Hooked On Raspberry Pi...Now Tryin Arduino

I love the Raspberry Pi and am going to get my daughter working on it now. We also acquired a clone Arduino board (or 3) and lots of sensors and other material. I know the Arduino is used through a computer, but are there similarities between the Arduino and the Pi?

They are somewhat different beasts even though they look a bit alike. The Arduino is a microcontroller and the Raspberry Pi is a full-scale computer. As you say, programs for the Arduino have to be developed on a computer, then downloaded. You can do development directly on the Raspberry Pi. However, the Aduino is better at real-time operations because of lower overhead.

My anecdotal experience is that the Raspberry Pi is better for teaching. Younger kids have trouble with what happens where on the Arduino.

One word of warning: The Arduino uses 5 volt logic; the Raspberry Pi uses 3.3 volt logic, and the GPIO pins are not 5-volt tolerant. That means you can’t connect Arduino outputs directly to the GPIO pins. If you do, you’ll fry your Pi. That would be a sort-of advanced setup anyway. If you need to do it, there are inexpensive two-way level converters. A search on “raspberry pi arduino level converter” turns up a lot of good info.

It looks like there are sensors and other parts (HATS) that will work with both. I am thinking about working with my daughter to build a RetroPi over the next few weeks…and using Arduino to introduce more of the circuits. She is really interested in both.

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Have fun and let us know how it goes!

Would a simple voltage divider work?

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There’s a pretty neat voltage divider tutorial here: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/voltage-dividers/all

Voltage dividers can step voltages down, e.g. from 5 V to 3.3V, but cannot increase voltage. So, you could use a voltage divider to connect an Arduino output to Raspberry Pi input, but not the other way around. The solution is to use a bi-directional level converter like this one: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/bi-directional-logic-level-converter-hookup-guide