Buying an Arduino was a mistake

Arduino Featured Image
Arduino Logo

If you’re into IoT or something like that, you must be knowing about Arduino. After looking into some interesting Arduino projects, I decided to buy one. I bought the Arduino Uno R3, to be specific, to build an automated pot plant watering module for a school project.

My Arduino Project

Few weeks later, I began to understand the mistake I made. Little did I know about the vast multitude of micro controllers that existed. I found such a great alternative that’s superior in every imaginable way! What’s more is that it comes at a cheaper price!

I am going to tell you all about it. But for those you are just stepping their toes into this field, let me quickly get them up to date about an Arduino. If you know all this, just skip this section and continue reading.

What’s an Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform. It has a both hardware and software side.

Arduino Open Source

Hardware Side

An Arduino runs on an Atmel microprocessor. Arduinos come in a variety of models – Nano, Uno and much more. The board hosts a ton of inputs and various kinds of controllers. You can basically write programs to control an Arduino in the way you want to.

Arduino Hardware

I did the pot plant watering module. All it needed for inputs were a few sensors and the output was provided by a pump and relay system. I had to programme the device to perform calculations based on the inputs and give necessary outputs.

Software Side

In order to programme an Arduino, you need an IDE that is provided by the company for free. This step is relatively simple.

Arduino IDE

You set up the IDE in your PC/Mac, code the programme (basic knowledge of C/C++ is helpful), connect your Arduino to your Mac and upload the code (called Sketch)

If you need more information on Arduino, visit Arduino’s official site.

My problem with Arduino

Okay, so Arduinos are actually really useful in a few cases. But, the only reason why I bought one was the price. See, Arduino is completely open-source, so basically anyone can recreate one and sell it at a lower price. An Arduino Uno actually costs $22. But, I got one for around $6.

My Arduino Uno R3

You might say, “But that’s not original!” Yes, you are right. But it works.

But, despite the $22 price tag, it can’t do much. No wireless capabilities out-of-the-box and totally inferior specs.

Sometimes it makes me wonder, why do people even buy the Arduino Uno?

The specs on an Uno is a joke as compared to Raspberry Pi Zero W, which is the game changer! Like, RAM is negligible as compared to it, CPU is highly low powered… You get it! It does what it does, but it cannot do much. And that’s exactly what my problem is!

The Alternative – Raspberry Pi Zero W

So, what’s the alternative to an Arduino Uno, you ask? My answer is Raspberry Pi Zero W.

You might think, “Raspberry Pi?! Doesn’t that cost a lot more?”. Well, no. Not anymore. The Raspberry Pi Zero W comes at $10! That’s cheaper than the official Arduino Uno.

Raspberry Pi Zero W
Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless capabilities)

If you don’t need wireless capabilities like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you can go for Raspberry Pi Zero which comes at $5. Now, that’s even cheaper than the Arduino knock-offs!

Raspberry Pi Zero
Raspberry Pi Zero (No wireless)

I’d personally suggest that you buy the Raspberry Pi Zero W instead of the Zero. You never know, when you might need to add in wireless features. After all, IoT is all the hype right now. According to this Forbes article, the IoT market is set to double by 2021, reaching $520 billion!

Now let me tell you exactly why I’m so intrigued with the Raspberry Pi Zero W!

The Price

Okay, the Pi Zero W comes at $10 and the normal Pi Zero comes at $5. Compare this to the inferior Arduino Uno which costs $22, and I think you can very well understand why I like this one.

Saving money

I like the fact that Raspberry Pi is trying to cut costs and make their device more accessible to people. This opens up new possibilities for people looking to dip their toes into the IoT and robotics field.

The Specifications

In this field, the Raspberry Pi Zero W just blows Arduino Uno out of the park!

Like the Pi Zero, it also has:

  • 1GHz, single-core CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • Mini HDMI and USB On-The-Go ports
  • Micro USB power
  • HAT-compatible 40-pin header
  • Composite video and reset headers
  • CSI camera connector

Add to these, a few important wireless capabilities:

  • 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Raspberry Pi Zero W

The Arduino Uno just cannot justify its price right now. With a relatively fast processor, generous amount of RAM and a compact size, the Raspberry Pi Zero W is now my favourite little micro controller.

It’s more powerful, more useful and at the same time it’s cheaper as well.

It’s a Raspberry Pi, guys…

As it is a Raspberry Pi, you are able to get your hands onto all the Pi accessories like the cute cases and the good cameras.

As it is a Raspberry Pi, you are able to get your hands onto all the Pi accessories like the cute cases and the good cameras.

With more power you can start building more intensive projects that you can’t even dream of with an Arduino Uno. Guys, Arduino can do only so much. This opens up a vast multitude of possibilities.

Raspberry Pi running Linux
It can run Linux!

It’s basically a mini-computer! You can run Linux on it or any other light operating systems. Connect a keyboard and mouse, and you’re good to go!

Python

Programming a Pi is also easy. Instead of the backdated albeit useful C/C++ language, you get to use more interesting languages like Python and JavaScript!

JavaScript Logo
JavaScript

Remarks

So these are all the reasons why I regret buying an Arduino Uno. I am writing this article so that you don’t make the same mistake I did. However, if you need an Arduino for your project, buy it for all means! It’s still useful albeit for extremely rare situations.

Arduino Logo

What I want to convey through this blog post is that there are better options available out there.

Raspberry Pi Logo
The better choice
So, what do you think of this? Do you share a similar mindset? If yes, then leave a comment below saying, “Yes?”. If you think something else, I’m open to your views as well.

Leave a comment below! I’ll read every one of them!

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