What is a Raspberry Pi?
Before we go into how to choose the right Raspberry Pi for our project we should take a brief look at what it actually is (reference for beginners)
The Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries. That was the original function of the board, however, engineers and makers from all around the world saw it for something else entirely, a small single board computer that could be used to make low cost but highly reliable compact projects.
One of the best advantages of using Raspberry Pi is it’s compatibility with standard peripherals like keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, WiFi, HDMI based LCDs, Touch Displays and also the availability of customise-able GPIO pins that can be used to interface with additional hardware to connect the Pi with physical world.
Specifications of different models of Raspberry Pi :
Developing projects with Raspberry Pi
This article is one of the series of articles that will provide a step by step guide on how to develop a project with Raspberry Pi. Which makes this article the starting point for the same. In this chain of articles we will discuss all development strategies from blackboard to actual development of the product (prototype).
We have already gone through a brief introduction to Raspberry Pi and have also seen different configurations and specifications, so the next step is to determine which model to select for our projects.
How to choose the right technology for our project
The most important step when designing any engineering project is to finalise a technology and then start figuring out the components that will be used to develop that project. Lets say that we want to develop a Touch Input based compact system with GUI and hardware control features to communicated over the internet for data transfer.
Once the requirement has been streamlined, we can now work on hardware that we may need. Lets make a list of the same considering that we will use Raspberry Pi for this project
- We would need a Raspberry Pi as a single board computer
- We need a WiFi Dongle to communicate over network (For earlier versions of Raspberry Pi)
- We need a LCD Touch Screen
- We will need some jumper cables to connect our hardware with Raspberry Pi
- A power bank, if we need to make a portable unit
- Power adaptor for Raspberry Pi for stationary use and power bank charging
Now the next step is to figure out the prices of every component so that we can estimate the development cost of the project and calculate it’s feasibility and evaluate the cost vs benefit ratio.
This is a very important step before designing a project because the ultimate goal of the development is the ability to market the product once its developed and tested, but if the cost is too high as compared to the benefit it provides than nobody would purchase it and maybe at that stage we should re-evaluate which technology we want to use for project development.
Side Note: We can design the same project using Arduino or LattePanda also. Maybe we will do an article in the future and compare the pros and cons of each approach
How to choose the right Raspberry Pi
There are a few factors to consider when choosing between different models of Raspberry Pi.
- If your project does not require high end processing, memory or WiFi then Raspberry Model B+ would also do the trick
- If your project is about playing high end videos or media content, requires better ram but does not require built in WiFi then Raspberry Pi Model 2 would work fine.
- If your project is about wireless communication, IoT, and you need to use the built-in WiFi then Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is recommended.
- If you need a stand-alone compact board and do not need LAN or WiFi then you better go with Raspberry Pi Zero which has the same underlying architecture as Raspberry Pi Model B+ but much smaller size.
For your convenience we have listed down few of the online stores and prices for different models of Raspberry Pi and accessories below, feel free to check them out, compare prices and make an educated decision when buying.
Raspberry Pi Model B+
Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
Raspberry Pi Zero
SHAK Shoppe 20800 mAh Portable Charger | Powerbank for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy & Other Android | Fast Charger | High Capacity Power Bank with 5.2A Output | Charges 3 Devices At Once
Keep a lookout for the next article where we will discuss the circuit diagram for our project and start learning how to code in python.