Getting Started – Raspberry Pi Compute Module

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The Raspberry Pi has become a firm favourite in the maker community and there are many thousands of projects that use the Pi including many professional products.

The Compute is a small SODIMM shaped PCB that provides the full Raspberry Pi environment from a device roughly a quarter of the size of the original Raspberry Pi.

SODIMM is a cheap and common form factor which enables developers to easily integrate the Compute into any project. As for the subject of a a “spec bump” well there is no real need. The Pi is a stable development platform for educators, commercial and industrial applications and the Foundation is trying to provide a mature and feature rich hardware platform and software stack in the long term.

The Compute Module, as in the SODIMM, is nothing without an expansion PCB board and the Foundation have kindly provided a development board in the shape of the Compute Module Input Output board, or CMIO for short.

Looking around the CMIO we can see a single USB 2.0 port and two micro USB ports. To use the CMIO with a keyboard, mouse and wifi dongle we will need a powered hub. The two micro USB ports are for 5v power and USB “On The Go”, often shortened to OTG. The only way to install an OS on the Compute is via the OTG port. Other ports include an HDMI port for connecting to a monitor. Interestingly the CMIO comes with 4 expansion ports on the perimeter of the board. These are CAM0, CAM1, DISP0 and DISP1. These ports enable the board to work with two of the official Raspberry Pi cameras and the soon to be released official Raspberry Pi display.

What  can the Compute used for?

The Raspberry Pi is a wonderful platform to work with, and the GPIO is a great addition enabling anyone to easily work with hardware. But the original GPIO only has 26 pins with which we can work, for the average user this is more than enough. From these 120 pins the user can adapt 45 pins to meet the needs of their project. The remaining pins are reserved for power, 1V8, 3V3 and 5V and Ground (GND). The use of I2C and SPI is also available via the GPIO in the same manner as the standard Raspberry Pi. The Compute is the ideal platform for GPIO based projects and this is clearly its specialist area. Possible projects based on this board are limitless, in much the same way that the Raspberry Pi has found a home in many projects.

The Compute Development kit is a great platform to build your expansive Internet of Things (IoT) and sensory projects. Early adopters will already have a great foundation of projects, created for the original Raspberry Pi, at their finger tips.

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