Tag Archives: Model A

A collection of Pis

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Liz: Today’s guest post comes from Alex Eames, who runs the rather wonderful RasPi.TV. He’s been furtling through his drawers, and has discovered he owns a surprising number of Raspberry Pi variants. Thanks Alex! 

Now we have the A+, I thought it’d be a good time to celebrate its ‘birth’ by having a rundown of the various mass-produced models of Raspberry Pi.

I had a look through my collection and was somewhat surprised to see that I have 10 different variants of Raspberry Pi now. There is one I don’t have, but more about that later. Here’s the family photo. You can click it for a higher resolution version.


Rev 1 Model B

In row 1, column 1 we have the Rev 1 model B. Although I was up early on 29th February 2012, I didn’t get one of the first 10,000 Pis produced. This was delivered in May 2012. It’s a Farnell variant (I have an RS one as well, but it does full-time duty as my weather station). This was the original type of Pi to hit the market. It has 256 Mb RAM and polyfuses on the USB.

Rev 1 Model B – With Links

In row 1, column 2 you’ll see a slightly later variant of Rev 1 model B. This one has 0 Ohm links instead of polyfuses. It helped to overcome some of the voltage drop issues associated with the original Rev 1, but it introduced the “hot-swapping USB devices will now reboot your Pi” issue, which was fixed in the B+.

Rev 2 Model B (China)

Row 2, column 1. Here we have an early Rev 2 Pi. This one was manufactured in China. It originally had a sticker on saying “made in China”, but I took it off. This one was bought some time around October 2012. The Rev 2 model B has 512 Mb RAM (apart from a few early ones which had 256 Mb), mounting holes and two headers called P5 and P6.

Rev 2 Model B (UK)

Row 2, column 2. This is a much later Rev 2 Pi, made at SONY in Wales, UK.

Chinese Red Pi Rev 2 Model B

Row 3, column 1. This is one of the Red Pis made especially for the Chinese market. They are not allowed to be sold in the UK, but if you import one yourself that’s not a problem. It is manufactured to a less stringent spec than the ones at SONY, and is not EMC tested. Therefore it bears no CE/FCC marks.

Limited Edition Blue Pi Rev 2 Model B

Row 3, column 2. I’m not going to go into how I got hold of this. Suffice it to say it was not at all easy, but no laws were broken, and nobody got hurt. RS had 1000 of these made in March 2013 as a special limited anniversary edition to use as prizes and awards to people who’ve made a special contribution to education etc. I know of about 5 or 6 people who have them. (At least two of those people traded for them.) They are extremely hard to get. They come in a presentation box with a certificate. I have #0041. Other than their blueness, they are a Rev 2 model B Pi.

Model A

Row 1, Column 3 is a model A. The PCB is identical to the Rev 2 model B, but it has only one USB port, no ethernet port, no USB/ethernet chip and 256 Mb RAM. The $25 model A was released in February 2013. On the day I got mine, the day after launch, I made a quick and dirty “I’ve got mine first” video, part of which ended up on BBC Click. The model A sold about 100k units. Demand for it was outstripped by the model B, although at one point CPC was offering a brilliant deal on a camera module and model A for £25 (I snagged a couple of those).

Compute Module

Row 2, column 3 is the Compute Module, sitting atop the Compute Module development board. This was launched 23 June 2014 as a way to enable industrial use of the Pi in a more convenient form factor. The module is made so it fits in a SODIMM connector and is essentially the BCM 2835, its 512 Mb RAM and 4 Gb of eMMC flash memory with all available GPIO ports broken out. It costs $30 when bought by the hundred.

Model B+

Row 3, column 3 is the model B+. This was launched on 14 July 2014 and was a major change in form factor. Rounded corners, corner mount holes, 40 GPIO pins, 4 USB ports, improved power circuitry and a complete layout redesign. The B+ was announced as the ‘final revision’ of the B. So it would appear that it’s going to be with us for some time.

Model A+

In row 4, all by itself we have the shiny new Raspberry Pi A+, launched 10 November 2014. It’s essentially the same as a B+ with the USB end cut off. It’s the smallest, lightest, cheapest, and least power-hungry Pi of all so far. It’s 23g, $20 and uses just half a Watt at idle.

So Which One Don’t I Have?

I don’t have a Rev 2 256 MB variant. If you have one and would like to trade or sell it to me, I’d be happy to hear from you (alex AT raspi.tv).

I believe there is also now a red Chinese B+ I’ve not got one of those, but it’s only a matter of time. I wonder if there will be a red A+ at some point too? We Just Don’t Know!



Raspberry Pi Model A+ on sale now at $20

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When we announced the Model B+ back in July, we said that we’d also be producing a lower-cost variant, analogous to the original Model A. Since then, James has been beavering away, and today we’re pleased to announce the release of the Raspberry Pi Model A+ at a new low price of $20.

Smaller, lower-power and with added Andrew Jackson

Smaller, more energy-efficient and crazy-affordable

Like the Model A, the Model A+ uses the BCM2835 application processor and has 256MB RAM, but it is significantly smaller (65mm in length, versus 86mm for the Model A), consumes less power, and inherits the many improvements that we made to the Model B+, including:

  • More GPIO. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins. The Model A+ is compatible with the HAT standard for add-on boards.
  • Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version.
  • Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply.

Bokeh dokeh

When we announced Raspberry Pi back in 2011, the idea of producing an “ARM GNU/Linux box for $25″ seemed ambitious, so it’s pretty mind-bending to be able to knock another $5 off the cost while continuing to build it here in the UK, at the same Sony factory in South Wales we use to manufacture the Model B+. You can buy the Model A+ today from Farnell in the UK, and MCM in the US.

We handed out a very few preview units to some people we know with video cameras and microphones. Here’s what they had to say:

Russell Barnes over at Raspi Today also has a review – check it out

Get a Model A and a camera board for $40

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We’ve talked before about how the camera board and the Model A are natural bedfellows. Whether you’re shooting a time lapse video or hollowing out a sweet, innocent teddy bear, the 256MB of RAM on the Model A is easily sufficient to run raspistill and raspivid, and the much lower power consumption gives you a lot more battery life for mobile applications. To allow more of you to have a play with this combination, we’ve got together with our partners to offer the two together for the bargain price of $40.

Model A and camera board – best of friends

UK customers can visit element14 or RS Components (who are also offering a $45 bundle with an 4GB SD card); international customers should be able to find the same bundles on their respective national sites.

Raspberry Pi camera module sneak peek, and Model A unboxing

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Of course, Model A is not the only new bit of hardware we’re releasing in 2013. JamesH just sent me these pictures of the forthcoming camera board to whet your appetite. This is the final hardware; we’ve been working on tuning (Gert tells me that picture quality is “pretty good” at the moment, but we’re hoping to get it to “bleedin’ marvellous” before we release the hardware), and there is some work to do on the drivers, but everything’s looking pretty peachy for the moment. I don’t have a release date for you yet, but we’re probably at least a month away (and possibly more) from being able to sell these at the moment.

Raspberry Pi camera module

Click to enlarge

Raspberry Pi camera module, back

Click to enlarge

Meanwhile, Model A boards are already starting to appear in the wild. Alex from Raspi.TV, a fan site, has what I think is the first blog post about the Model A from someone who’s bought one. (The blue splodge he mentions, which can be removed with meths, is an artefact of the testing process. At certain times of day, when the production line is relatively quiet, that splodge is added as a visual demonstration that the Pi has been through the whole battery of factory tests.)

He also has some video of the board. Plug it in, Alex!

Model A now for sale in Europe – buy one today!

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RS Components and Premier Farnell/element14 have Model A Raspberry Pis in stock as of this morning. (See the Where To Buy area on the right side of the page for links.) For the first tranche of orders, Model A will only be available in Europe. We’ll lift this restriction very soon so the rest of the world can order too.

The Model A is a stripped-down version of the Model B Raspberry Pi, with no Ethernet, one USB port and 256MB RAM. If you’d like to learn more, check out this post from a couple of months back.

Stripping down the Model A means it has two important differences from the Model B: we can make it ten dollars cheaper, at $25; and it consumes roughly a third of the power of the Model B, which is of key importance to those of you wanting to run projects from a battery or solar power: robots, sensor platforms in remote locations, Wi-Fi repeaters attached to the local bus stop and so forth. We’re working on software to get the power consumption even lower. And we’ve seen how well XBMC works on the early 256MB Model Bs we sold last year; it’ll work just as well if you want to make a $25 media centre out of your Model A.

RS customers outside Europe (Allied in the US) can order a Model A now, but there will be a short delay in processing their order because we’re waiting on some paperwork before the Pis can be shipped. Farnell customers outside Europe (Newark in the US) will see Model A appear on their local sites when this paperwork has been filled.

We are very, very pleased to finally be able to offer you a computer for $25. It’s what we said we’d do all along, and we can’t wait to see what you do with it.

Twelve Pis of Christmas: Eben

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Today’s the last day we’ll be listing a very limited pre-production Model A bundle for auction. We’re selecting charities to benefit from the money raised; today’s charity was actually both my and Eben’s first choice, but we couldn’t choose the same one for two auctions, so saved today’s for last. Today’s auction proceeds are going to The Samaritans.

In 2007, one of our very dearest friends, Chris Lightfoot (whom we all called Oggie, so he’ll be Oggie for the rest of this post) killed himself. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 35 in the UK, and what happened to Oggie still bewilders us; he had battled depression for all of his life, but we’ll never know why he did it. He and I had been at school, then later at Cambridge together, where we both met Eben around the same time. He was the cleverest of all of us; Oggie wasn’t famous, but he still merited a half-page obituary in the Times for the astonishing work he’d achieved in his 28 years. He was a founder of MySociety, the e-democracy charity, and…well, Oggie’s Wikipedia page can precis what he did there better than I can. His friends also kept his personal website online – it’s worth spending a little while there to get to know him better. Oggie’s worth knowing.

Oggie, punting in Grantchester Meadows. Ironing was not one of his many talents. Click to visit auction.

Oggie was a modern polymath. He had an innate talent as a social statistician; he was adept at politics. He was a superb coder; an exceptional writer; a mathematician and a funny, funny man. I saw him just before he died, and we were falling about laughing over some of the submissions to the new e-Petitions website (that’s the site that the UK government now uses) which he had built and had to moderate; we clinked glasses over someone’s petition to make Tony Blair take a bath in baked beans. And then he was gone.

There isn’t a single day that goes past when Eben and I don’t think and talk about him. Oggie: I use the silly giant pepper grinder you bought us for our wedding daily. I use your tools to check up on what my MP’s up to, to read Hansard and to host this website. I keep the books you left behind when you died in the bedroom. I wish you were here to enjoy Raspberry Pi with us. You’d have loved it. I miss you.

The Samaritans are there to offer emotional support to people who, like Oggie, are in deep distress. Their job is a hard and taxing one, and they rely entirely on volunteers. They save lives; please bid on this auction.

Twelve Pis of Christmas: Jack Lang

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We’re auctioning off the very first 12 pre-production Model A Raspberry Pis, with some other goodies like signed books, shirts and an Adafruit Pi Plate, to raise money for charities over the holidays. Only 12 of these pre-production boards will ever be made. The first two boards we’re auctioning end in under 24 hours; go and have a look if you want to own a piece of computing history.

Jack Lang, a Founding Trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the Foundation’s Chair, is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. His career hasn’t just been fascinating; it’s positively surreal. He’s been an award-winning restaurateur, a developer for the BBC Micro in its very early days, and founder of a number of successful tech startups. He’s Entrepreneur in Residence at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, lectures at the Judge Institute at Cambridge, and is a Fellow of Emmanuel College. He smokes his own bacon, has a brick pizza oven in his garden, writes for food journals, and makes Consommé à la Royale so wonderful it’ll bring tears to the eyes. He also has a licence for Class IV fireworks displays, and used to be a roadie for Pink Floyd. Jack is brilliant.

Jack Lang, doing something interesting. As usual. Click to bid on Jack’s Pi.

Jack’s chosen charity is one he has a long association with. The Humanitarian Centre is an international development network that connects people working in academia, industry, government and charities to develop more effective ways of working together to tackle global poverty and inequality. The Humanitarian Centre is based in Cambridge, and is affiliated with the University.

Bid on Jack’s Pi here, or click on the picture.

Twelve Pis of Christmas: the mods

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We’re auctioning off the very first 12 pre-production Model A Raspberry Pis, with some other goodies like books, shirts and an Adafruit Pi Plate, to raise money for charities over Christmas.

Today’s charity was chosen (they held a vote and everything) by the team of mods who work so hard to keep our forums a nice place to be: they make sure this site is innocent of spam and flamewars, and make sure it’s a friendly and informative place for kids and new-to-all-this adults to visit. We think they do an incredible job, and they work extraordinarily hard (I’ve just checked the logs, and in the last hour or so just one member of the team has done 50 separate pieces of work, moderating and OK-ing new posts, squashing spam accounts and doing all the other behind-the-scenes stuff you don’t see).

It doesn’t stop: we get thousands of new posts on the forums every day; every single one of them needs checking to make sure it’s not a sneaky advert for a flimsy plastic kichen (we get a lot of kitchen spam, for some reason), and we couldn’t run this place without the incredibly hard work the mods do. So THANK YOU, Abishur, ukscone, ShiftPlusOne, Jamesh, Gert, Obarthelemy, Jongoleur, Dom, Guru, asb, stevepdp, Jessie, Plugwash, Lynbarn, MPThompson, Scep, Mahjongg, Sparky, rdb and Masafumi_Ohta. We appreciate the work you do to keep our forums a safe, happy and informative place all the time, but we particularly appreciate it at Christmas, when we know you have presents to play with and those big boxes of cheesy nibbles to eat.

Click to bid on the Mods’ Pi (and other affiliated goodies). There will only ever be 12 of these pre-production models made, and this one is currently a total steal.

The mods’ chosen organisation is the Open Rights Group (who are not registered with eBay’s charity arm, so the funds look as if they’re going to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, but we will be paying 100% of the money raised on this auction to the Open Rights Group). The ORG is UK’s leading voice defending freedom of expression, privacy, innovation, creativity and consumer rights on the net. ORG is a member organisation of European Digital Rights (EDRi). They campaign to change public policy whenever digital rights are threatened, by talking to policy-makers, informing the public through the media, and mobilising their supporters. 

Click here to bid!


Twelve Pis of Christmas: Pete Lomas

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Merry Christmas everybody! I hope you all found what you were hoping for in your stockings.

Today’s charity auction of a Model A Raspberry Pi and accessories has been set up to benefit Claire House Children’s Hospice, which aims to enhance the quality of life for children and young people with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. Pete Lomas a Founding Trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and MD of hardware design and manufacture company Norcott Technologies, selected Claire House as his charity. All money raised in this auction will be donated directly to Claire House. Click here, or on Pete’s Christmas visage, to bid! 


Twelve Pis of Christmas: Alan Mycroft

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Today’s auction of a Raspberry Pi Model A (with accompanying goodies including an Adafruit Pi Plate, a signed copy of the Raspberry Pi User Guide by Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree, and a swanky Pi T-shirt) is to raise funds for Alan Mycroft’s chosen charity, Mary’s Meals. Alan is Professor of Computing at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, and a founding trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Professor Alan Mycroft. Click to bid on Alan’s Raspberry Pi.

Mary’s Meals provides daily meals to chronically hungry children in places of learning around the world. By providing one good meal for hungry, impoverished children every school day, they give the children both the energy and the opportunity to learn, which can be their escape route out of poverty in later life.

Alan says: “I chose Mary’s Meals for my charity because of the parallels to Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi enables computer education for children and adults previously inhibited by lack of access to open and programmable computer systems. Mary’s Meals enables education for children previously inhibited by lack of access to food”

You can bid on Alan’s Raspberry Pi here.

Twelve Pis of Christmas: Farnell

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Another day, another auction. Today’s Raspberry Pi pre-production Model A bundle is being auctioned for our distributor Premier Farnell/element14′s choice of charity, Take Heart. Take Heart is very special to Farnell – it’s a small local charity very close to their headquarters in Leeds, founded by former patients of the Yorkshire Heart Centre at Leeds General Infirmary and St James Hospital, which raises money to benefit current patients, relatives and staff at the YHC.

Take Heart’s stall at the Leeds General Infimary: click to bid on their Pi!

Today’s auction looks a little different from the previous ones because Take Heart is not listed with Missionfish, eBay’s nonprofit fundraising centre. (A couple of the other organisations we’re going to be donating to aren’t either.) Every penny raised will still be going to the charity.

Twelve Pis of Christmas: We’re auctioning off the first model As!

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Last year, we auctioned the very first Raspberry Pi Model Bs to come off the line to raise money for the Raspberry Pi Foundation. We’re doing the same this year, but instead of raising money for Raspberry Pi, we have selected (and asked some of our closest partner organisations to select) twelve other charities to benefit from the funds raised. Each of the trustees has also chosen a charity – you’ll get to find out what those were as the auctions progress.

The Pis we are selling on eBay are the first production sample Raspberry Pi Model As to come off the line. They’ll have a tantalisingly low serial number, and you will be one of the first people in the world to own one. We’ll also be bundling some other goodies too, including a Pi Plate from Adafruit, a signed copy of the Raspberry Pi User Guide by Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree, a lovely Raspberry Pi t-shirt, and a signed certificate from the Foundation stating that you are the owner of one of the very first Model As ever to be made.

The first two auctions went live this morning. RS Components have chosen CLIC Sargent, the children’s cancer charity, to benefit from the funds raised from their Pi, and the manufacturing team at Sony in Pencoed (the people who build your Pis) have chosen NSPCC Cymru, the Welsh arm of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Each auction will start at £20 ($32.49).

We’ll be releasing another Pi every day until all twelve are gone: get bidding!

A quick Model A show and tell from Adafruit

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We sent our friends LadyAda and PT at Adafruit one of the first production sample Model A boards – as well as stocking them at Adafruit when we go to full production, we had a feeling that they might like to try to get in there early with some add-on development work. It’s just arrived in New York, and they’ve taken some video and pictures. We thought you’d like to share.

PT also took some pictures which are a bit better than the wobbly cell phone one we showed you a couple of weeks back:

Model A product sample. Click to embiggen.

Model A, back view. Click to enlarge.

In other news, Eben picked up his IT Pro IT Leader of the Year award yesterday. We refused to follow him back to the station because we thought it was funny.

Updated to add: Pete Wood from DesignSpark, who we also sent a board to, sent me some video of his own about 45 minutes after I’d first published this post. His video is below; he’s also written a post about the Model A with some comparison photos over at DesignSpark.

First Model A samples off the line!

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We’re having a very busy, very mobile couple of days. We’ve been talking to Welsh teachers, spending time at the factory in Pencoed, doing EMC testing on the camera boards, picking up engineering samples of the Model A, visiting suppliers, and generally running up and down the south of England and Wales with our hair on fire. Sorry I wasn’t able to fit in a post here yesterday; I’ll make it up with an extra post over the weekend.

First up, here’s the very first (blurry, cameraphone) picture of a Model A board. I’ll take some more at the weekend with better detail when I’m near a proper camera.

Raspberry Pi Model A

Raspberry Pi Model A. Click to enlarge.

I posted this picture on Twitter when I opened the box, and had some questions from our followers which I suspect some of you guys might be thinking about too, so I’ll deal with them now:

How much RAM does it have?

The Model A has 256MB RAM.

Updated to add: What’s the power consumption like?

Significantly lower than the Model B’s requirement. For all the gory details and exhaustive figures from our tests, visit this thread in the forums.

Isn’t the Model A kind of obsolete now the Model B has twice the RAM? What could I use it for?

We’re anticipating that those of you who buy the Model A will be using it for different applications from Model B owners. Model A has no ethernet and only one USB slot – and importantly, it consumes much less power than a Model B because the ethernet chip’s missing. We’re seeing demand for the Model A from people making industrial control modules, from roboticists, from people doing automation, for a bunch of headless operations – and, significantly, for people who want to use the Pi as a very cheap media centre. The Model A will only cost $25 (plus tax and shipping).

Wouldn’t it be cheaper for you to use a custom PCB without the existing routing for the ethernet? 

Because of the volumes we’re producing, it’s actually less expensive for us to use the existing PCB we use for the Model B, and just not populate the ethernet part of the board, than to lay-out and separately manufacture a new PCB just for the Model A.

Where are you building the Model A?

We’re making the Model A at the Sony factory in Pencoed, Wales. For the foreseeable future, all Model As will be built there – whichever distributor they’re sold by.


We’re pretty excited. The Model A is something we wanted to produce months ago,  but the crazy demand for the Model B has meant that we’ve not been able to build them, because to do so would mean that we have to cannibalise Model B parts – and that would mean that people who are experiencing the backlog would have to wait even longer. We’re hoping to get them off the line and into the hands of our distributors early in the new year, which will put us in a position where that strap line at the top of the page is actually accurate: you’ll be able to buy a $25 computer, which is what we’ve wanted to give you all along.