Raspberry Pi (microprocessors) and Arduino boards (micro-controllers) kits are single-board computers that often perplex beginners when trying to learn programming. Understanding how both boards work and choosing the perfect one for kids to start learning programming and fundamental robotics will be important for starting their coding journey. This is a comprehensive guide on all you need to know about Arduino and Raspberry Pi, including their similarities, differences, comparisons, and tips on choosing the best programming board for your kids.
Arduino and Raspberry Pi are two undeniably incredible programming boards for kids and other beginner learners to use! Both single-board computers have many similarities as well as unique use cases, and they have proven to be excellent tools for both beginners and experts trying to learn computer programming or circuit prototyping. One major difference between both boards is that Arduino is aimed at helping those learn how to program and complete circuit prototypes whereas Raspberry Pi provides a channel for setting up computer programs.
In this section, I will be giving a brief overview of the technical world of Arduino and Raspberry Pi and why they are perfect for beginners to evolve their learning into computer programming and circuitry.
Arduino boards are microcontroller physical circuit boards that exclusively implement written codes through Arduino IDE. It uses a programming language that is built on top of C++ which is called sketch. These microcontrollers operate using an open-source platform. The open-source software serves as the coding space for Arduino IDE, software for writing and uploading codes on Arduino physical boards.
Arduino boards are great for custom hardware projects. Using the Arduino IDE and a sprinkle of creativity, you can program an Arduino kit into simple things like a robot car, a fingerprint lock door, a home alarm, traffic lights, and many more. Aside from serving as a great tool for learning to code, Arduino is also used by experts to projects like reactive Halloween scary masks, LEGO cars, and a ping pong game.
There are three main features of an Arduino: the hardware (microcontroller), the software (Arduino IDE), and the Arduino libraries. Arduino relates more to electronic circuitry and uses minimal programming.
Unlike the Arduino, the Raspberry Pi is a credit-sized functional computer that can be connected to a TV or monitor. Raspberry Pi are often referred to as Single Board Computers (SBC). The small computer was designed specifically for teaching beginner learners how to code from scratch.
Although Python is the official language of Raspberry Pi, it can also be used with other text and block-based programming languages, including C++, Scratch, and C. The Raspberry Pi foundation is a charity that was founded in 2009 to help promote learning basic computer science in schools, and they were responsible for developing it. The foundation offers numerous amazing programs to ace learners’ skills, including the Raspberry jam, Minecraft with Raspberry, and computing classes. Here is a full guide for using Raspberry Pi for kids.
Raspberry Pi boards are ideal for equipping kids with programming, robotics, and computing skills. Although kids can build their projects from scratch, it cannot work without connecting to the Raspberry Pi operating system, using SD cards or USB ports. Programming is essential for using Raspberry Pi, and while kids immerse themselves with electronics and hardware, they must also understand the foundations of programming.
The primary goal of this article is to help you choose the best boards for your kids. Here are a few things you need to know about the project needs of Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards.
The Raspberry Pi 4 model has up to 40 input/output pins, while Arduino Uno contains 20 input/output pins. Being a full computer, the Raspberry Pi has difficulty controlling I/O timing, compared to the Arduino.
When it comes to programming performance, Raspberry Pi is our top pick because it's core features include a power source controller, CPU, General Purpose Input Output (GPIO) pins, high processor speeds, and an ethernet port, all of which is enough to run an entire operating system.
Arduino, however, is a small microcontroller that runs simple codes to complete basic tasks.
Arduino has 32k bytes of flash memory and 2k bytes of Static Random Access memory. It also requires significantly less RAM (2kB).
Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, a very large RAM, and the latest Raspberry Pi 4 model board contain 8GB RAM. It also requires a large RAM of at least 1GB to perform.
Below are the key differences between Arduino and Raspberry Pi.
Arduino has a lower entry barrier when compared to the Raspberry Pi. Arduino is a mini microcontroller and a step into the world of programming. It is suitable for beginners who have no prior experience with Arduino and programming. The Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, is a computer and one needs to have prior knowledge of Unix or Linux to be able to navigate. Arduino, on the othervhand, is also suitable for beginners who do not know how to code.
Arduino has a much simpler hardware structure which makes it easy for kids to use. Just with a few lines of code, you can connect to sensors and other electronic elements. However, it will be difficult for beginners to read the input from sensors. Raspberry Pi is highly complicated and requires a strong knowledge of the Linux operating system before use.
The Raspberry Pi has a wide variety of programming languages associated with it. The original language of raspberry, which is Pi, originated from Python. Other languages include Java, JQuery, C, C++, Erlang, Scratch, HTML 5, and Pearl. All these programming languages can be used across several Raspberry Pi projects.
Arduino has a restricted number of programming languages that can be used with the boards. Asides from the Arduino IDE which is limited in scope and function, Arduino is also compatible with C++.
Of course, Raspberry Pi’s networking capabilities exceed Arduino’s. Raspberry Pi’s connectivity can be set up through Bluetooth, wireless connection, USB ports, sd cards, a camera port, and an HDMI port. Arduino boards, however, do not allow for much direct networking. While this is possible, it requires a long not-so-simple process.
Arduino’s processor speeds range between 8 MHz and 400 MHz. The average processor speed for most Arduino boards is 16 MHz. The Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, has higher processor speeds between 700 MHz and 1.5 GHz.
Since Arduino involves basic programming, it has limited flash storage of 32KB. Although Raspberry Pi does not come with storage, it features a small SD port with unlimited storage for users.
Arduino and Raspberry Pi are widely recognized, however, due to their affordability, Arduino has become more popular among users. Arduino boards are sold at an average price of $20 and above, while the Raspberry Pi begins at $35. Also, Arduino is more popular because it is easy to use, compared to raspberry.
Due to their popularity and increased demand, both boards are readily available for purchase.
Head-to-Head Comparison Arduino vs Raspberry Pi
|Feature Comparison||Arduino||Raspberry Pi|
|Power Consumption||Consumes an average of 200 MV of power||Consumes an average of 700 MV of power|
|Type||Microcontroller||Credit-card sized computer|
|License||Both hardware & software are open-source||Raspberry Pi operates on a closed-source system|
|RAM||About 2KB||Requires beyond 1GB|
|Connectivity||Does not support connections like Bluetooth and Wifi||Supports Bluetooth and Wifi|
|Current drive strength||Higher current drive strength||Lower current drive strength|
|Internet||Arduino does not have internet (you can connect to the internet through support shields)||Raspberry Pi comes with a built-in Ethernet port and WiFi support|
|Processor Speeds||Ranges between 8 MHz - 400 MHz||Ranges between 700 MHz- 1.5 GHz|
|Logic level||Stands at 5V||Stands at 3V|
|Control Unit||From Atmega family||From Atmega family|
Below are some of the recommended kits for each of the board types.
- Free PDF tutorial(more than 22 lessons) and clear listing in a nice package
- The most economical kit based on Arduino platform to starting learning electronics for those beginners who are interested.
- Lcd1602 module with pin header (not need to be soldered by yourself)
- 4 programming languages -> Python (compatible with 2&3), C, Java and Scratch.
- 558-page detailed tutorial (including basic electronics knowledge) -> The download link can be found on the product box. (No paper tutorial.)
- 223 items for 104 interesting projects -> Each project has circuit diagrams and verified code with detailed explanations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Really, in a head-to-head comparison, no kit outshines the other. Both kits have their strengths, functions, and weaknesses. Before choosing a kit, you need to set a goal- the reason you want them to learn. If you are more interested in the programming aspect, however, we advise that you choose the Raspberry Pi. It has a variety of programming languages that are easy to learn.
Similarly, if you want simpler projects that are faster and do not require too many programming technicalities, then you should opt for Arduino.
YES. Arduino is totally suitable for young children to learn electronics and programming. You can hop on a variety of simple projects, such as a robot car, traffic lights, etc. click HERE to learn more!
Absolutely! Raspberry Pi is designed to introduce kids to the amazing world of programming. It is simple, effective, and easy for kids to use.
Final Thoughts Comparing Arduino and Raspberry Pi for Kids
Truth is, both Arduino and Raspberry Pi have their perks and disadvantages. All you need to do is pick the one that works best for you and our kids. If you know nothing about coding and computer programming, Arduino might be the best choice to shorten the learning curve. Hopefully, this article has provided an in-depth comparison of both boards for you to make a decision. Take your time to study it closely before purchasing a board for your young learners!
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