Arduino and Pi Share Boardspace

A Raspberry Pi Zero (W) and Arduino are very different animals, the prior has processing power and connectivity while the latter has some analog to digital converters (ADCs) and nearly real-time reactions. You can connect them to one another with a USB cable and for many projects that will happily wed the two. Beyond that, we can interface this odd couple entirely through serial, SPI, I2C, and logic-level signaling. How? Through a device by [cburgess] that is being called an Arduino shield that supports a Pi0 (W). Maybe it is a cape which interfaces with Arduino. The distinction may be moot since each board has a familiar footprint and both of them are found here.

Depending on how they are set up and programmed, one can take control over the other, or they could happily do their own thing and just exchange a little information. This board is like a marriage counselor between a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. It provides the level-shifting so they don’t blow each other up and libraries so they can speak nicely to one another. If you want to dig a bit deeper into this one, design files and code examples are on available.

Perhaps we’ll report on this board at the heart of a pinball machine retrofit, a vintage vending machine restoration, or maybe a working prop replica from the retro bar in Back to the Future II.

18 thoughts on “Arduino and Pi Share Boardspace

      1. True. This newer one is more configurable, and smaller board. Mine allows for the shield to be mid stack (only as tall as the stacking headers, and still has access to the HDMI output.

  1. I think it’s Sir Boris Houndleroy who wears the capes, raspberries typically wear HATs… ;)

    Terminology aside, this looks like a useful way to accomplish what is probably a very common pairing! I like Anathae’s approach too, there’s definitely more than one way to do this.

    Power always seems to be the gotcha, though — linear LDOs all over, no cooling, no shutdown logic… Usually when I see this pairing in the wild, the Pi spends most of its time sleeping, and the Arduino has a big FET or something to turn it on when needed. Neither of these bridge-boards seems to offer that functionality, unless I’m mistaken.

    Food for thought, though!

  2. Using real-time microcontroller in combination with high power general purpose processor is nothing unusual, your computer is loaded with such subsystems.
    So featured combo is natural fusion of micro with nanosecond resolution and multicore Linux running processor. Probably not the best for A/D conversion (16bit ADC with SPI/I2C interface and precise voltage reference would be much better choice), but nice and pretty versatile combo in any case.

    1. It’s a shame Intel jettisoned the Curie product line just as the UDOO x86 was hitting the market, because good lord was that ever a powerhouse combo. Quad-core Braswell CPU paired with a Curie (quark core + ARC core) and all sorts of sensors, all on one board. Tons of GPIO, some ADCs, all the buses you’d expect, and the Curie can power the Braswell on and off.

  3. To coin a phrase, “everything sucks”. The IO interface of the Arduino just sucks a little less, in some aspects, than the one on the Pi. The processing on the Pi sucks less than that of the Arduino.

    Put them together, and you have something that sucks less than either board on it’s own.

    1. Obviously if you are a person who is buying such a thing you are planning to do that. Oh, you don’t manufacture your own ICs? You know, at some point you need to build your own thing.

  4. I’m a little worried HackADay is looking at my search results. I was just looking for something like this a few weeks ago. Although, since I was planning on using the Ardunio as a daughterboard, I was wondering if there wasn’t a 3.3V chip/board that didn’t require the voltage converters.

    1. Your search history is the best. We closed the tip line a few months ago and now we just monitor what you browse on the internet.
      I am kidding, 100%, of course. It is nice to see that we think alike though.

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