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In my previous posts we have seen how a Raspberry Pi Zero W can be useful for many funny projects. We have used it to realize a media center, setup a web server to support your personal blog, setup a private mail server, or control a stepper motor for your first robotics project.
But not all people know that there is an amazing alternative from Raspberry Pi Foundation that enriches low range hardware with a more powerful low cost PI: Raspberry PI 3 Model A+.
Main difference between Raspberry Pi Zero and Pi 3 model A+ reside in its CPU: Raspberry PI 3 Model A+ integrates a 4 core Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.4 GHz. This allows RPI 3 Model A+ to better answer to projects which require more CPU power (like cryptomining projects). Moreover, the single USB 2.0 port helps with those projects requiring higher I/O throughput (like OctoPI project to control 3D printers).
At the end, RPI 3 A+ is more similar to PI 3 Model B. A+ have less RAM (512 MB compared with 1GB for B), less USB ports (1 compared with 4) and misses of Ethernet ports, having only WiFi (2,4 and 5 GHz) and Bluetooth. Raspberry PI 3 Model A+ also uses less power compared to PI 3 Model B (350 mA compared to 500mA) and is cheaper.
RPI 3 A+ also embed a standard 40-pi GPIO header to interface external world. It has been launched in 2018.
So, Raspberry PI 3 Model A+ hardware features are summarized below:
- Processor: Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC
- Clock speed: 1,4 GHz
- RAM: 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
- Built-in Wireless: 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2/BLE.
- Storage: micro-SD
- Display and Audio: Full-size HDMI, DSI display port and 4-pole stereo output and composite video port
- USB Port: Single USB 2.0 port
- Power input: 1 x micro-B USB for power (no data)
- Camera interface: CSI camera connector
- GPIO: Extended 40-pin GPIO header
- Compatibility of GPIO: Compatible with existing HAT addons
- Dimensions: 65mm x 56,5mm x 5mm
To make Raspberry PI 3 Model A+ working, you will need to have also te following accessories:
- A good quality 5V power supply
- a microSD Card
- HDMI to HDMI cable (only if used with a desktop environment)
- USB Keyboard (only if used without ssh connection and/or with a desktop environment)
Remember the importance of the correct Power Supply and microSD performance class (their impact on overall performances are described in one of my previous articles).
What Can I Do With A Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+?
Below a projects list you can try with this board. You can setup all Pi Zero projects with the same procedures plus a number or addicting cool projects. Find more in peppe8o Home Page.
- Containers over Raspberry PI with Docker, RancherOS and Portainer
- Personal cloud with Raspberry Pi and NextCloud on Docker
- Control a 3D printer with Raspberry, Docker, OctoPi and Motioneye
- Install a complete WordPress host in a Raspberry Pi
- Controlling a stepper motor with Raspberry Pi Zero W
- Private mail server on Raspberry PI Zero W with Postfix, Dovecot and Squirrelmail
- How to create a media center with your Raspberry Pi Zero W
- Setup a proxy server with Raspberry PI, Raspbian Buster Lite and Squid
- Setup a Tor (The Onion Router) proxy with Raspberry PI and Raspbian Buster Lite
- … and many more …