The Arduino and Raspberry Pi may look very similar — they’re both cute little circuit boards with some chips and pins on them — but they’re actually very different devices.
Are you looking for a small computer, perhaps to power a home network security camera — this is a general solution needed for many fun projects. Have you heard the good news about the Raspberry Pi? and Arduino but can’t decide which is right for you. What will be most useful after you take apart the security camera thanks to that neighbor incident? What movies can you play? Don’t worry, we’re here to explain everything!
If you are more of a visual learner (like me), this article is available as a video here:
Arduino is a microcontroller, not a mini computer. A microcontroller is only a small part of what makes up a whole computer. The Arduino provides only part of the functionality of the Raspberry Pi.
While the Arduino can be programmed with small applications written in C++, it cannot run a full-featured «operating system» and certainly won’t replace your media center anytime soon. The Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, is a complete computer . If you’re reading this site, I’m assuming you know what that means.
Advantages and disadvantages
So the Arduino is useless? Unlikely — Arduino is perfect for electronics projects . It contains a set of inputs and outputs that can be connected directly to components and sensors, making it incredibly easy to just jump right into building something. This makes it ideal for prototyping or small projects that don’t require the complexity of a Pi.
The Arduino runs on the Arduino firmware, the underlying software that allows it to communicate with the computer via USB and gives it access to all functions. You won’t replace this firmware at all, but it’s possible. Once your code is uploaded, you can simply plug it in anywhere and it will start working right away — no need to reboot, plug in a keyboard, or select an app to launch. It does the job it’s programmed to do, does it well, and does it immediately.
The Pi is based on the Broadcom Arm-v6 processor; it has memory and a GPU driving the HDMI output. You can plug in a keyboard and monitor, boot up Linux, and the less tech-savvy might have no idea how tiny the machine that runs everything really is. The Pi is an incredibly powerful platform in a very small package, perfect for embedded systems or projects that require more interactivity and processing power.