Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+

Author: thamizharasan

Creation date:

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?:

What were the biggest problems encountered?: 1. No Power Adapter with the kit 2. No USB Cable with the kit 3. No Micro-SD Memory Card with the kit

Detailed Review:

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is the latest product in the Raspberry Pi 3 range, with the following technical specifications:

  • A 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 64 bit Broadcom BCM2837B0 ARM CPU
  • 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • Dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz IEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac) wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.2/BLE.
  • Power-over-Ethernet support (requires a separate PoE HAT)
  • Improved PXE network and USB mass-storage booting
  • Only one USB port, and no on-board USB hub
  • The power and disk activity LEDs have been moved to the opposite edge of the board (compared to B+ model)
  • There is a drastic improvement in booting time. The original Pi Model A+ takes about a minute, and the Pi 3 Model A+ takes about 25 seconds.
  • The usual 40pin GPIO
  • Audio Port: The 3.5 mm jack is a 4 pole AV jack. Starting at the tip of a matching plug, the signals are left audio, right audio, ground, composite video.
    (If you only need audio, a standard 3 pole plug can be used. The video output is a current source and may safely be shorted to ground by the sleeve of a 3 pole plug)
  • Camera Serial Interface (CSI)
  • Display Serial Interface (DSI)
  • HDMI

 

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ has the same mechanical footprint as the older Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+.
A complete product brief available here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/app/uploads/2018/11/Raspberry_Pi_3A_product_brief.pdf

Now, you need to download an Operating System for the Raspberry Pi.

From your PC / Laptop, use Internet Browser & navigate to the website:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/

Download the latest Raspbian Sketch with Desktop (or) Raspbian Buster with Desktop Operating System image file in compressed format (zip)

Now, you need to burn the download OS image (as bootable) on the memory card.

Download a freeware utility called 'Win32 Disk Imager v1.0' from https://win32-disk-imager.en.uptodown.com/windows

 

Install the Win32 Disk Imager on the PC / Laptop, where you have downloaded the Raspbian OS image in the earlier step.


Open the WIn32 Disk Imager.

Under 'Image File' select the  (that you downloaded earlier) & Under 'Device' select the USB Card Reader.

Then, click on the 'Write' button & wait till it shows 'Write Successful' confirmation message.

Now, exit the Win32 Disk Imager utility & stop the USB Card Reader, unplug the Card Reader & remove the Micro-SD memory card.

Insert the Micro-SD memory card (having the Raspbian OS image) into the Raspberry-Pi.

Various Display Options for Raspberry-Pi

a. Connect the Raspberry-Pi to a TV, using a HDMI cable on Pi.

b. Connect the Raspberry-Pi to a 3.5" (or) 5" (or) 7" TFT display, using a UC-431 HDMI connector on Pi.

c. Connect the Raspberry-Pi to a 3.5" (or) 5" (or) 7" TFT display, using the 40pin GPIO connector on Pi.
(directly mount the tft on Pi's GPIO [or] use a 40pin HDD cable)

d. Connect the Raspberry-Pi to a 3.5" (or) 5" (or) 7" TFT display, using the DSI ribbon cable to the DSI slot on Pi.

Now, Power-ON the Raspberry-Pi.

Being first-time boot (on newly installed OS), you would be prompted by the Setup to change the password.

Next, the Setup would give you an option, to Update the Software (which is an optional step).

If 'skipped', the software update can be done at later stage also (using CLI command).

Setup will now, prompt you to 'Set Country / Language / Timezone'.

Next, the Setup will try to calibrate the display screen.

Next, the Setup will search for available Wi-Fi Networks in the range, which is an optional step.

If your Wi-Fi Network is listed & if you want to connect it to the Pi, then specify the SSID password of your Wi-Fi network.

 

Benchmark Results:

Benchmark result comparison of all the Raspberry Pi models.

(reference: https://medium.com/@ghalfacree/benchmarking-the-raspberry-pi-3-a-a7d4df181244 )

 

My Project1:

Weather Station using Sense-Hat on Raspberry-Pi 3 Model A+

 

The Sense-Hat is an add-on board for Raspberry Pi, made especially for the Astro Pi mission, that allows the Raspberry Pi to sense the world around it.

The add-on board allows you to make measurements of temperature, humidity, pressure, and orientation, and to output information using its built-in LED matrix.

On your Raspberry-pi with sense HAT, run the command lines below to update/upgrade:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade


Next, clone the Weather_Station package from GIT repository:

git clone https://github.com/llamafarmer/Pi_Weather_Station.git

 

Next, install the packages needed for the scripts to execute

sudo apt-get install python3-flask

sudo apt-get install sense-hat

 

To test everything is working change directories to the newly downloaded folder and execute using Python 3

cd Pi_Weather_Station

python3 weather.py

python3 web_app.py

 

The 8x8 LED matrix should light up and begin scrolling sensor information, from weather.py

web_app.py takes the same data as weather.py but instead of displaying it on the LED matrix it creates a web server and displays it via the web using flask.

So, you can also view the sensor information using the web browser and pointing it to port 5000 of the raspberry pi's IP Address
(from any device (PC/Laptop/Mobile) connected to the same Wi-Fi network)

To run this Weather Station scripts automatically at boot, update the bash scripts in the utils folder and make them executable.

cd utils
nano launch_weather.sh
nano launch_web_app.sh

 

Then make them executable

sudo chmod +x launch_weather.sh
sudo chmod +x launch_web_app.sh

 

Test the files

./launch_weather.sh
./launch_web_app.sh

 

Lastly add them to cron

sudo crontab -e
@reboot /home/pi/Pi_Weather_Station/utils/launch_weather.sh
@reboot /home/pi/Pi_Weather_Station/utils/launch_web_app.sh

ctrl+x to exit and Y to save. 

 

Then enter the command below to reboot

sudo reboot -h now

 

The raspberry pi should reboot and execute both scripts on startup!


! Hope this roadtest review was useful to build from scratch & complete, with a project !

Anonymous