As designers, we usually turn the focus to different sources of inspiration and adopt new tools to experiment the needs of development. Raspberry Pi is not just a Foundation that design technology, it’s the name associated with the most popular Linux embedded systems in the world: A, A+, B, B+, and Raspberry Pi 2.
In just a few words, the Model A+ is the answer to those who needs a smaller and cheaper computer than the B+. With similar functionalities, two-thirds of the size of B+, and priced at $32.90 (Sale: $32.90 & FREE Shipping), the A+ just became the most potent competitor for B+.
At a simple calculation, the A board was sold less than the Model B since 2012 when it was released on the market. The calculations show us that the number of A models sold is compared with the sales of the Model B in a month. Even so, the board line continues with serious updates on hardware and a lower price.
Raspberry Pi is a project initiated by Eben Upton, the Director of Studies in Computer Science at St John’s College, Cambridge. Eben is the engineer with the idea and the drive for what became the most successful affordable Linux PC in the world. Designed as a powerful programming platform for kids, Raspberry Pi has become the ideal prototyping platform for makers, hackers, students, artists … for anyone who needs a simple way to break out an idea.
The Raspberry Pi A+ is the right model for the right job. It’s the perfect robotification device. The ‘A Plus’ board fit perfectly in robotics projects or any other automate application that does not require Ethernet connectivity or extra USB ports. The absence of Ethernet connection or an increased number of USB ports cannot be considered an obstacle to use the mini-computer as long as the project does not require such connections. More than that, replacing the Model A with A+ is expected to get more time out of the battery pack.
A Bit More Similarities and Few More Differences
With the cost of seven Starbucks coffees, four movie tickets, or a handful of happiness bouquet for romantics, the Model A Plus is much more than competitive in the DIY culture.
After the B model becomes the target of millions of makers and hackers, it’s very clear that the B version has authority in front of A line. Compared with A+ and for no more than $10 extra, the B+ has extra USB ports, more RAM, and an Ethernet connection. In terms of a facelift, the Model B+ is an improvement of B, and keeping the same line, the A+ model improves almost all the features of the A board.
The A+ board still keeps the same BCM2835 application processor and 256MB memory RAM, the same as Model A.
Before counting the number of pins and check the connections, each user feels the prototyping board in its hand. Like in the hand of any user, the size is not always important, but this small board fits like a glove inside a robot or attached to any other automation project. Yes, the A Plus is significantly smaller. It has only 65mm (2.6 inches) in length compared with 86mm (3.4-inch) for an older model.
The designers have taken into account the feedback from users regarding the SD slot. The result is a new push-push micro SD slot that replaces the old friction-fit SD card socket.
More GPIO pins? Yes, this is a large step forward for the A+ mini-computer. The GPIO pins have grown to 40 pins; it has an identical GPIO header as the B+.
Another good reason to use the A+ is the I2C interface used to attach low-speed peripherals to the embedded system. Since the I2C serial computer bus is handled on the SoC and pinned out on the GPIO header, the A+ is engineered to work with any of the GPIO accessories compatible with B+.
The Same Power Supply, But with More Time
Besides the size or the features, the A+ benefits from an improved power chain identical to the Raspberry Pi B+. This means that the A+ can be powered by any power source that outputs a regulated 5V.
For example, connecting a 2400MaH battery to an RPi A Plus can give up to twelve hours of full battery life. What can be added is that the Model A+ is the best friend for any battery. Taking another example, A+ can run for 48 hours on the same battery that powers the model B for no more than 8 hours. These numbers can be only some references, but even so, is more than a pain in minus.
For an embedded system that uses 40% less power, you don’t have to forget the solar power. The Sun can run a Pi with small panels and batteries connected to a charge controller with a wide input voltage. The result is a platform able to work for unlimited time and endless possibilities.
The Right Target Audience
Sometimes the imagination is pretty limited. Thinking of what you can build with a Raspberry Pi Model A+, a ton of ideas and projects come to my mind. To define all of these ideas, the A Plus is good enough for any embedded projects.
The Internet of Things is a big challenge these days. Even the board does not have built-in wireless connectivity, with a compatible WiFi dongle you can solve the Internet connectivity.
B+ is more friendly to any user that does the initial setup and testing with simple tools such as a mouse, keyboard, SD memory card, etc. But once the project is up and running, the initial board can be changed with the A+. And if the boards could not be interchanged due to any reason, the SD cards can be changed between the boards.
Anyone involved in prototyping things has to move forward and adopt new tools to catch up the needs of development. The Raspberry Pi goes beyond words with its new A+ board and identifies the right target: the robots.