Categories
Review

Raspberry Pi B Plus Review

I am a big fan of the Raspberry Pi, I have used several different versions including the Model A, and B. I have also been using the Banana Pi, a board build from the Raspberry Pi with beefed up hardware. Today a package arrived at my apartment and inside was the new Raspberry Pi Model B+. First impressions of the board are nice, and some of the improvements are exciting and some of the improvements lead me to believe there might be a Raspberry Pi 2 in the near future.

rsz_b- I am a big fan of the Raspberry Pi, I have used several different versions including the Model A, and B. I have also been using the Banana Pi, a board build from the Raspberry Pi with beefed up hardware. Today a package arrived at my apartment and inside was the new Raspberry Pi Model B+. First impressions of the board are nice, and some of the improvements are exciting and some of the improvements lead me to believe there might be a Raspberry Pi 2 in the near future.

Hardware

The hardware is mostly the same as the original B, however the layout of the board is greatly improved. You still have 512mb of Ram and the same BCM2835 application processor as the Model B. There has been some improvements in other areas though. The B+ now features 4 USB 2.0 ports which is 2 more than the original Model B and 3 more than the model A (Which is super annoying by the way). The new B has more GPIO pins at a total of 40 pins. The pinout for the first 26 pins is identical to the model B (or A) but with additional pins added to the board as well.

Mechanical specs: you’ll want to look at these if you’re building cases or other housing. Click to enlarge.
Mechanical specs: you’ll want to look at these if you’re building cases or other housing. Click to enlarge.

Existing accessories that use the GPIO pins should mostly still work while ones that are blocked by the new pins can easily be adapted. The new board now uses micro SD as opposed to a full size SD card which is nice because you no longer have a large card sticking out the back of it. The audio circuit has been improved with a dedicated low-noise power supply and the compost video and 3.5mm audio jack have been combined into a single jack.

GPIO diagram – there’s a lot more to play with now! Click to enlarge.
GPIO diagram – there’s a lot more to play with now! Click to enlarge.

The mounting holes have been moved on the board to be evenly spaced out (finally) for easier mounting and the connectors have been moved to the sides of the board while a single side is just for GPIO and the bottom of the board needs only small access for the micro SD.  The board now consumes less power. The linear regulators have been replaced with switching ones. The power consumption of the board has been reduces between 0.5W and 1W.

Software

The software is the same as you would expect from the model B and A. The B plus uses the existing Raspbian and NOOBS images that you already have on your A or B. You can download all that fun stuff here. If you want to use an existing install you will need to download new firmware first.

Final Thoughts

The new Raspberry Pi is really nice however I would not urge you to rip apart your existing projects and replace them with the new Pi. The existing model B is just fine for now. I use mine to control my Printrbot 3D printer with Octoprint. I plan on using the Model B+ to create a small owncloud server to share files with my girlfriend and sync our calendars. If you don’t own a Pi yet, I suggest you consider getting this one over the other models right now because of the improvements in hardware and similarities in software. This board is still too slow for me using a GUI, I tend to stick to command line with the Raspberry Pi. I use the Banana Pi for a GUI because of the increased hardware. Let me know what you think of the model B+ or ask me questions about it below.

Pictures

Some pictures of the board.

Some pictures comparing the Raspberry Pi B plus with the original B

Some pictures comparing the Raspberry B plus with a Banana Pi, Beaglebone Black, and Arduino Uno for size comparison and differences.

 

Original Post From The Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Model B+ is the higher-spec variant of the Raspberry Pi. It replaced the original Model B in July 2014. Compared to the Model B it has:

  • More GPIO. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins, while retaining the same pinout for the first 26 pins as the Model B.
  • More USB. We now have 4 USB 2.0 ports, compared to 2 on the Model B, and better hotplug and overcurrent behaviour.
  • Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version.
  • Lower power consumption. By replacing linear regulators with switching ones we’ve reduced power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W.
  • Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply.
  • Neater form factor. We’ve aligned the USB connectors with the board edge, moved composite video onto the 3.5mm jack, and added four squarely-placed mounting holes.

We recommend the Model B+ for use in schools: it offers more flexibility for learners than the leaner Model A, which is more useful for embedded projects and projects which require very low power, and has more USB ports than the Model B.

Source: Raspberry Pi Blog