The Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized computer originally intended for educational purposes. Since its inception in 2012, it has undergone several improvements with the latest version coming out just recently. The key to its popularity is the low price ($20-$35)  and high functionality. See below for features.

Who’s in charge of the Raspberry Pi?

The organization in charge of the Raspberry Pi is the Raspberry Pi Foundation and located at https://www.raspberrypi.org/. The foundation is a UK based organization who’s goal is to provide an easy to use platform for education in schools and developing countries. The result of this goal was a low cost board with full computer capability and proved to be popular with hobbyists.

What features do they have?

Currently there are these models:

  • Raspberry PI A
    • 256 MB RAM
    • one USB port
  • Raspberry Pi A+
    • 40 pin GPIO
  • Raspberry Pi 2 model B
    • 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7
    • 1 GB RAM
    • 4 USB ports
    • 40 GPIO pins
    • Full HDMI port
    • Ethernet port
    • Combined 3.5mm audio and composite video
    • CSI camera interface
    • DSI display interface
    • VideoCore IV 3D graphics core
  • Raspberry Pi 3 model B
    • 1.2 GHz 64 bit quad core ARMv8
    • 802.11n wireless LAN
    • Bluetooth/Bluetooth Low Energy
    • 1 GB RAM
    • 4 USB ports
    • 40 GPIO pins
    • Full HDMI port
    • Ethernet port
    • Combined 3.5mm audio and composite video
    • CSI camera interface
    • DSI display interface
    • VideoCore IV 3D graphics core
  • Raspberry Pi Zero
    • 1Ghz single core CPU
    • 512 MB RAM
    • mini HDMI and USB ports
    • HAT compatible 40-pin header
    • composite video and reset headers

The original A model included an ARM compatible CPU and graphics processor (GPU). To keep the price low and for robustness an SD card was used for memory instead of a hard drive. This proved to be an excellent choice as SD cards were impervious to shaking and hence more robust than disk drives. They were also easily acquired and the prices have dropped every year.

The Raspberry Pi’s typically included up to four USB slots, HDMI and composite video and GPIO pins. Later models dropped the composite video as HDMI became prevalent and the board space valuable. Ethernet is also common on the boards.

Why is the Raspberry Pi popular?

The Raspberry Pi ushered in the golden age of tinkering. Besides being a powerful, low cost cpu with a wide variety of functionality, the Raspberry Pi benefited from the ability to run linux . This meant users could write programs in the high level Python programming language making development much easier than typical microcontrollers requiring specialized software development kits.

Read some of our blog posts as we review Raspberry Pi projects. You’ll see how easy and fun they can be!

images from Wikipedia