Is prototyping with a Raspberry Pi a bad idea?

Is it because you’ll need to redesign all the hardware when it’s time for production?

Raspberry Pi makes industrial versions. You probably never hear about them unless you’re trying to actually do it. If you go on their website and you click on their “for industry” section, you’ll see the path from Raspberry Pi prototype to Raspberry Pi device is pretty clear these days.

Let’s say, you start with the basic Pi. You can do a lot with that, but it’s got a bunch of connectors, a bunch of things you might not want exposed. You don’t want people just going in there saying “I’m gonna see what the serial output is right now”.

Raspberry Pi has what they call compute modules. It’s a module that is just this center part of the Pi, without any of the peripherals on it. And you can design your own custom carrier board for the compute module.

So you don’t have to do all the hard work of making your own single board computer. You just have to do the work of designing the peripherals you actually want for your device on a carrier board. Then you plug the module in and you can kind of treat it just like a Pi.

So, that path is pretty easy. If you want higher power than the Pi, NVIDIA has a line called the NVIDIA Jetson. It’s the same kind of thing. You get a Jetson dev kit - I think the Jetson even has the header is compatible with Raspberry Pi - and they also have a module version for your custom applications. That path is pretty easy as well.

When you prototype with microcontrollers - so you start with an Arduino and then you want to move - that gets a little complicated. It’s just not standardized. It’s not running Linux, right?

So you can’t be like, “I want to run Linux on a different computer now”. Well you can’t do that with embedded C code.