Raspberry Pi vs BeagleBone Black

Ahh, the age old question of which is best.   I’ve seen many a forum thread discussing this very topic.   And as ever many of the threads descend into total carnage!

So what has prompted me asking this?   Well my Raspberry Pi powered weather station has died and doesn’t want to play any more.   We had a power cut on Thursday morning and that was the final nail in the coffin for the SD card file system.   It needs a total rebuild!   And of course I didn’t take an image of it when it was in a working state.

Its not dead dead.   I can still mount it and read the data off.   And I’ll admit to a small portion of blame in this as I didn’t fully sanitise the amount of writing to the SD card.

Its not like I used a cheap SD card either.   An Integral Ultima.   But no SD card is really designed for lots of small write cycles.   They are designed for cameras or MP3 players.   It does make booting a Pi really easy.   Burn an image to the SD card, plug it in and away you go!   Very simple.

So there are 2 basic issues with the Pi that I’m not overly happy with.   1) the simple fact SD cards are not overly reliable and 2) the socket leaves a lot to be desired.   I’ve had to wiggle the SD card a few times to get it to boot.    (and 3) the lack of good IO on the Pi!   another story…)

I’m probably in the minority here as I’m expecting the Pi to run 24/7 in a not exactly kind environment.   The garage does get a bit damp.

The Beaglebone black does have the advantage of an on-board eMMC NAND flash.   And those have proper wear levelling.   As to how much better it will be compared to an SD card?   I will have to try.

The Beaglebone does also have the advantage of lots more IO.   Downside is its 3v3 rather than 5v and all my weather station IO has been based around Arduino type hardware so is all 5v.   *sigh*   This is something the hobbyist is going to have to deal with more and more.   5v is old skool and most electronics is 3v3 at most, if not 2v5 or below.   Would have been neat for the beagleboners to put some 5v tolerant IO on the board, even if it was just enough to replicate the IO of the Pi.

But I think the weather station is going to go fully Arduino. (I’m not using the IDE.   I live and breathe Atmel AVR so coding direct to the hardware is easier for me)   I’m going to try the ethernet shield as its cheap and maybe a Yun.   Costly compared to a Pi though.   Plan would be to make the weather station pipe data direct to my home sever (which runs RAID discs and has a UPS) and log the data there.   No more local storage.   Probably safest.