eddyeddy
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Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:17 am

I have seen many companies that have the smart home technology (Samsung SmartThings, Apple Home, Nest etc.) and usually, its systems have a single hub and different sensors (similar as if I build with Pi3 and sensors)

I had a chance to test Samsung SmartThings. It offers different sensors that can be powered by a single battery that lasts for years. I am curious to know what kind of microcontrollers and microchips they're using if the battery lasts that long?

For example, this project started with Raspberry Pi and then they moved to manufacture they own chip, again curious where it's manufactured and what kind of chips they might use?

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/26 ... e-automati


What is your opinion, do you think the Raspberry Pi, Arduino and other open source chips can be scalable for big projects and do you think the technology is reliable?

Heater
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:43 am

eddyeddy,

You question is very vague, what with talk of sensor networks, battery power, etc, but:
...do you think the Raspberry Pi, Arduino and other open source chips can be scalable for big projects and do you think the technology is reliable?
Firstly, neither the Raspberry Pi or the Arduino employ any Open Source chips. Neither does anything else unless you want to count the RISC V chips from SciFive.

The technology is reliable. The Arduino is after all just an ATMEGA MCU which are used by the billion in all kind of industrial and other devices.

What do you mean by "scalable" and "big projects"? The answer here depends on your intended application.

When it comes to battery powered devices that will run for years, forget it. The Pi is certainly not designed for that. There are many microcontrollers out there that are. See STM32, Cypress, ESP32, etc, etc, etc...
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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B.Goode
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:51 am

do you think the Raspberry Pi, Arduino and other open source chips can be scalable for big projects and do you think the technology is reliable?


The Broadcom chip at the heart of a Raspberry Pi system is not Open Source, nor is it a microcontroller. The Raspberry Pi Foundation have sold approaching 20 Million boards based on Broadcom chips: does that qualify as "scalable for big projects."

The Atmel chips used on Arduino boards may be microcontrollers, but again I don't believe them to be Open Source.

Do Broadcom or Atmel sell unreliable chips? Unlikely!

I think your attempts to understand this area are based on misconceptions.

hippy
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:54 am

eddyeddy wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:17 am
I had a chance to test Samsung SmartThings. It offers different sensors that can be powered by a single battery that lasts for years. I am curious to know what kind of microcontrollers and microchips they're using if the battery lasts that long?
They use microcontrollers and other components which support low power modes and have their hardware and software tailored to utilise those low power modes to the full. Most microcontrollers will support low power modes.

eddyeddy
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:23 pm

Now it makes sense what I was missing.

My question would be if there are any companies that are using Raspberry Pi, Arduino etc. with simple sensors for a commercial use?


E

jamesh
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:35 pm

eddyeddy wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:23 pm
Now it makes sense what I was missing.

My question would be if there are any companies that are using Raspberry Pi, Arduino etc. with simple sensors for a commercial use?


E
I am sure there are a huge number of people doing exactly that. However, most commercial endeavours never mention what they are using them for, so most never get publicised.
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mfa298
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:54 pm

eddyeddy wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:23 pm
My question would be if there are any companies that are using Raspberry Pi, Arduino etc. with simple sensors for a commercial use?
As was mentioned by someone else Arduino is just a family of carrier boards for a few of the Atmel AVR microcontrollers. The Atmel AVRs (and plenty of other similar microcontrollers) are used in a range of products (microwave ovens, radios, clocks, 3d printers, cars etc.). The Atmel AVR range is huge and Arduino uses just a small part of that range.

So No they might not be using Arduinos, but Yes they're using the same (or very similar) technologies to the Arduino.

As for the use of the Raspberry Pi in commercial products the answer you got from JamesH is probably as good as you'll get (he may well know some actual company names but isn't allowed to make that public).

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:10 pm

Most of those sensors are probably using Bluetooth Smart or BT low energy.
Pi's with BT, Pi3's and Zero W could talk to those sensors and act as the Nest/Basestation/Gateway/Hub.

Good luck trying to get a Zero W to run for years from a coin cell :lol:

Most of those BT sensors are probably running ARM Cortex MO/M0+/M3 cpu's.
Longer range ones could be LoRa or one of these RPMA ones that sit in the 2.4GHz band and have a huge 177db link budget.
Actually those RPMA's are so new I don't think anyone has put them in stuff yet?

You could try a Mobile phone/Pi/Microbit combo.
Microbits have the low power and BT you need for sensors, you might just need bigger batteries?
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:14 pm

I should have read the Kickstarter.
DIY with Microbits :lol:
Or Redbear Labs BLE modules?
Or Adafruit BLE Feathers or.......
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

MarkTF
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:35 pm

According to their github, the Airfy Beacon uses a Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 ARM M0 with BLE SOC. There exists an Arduino-compatible development board and core for a device in this microcontroller family, but I'm guessing that's not the development path Airfy took. Rather it looks like they did a proof of concept on RPi and then iterations of their own hardware using the nRF device, presumably with the Nordic development environment.

https://github.com/RIOT-OS/RIOT/wiki/Bo ... rfy-Beacon
https://www.nordicsemi.com/eng/Products ... y/nRF51822
http://redbearlab.com/redbearlab-nrf51822/
https://github.com/RedBearLab/nRF51822-Arduino

Paul Hutch
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:23 pm

The Internet of Things Podcast had a good interview with an experienced embedded designer that is a good introduction to this space for the layman.
This is the team you need to build a connected product https://staceyoniot.com/this-is-the-tea ... d-product/

Being an experienced embedded systems designer myself I was impressed with how well they introduced the topic in language most people can understand.

hippy
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:10 pm

eddyeddy wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:23 pm
My question would be if there are any companies that are using Raspberry Pi, Arduino etc. with simple sensors for a commercial use?
Quite possibly.

It would seem unlikely a Pi will be appearing in many sensors because of the rather high current requirements it has, lack of low power modes and power management. But when mains powered or phantom powered, or for more complicated sensors - cameras, networked sensors - it may be appropriate.

For a base station which normally would be mains powered it is a viable candidate. It would be a case of balancing what makes a Pi appropriate against the challenges that presents, and compared to other solutions. A Compute Module (CM) has advantages over a non-CM solution but some use cases might find a non-CM solution acceptable.

Every potential solution will have its pro's and con's; what is used will come down to what criteria there is for assessing solutions against.

Could a Pi be at the heart of a scalable sensor network ? Sure.

Would a Pi be a good or bad choice for that ? Depends on what criteria you have.

ghellquist
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:27 pm

As one example you might look into OpenEnergyMonitor.

One setup uses temperature / humidity sensors powered by an Arduino. The emonTH then sends its data, sort of a few times a minute, over radiowaves. The central unit can be an RPi. Battery should last something like a year I believe.

/Gunnar

Heater
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Re: Are Raspberry Pi and other microcontrollers scalable for commercial projects?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:58 pm

eddyeddy,
My question would be if there are any companies that are using Raspberry Pi, Arduino etc. with simple sensors for a commercial use
Sure.

I know of one city were Pi have been used on busses to signal their arrival at intersections and thus get priority from the traffic light controllers.

We are using Pi for remote data collection in California. It's great to be able to talk to them from here in Scandinavia.

I think you will find Pi used in all kind of places that people don't advertise.

In all the cases I know of, the powers that be in the companies involved have been set against using the Pi. Claiming that "it's just a toy" and it's "not industrial strength". On the other hand they have been very happy when one subversive nerd in the company rolls out a solution using the Pi that is many times cheaper than what they wanted to develop and out there working before they have even nailed down a specification!

For simple sensors? Well no. If you want cheap and low power, years of battery life, like the wireless thermometers stuck in my plant pots in the garden, the Pi is not the solution.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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