The Raspberry Pi just a great low cost ARM Linux board that costs $25 (Model A) to $35 (Model B), but once you start to add accessories the total cost of ownership may creep up quickly, and in some cases accessories may be more expensive than the board itself. I’ll list some alternative accessories that can be purchased online for a fraction of the cost of the more famous one.
The official Raspberry Pi camera costs $25 + shipping and tax, but you can get a similar 5MP CSI camera for just $18.13 including shipping on Banggood.com. This camera clone should be software compatible with the original one according to the listed features:
- Plugs directly into the CSI connector on the Raspberry Pi
- 5MP resolution image (2592 x 1944), or 1080p HD video recording at 30fps
- 5MP (2592 x 1944 pixels) Omnivision 5647 sensor in a fixed focus module
- 15 pin Ribbon cable to the dedicated 15-pin MIPI camera serial interface (CSI) included
- The camera is supported in the latest version of Raspbian
- Dimensions – 25 x 24 x 9mm
It appears to have similar specifications as the original camera up to to sensor, so I’d guess the image quality should just be the same, but this would probably have to be tested and and compared it to the original R-Pi camera. The Raspberry Pi foundation is most likely getting some funds from your purchase via RS components or Farnell as well, which is not the case with the clone.
The Raspberry Pi comes with a full sized SD card slot, and when you insert the SD card in the board over half of the card is outside the board, which is not always looking nice, and in some applications may be an issue due to lack of space. To solve this problem, there are a few microSD card adapters from Adafruit ($6) and Pimoroni (about $10) among others, but you could save quite a lot by purchasing a microSD card adapter with the same functionality for $1.62 including shipping from BuyinCoins.
If you want to see what’s going on at boot time in the bootloader and the linux kernel, you need to connect a USB to TTL to the UART pins of your Raspberry Pi in order to get the boot log in putty, minicom (Linux) or hyperterminal (Windows). Adafruit sells one for $9.95, but you can also buy a cheaper one which should work just as well
for $2.19, and yes, it includes shipping, from BuyinCoins. [Update: the previous product uses +5V, so using another one supporting +3.3V won’t damaged the R-Pi, and is even cheaper: $1.45]
The Raspberry Pi should not need heat sinks, but if your board is an environment where proper ventilation is not possible, and/or you overclock your Raspberry Pi to 1GHz or more, hits may be useful, a heat sink kits with 3 heat sinks for Broadcom BCM2835 SoC, LAN9512 Ethernet chip, and the voltage regulator are sold, and made of different materials such as ABS, aluminum and copper. Banggood is probably selling one of the cheapest aluminum kit for $1.26 including shipping. If you want a copper heatsink just for the SoC, there’s one for $1.19.
Pimoroni Pibow case is one of the most commonly used case for the Raspberry Pi, and it looks very nice, but costs a little over $20. There are many cases for a cheaper price, but this transparent Raspberry Pi case may be one of the cheapest ones for $3.52 including shipping.
Do you know any other cheap accessories for the Raspberry Pi? If so, let us know in the comments.
Thanks to onebir for the links.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
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