There is a transformation of hobbyist electronics by a new breed of single board computers in recent decades. These computers are complete, built onto a single circuit board. A single board computer doesn’t require additional storage or memory to boot, unlike a contemporary desktop computer. There is no need to squish a pea-sized globule of thermal compound beneath a heatsink, plugging in a million case fans, strapping in RAM, or threading cables through a crowded case.
People experience differences in purpose with these construction differences. A modern high-performance PC can do many things that a single board computer cannot do. However, it means the single board computer doesn’t attempt. Instead, a wide range of industrial, commercial, and educational applications use the SBCs. The single board computer serves in automated checkouts, jukeboxes, virtual slot machines, ATMs, and almost everywhere else.
But only the part-time tinkerers and aspiring engineers are appealed to these devices. That is why it is imperative to analyze some noteworthy single board computers.
Differences Between a Single Board Computer and an MCU
It is vital first to draw an essential distinction between an MCU and a single board computer. The Microcontroller Unit, MCU, incorporates the whole computer into a single chip as an embedded system. The output pins, programmable input, storage, memory, and a processor are under the hood. Users will find microcontrollers hard to program, and they are not powerful. However, designers can use them for several tasks a fully-fledged computer can do and manufacture them from next to nothing.
A microcontroller will consume no power, sits dormant for weeks when there is no operating system to inhibit it when a user puts it in their television’s remote control. It will come to life when they press a button to generate a signal at its connecting pins. As such, this action will cause it to fire off suitable signals. People can find microcontrollers in some embedded computers, and they can see them everywhere, from the current home IoT device to industrial computers. It is now time to examine the ubiquitous Raspberry Pi, the most famous of all single board computers.
Many people know one or two things about Raspberry Pi. There are more than nineteen million units sold worldwide from this single board computer successive generations. Taking inspiration from the BBC Microcomputer, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has made such a success. They marketed these single board computers towards the would-be coders’ classrooms and as an educational tool.
However, there is more to its applications. When it was released, the world’s electronics community got interested in it. Thus, it spawned a tiny army of imitators as it enjoyed significant success.
It is good enough to closely examine the latest model specs, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+;
Power – V/2.5A DC power input
OS – Raspbian
Ports – Full-size HDMI4 USB 2.0 portsCSI camera portDSI display portComposite video port4-pole stereo outputMicro SD port
Pinouts – 40-pin GPIO header
Connectivity – 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN; Bluetooth 4.2; BLEGigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0 (maximum throughout 300 Mbps)
Memory – 1GB LPDDR2
CPU – Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit
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