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Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Makey Makey kits

Resources for getting started with electronics hardware kits.

Comparing Devices

Choosing a device: Arduino or Raspberry Pi?:

Generally, the rule of thumb is to use an Arduino by default

However, if your project has one of the following requirements, then a Raspberry Pi is probably a better choice:

  • Internet or network connectivity
  • Need for a large screen
  • Need to attach a keyboard or mouse
  • Need for USB peripherals such as a webcam

Device Comparison

Cost

  • An Arduino Uno ($25) is cheaper than a Raspberry Pi ($40)

Startup time

  • An Arduino does not need to wait while an OS boots up.  There is a small delay of about a second while it checks to see if a new program is being uploaded, and then it's up and running.

Reliability

  • An Arduino is intrinsically a much simpler and tougher device than a Raspberry Pi and doesn't have the overhead of an OS.

Power consumption

  • An Arduino uses about 1/10th of the power of a Raspberry Pi.  If you need a batter or solar-powered solution, the Ardunio is a better choice.

GPIO output current

  • A Raspberry Pi's GPIO pin should only be used to supply a maximum of around 16mA.  On the other hand, an Arduino pin is rated at 40mA.  So, in some cases, you can connect something (say a bright LED) to an Arduino directly, in a way you couldn't with Raspberry Pi.

One final important note is that Raspberry Pi operates at 3.3V, rather than the 5V of Arduino.  Connecting 5V to one of the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins is likely to damage or destroy the GPIO or the whole RaspPi.

Monk, S. (2016). Make: Action: Movement, light, and sound with Arduino and Raspberry Pi.  San Francisco, CA: Maker Media, Inc.

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