Low cost, modularity, and open design have turned Raspberry Pi into one of the best-selling single-board computers that came to be used in diverse industrial and consumer IoT applications. However, the launch of Raspberry Pi Pico series, which is a microcontroller-based board unlike Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi Zero, has pushed cost-effective compute even closer to sensors.
Each Raspberry Pi in the series is meant to address different use cases. This article will help you choose the right Raspberry Pi for your IoT project.
When to Choose Raspberry Pi Pico for Your IoT Project
Raspberry Pi Pico can pack a punch when it comes to real-time looped sequential processes in IoT applications that require immediate response and precise action. This allows for effective automation: real-time monitoring and control of process parameters such as temperature, pressure, humidity, and such close to the source.
While it does not possess a microprocessor’s full-fledged capabilities such as running an operating system or audio-visual outputs, Pico is perfect for use in embedded projects where sensor interfacing, basic data processing, and control functions suffice.
Pico can be easily programmed using C, C++, and MicroPython. The extensive collection of community-driven and commercial libraries allows developers to go from concept to solution quickly. This flexibility and ease of development using high level programming language improves developer productivity and ease of maintenance.
Integration with Sensors and Actuators
Raspberry Pi Pico has a generous number of GPIO pins to interface with sensors and actuators essential for the functioning of the IoT device. Apart from the GPIO pins, Pico also has analog inputs and programmable IO. It can read data from the sensors, process it, and control the actuators based on that information, making automation and smart functionality possible.
Low Power and Battery-Powered Applications
When it comes to power consumption, Pico is less demanding. It can run on battery power and works well with devices with limited power sources, making it an energy efficient solution.
At 21 mm by 51 mm, Raspberry Pi Pico can fit into small spaces and be embedded as a ready-to-use module inside other products.
Certified Wireless Connectivity
Pico W and WH integrate pre-certified Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interfaces. Now you can add Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking capabilities to any sensor or solution without the cost, time, and complexity of international wireless certifications and regulations.
At less than $10 a board, Raspberry Pi Pico is a cost-effective way of adding compute and seamless wireless connectivity to sensors and embedded IoT solutions.
When to Choose Raspberry Pi 5 for Your IoT Project
Powerful Compute with Versatile Connectivity
Raspberry Pi 5 is ideal for creating IoT hubs and gateways. The enhanced processing capabilities of Raspberry Pi with a quad-core processor and VideoCore VII GPU provide substantial multitasking, data, and media processing horsepower. Pi 5 has extensive connectivity and integration options in the form of Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB ports to connect peripherals, and more.
Raspberry Pi 5 is perfect for collecting data from other sources over the network or connecting and controlling complex sensors like digital surveillance and security cameras. Pi 5 makes automating processes easier in industrial, agriculture, and healthcare sectors that require local compute and reliable network connectivity.
Broad Support for Operating Systems and Apps
Apart from Raspberry Pi OS, Pi 5 supports other open-source operating systems like OpenWRT and Ubuntu, giving developers the flexibility to choose the OS that best fits their project needs. Ready-to-use tools such as Node-RED and Machinechat JEDI transform Raspberry Pi 5 into an IoT powerhouse.
Graphical User Interface
Raspberry Pi 5 has two 4K HDMI display outputs to connect two monitors or touchscreen devices simultaneously, enabling high-resolution human-machine interfaces (HMI) on large screens for data visualization and control.
Cost Effective Compute at Scale
Using Raspberry Pi 4 is a cost-effective alternative compared to traditional single-board computers based-on expensive desktop or server microprocessors. This is particularly beneficial for large-scale deployments such as commercial and industrial IoT projects.
In summary, Pi series offers versatility and processing power required for complex data integration, visualization, and management, while Pico provides an effective solution for low power, sensor and embedded applications. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on the unique requirements of your use case.
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