In this guide we’re taking a look at the Raspberry Pi vs Arduino. It is often assumed these two device are very similar but the truth is that actually they’re very different.
The two devices both have pros and cons that I will now go into in this guide. Hopefully after this guide you will be able to decide which board is better for what you plan on doing or learning.
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We’re just going to quickly take a look at both the Arduino and the Raspberry PI. We will mention the main features and differences between the two.
For those who don’t know the Arduino is a microcontroller board that allows you to run small programs. A micro controller unlike the Raspberry Pi doesn’t run a full operating system (OS). This removes a lot of functionality that you gain from having an OS but allows interacting with sensors and devices and executing code to be a lot faster and easier.
Every time you want to update the code on the Arduino you will need to connect it up to a PC via a USB cord.
You will also find that the Arduino doesn’t have a video out, audio out, networking, USB and on-board storage. These can be introduced by using add on boards that we will mention below.
You are able to buy Arduino shields to increase the functionality of the board. These shields range from GPS (Global Positioning System) units, networking, motor control and much more.
If you want to learn more about the Arduino, you can check out this guide on what is an Arduino.
The Raspberry Pi
A Raspberry Pi unlike the Arduino is a mini computer and requires an operating system in order to run. The Pi has a processor, RAM, HDMI out, on-board and everything you will find in a normal computer. Since you have to run an operating system interacting with hardware and executing programs is likely be a bit more complicated and slower.
The Raspberry Pi supports networking straight out of the box. This means once you get past the initial setup you can access your Pi remotely using SSH or other methods.
It also has plenty of USB ports, a HDMI port, audio out so you can hook up quite a few addition peripherals. The Pi also comes with GPIO pins that allows you to interact with devices in a variety of ways and add additional functionality to the Pi.
If you want to learn more about the Pi you should check out my what is a Raspberry Pi guide.
Projects you can do
An important factor to consider in the Raspberry Pi vs Arduino debate is the projects you’re able to with the board. If you already have a project in mind, then it is very important to know the capabilities of each board and what you can get out of it.
The projects you can do with the Raspberry Pi range from just installing software right through to projects that involve software and circuitry.
To just name a few good Raspberry Pi projects examples:
- Retro game emulator
- Web Server
- Home automation
- and much more!
The projects you will find yourself doing with the Arduino are going to mainly involve circuitry based projects however you can still do some cool software project such as a mobile phone and much more.
To name a few good Arduino projects:
- Mobile Phone
- Bean counter
- And much more!
As you can probably see from the above examples that they can do similar projects however the Raspberry Pi can do a lot more software projects such as the web server and so on.
Time to master
The Raspberry Pi takes a bit more time to learn because there is many added complexities. This includes things such as the Linux based operating system, huge range of libraries, support for many programming languages and much more. That being said you can quickly learn to install software and get some neat projects up and going in time at all.
The Arduino on the other hand is simple as you can do most things with just the basic programming language. Also it is able to handle communication with hardware a lot better than the Raspberry Pi as it doesn’t have all the extra burden the Pi has.
In terms of time to master you will find learning how to operate, deploy code on the Arduino a lot easier than on the Raspberry Pi. It is very important to remember what you plan on doing as one is better at electronic projects and the other is better at software.
The Raspberry Pi Vs Arduino Summary
In summary the Arduino is more suited for projects that require interaction with devices and sensors. It’s a great way to learn the basics of programming and interacting with devices, sensors and other real world objects.
The Raspberry Pi on the other hand is better suited for projects that require more RAM and processing power. It is great for running software heavy projects such as a media center, web server, act as desktop computer and much more. It too can interact with devices but not as well as the Arduino can.
You can combine the two boards together and build nice complex projects that both have a cool software package backed up with interaction with sensors and devices.
I hope this guide on the Raspberry Pi Vs Arduino has helped clear things up about these two devices. If you want to add to the article, leave feedback then please feel free to drop us a comment below.