Alternatives to Raspberry Pi?

Hi all,

I am looking for some Linux alternatives to Raspberry Pi/Raspbian that are known to be able to run Node-Red.

Currently using a Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB RAM and it is fine, but it is a bit "hobbyist' and I want to take my design up a notch. I am far from an expert so any hardware guidance would be most appreciated!

I am using Node-Red to drive a touchscreen HMI interface, to read 2-4 sensors over USB, control 5-10 relay outputs via GPIO headers and connect to other devices over a LAN ethernet connection. I am not currently using Wifi or BLE but i will in the future.

Can anyone suggest some alternatives to the Pi and Raspbian? Thanks

What are you looking for that is not provided by the pi?

How big a notch do you mean ? Intel NUCs are quite nice, as are Fit-PCs, but there are many many small form factor PCs that are more than capable. Old laptops are also great as they have build in screen and battery backup of course.

The PI is working fine - it is more aesthetics, I would prefer something that is not a PI if someone opens up the box. Like I said, the PI is a bit "hobbyist", I want something that looks a bit more industrial or at least is not a PI.

I dont need anything more than the performance of a 4GB PI 4, it seems to be doing the job if you use a fan.

I looked at the mini computers but they seem to not have the GPIO for inputs and outputs. Laptops would be the same.

I made a module that has inputs or outputs and works via a USB port. Up to 64 inputs or outputs per USB port are possible. Management is simple (the corresponding node when it works as an input, and when it works as an output by sending a command via a button / injection / switch). If you are interested I can send you a link to PM.

Maybe some ideas from these two videos?

P.S. Many small scale professional products make use of a Raspberry Pi so there shouldn't really be much to be "ashamed" of it.

If you rely on gpio then yes, you will need to ensure there are drivers that work the way you want for other hardware.

Of course the Pi folk do have their compute module that doesn’t look like a Pi.

Thanks all.

Markost - sounds interesting, so you are using some serial to parallel hardware to drive the outputs and parallel to serial hardware to read the inputs? Then plug into the USB port via a FT232 USB to TTL Serial Cable and Node-Red sees it as a serial device?

dceejay - the PI computer module would be good if it had more than 1GB or RAM - when running my Node-Red dashboard, background code and touchscreen it it always over 1GB in RAM - I think 2GB is minimum, performance seems better when using the 4GB pi. What does your comment about Foil refer to? Maybe I missed something.

ristomatti - thanks for those videos.

For the SBC like odessy x86j4105 or LattePanda. They use an Arduino to interface the GPIO headers. No problem writing the C code for Arduino, but how does it interface with Node-Red running on the Linux core? Obviously I can't use node-red-node-pi-gpio. I searched available nodes in the library and there is nothing obvious, or do you need to write your own Arduino drivers and node-Red sees it as a serial connected device?

I'm running NR in a VM on a laptop. A bunch of Arduino Nanos with ENC28J60 Ethernet shields are doing IO at different places around the network. NR maintains connections to them with the TCP Request node, basically treating them like telnet servers. They parse commands from NR to set outputs and they spit out a line of text every time an input changes. I found they also need to spit out some text at regular intervals, even if there's no activity to report, if the TCP session crosses any NAT router because the router will kill the session if it doesn't see any activity for a time. Let me know if you'd like to see the flows or the sketches.

Yes, I use an arduino that communicates with port expanders via i2c, and an arduino that communicates with node-red via usb.
The same hardware is used for both modes of operation (jumper selection).
I/O are digital (expanders are PCF8575).

Sorry. Foil = gpio. Darn phone autocorrect. Fixed above.

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Honestly I don't know how it works but based on the LattePanda board pinout it seems there's IO pins for the CPU itself (serial and SPI from the looks of it). So I'd assume either via those or that the Arduino acts like it was constantly connected via USB serial:

I'll need to read the documentation a bit, I got curious also. I've had a list for one of those LattePanda boards for a long time already. It's very difficult to accept the price as I really have no need for such (yet at least). :laughing:

Edit: Actually they seem to have (at least) a C# library wrapper for the Arduino API for Windows: - curious but not interesting at all to me. Maybe they have something similar for Linux as well but I wonder who Arduino libraries would work if the API was wrapped like that...

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