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The computer world is more varied than we think.
On the one hand, there are people who prefer to have the best integrated equipment, such as computers, laptops, all in one, among others.
But there are also those who follow the maker movement or the “DIY” (do it yourself, for its acronym in English).
These are the ones who prefer to install their computer equipment their way.
For example, with a Raspberry Pi.
If you’ve never heard of this device, don’t worry.
You are not alone.
In this article that we have carefully prepared, you will learn everything there is to know about the Raspberry Pi as well as all the advantages it can offer to users.
Don’t you believe it?
Then read on to discover an unknown world.
- 1 The most important
- 2 The best Raspberry Pi on the market: our recommendations
- 3 Shopping Guide: What you need to know about Raspberry Pi
- 3.1 What is a Raspberry Pi to be exact?
- 3.2 When did Raspberry Pi come out?
- 3.3 How does a Raspberry Pi work?
- 3.4 What power source needs a Raspberry Pi?
- 3.5 Does the Raspberry Pi have free hardware and software?
- 3.6 What is included in the base plate of a Raspberry Pi?
- 3.7 What are the differences between the various models of Raspberry Pi?
- 3.8 What can you use a Raspberry Pi for?
- 3.9 What do the GPIO pins on a Raspberry Pi mean?
- 4 Purchase criteria
- 5 Summary
The most important
- The Raspberry Pi is like a low-cost computer. It is as small as a credit card, which fits in the palm of one hand. However, it has all the connection possibilities for TV, keyboard and other devices, as well as peripherals, so you can use it practically as if it were a computer.
- This device consists of only one component: the motherboard. There are no built-in (factory) peripherals. Born in the UK for educational purposes, it became more popular than expected and today has become a super versatile machine that opens the doors to learning and discovery in computing.
- Most manufacturers sell the Raspberry Pi in packages with other components or peripherals to ease the way for the user who wants to start experimenting. To make the right choice, you need to look at the frequency range, the RAM, the connection ports and the networking capabilities of the board.
The best Raspberry Pi on the market: our recommendations
You’re probably new to this topic and want to discover all that you can do with them, or you may already know and want to learn more.
Depending on your case, we have made a list of the best Raspberry Pi on the market, so enjoy this section prepared by us!
- The most recommended raspberry pi kit by online stores.
- The best Raspberry Pi with low power consumption.
- The exclusive kit for Raspberry Pi 3 B+.
- The recommended kit for the Raspberry Pi Zero.
The most recommended Raspberry Pi kit by online stores
Get one of the most recommended kits by online stores, namely the Canakit branded game.
It includes a Raspberry Bi 3 B with a Quad-Core processor that reaches speeds of 1.2 GHz and has 1 GB RAM.
It also integrates a Canakit 2.5 A Micro USB power supply with noise filtering, a high quality transparent case, a set of two heat sinks and a quick start guide.
Where to buy
The best Raspberry Pi with low power consumption
Enjoy the Element 14 Raspberry Pi 3 B+, a mini-computer that has a Quad-Core processor with 64 bits, a feature that your pockets will love, because it consumes very low power.
It has Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and a wireless LAN that reaches speeds of 10/100 Mbps.
It has a CSI camera interface and a DSI display.
It has 4 USB inputs, an HDMI and a 3.5 mm combo audio connector.
Where to buy
The exclusive kit for Raspberry Pi 3 B+
Canakit has created an exclusive game for the Raspberry Pi 3 B+, which includes: a Raspberry Pi 3 model B+ with a 64 bit Quad-Core processor that reaches a speed of 1.46 GHz, a Micro USB power supply, a set of 2 aluminum heat sinks, a transparent premium case and a quick start guide.
It features a dual-band wireless LAN from 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz with enhanced Ethernet capability.
Where to buy
The recommended kit for the Raspberry Pi Zero
The following kit is ideal for the Raspberry Pi Zero W.
This set includes a mini computer of this type, a premium black case with three covers, a Micro USB OTG power supply, a double pin head and a mini HDMI connector.
The package also comes with a modular camera adapter and a thermal dispenser created for this model.
The manufacturer gives a 1-year warranty. It also has a noise filter.
Where to buy
Shopping Guide: What you need to know about Raspberry Pi
If you are about to buy your first Raspberry Pi, you are probably wondering which model or version to choose.
On the other hand, if you are already a frequent user, you might want to go deeper into the potential of this motherboard.
Whatever the case, in this section you will find the answer to all your questions about these devices.
What is a Raspberry Pi to be exact?
Raspberry Pi is the brand name of a small board computer, also called a single board computer or single board computer (SBC).
It is characterized by its small size and low cost.
According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, more than five million models were sold in February 2015, making it the best-selling British computer.
When did Raspberry Pi come out?
The history of these single board computers dates back to 2009, when the Raspberry Pi Foundation set out to encourage children to learn programming and computer skills in schools.
Instead of distributing traditional computers, laptops or tablets, they turned to motherboards in order to stimulate experimentation and take advantage of their versatility.
When the first model came out in 2012, the Raspberry Pi A, the foundation noticed how the project went beyond the educational realm and grew in popularity in homes and in different countries.
The uses for the board began to multiply and the growing demand led to the development of new models, with better features and more connection options.
After the Raspberry Pi 1 B was launched, the foundation created the Raspberry Pi Trading, with Eben Upton as CEO, to develop the third model, the Raspberry Pi 1 B+.
The Raspberry Pi Trading is responsible for developing the technology, while the foundation is an educational organization whose aim is to promote computer education in developing countries.
How does a Raspberry Pi work?
As a simple computer board, the Raspberry Pi consists of a SoC (system-on-chip), CPU, RAM, audio and video input and output ports, network connectivity, SD slot for storage, clock, power jack and peripheral connections. In other words, the same as we see in the back of a computer case.
To power the board, we have to connect the input and output peripherals.
No mouse, keyboard or screen is included with the purchase of a Raspberry Pi, although complete kits or packages are available.
Once the connections of the corresponding peripherals have been made, all that remains is to connect the board to the power supply and it will be ready to work.
What power source needs a Raspberry Pi?
The Raspberry Pi board needs a micro USB power supply (like most standard cell phone chargers).
Therefore, it requires a good quality power supply that can provide enough amps for each model.
The table below details the power supply needed for each model.
Does the Raspberry Pi have free hardware and software?
Although it is not expressly stated whether it is free or branded hardware, the official website of the Pi Foundation explains that they have distribution and sales contracts with different companies.
But, at the same time, anyone can become a reseller or distributor of the Raspberry Pi boards, so it implies that it is a proprietary product.
The software, on the other hand, is open source: the official operating system is an adapted version of Debian, called Raspbian, although it supports other operating systems, including Linux and a version of Windows 10.
What is included in the base plate of a Raspberry Pi?
In all its versions, Raspberry Pi includes a Broadcom processor, RAM, GPU, USB ports, HDMI, Ethernet (the first model did not have it), 40 GPIO pins (from Raspberry Pi 2) and a camera connector.
None of its editions include memory; in the first version, the memory was an SD card and in later editions a MicroSD card.
What are the differences between the various models of Raspberry Pi?
Since the launch of the first Raspberry Pi, the project has grown according to the different uses that were given to the plates.
Most of the components remain in all the Raspberry Pi versions, but they have improved in power and range as time has passed.
The following table compares all models in a comprehensive way.
What can you use a Raspberry Pi for?
As we have explained, the popularity of Raspberry Pi has grown over the years due to the new uses that have been found for it.
A motherboard can serve, reasonably speaking, almost anything.
This was precisely the idea that the Pi Foundation was pursuing: to create a space for discovery.
We can mention the following uses.
- As a media center, that is, to turn a television into a smart TV, with LIBRELEC or OSMC software.
- To build a retro video console that allows us to play the great classics that are no longer available in the new formats.
- As a computer with Linux operating system, through distributions such as Ubuntu, Raspbian or Pidora.
- With a domotic purpose, for example through
- Windows 10 IOT Core. In this way our homes become more intelligent and it is possible to carry out projects such as weather stations or intelligent hubs.
- For robotics projects: from drones, wireless converters, 3D printers and even a home roomba.
- Raspberry Pi boards, programmed with software like Arduino, can give amazing results.
What do the GPIO pins on a Raspberry Pi mean?
GPIO stands for General Purpose Input Output.
This refers to a general purpose input and output system, i.e. a system consisting of a series of pins or connections that can be used as inputs or outputs for multiple uses.
These pins are included in all Raspberry Pi models, although with differences.
It should be noted that depending on the model of the Raspberry Pi, we find a number of different pins.
In version 1 of Raspberry Pi there are 26 GPIO pins, while from version 2 the number increases to 40.
However, the compatibility is total, since the first 26 pins maintain their original function.
GPIO pins have specific functions (although some share functions) and can be grouped as follows:
- Yellow (2): 3.3 watt power supply
- Red (2): Powered at 5 watts.
- Orange (26): General purpose inputs and outputs. They can be configured as inputs or outputs.
- Grey (2): Reserved.
- Black (8): Connection to GND or ground
- Blue (2): Communication through I2C protocol to communicate with peripherals that follow this protocol.
- Green (2): Intended for UART connection for conventional serial port.
- Purple (5): Communication through SPI protocol to communicate with peripherals that follow this protocol.
The Raspberry Pi can become a new challenge for you to explore the world of computing and programming in greater depth.
Or even learn how to build computers or consoles.
If you are just getting to know these devices or if you want to learn about other versions, it is best to consider a few things before making your purchase.
- Connecting ports and peripherals.
- Software compatibility.
If we consider that a Raspberry Pi is a minicomputer (and it is), we must pay attention to the processor: how many cores it has, what is its frequency radius (speed).
The higher these values are, the more power the motherboard will have.
This will allow you to experience more computing possibilities and it will also support the connection with different peripherals.
As far as wireless connections are concerned, the best technology for transmitting all kinds of data (except Wi-Fi, of course) is Bluetooth.
No matter how you use your Raspberry Pi, it is very likely that at some point you will need to send or receive data or link to another device.
Make sure it has a recent Bluetooth version.
Connecting ports and peripherals
A Raspberry Pi by itself is not enough to take advantage of all its uses.
You need to connect it to different peripherals, from a mouse and keyboard to monitors and TVs.
To do this, you need to make sure your motherboard has a large number and variety of connection ports.
The most important ones are USB, HDMI, Ethernet and VGA.
When learning to program, you will need to know different programming languages and experiment with different operating systems in addition to your motherboard (Raspbian).
Maybe you are more traditional and prefer a Windows version or maybe you are a Linux-loving user.
Either way, you should check that your Raspberry Pi works with the one you are looking for.
The housing of your Raspberry Pi is no small matter.
The motherboard can be very sensitive to shocks or drops.
To remedy this, it is advisable to take advantage of the kits offered by Raspberry Pi frames.
It is very important that they are the official ones sold by the legitimate manufacturers, as they are the ones that best fit the board and do not hinder its operation.
The Raspberry Pi is like a mini-computer, the size of a credit card, in the form of a simple, low-cost board.
It was developed by the Pi Foundation a decade ago in order to stimulate the teaching of computer science and programming in schools.
The models grew in popularity and today are used for games, robotics and domotics, among other uses.
The Raspberry Pi can be sold isolated or in kits with other peripherals for its operation.
The board does not have an on/off switch, but relies on the electrical current to start up.
There are various models since the launch of the first version, and the latest ones have evolved according to the power of the processor and connection ports.
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