RasPiO Duino

As technology advances we want faster, smaller and more powerful computers in order to get projects done faster or for home entertainment. First there was the Raspberry Pi, a microcomputer mainly used for home entertainment and software projects, then there was the Arduino which was used for hardware projects, but not so user friendly as many people would like. Now we have the RasPiODuino.

        RasPiODuino board

Both Raspberry Pi and Arduino are standalone devices that can be used separately, each of them as it was intended. Basically they are electronic boards about the size of a palm and perform a multitude of tasks – personal computer or robot controller - with only a fraction of the power consumption. So why do we need and want a marriage between these two devices? Well, that’s simple: in order to get the most out of the two boards - raspberry pi arduino. Another reason is that most techies want to take their projects outside of the virtual realm and build electronic projects to be controlled by the software they previously wrote. That would be a lot easier if you didn’t have to go down two parallel routes and would be able to do everything from the same point of entry. Who wouldn’t want to build himself a C-3PO or maybe just a cool nightlight?

Both devices - raspberry pi arduino - bring their unique set of advantages to the table to offer a complete solution for both combined software and hardware projects. In  raspberry pi arduino, Raspberry Pi brings the option of running an entire operating system, has a powerful GPU/CPU, can easily connect to the internet (via Ethernet cable or by adding a wireless module), has media connectivity (audio, HDMI, USB, Ethernet) and offers large and customizable storage options (by SD card or external hard drive). The Raspberry Pi is perfect for software projects that are meant to remain in the virtual domain forever and ever. The Arduino on the other hand can boot almost instantaneously and provides real time feedback, it has analogue inputs and outputs – meaning it can control electronic devices - and handles it better with hardware projects so you can create software for electronics. So now you see why combining the both - raspberry pi arduino - you would have a more versatile device.

Don’t get the wrong idea; the 2 boards - raspberry pi arduino - cannot be physically attached to one another. The RasPiODuino is actually an add-on board for the standard Raspberry Pi device. The most important part of this add-on board is the ATmega328 chip, the same one used for the Arduino devices, which will give the new device most of the needed Arduino feature. Other than this chip the RasPiODuino board has a lot analog connectors and slots where you can pin LEDs, voltage regulators or anything else that fits. One of the nice features is that the SMT pads (surface mount technology pads – the places where you can mount or place the components) can be found all over printed circuit board. Another important feature of the RasPiODuino board is the jumper sections. Why are they important you ask? Well, these are used to mount the RasPiODuino board to the standard Raspberry Pi board.

The RasPiODuino pack has a resembles a puzzle or more so a LEGO Technic set and by this I mean that all the components come in a bag or box and you need to manually assemble the device on the spot. This is very nice as it gives you an in-depth view on the building blocks of the RasPiODuino. Also it can kick start the engineer in you. This should not be a source of concern for anyone seeing how detailed assembly information can be found on various blogs, websites and youtube.

Setting the whole thing up is not the easiest task out there, however anyone with a minimum technical knowledge can go through it by investing a minimum of attention into the installation steps. Everything is done from the Raspberry PI OS interface so if you know your way around your Pi it should not be a bother. To put the installation in layman terms first of all you need to run a couple of wgets and chmods in order to get the Raspberry Pi to recognize the RasPiODuino board and connect to it. After that you are good to go on coding the Raspberry Pi Arduino IDE – that is integrated development environment for non techs out there.  This IDE is the same as the one used on PCs for all Arduino devices, so in case you’ve done this before on a PC it’s as simple as pie.

Here it’s where it gets a bit tricky for Raspberry Pi users. When coding for Raspberry Pi you can code directly on the board –using nano - whereas for Arduino you would normally write the code, connect the Arduinodevice to the USB of the PC and send the code to the Arduino board. For RasPiODuino the process is similar, the only difference being that you send the code from the Raspberry Pi Arduino IDE to the Duino board via the GPIO – that’s general-purpose input/output – which connects the two boards.

                  RasPiODuino board

Coding for Arduino IDE is not very hard – first level Python with a framework of C/C++ - and at this time there are countless websites, blogs, vlogs and whatnot that can take you to the process. Also you can find different sketches – physical electronic part - online together with the code that makes them work properly. However if you want an in-depth knowledge and then work to more complex and flamboyant projects it is recommended you start with the most basic of basics: making a LED light up.

The most rewarding thing about learning and playing around with the RasPiODuino board is that you get to see the results before you the more you learn, all this while working through your Raspberry Pi.Any techie wants to build himself a robotic best friend, however that’s a long way away.So for starters anyone can start making LEDs flash and display messages or create the very popular system which can prevent the pipes in your house from freezing in low temperatures.

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