Raspberry Pi

What is Raspberry Pi 4 “Model B”?

Raspberry Pi has conquered the world of SoC (System on a Chip). It has already garnered millions of followers since its release in 2012. Not only is it inexpensive, but it’s also versatile, modular, and multi-purpose. It has become popular not only as a credit-sized computer board but also as a controller in electronic, robotics, and IoT projects. The size, features, and price drive the popularity of the Pi, especially in the DIY community.

To keep up with the current technological trends, the tiny board has undergone plenty of upgrades over the years, and there have been many varieties so it can cater to the needs and demands of its users. In 2019, the Raspberry Pi Foundation released the fourth generation of the multi-purpose board, the Raspberry Pi 4 B. It is the most powerful Pi to date, sporting huge upgrades from its predecessors. The compact board is touted to deliver a PC-level performance, and it didn’t disappoint.

Raspberry Pi 4 B Tech Specs

Raspberry Pi 4 B is the best-performing Pi, and it’s been selling like hotcakes. What’s onboard this pocket-sized board that makes it so in-demand? Take a look at the tech specs of this powerful board below officially released by the Raspberry Pi Foundation[1]:

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
  • 2GB, 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM (depending on model)
  • 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports.
  • Raspberry Pi standard 40 pin GPIO header (fully backward compatible with previous boards)
  • 2 × micro-HDMI ports (up to 4kp60 supported)
  • 2-lane MIPI DSI display port
  • 2-lane MIPI CSI camera port
  • 4-pole stereo audio and composite video port
  • H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics
  • Micro-SD card slot for loading operating system and data storage
  • 5V DC via USB-C connector
  • 5V DC via GPIO header
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled (requires separate PoE HAT)
  • Operating temperature: 0 – 50 degrees C ambient

There’s no need to wonder why the fruity board is so in-demand. With a much faster processor, up to 8GB of RAM, a dual-display with 4K support, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band WiFi, and other astonishing features for such a tiny board that costs less than $100, you get more than it’s worth.

Furthermore, you can add other functions and specific features to the Pi by connecting accessories or HATs (Hardware Attached on-Top) to the integrated 40-pin GPIO header. Examples of accessories you can add are cameras, motor drivers, GPS, and sensors. This makes Raspberry Pi 4 B an ideal component for your projects because you can embed a whole computer that also acts as a microcontroller that can handle multiple tasks.

Raspberry Pi 4 B Use Cases

Because of its small size, Raspberry Pi is easy to integrate into DIY projects, especially in electronics and robotics. It’s also a perfect board for IoT projects because of its wireless capabilities. This is one of the reasons why the miniature computer board has a huge fanbase. Since its release, various projects have been built with the Raspberry Pi 4 B. Below are some of the use cases of the most powerful Pi to date done by creative project builders.

Home Security System

An affordable and IoT-capable home security system was made possible with a Raspberry Pi 4 B board. What’s great about this project is sending video clips and images to your smartphone once the camera is triggered. To complete the project, a Raspberry Pi camera module was set up with the Pi board. Software-wise, OpenCV, Amazon AWS/S3, and Twilio were used. Instead of spending thousands of dollars for the home security setup and installation, build your own using the Raspberry Pi 4 B. You can check out the tutorial from this website if you want to build your own Raspberry Pi security system: https://www.pyimagesearch.com/2019/03/25/building-a-raspberry-pi-security-camera-with-opencv/

Seismograph

One creative user has built a seismograph using the Raspberry Pi 4 B. It made use of a geophone sensor to detect earth tremors which are then converted to digital signals. The data are stored in the Pi, which can then be sent through a text message or a sound system. The project made such an impression that it was featured on Raspberry Pi’s website. You can find the steps on how to build your own Raspberry Pi Seismograph here: https://magpi.raspberrypi.org/articles/build-a-seismograph-with-raspberry-shake

Android TV

This was already done with the previous generations of Raspberry Pi, but the performance wasn’t that great due to slower specs. With the upgraded specs of Raspberry Pi 4 B, your converted Android TV is now more reliable. LineageOS made things even easier for project builders when it released an Android TV build based on Android 9 exclusively for Raspberry Pi 4. Here’s the link if you want to try converting your TV to an Android one using Raspberry Pi 4 B: http://www.geekysoumya.com/how-to-build-an-android-tv-box-with-a-raspberry-pi-4/

Raspberry Pi Tablet

Many DIY project builders have successfully built a tablet out of Raspberry Pi 4 B, especially after the Raspberry Pi Foundation has also developed a 7-inch touchscreen display suitable for Raspberry Pi projects. However, you can still use a display of your choice. This project is quite simple to do. Just assemble the display and the Raspberry Pi board, and flash a microSD card with the Linux-based OS you prefer. One user has built a Kodi-based tablet, and you can check out the details on how to build this Raspberry Pi 4-powered tablet from this link: https://mediaexperience.com/raspberry-pi-xbmc-with-raspbmc/

You can build loads of other projects with the Raspberry Pi 4 B, from simple projects like a radio transmitter to complex ones like an RFID Door Lock. All it takes is your creative mind and tech skills to realize your dream project. If you’re starting, you can check out the available guides and tutorials in building Raspberry Pi projects. Whether you’re using the Raspberry Pi 4 as a normal desktop or building projects with it, you can expect better performance with its powerful specs and features.

Sources:

[1] Raspberry Pi Organization, “Raspberry Pi 4 Tech Specs”, https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/specifications/, N.d.

About the author

Glynis Navarrete

Glynis Navarrete

A freelance blogger who loves to write about anything related to technology. Born and raised in the Philippines and worked in Singapore for eight years as Technical Support for a wide range of IT equipment. Took a dive into the world of freelancing and now enjoying doing what I’m passionate about while not losing touch with technology.