Recently my company purchased a Raspberry Pi for me to experiment with.  The Raspberry Pi  is a credit card sized development board/computer which runs the Linux operating system (can run Android too.)  This product boasts a Broadcom BCM2835 system-on-a-chip (SoC), meaning that the chip is the computer.  What exactly does that mean?  Computers, desktops and laptops, if you were to open them up you would see a circuit board with several “Chips” on it.

A Computer Chip is an integrated circuit containing hundreds, thousands and even millions of transistors and diodes.  Each chip preforms a special function, like operating the monitor, operating the port that your mouse, keyboard and memory devices plug into, plus the many other functions like audio, etc.  All of these chips are connected to a larger chip called the processor or CPU which uses an operating system to do all that needs to be done, (run software and talk to the other chips.)

The Raspberry PI has 2 chips on board.  The main chip, or CPU is what is called the SoC or system on a chip which is a 700 MHz ARM processor and 512Mb RAM.  This chip has everything built into it, CPU, MPU, Video chip, Audio chip, USB chip……..  You get the point, the chip “IS” the computer.  The raspberry also sports 2 USB ports, Audio out, LAN connection, HDMI video out, SD Card slot (up to 32Gb,) PAL and NTSC video, but no VGA, power connector and 3 headers (connectors) for connecting project boards, etc.

Having the ability to run a full-fledged operating system means that this device can do anything a full sized computer can do, listen to music, watch video, word processing, connect printers, programming, on and on.  Having “Headers” means that an experimenter/geek /nerd/tech/engineer can experiment with project boards or specially designed equipment.  There are several projects on the net for the adventurous. If tech is your thing, then the Raspberry Pi is your choice.

In the future I plan on posting my initial setting up of the RPI and pitfalls that existed for me, my success with using the FTDI USB232R with a 2×16 LCD and my adventure getting the MIMO 7″ Touchscreen LCD up and running.

Raspberry PI Version B

Raspberry PI Version B Image linked From Wikipedia.

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