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Arduino vs Raspberry Pi: Breaking Down the Differences

Arduino vs Raspberry Pi: Breaking Down the Differences

Arduino vs Raspberry Pi: Breaking Down the Differences

In the world of electronics and programming, two names often stand out: Arduino and Raspberry Pi. These two platforms have revolutionized the way we approach DIY electronics projects, from simple LED light shows to complex home automation systems. But what exactly are they, and how do they differ from each other? Let's dive in and explore.

A Simple Introduction


Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It's a microcontroller board that can read inputs - light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message - and turn it into an output - activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board.

Raspberry Pi

On the other hand, Raspberry Pi is a low-cost, credit-card-sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It's a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing and learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It can do everything you'd expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet to making spreadsheets, playing games, and playing high-definition video.

Going Deeper: The Key Differences

Purpose and Functionality

The primary difference between Arduino and Raspberry Pi lies in their purpose and functionality. Arduino is a microcontroller, which is just a part of a computer, while Raspberry Pi is a fully functional computer. Arduino is ideal for repetitive tasks such as opening a garage door, reading temperature sensors, or controlling a simple robot. With its full operating system (OS) capabilities, Raspberry Pi can handle complex tasks like being a full-fledged media center, web server, or game console.

Programming and Operating System

Arduino uses its own language, based on C/C++, and has its own Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The code you write for Arduino is directly run on the microcontroller. It doesn't have an operating system; instead, it runs one program at a time, over and over again.

Raspberry Pi, however, runs a variety of operating systems, the most popular being a version of Debian called Raspbian. It can also run Windows 10 IoT Core. This means you can program it using a wide range of languages, from Python and Java to C/C++ and Perl, among others.

Power Requirements and Performance

Arduino boards are generally less power-hungry than Raspberry Pi. They can run on batteries for days or even weeks. On the other hand, Raspberry Pi requires a stable 5V power supply and consumes more power. It also generates more heat due to its higher processing power.


Raspberry Pi typically has built-in Ethernet and Wi-Fi, making it a better choice for projects requiring internet connectivity. While Arduino boards don't usually come with such features, they can be connected to the internet using an Ethernet or Wi-Fi Shield. New models of Arduino come with Ethernet, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.


Arduino boards are generally much cheaper than Raspberry Pi. However, the cost can vary depending on the specific models and features you need for your project.


In summary, Arduino and Raspberry Pi serve different purposes and are suited to different types of projects. Arduino is perfect for simple, repetitive tasks and projects that interact with hardware, while Raspberry Pi is more suited to complex tasks that require a full OS and have higher processing needs. Your choice between the two will depend on the requirements of your project. Both platforms offer a wealth of learning opportunities and are excellent tools for anyone interested in electronics, programming, and DIY projects.