A few months ago we were lucky to get the scoop on a new Raspberry Pi a few days before it was officially announced. This model ended up being the Raspberry Pi Model B+, with improvements that included more USB ports, not-dumb mounting holes, more GPIOs, and a decent microSD card connector. Today, we’re proud to leak another revision to the Raspberry Pi ecosystem – the Raspberry Pi Model A+
There really aren’t many details for this new revision of the Raspi, but we can make some educated guesses. The new model features the same not-dumb mounting holes as the B+, 58mm wide by 49mm wide. All the ports are moved to two sides of the board, and the analog audio and video are combined into one 3.5mm jack. Like the normal Model A, this one doesn’t have Ethernet and only one USB port, but the improvements seen from the B to the B+ are still there: a good microSD card socket is on the back, and the 40-pin GPIO header replaces the old 26-pin header. There’s no word if the A+ will feature a RAM upgrade – when the Model B was ramping up production The Foundation decided to bump the RAM up to 512MB. This could happen with the A+, but we’re not holding our breath.
There’s no word when the A+ will be announced, or when it will start shipping. The educated guess would say tomorrow morning, with an analysis of how much power this thing consumes a week after it starts shipping.
When the Model A Raspberry Pi is released in the coming weeks or months, you’ll have the opportunity to buy an even cheaper ARM Linux computer that will draw 1/3rd the power of the classic Model B. Some people just can’t wait a month to get their hands on it, so [Blair] decided to make his own.
The Model A Raspberry Pi is nearly the same as the Model B; the only things missing are an Ethernet port, a single USB port, and the associated chips required to drive these ports. In a brave bit of desoldering, [Blair] removed the Ethernet/USB controller with a butane torch.
In part two of [Blair]’s adventures, he removed the Ethernet connector and replaced the two-high USB ports with a single port, greatly decreasing the height of the Raspberry Pi.
As of right now, this is just about the only way to get your hands on the lower power, more compact Raspberry Pi. We can’t wait, though, for the eventual tutorial of how to turn a Model A into a Model B. That’ll be an awesome demonstration of god-like soldering skills.
[Liz] over at the Raspberry Pi foundation took a trip over to the manufacturing facility in Wales and found some of the very first Model A Raspi samples. They’re just samples, but this means we should be seeing a few Model A Raspberry Pis pop up on Element 14 sometime very soon.
As the lower-cost model of the Raspberry Pi, the Model A lacks a few features of the more complete Model B. For starters, there is no Ethernet port or controller, and only one USB port, This greatly reduces the power requirements for the Model A, measured by the Raspi Foundation at about 1/3rd of the power draw of the Model B.
To save costs, the Model A is using the same PCB as the Model B – the Ethernet controller and port simply aren’t populated. It may seem like a downgrade, but if you’re planning on building a Raspi-powered autonomous drone, high-altitude balloon, or other robotics project, the reduced power draw will be a great feature.