Thanks to the convenience of Raspberry Pi’s GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) pins, there are always many expansion boards and breakouts to extend the Raspberry Pi’s abilities, such as adding more sensors and LEDs, combining with microcontrollers and LCDs, etc. But the question is, with so many to choose from, which HATs should you go for?

Raspberry Pi HATs help Jams to achieve more possibilities and explore the world of electronics.

Here we have selected the 17 most popular HATs and Shields for Raspberry Pi available at Seeed Studio. We hope this selection will help with your future projects and help squeeze every little juicy drop out of your Pi! This article includes descriptions and tutorials or projects to help you quickly find out what can be achieved in your next project.

At Seeed Studio, we provide not only different Raspberry Pi boards, but also a full selection of Raspberry Pi HATs, shields, starter kits and accessories that can help you expand the Pi’s capabilities.

1.    Grove Base Hat for Raspberry Pi and Pi Zero

The Grove Base Hat for Raspberry Pi ($9.9) provides a range of Digital, Analog, I2C, PWM and UART ports to meet all your expansion needs. Also, with the help of a built-in MCU, a 12-bit 8 channel ADC is made available to the Raspberry Pi.

There are currently about 60 Grove modules that support the Grove Base Hat for Raspberry Pi. We will continue to add more compatible modules in the future. If there are any new modules you would like to add to your Raspberry Pi, let us know!

For software installation, we provide step-by-step guides and one-click installation where possible to help you get started quickly with Raspberry Pi.

Alternatively, you can choose the Grove Base Hat ($8.9) for Raspberry Pi Zero as shown below.

Raspberry Pi Mic Array Solutions¶

2. ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT ($9.90)

ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT is dual-microphone expansion board for Raspberry Pi designed for AI and voice applications. You can build more powerful and flexible voice products that can integrate with Amazon Alexa Voice Service, Google Assistant, and others.

The board is developed based on WM8960, a low power stereo codec. There are 2 microphones on both sides of the board for collecting sound data and it also had 3 APA102 RGB LEDs, 1 user button and 2 onboard interfaces for further expansions. What’s more, a 3.5mm audio jack and JST 2.0 speaker out are both available for audio output.

With ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT, you could build you own Amazon Echo.

how build your own AVS using a Raspberry Pi and ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT.

This tutorial explains how you can build your own AVS using a Raspberry Pi and ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT. All you need is a ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT, Pi Zero and an external speaker.

Also, by combining with Snips, home barista comes to life with this voice-enabled coffee machine: An open-source, private-by-design coffee machine that keeps your favorite coffee and caffeination schedule private.

3. ReSpeaker 4-Mic Array for Raspberry Pi ($24.90)

ReSpeaker 4-Mic Array for Raspberry Pi

ReSpeaker 4-Mic Array for Raspberry Pi is a quad-microphone expansion board for Raspberry Pi designed for AI and voice applications.

Different from ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT, ReSpeaker 4-Mic Array is developed based on AC108, a highly integrated quad-channel ADC with I2S/TDM output transition for high definition voice capture, which allows the device to pick up sounds in a 3 meters radius. Not to mention, the 4-mic version provides a neat ring of 12 APA102 programmable LEDs.

With 4 microphones and the LED ring, your Raspberry Pi will be able to perform VAD (Voice Activity Detection), estimate DOA (Direction of Arrival), perform KWS (Keyword Search) and indicate the direction via the LED ring, just like an Amazon Echo or Google Home.

In this tutorial, you can learn how to make your own Google Assistant using Raspberry Pi and ReSpeaker 4-Mic Array

4. The ReSpeaker 4-Mic Linear Array Kit ($29.90)

The ReSpeaker 4-Mic Linear Array Kit is great for applications which are stationary such as mounted up against a wall. Capable of 180° voice detection, this kit can detect the relative location, or focus on a specific direction while ignoring other voice inputs. The array has a flexible cable allowing it to be placed in numerous orientations and allowing more options for enclosure design. Unlike other boards, this board only has a single blue LED.

In the below project, we create a smart mirror with Raspberry Pi and a 4-Mic Linear Array

Mojing Mojing – A Smart Mirror with ReSpeaker!: A smart mirror with voice interface control via ReSpeaker. We also connect it with Wio Link to control other objects!

5. ReSpeaker 6-Mic Circular Array Kit for Raspberry Pi ($39.90)

ReSpeaker 6-Mic Circular Array Kit for Raspberry Pi

The ReSpeaker 6-Mic Circular Array Kit is great for projects where the device is situated in a central position. Capable of 360° voice detection, this kit can also detect the relative location, or focus on a specific direction while ignoring other voice inputs. This array also has a flexible cable for greater design flexibility.

Notable Features:

  • 6-Mic Circular Array
  • Ribbon Cable for Flexible Placement
  • 12 x RGB LEDs
  • 2 x Grove Connectors (I2C & Digital)
  • 1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack (Stereo)
  • 1 x JST Speaker Connectors (Mono)

7. Raspberry Pi LoRa/GPS HAT – support 868M frequency ($32.00)

The Dragino Lora/GPS HAT is an expansion module for LoRaWan and GPS applications with the Raspberry Pi. This product is intended for those interested in developing LoRaWAN solutions.

Getting GPS to work on a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

In this tutorial, find out how to build LoRa Gateway with Raspberry Pi and Dragino Lora/GPS HAT. Start building your LoRa Gateway at only $32 with this Hat from Seeed Studio.

8. Raspberry PI GPS Module ($36.90)

Raspberry PI GPS Module

It is easy to convert a Raspberry Pi into a GPS receiver with this cheap Raspberry Pi GPS module. For the many applications requiring precise location information over vast areas, GPS functionality is ideal. You can easily plug in this module via a USB port.

9. Raspberry Pi Ultimate Cooling Dual Fan ($12.95)

Raspberry Pi Ultimate Cooling Dual Fan

Is your Raspberry Pi often overheating? Then this Raspberry Pi Ultimate Cooling Dual Fan is a must have for your daily Pi activities. This dual fan system consists of high-speed yet low noise fans and a heat sink, and 3M thermal tape is included to help ensure efficient and swift cooling of the processor.

Features:

  • Easy to install
  • Fast Heat dissipation
  • Silent low noise Fan
  • Smooth and straight aluminum material
  • 3M tape makes installation easier
  • Ultimate cooling fan kit for Raspberry Pi 3/2/B+
  • Reduce up to 20 degrees

Add a Real Time Clock to Raspberry Pi

10. Pi RTC (DS1307) ($4.45)

Pi RTC (DS1307)

The Pi RTC is based on the clock chip DS1307, it can provide a real-time clock (RTC) for Raspberry Pi via an I2C interface. The clock can count seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, days of the week, and years with leap-year compensation valid up to the year 2100. The clock operates in either the 24-hour or 12-hour format with an AM/PM indicator. To keep this module ticking when the Raspberry Pi is powered off, a 3V CR1225 lithium cell can serve as an alternative power supply.

Follow up our Wiki tutorial to set up RTC function in 4 steps

11. High Accuracy Pi RTC (DS3231) ($6.75)

Difference between Pi RTC (DS1307) and High Accuracy Pi RTC

Different to the Pi RTC (DS1307), this High Accuracy Pi RTC is based on the clock chip DS3231. The DS3231 is a low-cost, extremely accurate I2C real-time clock (RTC) with a built-in crystal oscillator. With the TCXO (temperature compensated crystal oscillator), the RTC provides seconds, minutes, hours, day, date, month, and year information, can automatically adjust the date for months with fewer than 31 days, and includes corrections for leap years. The clock operates in either the 24-hour or 12-hour format with an AM/PM indicator.

Same as Pi RTC (DS1307), simply add a high accuracy RTC to your Raspberry Pi in 4 steps.

12. Raspberry Pi PoE HAT– only compatible with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. ($24.95)

Raspberry Pi PoE HAT

The Raspberry Pi Power over Ethernet HAT is a small accessory for the Raspberry Pi. The PoE HAT allows you to power your Raspberry Pi using Power over Ethernet–enabled networks and is capable of providing all the power needed for running your Raspberry Pi. It also comes with a brushless fan to help with temperature regulation.

13. Pimoroni pHAT BEAT ($19.95)

Pimoroni pHAT BEAT

The ultimate audio add-on for your Pi! pHAT BEAT gives you high-quality, digital, amplified, stereo audio and 16 beautiful little RGB LEDs, in two rows of 8, that are ideal as a VU meter, and 6 buttons to control your audio.

The six buttons on the edges of pHAT BEAT are linked direct to GPIO, and can be used for whatever you wish, although we’ve suggested some uses on the board, like rewind, play/pause, fast-forward, volume up and down, and power.

Pimoroni provides a tutorial to help you install the pHAT BEAT software along with the Python library. Learn how to change the settings in the ALSA config (ALSA deals with sound output in Linux), how to control the VU meter LEDs separately, and how to use the buttons on the board.

14. Pimoroni -Rainbow HAT for Android Things™ and Raspberry Pi – Sensors, Inputs and Displays ($23.90)

Pimoroni -Rainbow HAT for Android Things™

For developers who want to explore Android Things with Raspberry Pi, we greatly recommend this Rainbow HAT with a buffet of sensors, inputs, and displays. It’s ideal for weather stations, clocks, timers, stopwatches, mood lights, or wherever your imagination takes you.

The MagPi said that “Rainbow HAT has an impressive number of features crammed into it, making it useful for all sorts of projects” in their four star review.

Pimoroni has put together a Python library to help Jams get started easily. Find it here: https://github.com/pimoroni/rainbow-hat

15. RS-485 Shield for Raspberry Pi ($7.95)

RS-485 Shield for Raspberry Pi

RS-485 is a cost-effective solution in serial communication networks. It can be used for data rates of up to 10 Mbit/s or distances up to 1200m at lower speeds. This RS-485 Shield is a standard add-on board for Raspberry Pi. It is integrated with a simple screw terminal as well as a DB9 interface.

Features:

  • One driver and one receiver per part
  • EMI noise minimization
  • Transmission rate up to 2.5Mbps
  • No driver slew rate limitation
  • Short-circuit current limited
  • Fail-Safe Applications
  • Please follow up our Wiki tutorial to get started with RS-485 Shield.

16. 4-Channel 16-Bit ADC for Raspberry Pi (ADS1115) ($10.95)

4-Channel 16-Bit ADC for Raspberry Pi (ADS1115)

The analog-to-digital converter (ADC) is a common accessory for Raspberry Pi. This is a 4-channel ADC based on Texas Instrument’s ADS1115, which is a precision, low-power, 16-bit ADC chip. We designed this ADC into a compact Raspberry Pi Zero form factor and integrated an analog Grove connector so that you can also use analog Grove modules with it.

17. 8-Channel 12-Bit ADC for Raspberry Pi (STM32F030) ($9.9)

We all know that the Raspberry Pi is an excellent SBC for controlling digital inputs & outputs, however, ADC is a common accessory for Raspberry Pi when your project needs to read analog signals. Nowadays many cheap MCUs have a built-in ADC, so we designed this 8-channel ADC based on STM32F030, which is a cost-effective, low-power ARM Cortex M0 MCU.

With this breakout, 8 channels are easily accessible from the MCU, and we’ve integrated 4 analog Grove connectors for direct Grove compatibility.

That’s our wrap-up of our favorite Pi expansions that we think will help you in your Pi journey. Which have you used? Did we miss any other must haves? Let us know.

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