Arduino vs Raspberry Pi:Enemies or best friends?
Here we discuss Arduino vs Raspberry Pi to help you identify what to purchase for your next project.
Raspberry Pi has been the best-selling British computer for years now and Arduino has been transforming the DIY community one board at a time. There’s no shortage of options designed to provide you with a little electronic control over your projects, but the budget-friendly Raspberry Pi and the plethora of solutions under the Arduino brand are certainly two of the most popular.
But comparing the two can be like judging a lineup of cats and dogs. They’re both animals — they both lick themselves — but they each dig holes for very different reasons.
For all intents and purposes, the Raspberry Pi is a fully functional computer. It has all the trappings of a computer, with a dedicated processor, memory, and a graphics driver for output through HDMI. It even runs an optimized version of the Linux operating system called Raspbian. Most Linux software is easy to install, and lets you use the Raspberry Pi as a functioning media streamer or video game emulator with a small amount of effort.
Though the Raspberry Pi doesn’t offer built-in on-board storage, you can use microSD cards to store whatever operating system you choose, whether its Raspbian, Ubuntu Mate, or even the Internet of Things version of Windows 10. You can essentially install different operating systems on different microSD cards for swapping platforms, testing updates, and debugging software. And because the card includes Wi-Fi and Ethernet-based connectivity, you can also set it up for access via SSH, or transfer files to it using FTP.
Technically, there are six versions of the Raspberry Pi board you can purchase right now, but overall there are only two form factors: full-size and miniature. The most recent Raspberry Pi boards are the full-size third-generation Model B, and the miniature Raspberry Pi Zero for a mere. For the latter, you can purchase a version with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for. The other three Raspberry Pi boards on the market are older-generation full-size models: Gen2 Model B , Gen1 Model B+, and Gen1 Model A+.
Here’s a comparison between the two major models with built-in Wi-Fi:
Unlike Raspberry Pi, Arduino boards are micro-controllers, not full computers. They don’t run a full operating system, but simply execute written code as their firmware interprets it. You lose access to the basic tools an operating system provides, but on the other hand, directly executing simple code is easier, and is accomplished with no operating system overhead.
The main purpose of the Arduino board is to interface with sensors and devices, so it’s great for hardware projects in which you simply want things to respond to various sensor readings and manual input. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s actually a very sophisticated system that allows you to better manage your devices. It’s great for interfacing with other devices and actuators, where a full operating system would be overkill for handling simple read and response actions.
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: Power
The two systems have very different power requirements. For starters, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B board uses 1.5 watts when idle, and up to 6.7 watts when a monitor, keyboard, and mouse is connected. The smaller Raspberry Pi Zero W consumes 0.5 watts of power when idle, and 1.75 watts when a monitor, keyboard, and mouse is attached.
Both Raspberry Pi boards require five volts to remain on, so you need a wall adapter or rechargeable battery pack with a higher voltage. For instance, both Raspberry Pi-based kits we reviewed provided an internal rechargeable battery that connected directly to the board. These batteries included an additional Micro USB port for recharging via a wall adapter, or using the device like any other electrically tethered PC.
Meanwhile, Arduino devices begin executing code when turned on, and stop once you pull the plug. To add functionality, you either wire directly into the pins on the Arduino board, or stack chips called “shields” on top of the base unit. There are hundreds of shields, each of which is designed to perform a different task, interface with certain sensors, and work with one another to build a complete control unit.
Thus, for Arduino, you merely need a battery pack that keeps the voltage above a certain level, along with a basic shield to manage the power. Even if the power drops on the Arduino, you won’t end up with a corrupt operating system or other software errors: it will just start running code when it’s plugged back in. For Raspberry Pi, you must shut it down within the operating system like any other computer, or else risk corruption and software problems.
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: Networking
The Raspberry Pi 3 has both a built-in Ethernet port and Wireless N connectivity, which allows easy access to any network with little setup. Once you’re connected, you can use the operating system to connect to web servers, process HTML, or post to the internet. You can even use it as a VPN or print server.
Unfortunately, Arduino devices typically aren’t built for network connectivity directly out of the box. Though it’s possible, they require a bit more tinkering to set up a proper connection. You’ll need an extra chip outfitted with an Ethernet port, and you’ll need to do some wiring and coding to get everything up and running just right, which is enough of a process in itself that some vendors sell comparable Arduino devices with a built-in Ethernet component.
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: Sensors
While Raspberry Pi and Arduino devices have a number of interface ports, connecting analog sensors to Arduino devices is an easier process. The micro-controller can easily interpret and respond to a wide range of sensor data using the code you put on it, which is great if you intend to repeat a series of commands or respond to sensor data as a means of making adjustments to servos and devices.
Raspberry Pi boards, on the other hand, require software to effectively interface with these sorts of devices, which isn’t always what you need if you’re just trying to water plants or keep your farm house at the right temperature. Using both in a project isn’t all that uncommon, as the Arduino device could act as a control board that executes commands issued by the Raspberry Pi’s software before the sensor information is fed back for recording or acknowledgement.
So which solution is right for you? The answer will depend heavily on your project.
You should take the Arduino route if the main task involves reading sensor data and changing values on motors or other devices. Given the low power requirements and upkeep of Arduino devices, they’re also a good choice if your project will continuously run, and require little to no interaction.
You should go with a Raspberry Pi board if your project involves a task you would otherwise accomplish on a personal computer. Raspberry Pi boards make a slew of operations easier to manage, whether you intend to connect to the Internet to read and write data, view media of any kind, or connect to an external display.
Also you can combine arduino and raspberry pi to complete your projects successfully.