 core. You have more pins to control. They recently won “2013 Top Embedded Innovator award”.
The BeagleBoard community is perfect for developers and hobbyists.
They also sell other boards that you can see here.
|CPU||1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8|
|Memory||512 MB DDR3|
|Pins||2x 46 pin headers|
|USB 2.0||USB 2.0 type A host port. Dedicated single mini-USB 2.0 client port (no additional 2-port hub)|
|Onboard Storage||2 GB 8-bit embedded MMC on-board flash versionmicroSD card 3.3 V Supported (No Card Supplied)|
|Operating System||Linux, Android, Cloud9 IDE on Node.js w/ BoneScript library, plus more|
|Dimensions||86.40 × 53.3 mm (3.402 × 2.10 in)|
PCDuino = “PC + Arduino”
This board is similar to the Raspberry Pi, it’s becoming like the new choice of developers. It has all the features of the Raspberry Pi but it’s more powerful. Which ultimately makes it more expensive. It already comes with 2GB of flash memory. And you can add an SD card up to 32GB. Which is a really advantage over the Rpi.
They also sell other models, but this one is the most popular. Click here to see more models.
|CPU:||1GHz ARM Cortex A8|
|GPU:||OpenGL ES2.0, OpenVG 1.1 Mali 400 core|
|Onboard Storage:||2GB Flash, SD card slot for up to 32GB|
|OS:||Linux + Android|
|Extension Interface:||2.54 mm Headers compatible with Arduino|
|Network interface:||RJ45 and USB WiFi Dongle|
Where to buy?
You can either buy directly from their websites, where they show their distributors.
That said, the Arduino is perfect for beginners. The other boards are significantly more complex for simple electronics projects.
For example, on the Arduino, blinking an LED is simple as connecting an LED and resistor to two Arduino pins, installing their IDE. then uploading a few lines of code. It’s done. On the boards are a bit more complicated. You need to install an Operating System (a Linux Distro or Android) make a few configurations and setup everything. Then install some libraries that will help you control the GPIO pins. After that, you need to complete your circuit, write your program and compile before running it.
Basically you can accomplish the same thing with the Pi or other boards, but with an Arduino is much easier. The Arduino also has a wide variety of shields that can make your job much easier. (Ethernet shield, wireless shield, motor shield, etc)
Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone or PCDuino?
I choose Raspberry Pi. It will do almost everything you need, is cheaper and more popular within the open source community. If you want something more powerful simply go with the BeagleBone or PCDuino. Any of these boards are a great choice!
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