GrovePi and RPi 3


#1

I just got the GrovePi last week. I was disappointed that it can’t use all the GPIOs on the RPi3. While it is compatible (will work with it), it really isn’t designed to use all the resources native to the RPi3 (GPIOs). Especially with the RPi3 price point being what it is and the presence of a GrovePi Zero, there must be an RPi3-going forward version of GrovePi coming out, isn’t there? I probably would not have bought the GrovePi if I had known that it wouldn’t be able to use all the native RPi3 GPIOs.

In fairness, I think you have a great product with a good supportive community. I’ll probably hold onto my GrovePi, but I wanted to let you know my concerns.

As well, it’s possible I’ve misunderstood something (or a lot) about how the board functions. I just know it’s not using all the connectors on the RPi3. Maybe it doesn’t need to? If I’ve misunderstood something, please tell me: I’m open to being educated! Plus, I’m sure that my question/concern is echoed by others. If there’s something I’ve missed, explaining it would not only clarify for me but for others as well.

Thanks for your time.


#2

Hi mikethechap,
The GrovePi has been designed to read the data from the grove sensors and a lot of those sensors cannot be read directly from the Raspberry Pi GPIO. So there is a microcontroller on the GrovePi, which reads the data from the sensors and sends it to the Pi for further processing. The GPIO’s we use on the Pi are I2C for communication, SPI for uploading the firmware and UART is connected to a Grove port so that you can connect some sensors directly to the Pi like the GPS and the IR receiver. The GrovePi can pretty much do everything the Pi GPIO’s can do and a lot more.

Is there a specific thing that you wanted to do with the GPIO’s. We might be able to help you get that done from the GrovePi too.

-Karan


#3

Hi, Karan:

Thanks you very kindly for your gentle response to what could be seen as being critical. No, I didn’t have a particular technical need for the additional GPIOs to be covered. I just hate to have loose all those beautiful loose pins on the RPI3 doing nothing. Probably related to OCD or something.

Possibly, however, others might see those unused pins and wonder if they’re missing something (aka, the more is more always better cognitive fallacy).

Anyway, thanks for your kind response.

Mike D.


#4

Hey Mike,
No worries. I was a little intrigued by your question. I’ll expand my answer a bit more by giving you an example. If you were to use an ultrasonic sensor with the Raspberry Pi directly, you would follow a tutorial like this: https://www.modmypi.com/blog/hc-sr04-ultrasonic-range-sensor-on-the-raspberry-pi. You’ll see that this needs a few resistors and some lines of code. Compare that to the GrovePi, where you just plug in the ultrasonic sensor, here is the example: https://github.com/DexterInd/GrovePi/blob/master/Software/Python/grove_ultrasonic.py. All you need is just 1 function call on line 45 to get the distance value.

This is the kind of convenience and ease of use that GrovePi brings to the table. It lets you build prototype very fast. Also, most of the pins are left there so that you can stack other kind of shields if you want.

I hope that you have a great experience with the GrovePi and we are always here to help you out with any kind of problems that that face.

-Karan