Do you want to create a networked dudad that will flash an LED? Perhaps you could use a Raspberry Pi! After all, when you only have a hammer in your toolbox, it’s easy to see everything as a nail. But you shouldn’t, and here’s why.

Don’t Spend $40 on LED Flash Online

All too often we see relatively simple Internet of Things (IoT) electronics projects being done with the Raspberry Pi: a $35 mini computer that needs an SD card (another $5) and maybe a Wi-Fi dongle. You don’t really need the power of a Raspberry Pi to run simple embedded applications like an IoT sensor or a network-connected LED.

$5 NodeMCU Board which has built-in Wi-Fi, built-in flash, and is equally easy to program as the Pi, can handle this task elegantly. It includes a web server library if you really need it, or you can use a reduced protocol based on MQTT.

Board Nodemcu Arduino

My point is that you should not automatically refer to the Raspberry Pi just because for your project thingamajig Internet connection required.

In some cases, you may find that your electronics project is limited due to the sheer amount of other things that need to work on the Pi. For example, Neopixels—individually controlled LED strings—require precise signal timing. Quadcopter drones are different. Motor speed changes must be made in a fraction of a second or they will just crash.

The Raspberry Pi needs to run a full operating system — which includes things like CPU multithreading, user processing, and file services — so it can struggle to push the bits out at the required speed. This means that it can sometimes pause top-level user applications when dealing with more urgent low-level processes. Development board like Arduino may be more limited in features (no GUI, for example), but it provides a much lower level, faster access to hardware, and only executes the code you tell it to.

In short, the Raspberry Pi cannot handle electronics projects, but in some cases it can be overkill and can cause complications.

It’s not enough for desktop use

Using the Pi as a Full desktop — even the most recent Model 3 — is incredibly frustrating. To begin with, it runs Linux, which has a steep learning curve and is not suitable for beginners. Linux enthusiasts constantly claim that this year is the year Linux will finally make headway in desktop computing for the average user — but that has never been and never will be.

raspbian pixel

Even with the performance boost the latest model has brought, you’ll still struggle with common tasks. This very short delay between pressing a key and having it appear on the screen will wear you down over time. Good luck with opening multiple web pages at once, or even one tab for smooth scrolling.

Don’t like the non-standard default browser and want to install Google Chrome? This is a minefield. You can’t just download Chrome — you need to install Chromium, the open source version… but the package names have changed so many of the instructions are out of date… and the version available in the Raspbian repository is out of date anyway, so you should probably just compile it’s yourself. Even then, some popular web services like Netflix still don’t support the platform at all.

Welcome to the wonderful world of desktop Linux, where nothing is easier.

If you thought the Raspberry Pi looked like a great way to introduce you to modern computing, stop. You really don’t want her first computer experience to be that awful. Yes, of course, it can handle text documents a bit in Open Office, but nowadays you can do it in literally any web browser via Google Docs. (Ironically, Google Docs is one of those things that will fight Pi.)

A budget Android tablet will likely make a better investment for your grandma, or even a used laptop you can get on eBay for $20 (and if you insist, you can still install Linux on it).

It’s dangerously insecure (in the wrong hands)

It’s very easy to move a web server to a Pi and then open your router to make it accessible from all over the world. Free website hosting, hooray!

But the moment you do that, your machine will be filled with automated hacker bots from all over the world systematically trying to break into your device through the known flaws of the old software. This is true for every website, no matter where it’s hosted, but it’s especially problematic on the Raspberry Pi, which is usually built by hobbyists who aren’t very familiar with security best practices.

Even worse: The Pi is usually running on the user’s home network. Once compromised, this bypasses any other protection an internet router can provide, leaving the hacker free to weed out the rest of the network devices.

attaching a metal plate to the Raspberry Pi

To solve this problem: never expose your Pi as a public server. If you need access to the Pi outside of your network, use a secure third-party gateway (for example, manage your OpenHAB system using the free My.OpenHAB cloud service). If you absolutely need to open up your server to the world, be sure to read up on how to harden your security first.

Some brave people have even tried to turn the Pi into real security devices. Personal mail server nomx ($199) claimed to be «the world’s most secure mail server», but a BBC Click investigation revealed it was actually just a Raspberry Pi running dangerous legacy software and a hard-coded master. secret password «death».

SD card will wear out

The single biggest problem with the Raspberry Pi is that it runs the entire operating system from a micro-SD card (which is one of the reasons it’s so slow). This wears out over time, but the rate at which it wears out will depend on the quality of the card. Proponents of using an SD card will argue that it’s easy to backup and restore images of an entire card, but this is rarely the case in the real world.

While it’s easy enough to download and burn a pre-made image, or create a full backup of your current SD card, it recovery requires a card at least as large as the original A couple of bad sectors on the new card means it will refuse to copy.

There is a solution: in fact, you can enable a special USB boot mode on the Pi. loading loading but it’s quite a complicated procedure that even I couldn’t get to work.

raspberry pee pee drive pee

Dongles, dongles everywhere

The latest model 3 Raspberry Pi actually has Wi-Fi built in, but that’s pretty unreliable. The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero is even worse.

Depending on your project, you’ll probably need an adapter to connect a mini USB to a full size USB port, a USB hub so you can plug in more than one device (preferably plugged into a wall outlet to provide additional power), then a USB adapter Wi-Fi or Ethernet and multiple GPIO headers for soldering. If you want to connect a monitor, you will also need a micro HDMI to regular HDMI adapter.

Oh, and you’d better take the case too. All this adds to the overall cost, and by spending all of this, you can buy something more suitable for the task.

A mini PC or tablet would probably be better

Think carefully about your target audience and purpose. The Raspberry Pi may seem cost effective, but once you start adding all those extras, you can easily get close to $100. For twice the price, you could buy a mini PC running Windows 10. I mean real Windows 10, not the ridiculously limited Windows 10 IoT capabilities. which bears no earthly resemblance to Windows 10 other than in name, but to this day is still quoted to us when we say the Raspberry Pi doesn’t run Windows. It. Not. Window.

With a mini PC or tablet, you’ll get better compatibility with a wider range of applications (not the limited selection of poorly made Linux software) and almost certainly better hardware.

Kano 5

Yes, it’s very technically impressive that you you can make a low powered netbook with a Pi: but the piTop costs $270 for a really bad laptop by any standards. The Kano Pi computer costs $280 for a device that they claim is a DIY computer. I wouldn’t say that putting a bare Raspberry Pi board in a case and plugging in some cables is «build your own computer» for every taste.

The Raspberry Pi has some amazing educational uses, but learning what components go into building a PC is not one of them. The Raspberry Pi is a system-on-a-chip, which means you can’t even point to individual components like the processor, memory, and graphics card because they’re all the same thing.

At one time, we learned what a PC is made of by disassembling it and restoring it. !

So when should you use your Raspberry Pi?

I spent most of this article telling you why you really shouldn’t be using a Raspberry Pi for your next project, but here are a couple of cases where it definitely makes sense.

Several combined use cases. Need a Pi-Hole server running alongside a web server with home automation software? The Raspberry Pi can do them all. You may need to do some extra setup to get everything to play well, but you don’t need one Raspberry Pi for every single project — you can run them all together with each other. Obviously, we don’t recommend running things you’ll be setting up frequently with something you need to be reliable, like a home automation platform or your internet filter. In this case, leave one for experimentation and the other just to run the smart home.

Servers with low power consumption. One of the great things about the Raspberry Pi is that it can run a complete server system and consume very little power—much less than even the most power-efficient small PCs. I don’t recommend the Pi for performance-sensitive tasks like a network file server (even if it’s technically possible), but for tasks where performance isn’t as important, you can leave the Pi running and add just your pennies to your monthly journal. electricity bill.

Raspberry Pi connection to PC

Your project needs a lot of software libraries. One of the great things about Python programming is that a lot of people do it. Whatever your end goal, someone has probably already done it — and made the process easier. If your project will interact with other services and devices, you can find a Python library for it. Face recognition, voice synthesis or Twitter bots? Not a problem with Python on Pi. Of course, Python isn’t the only language you can program on the Pi, but it’s the most popular. We are also big fans of NodeJS.

Combining the Pi with a microcontroller. With the power of the Pi and the simplicity of a microcontroller, you can go a long way: for example, this DIY Siri controlled light bar is a DIY Siri controlled light bar. The brains run on a Raspberry Pi with NodeJS, which is a fake Siri device, which then relays commands to a remote NodeMCU using lighttrip. You can expand with more lights for a fraction of the cost of another Pi.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Pi. I have four Raspberry Pis at home and one more on the way. One manages some of the critical parts of my smart home with such «reliable six-month uptime» that I could never hope to achieve with a Windows machine. But this is not the solution to all problems.

Will the Nvidia Jetson Nano replace the Raspberry Pi? Is Google Coral Dev Board Better Than Raspberry Pi ? We can help you decide:

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