I feel like the last kid on the block to get one of these new Pi models.
But here are a few comments and observations on the latest product from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
This is my 7th Pi which now includes models A, B rev 1, B rev 2 & B+.
The RaspberryPi is slowly evolving. First came the model B with 256MB RAM, which was soon replaced by revision 2, having 512MB RAM.
The appearance of the A and B models has always looked a little awkward to me, especially the way the USB sockets hang out from the board, while the network socket sits neatly along the edge of the board.
The new B+ has a much more pleasing appearance, with USB and network sockets properly aligned along the edge of the board. The old composite video socket has been removed, with a new AV socket providing both audio and video outputs.
The B+ also has 4 sensibly positioned fixing holes, and loads of extra inputs & outputs to play with.
|RaspberryPi model B+ alongside the model B|
The appearance and layout of the earlier board is not an issue when you consider the original market for the RaspberryPi: Education
However, if you want to use the Pi for battery powered projects, there are a few points to consider.
Although the B+ has the same sized board as before, the selection and positioning of the connectors has helped to reduce the overall foot-print.
- Aligning the USB connectors with the edge of the board has saved approximately 5mm.
- The removal of the video phono socket has saved 8mm, but this is reduced to 6mm due to the sighting of the new AV socket.
- But the biggest change is the move from SD to uSD card, which has taken approximately 15mm from the foot-print.
When fitting the RaspberryPi into a box suitable for your battery powered project, you will also have to consider any peripherals. The space occupied by USB dongles and connectors may result in a much larger box than expected.
But if you are running a headless Pi with a dumpy wifi dongle and powering the board via GPIO pins, the foot-print is pretty minimal.
The RaspberryPi consumes just a few watts, which is great if you want to leave it running all day, every day from a mains power supply. But the power consumption is still a bit of an issue for battery powered projects.
Every milli-amp of precious battery current counts. So with that in mind I carried out some simple tests.
These measurements are not absolute values. They are just to give a simple comparison between models. But it is clear that the new power circuit in the B+ offers clear power savings over the original model B.
However, the model A is still the lowest power option (and the lightest, if your project involves "taking to the sky").
And now for the model A+
I understand that there are no plans for a model A+ (or B-). However, it would be nice to have a cut-down Pi based upon the B+ but without the connectors fitted.
This would allow hobbyists to fit whatever connectors they require, keeping the foot-print, weight and power consumption as low as possible.
All things considered, the B+ is a positive step forward.