Enlightenment
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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:55 am

I think one of the reasons behind the Arduino success is the ability to stack multiple I/O cards on top of it.   I think Raspberry Pi Foundation is dropping the ball on this obvious design issue.  Even worse, they did not pick a default GPIO connector thus dividing the user community.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:30 am

As i understand it the production version of the pi is just going to have through-holes, no pins or sockets soldered on. the reasoning is so that people can solder on the connector type that they require for their projects.

I would suggest that if here is some benefit or stackable expansion cards someone should come with an inventive design that accommodates this. the gertboard is a good idea but if you have a better design I would explore it yourself. if it is a good design it my get adopted as a popular add-on.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:09 am

Enlightenment said:


I think one of the reasons behind the Arduino success is the ability to stack multiple I/O cards on top of it.   I think Raspberry Pi Foundation is dropping the ball on this obvious design issue.  Even worse, they did not pick a default GPIO connector thus dividing the user community.


I'm not convinced. The Raspi is designed primarily to teach programming, not to stack IO cards on. It's not trying to compete with Arduino, which is a great bit of kit, but aimed at a different market.
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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:41 am

For those who are into electronics projects, I guess that no connector at all is a good solution due to its flexibility.

The question is whether there is a level of user who would make use of the GPIO connector, but who would not be comfortable taking a soldering iron to their Raspi (particularly while there are so few Raspis outside of captivity), and if so, then what is the best form of connector to use.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:51 am

Eventually there will be that level of user. They are called children.

Until then there is no absolute need for the connector to be there, and any sort of connector can be accommodated with a suitable set of adaptors.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:04 am

IMHO I prefer to see the pins as they are.

It makes life easier if you are debugging as you can clip a probe to the pin.

For the same reason you can clip onto  a good ground for a scope lead.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:52 am

I posted this last Wednesday:

"I have seen a first production batch board. It had the GPIO connector in place (Male at the top). Eben told me that he does not expect that to change for the first X-(thousand??) boards as it is in the BOM. (Bill Of Materials) Any change to a BOM causes manufacturers pain, even omitting a part. So we have to see what happens. It would be nice if Farnell / RS would keep it in place and lose a bit of profit as it makes extension boards available to non-soldering-iron users."

Just some more comments:

From all the header the straight male is the cheapest type. So I don't think we will get one with a female header. Although as somebody rightly state the female type is more 'safe'.

I have come back from the idea that "No GPIO header is best". Taking a soldering iron out and soldering a connector in place is trivial for me. But for most computer users that is a nightmare scenario. The highest level of adaptation they are prepared to go to is to plug in a board. So having a connector in place opens up a whole new world for users and that is exactly the aim of the Raspberry-Pi project.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:52 am

Gert said:


From all the header the straight male is the cheapest type. So I don't think we will get one with a female header. Although as somebody rightly state the female type is more 'safe'.


The released datasheet doesn't give any information on the electrical characteristics of the chip.

Is there any inbuilt protection against GPIO etc. sourcing or sinking too much current?

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:55 am

I think quite a lot of people are excited about the RPi because of the easily accessible GPIO.  Without the GPIO RPi is "just" a cheap Linux box.  With it, it's the brain for your robot, or the centre of all sorts of electronics projects.

Having the header already soldered on will encourage people to play with this - if the first thing you have to do to use GPIO is take a soldering iron to your computer then you need to be either experienced or brave.  I certainly wasn't going to risk it with my first Pi until they become available so I can buy another one if I break it.  That the header is going to be there on the first few is great news - and I think it would be great if the design stays the same so that there is a standard target for add on boards.
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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:05 pm

Kevin Sangeelee said:

....
Is there any inbuilt protection against GPIO etc. sourcing or sinking too much current?



No. That really would have increased the price. On the other hand: you can buy a new computer for $35. Just don't make to many mistakes, or the same mistake too many times. It gets expensive then.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:08 pm

Gert said:


Kevin Sangeelee said:


....
Is there any inbuilt protection against GPIO etc. sourcing or sinking too much current?


No. That really would have increased the price.


I was thinking more in terms of smoke from the chip - could we ever see the Broadcom chip deliver 700mA on a GPIO pin while it dies, or would it more likely max out far lower and just leave us with a dead chip?

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:18 pm

Kevin Sangeelee said:


Gert said:


Kevin Sangeelee said:


....
Is there any inbuilt protection against GPIO etc. sourcing or sinking too much current?


No. That really would have increased the price.


I was thinking more in terms of smoke from the chip - could we ever see the Broadcom chip deliver 700mA on a GPIO pin while it dies, or would it more likely max out far lower and just leave us with a dead chip?



If you are luckily unlucky you will just have a non-functioning GPIO pin.  But if you are unluckily unlucky you will have a dead RP SoC (= a dead RP.)

I expect that putting in excess voltage from an external source will be more likely to make you unlucky than shorting an output.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:05 am

The Arduino Shields use "Female Sockets with 10.5mm tails" pointing downward, so the long pins can plug into the female sockets on the Arduino, yet still provide the female sockets on top of each shield to allow you to plug in more shields.

I prefer having a Female Socket on the top side of the RPi because it is safer for the non-technical person.

If MOST people put male headers on top of the RPi, then a person can solder a "Female Socket with 10.5mm tails" into the RPi, so the "Female Socket" will be on the bottom side of the Rpi, and the long male tails will be on the top side of the RPi (similar to a male header on the top side).

It sounds like the GPIO is going to turn into a "big mess", because without a default connector, various people will put different connectors on top or bottom, thus all 3rd-party boards will need to be built for both situations.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:38 am

A female header on top would have been good. But the standard is now a single male header on top, since that is how the first RaspPis have been built and how they are likely to continue to be built.

I would argue strongly against having anything on the bottom of the board, since then none of the available cases would fit.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:38 am

I'm verry happy with the choice of not adding any headers. It's far more easy to solder a header of your choice than to desolder an existing one.

Besides, the choice is not just male or female. There are also angled headers, sockets for ribbon cables or someone might want to solder cables or sensors directly onto the board.

There's even pogo-pins that dont require any soldering at all. Might be an option for third-party board designers.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:00 am

Enlightenment said:

It sounds like the GPIO is going to turn into a "big mess", because without a default connector, various people will put different connectors on top or bottom, thus all 3rd-party boards will need to be built for both situations.
Suppliers of add-on boards can deliver without pins or sockets soldered on so end users can solder in whatever they need to match what they have chosen for their R-Pi. It's only when end users and add-on suppliers each choose incompatible solutions there is a problem.

I'd suggest as a defacto standard of female sockets on top of the R-Pi, male pins under the add-on board or, better still, stacking header pins so the female socket on top is replicated on top of the add-on board - but you can't enforce that, only suggest people adopt it.

If there is a need for pre-soldered units which just plug together I expect enterprising third parties will buy-in R-Pi and resell with add-ons ready to use to fulfil that demand. There will likely be all sort of commercial ventures springing up to help the R-Pi community, from "send us your board and we'll solder headers on" to providing complete ready-to-use solutions. If there's enough demand the board manufacturers may even sell boards with or without header pins or sockets.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:17 am

Personally, I don't see why people are still discussing this as if a standard can be decided on.

Gert said:

I have seen a first production batch board. It had the GPIO connector in place (Male at the top). Eben told me that he does not expect that to change for the first X-(thousand??) boards as it is in the BOM....
From all the header the straight male is the cheapest type. So I don't think we will get one with a female header.


There are several thousand boards in existence that have a male header on top. That is now the de facto standard.

We will not ever get a female header on top that we do not have to solder ourselves. Asking end-users to solder, when they could get male headers without, is stupid. Asking them to send their boards off to a local soldering guru, when they could have had a male header without, is just as stupid.

Therefore, however nice a female or dual-gender header might have been, it is not happening. We have a male header on top and that is the best that we can do.

Further discussion achieves nothing.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:31 pm

Oh, I didn't know the male headers were installed.  Various rumors have said the production boards would not have a GPIO connector installed.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:07 pm

Enlightenment said:


Oh, I didn't know the male headers were installed.  Various rumors have said the production boards would not have a GPIO connector installed.


It's more the case that some boards already built do have connectors fitted but it was not intended to fit them to other boards. I recall hoeever that Gert said elsewhere this needed to be confirmed.

So who knows ? Some boards already built did have male pins fitted, most, if not all, photos show them fitted ( including on Farnell and RS ), but future boards may or may not have them.

It's a case of wait for the Foundation to give a definitive answer or see what's there or not when your R-Pi turns up.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:17 pm

It seems to me (I know nothing) that the GPIO, DSI and CSI connectors may have been a bit of wriggle room to keep the price down to $35/$25. If the price looked like going over those numbers, one or more of the connectors could have been removed.

So I would expect that all 10,000 of the initial batch will have those connectors on. What happens for subsequent batches depends on RS and Farnell, but I would expect (with somewhat less certainty) that they will remain.

Once the first few batches are shipped the situation will stabilise.

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:48 pm

I think they will stay there for the foreseeable future - changing the BOM is a no-no

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Re: Should RPi have female sockets for GPIO like the Arduino?

Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:34 pm

Really, *IF* it becomes an issue of some boards will have the pins fitted, others won't, then it'll simply be a case of add-on boards will need to supply both male pins and female sockets and you solder in whichever you need based on what you have on your RPi.

I get what the OP is saying, but it really doesn't matter whether the RPi has female or male so long as either:

1) it's consistent and EVERY RPi is the same

or

2) it's left open, and all add-on boards allow you to solder on what you need to work with YOUR hardware...

Either works fine!

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