RasPiComm vs Gertboard

After the availability announcement of the Gertboard, a couple of days after my first post about the RasPiComm, questions arose on some blogs whether the RasPiComm is an alternative to the Gertboard or not.

So here is the answer: It is not!

The gertboard, especially the first YouTube video about it, has been around for a while. Gert van Loo is the father of this platform. These two boards have very few in common. The Gertboard is an easy-to-assemble board with a lot of features. It comes as a self-assembly kit, it is perfect for educational purposes. All you need is a soldering iron and a little bit of time and you can learn a lot and have fun!

The RasPiComm, as its name indicates, is specialized more on serial communication. It comes fully assembled, and it’s optimized for minimum space requirement. The highlight of the RasPiComm is its RS485 connector.  There are already lots of boards with relays, (stepper-)motor control and all the stuff you can imagine which can be connected via RS485. The advantage is that you can use long cables (only 2 wires needed) to control these boards (4000ft or 1200m are allowed with RS485!) and that you can connect up to 256 boards to the RasPiComm.

Here is a feature comparison chart:

Gertboard RasPiComm
Self-assembly kit assembled
Connected to RPi with flat-cable Piggyback board (no cable needed)
12x buffered I/O 5x unbuffered Inputs
3x push buttons 5x pushbuttons (4-way joystick with center-push)
6x open collector drivers (50V, 0.5A) 2x open collector drivers (5V, 0.2A)
48V, 4A motor controller
28-pin dual in line ATmega microcontroller
2-channel 8/10/12 bit Digital to Analogue converter
2-channel 10 bit Analogue to Digital converter
2-channel 8/10/12 bit Digital to Analogue converter
SPI connector to ATMega SPI connector to Raspberry Pi
I2C connector
Real-time clock (RTC)

I think the comparison chart shows pretty well that these two boards have totally different foci. So go ahead and buy both 🙂

7 responses to “RasPiComm vs Gertboard

  1. Vicary August 11, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    A one-liner summary: Gertboard is for development while RasPiComm comes in handy as a ready-for-use expansion board.

    Clearly as your comparison table states, they are not quite comparable.

  2. Doug Gosciak August 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I want one of these when it becomes available. Already have a Gertboard on order also.

  3. Matt August 20, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I know this may sound like a stupid question, but can you use both boards at the same time? I’m aware that all the GPIO header wil be taken up, but is there any way of connecting them together (Like ‘daisy chaining’ them)

    • Daniel Amesberger August 20, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      The I/Os are configured and used differently on Gertboard and RasPiComm. The serial port for example is connected to the onboard microcontroller on the Gertboard, the SPI is used for A/D and D/A converter on the Gertboard, I use it for a rs485 interface chip. So connecting both boards at the same time is not possible, sorry.

  4. Jeppe September 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Where do I find information regarding raspicomm? I have only noticed Gertboard tbh.

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