[SATLUG] Alternatives to Raspberry Pi

Joe null.div.zero at gmail.com
Mon Aug 4 13:25:54 CDT 2014


I have a raspberry pi.  It runs a virtual sunrise on a 16x32 led matrix;
every morning at 6:00 am mySun comes up.  There are many arguments in favor
of an Arduino for this job.  I chose the Pi because I had one just sitting
there.

   So, why was it just sitting there ?  Because, if you have a laptop and
an Arduino,  you don't need a Pi.  In fact, you would likely find the pi
cumbersome.  It's a sprawling mess to setup (wires everywhere).  And, it
gpio is not driven by a dedicated logic chip; so high speed operation on
the gpio can become a problem.  ( think dimming a led by time
splicing/pulsing).
    But, it has some interesting points.  First and foremost is support.
Schools, techies, and makers are all buying them.  They have a "store"
(package repo)  where you can buy, sell, or submit for free apps.  Second,
it's a full featured and well supported Linux distro with a dedicated gpio
header.  You can whip up a script for a gpio action and schedule it cron!
Yay!  Incidentally,  you can also use a Pi directly with an Xbee master
radio, host a Database on it, and perform command and control functions.
(Think Internet of things). A beagle bone could do all of this better.
But, there is patchy support for the device.  And, I find their community
less usefull.

One, final point: the raspberry pi is not a $35 computer.  It's a
foundation for makers wanting to get into embedded projects, using
technology their already familiar with.  (Linux with a gpio header and
built in ide).  So, consider what else you need.  I have easily sunk $300
into my $35 computer.

Joe Machos
On Aug 4, 2014 11:02 AM, "Frank Huddleston" <fhuddles at gmail.com> wrote:

> Greetings,
>
>   I have heard on at least one occasion, perhaps at a SATLUG meeting,
> strong disapproval, to the point of vilification, of the Raspberry Pi. So
> I'm wondering: what's so bad about the Pi, and what better alternatives are
> available?  And why are they better?
>   I'm speaking of low-power, cheap computers. Admittedly these are rather
> subjective terms, but I'll just leave it at that for now, in hopes that
> "you know what I mean".
>
> Thanks,
>
> Frank Huddleston
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