So here it is, no doubt you've seen it, being all over the interweb the past few days, starting here.
We received a few today to check them out for compatibility with BitScope Micro and as expected, it performed brilliantly!
At $ 20 Eben and James have pulled a proverbial rabbit out of the HAT.
This tiny little piece of Pi is from our point of view the perfect platform for embedded hardware designs conforming to the HAT specification. It's one step up from the Pi Compute Module and a great addition to the Raspberry Pi family but its very limited connectivity (one USB port only) is likely to be a problem in many applications.
Hardly a problem though because there's the Raspberry Pi Model B+ with four USB ports and Ethernet built-in!
So we thought we'd give it the A+ go and see if it works the same as the B and B+.
And it does, of course! The Model A+ has half the RAM of the B+ (256M) but this is more than enough for BitScope
The single USB port provides enough power to drive BitScope but there is a problem of course; you can't talk to the Raspberry Pi at the same time.
The Model A+ has the same camera and display connectors and the same 40-way connector as the B+. We have some ideas about how we could use this with BitScope Micro and a touch screen display which we may explore later but for now we want to see if we can get the same functionality of the B+ with A+. And we can, if we add a USB hub.
Here we have set-up something similar to what we've done before with B+ but in this case we're using a hub we've connected a keyboard/mouse, WiFi adapter, BitScope Micro and the Mixed Signal Board.
Not nearly as convenient as using a B+ but the idea is to prove it can be done. In fact the compatibility between the B+ and A+ is remarkable, we were able to create a new SD card and install the software on a B+ and simply replace the B+ with the A+ in this configuraton and it all "just worked".
We have not checked the power budget yet but we did find the A+ did not like running this particular USB hub. We'll run some more tests and check the specs but it's not surprising the hub might need a bit more power.
So here's the whole system, HDMI monitor, keyboard, mouse, WiFi network, BitScope Micro and the test circuit.
We put the BitScope DSO software though its paces and as we expected it worked exactly the same as on the B and B+.
So, why choose A+? It's cheaper and if you're going into volume production this may be an important consideration but in the scheme of things it begs the question as to why you'd choose A+ over the B+
Clearly it's smaller and it consumes much less power as Alex at Raspi.tv discovered. Given BitScope Micro has a minuscule power requirement it would make a good combination running on battery power.
However, the absence of at least one extra USB port and no network connectivity is a bit of a drag. It means you can connect a keyboard/mouse or a network dongle or a peripheral like BitScope Micro but only one of these at a time.
What we really want is at least two USB ports in a slimline design like the A+ but we understand that to do this would impact the price of the A+ because it would require an on-board hub chip and support circuitry.
So what's the answer?
If you're into a little hardware hacking and you like the slimline design of the A+ but the connectivity of the B+ then Adafruit may have the answer. Shortly before the release of the A+, Phillip Burgess over at Adafruit posted a terrific blog explaining how to slim down a B+ to be "almost" an A+, almost perfect, two USB ports in slimline design.
But who could complain? The A+ is a remarkably inexpensive single board computer with a brilliant software stack and the B+ has all the connectivity you could want and cost only a little bit more.
If you really want a slimline board Adafruit have the answer and if you want to make a highly integrated design (e.g. Slice) taking advantage of the same software stack there's Raspberry Pi Compute Module.
All in all we're very impressed with the direction the Raspberry Pi Foundation have taken with all these new designs.
We'll be taking advantage of them all with BitScope Micro over the coming months, so stay tuned!
|Raspberry Pi Zero W, a wireless wonder for only $10 !||Feb 28|
|Raspberry Pi 3 Launch and BitScope Blade||Feb 29|
|Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and BitScope!||Dec 01|
|BitScope Micro with Raspberry Pi Touchscreen Display!||Sep 09|
|BitScope, Ozberry & Pimoroni at Sydney Mini Maker Faire!||Aug 12|
|BitScope Blade for Raspberry Pi at Hannover Maker Faire!||Jun 05|
|BitScope DSO 2.9 Now Available.||Jun 02|
|Getting Started with BitScope||May 08|
|BitScope Micro In-Line Data Acquisition||Apr 02|
|Where to Buy BitScope Micro & Accessories.||Feb 19|
|BitScope Connection Ports Explained||Dec 19|
|BitScope Micro and Oscilloscope Probes||Dec 10|
|Hands on with BitScope Micro at electronica 2014||Nov 11|
|BitScope Micro Video Tutorial with Farnell element14||Nov 10|
|BitScope Micro and Raspberry Pi at electronica 2014!||Nov 06|
|BitScope Micro element14 Webinar Review.||Nov 03|
|BitScope Micro Webinar with element14!||Oct 29|
|element14 launches BitScope Micro for Raspberry Pi!||Oct 27|
|BitScope Micro Diagnostic Port Explained.||Aug 16|
|MagPi talks Raspberry Pi B+, HATs & BitScope.||Aug 04|
|Raspberry Pi B+ BitScope x 4 = 8 analog + 32 logic !||Aug 01|
|BitScope Micro, now available at Pimoroni!||Jun 01|
|BitScope Model 10 or BitScope Micro?||Apr 25|
|BitScope Micro, what's in the box?||Apr 17|
|BitScope Micro Questions & Answers||Apr 12|
|BitScope Micro (New Product) for Raspberry Pi!||Apr 11|
|BitScope Workshop at OzBerryPi||Apr 8|
|BitScope Library V2 API Guide Published||Mar 21|
|Optimizing real-time waveform display for Raspberry Pi||Mar 17|
|Volume purchase discounts now available online!||Mar 11|
|BitScope Documentation Updated Online||Mar 05|
|BitScope DSO Version 2.6 Production Release||Mar 03|
|Low cost networked data acquisition with Raspberry Pi.||Dec 17|
|BitScope Server, shared remote access for any BitScope!||Dec 15|
|BitScope DSO updated for Server Compatibility||Dec 14|
|Collaborative Solutions, Online & Interactive Education.||Dec 09|
|Powerhouse ThinkSpace Digital Learning||Dec 04|
|The Sydney Mini Maker Faire Review.||Nov 28|
|BitScope Ed at the Sydney Mini Maker Faire!||Nov 20|
|BitScope Library V2.0 and Proto Scope Application||Nov 15|
|BitScope DSO, Logic, Chart, Meter and Library updated||Nov 12|
|Automated Waveform Analysis with Raspberry Pi||Nov 09|
|Reducing Quantization Noise with BitScope||Nov 08|
|Breadboard One, the 4 Bit Up/Down Counter||Nov 07|
|Using a USB BitScope with any Linux system.||Nov 05|
|Sydney BitScope, Online Demo Updated.||Oct 30|
|BitScope Touch Screen User Interface||Oct 28|
|Network access for USB BitScopes via Raspberry Pi.||Oct 24|
|BitScope is virtually indestructible, just as we intended!||Oct 23|
|BitScope Ed at OzBerryPi, Presentation Review.||Oct 21|
|BitScope and friends at OzBerryPi Maker Space||Oct 20|
|Vertical Offsets and Dual Channel Display||Oct 19|
|How to Install BitScope DSO on Raspberry Pi||Oct 18|
|Breadboard One, a typical Mixed Signal Circuit.||Oct 17|
|Electronic Projects Lab for Raspberry Pi||Oct 17|
|Dual Channel Active Differential Probe (New Product).||Oct 15|
|BitScope Smart Port. The clever connection.||Oct 12|
|BitScope Ed, an Educational Blog about Electronics.||Oct 09|
|Why the oscilloscope update rate is important.||Oct 06|
|Visualizing sound with Sonic Pi and BitScope||Oct 05|
|BitScope Software Blog Launched||Oct 04|
|Differential measurements matter, here's why...||Oct 01|
|How to Install Raspbian and BitScope on Raspberry Pi||Sep 29|
|BitScope Website Upgrade and Blog Launch||Sep 29|
|High speed data acquisition with Raspberry Pi||Sep 25|
|BitScope Software for Raspberry Pi Oscilloscope||Sep 27|
|BitScope DSO 2.7 update (for Raspberry Pi only)||Sep 24|
|BitScope Raspberry Pi Oscilloscope||Sep 20|
|BitScope||BitScope DSO Tutorial Examples||Sep 09|