bluelion7
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Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:32 pm

Hi, having discovered that the above model is so memory -constrained, Chromium doesn't work. This makes Scratch,Python impossible to use. I know there is some software offline, Mu, Thonny, Scratch 2 but if you want helpfor these on a browser the whole thing crashes. Plus,presumably Trinket is online in order to try to do some of those lovely Pi projects so these are also impossible to do. Scratux(offline Linux-based version of Scratch 3) doesn't seem possible either to install as I use Noobs/Raspbian and I think it needs Xubuntu or something. It probably hasn't enough memory anyway! The only thing I achieved was to play a few offline games. Wow! I presume using fancy GPIO pins and breadboards is another ball game entirely. Does anyone know about any of this ,in plain English please. Thanks. Down but not out. ;)

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:57 pm

How soon we forget...

512MB memory is quite useful for any number of things. It's also twice what the original Pi Model B had.

So what can you do with a Pi3A+? Anything a Pi0, Pi0W, or A+ can do, but with a lot more CPU capability.

If DRAM prices continue their downward trend, it's *possible* that we might see a 1GB Pi3A+.

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rpiMike
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:58 pm

I use a Pi3A+ in my weather station - its perfect.

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 8#p1497749

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DougieLawson
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:59 pm

Works fine as a media centre/portable DVB-T receiver with a TV-HAT running tvheadend and Kodi.
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bluelion7
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:09 pm

Thanks for your positive replies. If only you could give me links to those projects.( thanks for the weather station link). Not sure I understand it all but I will try and look them up. So, Is it really for hardware extensions? Sorry, I don't mean to act stupid it is just I am new to this and have found a lot of this very befuddling! Thanks again :)

Andyroo

Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:11 pm

bluelion7 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:32 pm
Hi, having discovered that the above model is so memory -constrained, Chromium doesn't work. This makes Scratch,Python impossible to use...
Just because Chromium does not work other things do. Python still runs very well. Most development I’m involved in at the mo runs on a Pi Zero W fine (and some is actually developed on a Zero via USB networking). The extra CPU cores is handy for multi-tasking that is not memory bound.

Have a search for projects running on the Pi Zero and all of these will work on the 3A+

One odd advantage is that VS Code can run remote development/debugging on the 3A+ where it will not run on the Zero due to CPU chipset (not that I’ve tried it yet).

I like to think of Chromium being memory greedy rather than the Pi constrained :lol:

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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:38 pm

bluelion7 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:09 pm
Thanks for your positive replies. If only you could give me links to those projects.( thanks for the weather station link). Not sure I understand it all but I will try and look them up. So, Is it really for hardware extensions? Sorry, I don't mean to act stupid it is just I am new to this and have found a lot of this very befuddling! Thanks again :)
I have a Pi3A+ set up as a portable music player. It has a shutdown/restart button (GPIO 5 & 6) and randomly plays tracks from a 16GB selection of .wav files. This would almost certainly work just fine with an A+ or Pi0, but the Pi3A+ had just come out....

Heater
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:06 am

It it beggars belief that someone thinks a full up Linux running computer with 512MB of RAM is unusable for lack of memory.

512MB is eight thousand times more than a high end personal computer in 1980. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intertec_Superbrain

With machines like that we had word processors and spread sheets. We could develop control systems for entire factories with machines like that etc, etc,

It's eight hundred times more memory than the graphical CAD system for electronics schematics and PCB layout I worked on in 1986.

Clearly I have been around too long.

Image
Last edited by Heater on Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:19 am

The mainframe at the first company I worked for out of college had 32K bytes of memory. It was the only computer in the company that did about $200 million in business per year. That was in 1970. It was an IBM S/360-30.

Heater
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:35 am

And, and, pretty much the first graphical computer game, Spacewar!, ran on a PDP-1 with only 4096 eighteen bit words in 1962.

Image

On the other hand... memory is so amazingly small, cheap and low power today that, meh, might as well use all that come by.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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DougieLawson
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:53 am

It's all about the bloat.

The ZX80 had 1K and half of that was video memory. As the program grew the picture shrunk.

A modern developer's laptop has 8GB.

The modern developer doesn't learn to keep things tight. The argument is if you've got it use it, some garbage collection process will look after you.

The 3A+ is small in modern terms, so the developers think they can apply their 8GB principles to a tiny machine when they're optimising code for the memory size in the latest iPhone.

Learning to keep things tight was a valuable skill, but is lost to history.
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Gavinmc42
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:51 am

I have not tried Chromium on a 3A+, I did noticed a 1GB swap file helps.
It needs lots of memory, 2Gb and 4GB Pi's are fine.

PiCore Linux runs fine on BCM2835 Pi's.
A desktop/browser called Fifth worded on the 4 core Pi's with PiCore.

So what to use Pi3A+ for?
Single purpose wireless connected servers/dataloggers/webams....
Display signage apps.
Robotics, no Ethernet saves some battery power.

Very good for embedded applications, less useful as a browser/YouTube machine.
Would this work on a 3A+? https://freetubeapp.io/#download
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:05 am

bluelion7 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:32 pm
Hi, having discovered that the above model is so memory -constrained, Chromium doesn't work. This makes Scratch,Python impossible to use. I know there is some software offline, Mu, Thonny, Scratch 2 but if you want helpfor these on a browser the whole thing crashes. Plus,presumably Trinket is online in order to try to do some of those lovely Pi projects so these are also impossible to do. Scratux(offline Linux-based version of Scratch 3) doesn't seem possible either to install as I use Noobs/Raspbian and I think it needs Xubuntu or something. It probably hasn't enough memory anyway! The only thing I achieved was to play a few offline games. Wow! I presume using fancy GPIO pins and breadboards is another ball game entirely. Does anyone know about any of this ,in plain English please. Thanks. Down but not out. ;)

It is a good replacement for the Raspberry Pi 1A+ when a commercial product needs updating...
Retired disgracefully.....

k-pi
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:48 am

I knew the limitations of a 1GB ram Linux machine well in advance of getting my RPi3A+, (I had several old computers with just that amount of ram), I got it to see just what it could do. :lol:

It can browse the web, if you're not in a hurry, but is more useful as a command line Linux machine - a music player is a very good example use of its resources. It will also run NetBSD, should you be inclined to try it out. ;)

LTolledo
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:53 am

....The RPi3A+.... What is it for? .... currently as something on my wish list.....as its still not locally available where I am...... :(
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rpdom
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:04 am

Pi 3A+? Probably handles a lot more than my Pi 1A with 256MB that has been running quite happily in my garage for the last 5 or 6 years.

I've run Chromium browser on a Zero W with a status page of company systems, updated every minute. It was a bit slow to update, but worked fine.

Andyroo

Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:26 am

rpdom wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:04 am
...
I've run Chromium browser on a Zero W with a status page of company systems, updated every minute. It was a bit slow to update, but worked fine.
Think you have hit the nub of the issue with a bit slow to update as going by the OPs posts we have heavy browsing, games and GUI development - the older Pi boards are not strong in these areas.

The last month has seen me back to using a Zero for development - it still runs faster than I can type and I still cannot justify buying a 4 (even the 1Gb version) as my tasks do not need the power. Next few weeks though I move up to a Zero W with header pins 8-)

One other advantage of the 3A+ board is that it is 64Bit so it should keep up with more software long term than the 32bit Zeros at a smaller footprint than the standard boards.

EDIT: Forgot a memory comment. I used to use Superbrains - lousy for typing on / carrying / cleaning as the case moulding was covered in little nobs / flakes of hard plastic and the whole thing sounded hollow (esp when you used the floppy drive doors). I really wish the designers had to use one of them for typing before releasing them as the height gave you sore wrists quickly (before RSI / HSE checks).

Heater
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:57 am

To be honest I never used the Superbrains much. They were in the office for normal people to use.

We engineers out the back shed had Intel Intellec development systems:

Image

As for typing, the Superbrain and the Intellec were way better than the teletypes we had to bash on before microprocessors became a thing. Ergonomics had yet to be invented :)
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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B.Goode
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:19 pm

bluelion7 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:32 pm
Hi, having discovered that the above model is so memory -constrained, Chromium doesn't work. This makes Scratch,Python impossible to use.


What do you think is the impediment to using the Python interpreter?

There is a recent Twitter post here from someone who claims to have gained a teaching qualification using Python on an RPi Zero. Those models have similar memory but a less powerful processor than your RPi 3a+.
So proud to get my certificate for Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python on @FutureLearn: https://t.co/3k5OGCn0oA #RPiLearn and all done using a Linux laptop, with a serial connection to a Pi Zero and using terminal so I could do it whilst out and about.
Ref: https://twitter.com/scipiguy/status/118 ... 93607?s=19

Heater
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:41 pm

Wow!

"all done using ... serial connection to a Pi Zero and using terminal "

Top marks to @scipiguy.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:42 pm

I run Motion Eye OS on mine and use them as surveillance cameras.
https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjOYwiwlwDtpgtIa2Wo ... e=ObCEMj
I also have a couple of the older A+'s setup as weather stations.
https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjOYwiwlwDtpgq8_PRQ ... e=kj3E5v

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rin67630
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:19 pm

I do use them as environmental monitors coupled with an Arduino, and additionally an ADS-B aircraft listening station for https://www.flightradar24.com over a SDR* USB dongle.
The data is uploaded to central servers each second. I can VNC into each station worldwide and recompile updates to the Arduino remotely.
All that** leaves 60% CPU and 40% of the 512MB memory free.

* Software Defined Radio
**excepted during compilation.

bluelion7
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?-- Thank you . I am sure you are correct. Technology just gets to me at times. thanks for i

Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:32 pm

:D
Heater wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:06 am
It it beggars belief that someone thinks a full up Linux running computer with 512MB of RAM is unusable for lack of memory.

512MB is eight thousand times more than a high end personal computer in 1980. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intertec_Superbrain

With machines like that we had word processors and spread sheets. We could develop control systems for entire factories with machines like that etc, etc,

It's eight hundred times more memory than the graphical CAD system for electronics schematics and PCB layout I worked on in 1986.

Clearly I have been around too long.

Image

bluelion7
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:40 pm

Thanks so much. Obviously all of you feel passionately about the Pi+ A3 and have defended it well. I must study your replies in detail once I get the chance and no doubt will have more questions for you. At leas,t is good to hear it functions in ways I still have yet to discover. I did enjoy reading about some of your experiences of old technology in previous decades. I sometimes think I belong back there when it comes to tech ! :D

alphanumeric
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Re: Pi 3 A +. What is it for?

Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:50 pm

One big advantage IMHO is, if its a headless setup where you don't need (won't be using) ethernet and 4 USB ports, its a big cost saving over a 3B or 4B. I plug my USB hub in do my setup, then just deploy it and let it use WIFI. Smaller footprint too compared to a 3B or 4B. I use them where a ZERO just doesn't have the computing power for the job. There are going to situations where you may need a 3B+ or 4B. Having alternatives is always good IMHO. Zero, Zero W, 3A+, 3B+, 4B etc. Pick your price point and go at it. :D

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