Raspberry Pi or Arduino – Which is best for IoT home solutions?

We have growing numbers of requests about IoT home solutions since customers are not satisfied with existing solutions, which are either too expensive or cannot satisfy specific requirements. A lot of makers customize their own IoT home solutions with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, and in this article, we will compare these two platforms in regards to their suitability in the IoT home.

1. The computing power of the two devices is completely different since the Arduino UNO runs on an 8-bit ATmega328 chip at only 20 MHz, whereas the Raspberry Pi runs on an ARM 11 CPU with 700 MHz, which can make all the difference.

2. Raspberry Pi can run a complete operating system like Debian, which means you can develop with your favorite languages (Python, Java, etc.). The Pi can also multitask easily. Arduino is a typical single board computer, which can only run limited processes at one time and the functions are not as many as Raspberry Pi.

3. Pi comes complete with ports, like USB, RJ45, HDMI and an SD card reader. But Arduino depends more on external interfaces to provide the necessary connections.

4. Pi is essentially a mini computer so it is more expensive than Arduino, so which you choose depends on the application. If it can be satisfied by Arduino, there is no need to waste money on a Raspberry Pi.

5. With a complete operating system, the Raspberry Pi takes longer to initiate, and you cannot guarantee your code will run as expected after restarting, especially if you are not familiar with Linux. The good thing about Arduino is that its simplicity makes it very fast to restart and it can run your commands immediately after.

Considering the above factors, I would choose Raspberry PI to be my central server, in charge of communication, data collection and storage from the Arduino, dealing with massive data workload (such as media processing), and handling data from mobile apps to make it more convenient to control applications. Raspberry Pi can work with Arduino Ethernet and Zigbee on data transmission.

Meanwhile, the Arduino is ideal for sampling data from the environment, such as light intensity and temperature, and handling simple functions. Some modules are comparatively independent which can be controlled and monitored by Arduino alone. There is no need to transmit data to a Raspberry Pi.

When combining Arduino and Raspberry Pi for IoT home applications, we can save money by only giving the more complicated tasks to the Raspberry Pi. And to make things even simpler, Seeed has a great replacement for the Arduino, with the same functions of an Arduino Uno except with added Grove ports. At just $6.9, it is compatible with the growing family of over 300 Grove sensors, which adds many more options in a simple and convenient manner. For Raspberry Pi, Seeed recently released the Pi hat which does the same but for Pi, giving you access to the Grove system.

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January 2019