Raspberry Pi and Arduino are immensely popular in the digital community. For enthusiasts and hobbyists, they’re the go-to devices for building DIY projects.
For somebody new to computing, the two may seem indistinguishable. Indeed, they both have a similar makeup to the untrained eye, with capacitors and ICUs all built into the circuit board. However, their infrastructure and the purpose they were designed to fulfil are profoundly different. So, Arduino vs Raspberry Pi – let’s discuss.
Put simply, Arduino is chiefly a programming and circuit prototyping board. Raspberry Pi, meanwhile, was intended to be used as a tool for learning how computers work and coding. Nonetheless, each board is versatile, and fans will have their own personal reasons for preferring one over the other.
In this article, we’ll take you through the key differences between Raspberry Pi and Arduino (including a handy Arduino vs Raspberry Pi comparison table), the pros and cons of each and a quick guide on how to choose the one that’s right for you.
The Raspberry Pi is a cheap computer that runs on the open-source operating system, Linux. It also provides a set of GPIO (general purpose input/output) pins, which allow users to control the electronic components used in physical computing – and to check out the Internet of Things (loT).
In countries across the world, people use Raspberry Pi to learn programming, construct hardware projects and carry out home automation.
The operating system for all Raspberry Pi devices and products is Linux. Linux is an open-source operating system that interfaces between hardware and software programs. The programming language of Raspberry Pi is Python – a popular programming language used across applications, and websites.
The most basic model is the Raspberry Pi Zero (which is an updated version of the original Pi 1 generation) or the Raspberry Pi Zero W – the Zero W has WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities. The basic models are perfect for learning the computer language, exploring the Internet of Things (loT) and creating simple projects. Some of these projects include building clocks, drones, games and temperature monitors.
Arduino is an open-source electronic device designed to read inputs, such as a finger pressing a button, or a lighting up on a sensor. Arduino was first created at the Interaction Design Institute, Ivrea, Italy. Its purpose was to be used as an educational tool for students without any previous background in programming or computing.
It’s important to note that Arduino boards are microcontrollers, not computers. They don’t come with an operating system, as the Raspberry Pi does. Arduino boards, therefore, execute code written in C/C++ in the firmware. Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is the name of the open-source software utilized for writing codes and uploading them onto an Arduino board.
As Arduino is open-source, numerous design files and source codes are readily available to users.
Arduino and Raspberry Pi are both excellent teaching tools for those looking to learn about coding, programming and electronics. However, the way they do this is quite dissimilar. Below, we’ve put together an Arduino vs Raspberry Pi comparison table to illustrate their differences:
|Arduino is a microcontroller board. A microcontroller board is a small computer that is built on a metal oxide semiconductor circuit chip. They all have the same key parts, such as a central processing unit (CPU), input/output (I/O) and memory.
|Raspberry Pi is a microprocessor-based minicomputer (SBC). A microprocessor is a miniature electronic device stored on a motherboard of a computer. It contains the control circuitry needed to carry out functions of the central processing unit of a computer.
|The microcontroller on the Arduino board contains the central processing unity (CPU), random-access memory (RAM) and read-only memory (ROM). Other hardware on an Arduino board includes a power supply, programming and I/O Connectivity.
|Most models of Raspberry Pi have all the essential computer features, including a processor, memory, storage and board connectors.
|Arduino does not require an operating system to run. In fact, Arduino only requires a binary of the compiled source code.
|Raspberry Pi requires an operating system to run.
|Arduino does not come with a fully functional operating system.
|Raspberry Pi comes with a fully functional operating system.
|Arduino’s clock speed is 16 MHz.
|Raspberry Pi’s clock speed is around 1.2 GHz.
|Raspberry Pi is excellent for developing software applications using Python.
|Arduino, on the other hand, is especially good for interfacing Sensors and controlling LEDs and Motors.
|In terms of add-ons and extras, Arduino has Arduino Shields, which allow for the addition of different features and functionalities, such as motor drivers, Ethernet connection, an SD card reader, Wi-Fi and touchscreens.
|As a self-contained board, Raspberry Pi allows you to add external hardware such as a touchscreen and GPS. Using Raspberry Pi’s HAT (hardware attached on top), it’s also possible to add numerous other functionalities.
|Arduino can be powered using a computer USB port.
|Raspberry Pi requires a more powerful current than Arduino. This means users need a power adapter with Raspberry Pi
|Arduino simply restarts in the case of a power cut.
|With Raspberry Pi, any power disruption can potentially damage its hardware and software. This means you must always properly shut down a Raspberry Pi before removing it from a power source.
|Arduino uses Arduino IDE for coding.
|With Raspberry Pi, it’s possible to use Python IDLE or Eclipse IDE for coding.
|Arduino models tend to be slightly cheaper than Raspberry Pi.
|Raspberry Pi models tend to be slightly more expensive.
Hopefully, our Arduino vs Raspberry Pi comparison table helped to illuminate some of the key points of difference between the two devices. The Raspberry Pi is certainly an innovative and desirable piece of digital equipment. However, while it has its perks, it’s not without its drawbacks. Below, we’ll discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of opting for a Raspberry Pi over an Arduino.
The Arduino, likewise, comes with its own set of desirable and potentially superior features compared the Raspberry Pi, but also some limitations. We’ll take you through these below.
Arduino vs Raspberry Pi is a tough nut to crack, there’s no doubt about it. Coming to a decision about which of the boards is right for you is a matter of determining what you intend to use it for.
In general, Arduino is a better choice for carrying out repetitive tasks which involve sensors, such as opening a door or switching lights on and off. The Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, is the better choice for multi-task operations, including controlling robots, streaming videos and connecting to the internet.
It’s also generally agreed that Arduino is better for complete beginners, while the Raspberry Pi is more suited for experienced hobbyists who want to undergo more complicated projects.
So, if you’re new to coding, programming and electronics and want to assemble a simple project, Arduino could be your best bet. If you’re looking to make something a little bit more ambitious, however, then Raspberry Pi is probably the better option.
Speaking of projects, make sure you read some of our other articles to discover the exciting ways you can put your Raspberry Pi or Arduino to work: