RoadTest: New Year's Grab Bag RoadTest
Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Arduino, Raspberry Pi
What were the biggest problems encountered?: The hardware required, such as mouse and keyboard, which were necessary to even start-up the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi 1 is also not natively wifi enabled and I needed to purchase a wifi dongle in order to accomplish my project.
My skill level with regard to working with electronics is pretty low, and I wanted to start off my electronics journey with simple electronic boards. I was given the choice between raspberry pi and arduino and I was lucky enough to have been awarded the raspberry pi from element14 and I am very thankful. However, I also purchased a bootleg arduino and tried it out as well in order to get a frame of reference. Although I understand roadtests require extensive tests, I do not have the hardware required for this and will write a roadtest coming from my experience as a newbie.
Raspberry pi vs Arduino:
I acquired both boards in a bid to learn more about electronics. I had set out with a project in mind: to build a rain detector and try to auto close my window. I started with the arduino and was surprised at how easy it was to set up. I just had to connect the board to my computer with a micro usb cable and I was good to go. Of course I also had to acquire connector cables and the raindrop sensor, but it was quick to set up and I was able to get down to coding and calibrating the sensor and understanding up the stepper motor which I had also bought.
However, for the Raspberry Pi, I needed a mouse, keyboard, sd card and an external display as well as a hdmi cable to connect to the external display. Of course, someone who is experienced with working with electronics may have all these ready, but as a newbie, these items had to be procured and stalled my ability to immediately start messing with the device. This was one qualm I had with the Raspberry Pi.
Also, NOOBS, the software for Raspberry Pi also does not come pre-installed, but it was quite easy to download it and get it set up quickly. I also understand that the Raspberry Pi has far more capabilities than the Arduino and this may be why there is much more set-up for it compared to the Arduino.
Creating the Project:
For both the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino, I was able to write the code fairly quickly, within an hour as I was able to get help and references from online, maybe because raindrop sensors are well documented and many people have embarked on such a project. However, I am unable to include pictures of the finished project as I am still working on the physics of how the motor set-up would work to close my window.
I would definitely recommend the Raspberry Pi, even to those just starting out, although if one does not have the hardware required to start-up the Raspberry Pi, I would certainly recommend first trying out the arduino for a starter project due to the ease of working with it and the convenience.