Arduino or Raspberry Pi?

Well I am a 16 year old High School student interested in engineering and things of that sort. I recently took an engineering class at my school and was thoroughly pleased with the concepts. My father is also an engineer, and would like me to dive deeper into these sorts of things. Being a long time Instructables  user I came here to seek guidance. Most of the Instructables of recent times have used Arduino and/or Raspberry Pi. I would like to learn more about these tools and what they are used for. Which one do you think is better, easier to use, and/or faster to learn.  

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rickharris2 years ago

As a teacher who taught microprocessor and control computing to students from 11 years up I would make several suggestions:

If you interested in controlling THINGS in the real world - Go for a PIC based system - they interface to things more easily

If your interested in programming skills and connection to the Internet then go for a PI or Bone solution (see below)

Or because the cost is very reasonable - try them all. :-) (I have no financial interest in any of these computing systems)

1. It will help a lot if you have some kind of support - If there is a group working with any of the available micro systems in your area, perhaps a robotic group or a maker club then I would go with what they use that way you can get a lot of knowledge and have someone on hand to explain things.

2. There are several systems available - The Arduino has a lot of available library routines out there so you don't always have to understand the programming BUT It is largely programmed in a version of C++ that many beginners find hard to grasp.

3. The Raspberry Pi is essentially a Linux based computer that has many advantages and a few disadvantages depending on what you want to do. - PROs:- Cost - About $30 - Well made, will connect to the internet, Largely programmed in Python - many say Python is somewhat easier to learn than C al though it has many similarities - You just need to add a USB keyboard/mouse and a HDMI TV or Monitor.

Intended for the education system there is a lot of support, fairly easy to use and set up if you follow the instructions, IF your dad use the old DOS command line he will find LINUX very familiar.

CONs:- The Input/Output uses a 3.4 volt based system - Most external systems will expect 5 volts or more so you will have to buy or build an interface if you want to work in the real world.

4. The Picaxe system which I used in School for many years is available in the USA - Is very cheap, has a vast amount of support because it was devised for the educational system


No matter what you do I could not recommend a better information source than their manuals - written for school use they explain a lot - Free PDF download at the URL above.

Programmed in BASIC it is easy to learn and reads like English - Yes there are a few disadvantages but the beginner isn't going to notice. - Pro programmers rubbish BASIC as old and unstructured BUT in actual fact it is a powerful and easy to use programming language.

5 Beagle bone - Similar in many ways the the raspberry pi system with the attendant pros and cons.

You can write structured code in BASIC, you can write unstructured code in C. I gave up convincing people years ago.


Me too.

Personally I think it is just one up man's ship. New "modern" vs old. 1960s stuff. Which is a load of bull.

iceng2 years ago

Parallax Stamps

Expensive for what you get - Good but there are cheaper systems that are just as good/better - Picaxe for example.

They appeal to me because after a very simple software development using the stamp basic compiled language which is turned into direct machine code and the stamp can be replaced with a $4 microchip for a production environment.

mrandle2 years ago

In college one of my courses (actually 2 technically) involved programming with arduino. I would say arduino is a good place to start it is very good for learning boolean logic (if , or , and etc.) and has billions of applications. I really enjoyed working with it and the programming language is fairly forgiving and easy to pick up. I remember using another program called processing that;s made by the same people as arduino that is a similar programming language and you can make complex programs that way too. You can even have processing make programs that talk to arduino! I've never personally worked with the pi yet but it looks fun as well and is fairly cheap. You could make the ardunio talk with the raspberry pi! From what I understand the pi is software based and arduino is hardware so depends on what your interest is. Both are cheap so both might not be a bad idea. I would find a basic project here that you would like to do and then purchase accordingly. There's nothing worse than buying the hardware and going ok now what and have it sit in a closet collecting dust.

-max-2 years ago

The Pi is more of a small computer. In fact, it can even fun a desktop OS and work like one! It is about as powerful as an old smartphone from 2010. (evo 4G, samsung galaxy S, nexus one...) It also has some general I/O, but it does not supply much current.

The arduino, on the other hand, is better suited for applications not requiring a lot of calculations, internet connectivity, etc. It is a microcontroller that does simpler jobs, better.

If you want the best of both worlds, then there are hybrids on the market, that may be a Pi with arduino built in, or a arduino with a microcomputer built in. I think this is what the arduino Yun is.

I got both.

The PI is a $30 computer, does about the same thing as every linux based computer. Just smaller. Use this if you need a dedicated computer to do something. IE server, Arcade machine.

The Arduino is a microcontroller. I have the uno, its still probably more capabilities than you need when you first start off but you can adapt it for simpler projects. The benefit of the Arduino is that its open source (you can build one) and that the chip in the uno (atmega 128p) can be removed and soldered directly to the completed project, freeing up your arduino for another project.

another idea you might want to consider, is the Texas instruments has a line of inexpensive microcontrollers that are not arduino but are cheap enough to leave in projects or to prototype multiple projects at once. I think its the MSP430.


Nighter3D2 years ago

Well depends on your interest...I would just say to start with one and move on to the next. Arduino is very much beginner friendly. easy to use,interface and gives a good basic understanding in using AVR stuff. If looking for a option to just mess around to your hearts content this is a solid base. another Pro (atleast to me) is that it also works as a stepping stone to learning and programming AVRs as the Arduino has the ability to act as a programmer for other AVR chips like the ATTiny and ATMega line.

Raspberry is a computing system. With it you can create highly-advanced stuff. the problem is that you will also have to learn how to move around Linux which can be a bit of a hurdle for newcomers. As great as it can be i rarely tend to use my Raspberry as most of the time a micro-controller works pretty good for my goal

Naturally i would have to mention PICAXE which is to PIC controllers as
arduino is to AVR. a problem i have with it is that its language BASIC
is kinda absent elsewhere. Eventually you will have to learn C anyway.

If a absolute newcomer and interested in Physical interaction i would heavily suggest to go with a Arduino first and possibly move on to Raspberry later. sure the language may take a tiny bit of effort to learn but once you get a grip at how to use it a world of possibilities open up.

seandogue2 years ago

Arduino is perfect for a beginner.

I'd recommend that you start with the Arduino and then move to the PI if you need it's power or simply want to progress beyond the Arduino.

Make sure whichever one you get has enough digital and analog I/O to be useful for whatever it is you want to play with. Get your dad to help you spec out the model.

I bought a "micro" a few weeks ago for a cheap temperature controller, as it has all the I/O (digital and analog) I need, but then I can easily make any of the tertiary circuitry I need. Some models afaik include additional circuitry you as a beginner might want to consider rather than building those circuits yourself.

depends on what you want to do and learn more about. There are completely different boards. The Pi is basically a mini computer while the Arduino is just a micro controller. You can do way more with the Pi. Both will require you to learn how to code.