Raspberry Pi or Arduino (for layperson)

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Former future HOF Brewer
HBT Supporter
Nov 7, 2011
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Santa Barbara
I work in finance. But I did take a college course in Databases and was (at that time) very proficient in SQL and SQL+. I've also dabbled in basic and visual basic, though it's been some time.

I understand language. I'm fluent in Spanish as well as English and I excelled in learning spanish at an early age. I also know a bit of Italian and Mandarin (don't ask me to write it!) When I programmed my final project for my database course I was able to see the similarities between SQL and other foreign languages.

I'm giving all this background, because I'm wondering...if I want to automate my brew setup with either Arduino or Raspberry Pi, which might be a better way to go for someone with my background?

For setup questions, I intend to build a single tier w/ 2 pumps and 3 blichman propane burners. For mash temp control I typically use a direct fire/recirc approach, but I do own a copper coil that I've used as a herms coil in the past. I've found that recirculating a direct fired mashtun while heating it with low/medium flame works just as quickly as using the herms coil, and if I recirc at the proper speed for the heat applied (more heat, faster recirc), I have very little to no scorching issues.

So my concerns are as follows (not necessarily in this particular order or of equal importance):

What will be the quickest when it comes to build time? I know neither language, nor do I know C or C+, but I'm not afraid of any of them.

What will have the most carryover if I want to continue my programming education beyond this project?

What will be cheaper? Easier?

Which is going to glean me the most support from this community?...I must say it seems there are plenty of folks doing both platforms, but if you answer this one, ask yourself this: will you respond to my questions if I post them up? Ultimately, if there's a dozen of you who are willing to help out on Raspberry Pi, and 3 that are willing to help out with Arduino..that will affect my decision.

Lastly, which might be a better skill to pass on to my 9 year old daughter, as I'd like to use my newfound skill to help her get into programming and robotics/automation in general.

Thoughts? Hope I'm not being presumptuous or obnoxious, I'm just about ready to take the plunge and figured I'd throw all those questions out there and see if anyone feels like helping me with this decision.
If you know a little bit of Italian you could keep a watch on this: http://rpy-italia.org/forum/index.php/topic,725.0.html
There's a friend of mine (jigen_daisuke) who is starting a mash/boil project with Raspberry PI, but he is in your same situation (no knowledge about programming/raspberry).
IMHO, as ex-programmer, on Raspberry prefere python rather than C++ , its learning curve is longer
If you want more info about Raspberry vs Arduino you can read something like this: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/arduino-vs-raspberry-pi-which-is-the-mini-computer-for-you/

Beyond the technical issues, you got the point: it's better to choose a solution in which there are several users so each one can help the others.
It all depends on how large and complex you want your system. I started off with the Arduino, and quickly ran into its limitations. Then I discovered the Raspberry Pi (RPi).

At the time, the OS was in flux, and had a tendency to crash/stop working at inopportune times. Also since it's a complete OS, and can have many processes running simultaneously, getting certain time-critical processes to run to my satisfaction kept me from using the RPi.

My solution was the TeensyPi, which uses an Adruino-compatible controller to do the process control, and the RPi to handle the human interface.

The TeensyPi uses a combination of C, PHP, HTML, and MySQL to get the job done and is completely open-source.
I am about to jump into the RPi and have come across the same questions. I have a solid background in c++ (a bit rusty but I still remember it) and have dabbled in python, java and a few others. If you want to most carry over into other projects Java is first on my list. Python would be second. For me c/c++ was pretty easy to learn but it does not have as much carry over as it used too. I plan on using this as my excuse to learn Java.
I like long walks on the beach and took two years of Latin. I think they are are really similar. Go with a Brewtroller it BCS. Too much research done to start over?!
I like long walks on the beach and took two years of Latin. I think they are are really similar. Go with a Brewtroller it BCS. Too much research done to start over?!

"Inventions reached their limit long ago and I see no hope for further development."

— Sextus Julius Frontinus, prominent Roman engineer (c. 40-103 AD)
I like long walks on the beach and took two years of Latin. I think they are really similar.

Wow, I do have a lot to learn. Here I thought programming languages and spoken languages had something in common. I've lived at the beach my whole adult life though, I should probably just skip straight to Assembly code since I'm so pedigreed.

To the rest of you with HELPFUL answers...thank you so much. I may have overshared my background in my OP, but I was trying to be thorough.

I'm looking at the teensypi stuff right now (thanks jimmayhugh) and I'm intrigued. That might give me a nice base by which to start doing programming/automation/robotic projects with my daughter as well as be a fun way to build a brewery.
Arduino is a far more established platform. It has more libraries. Arduino is really about interacting with the world. The Arduino is a great learning platform.

The Raspberry PI is more of a low cost computing platform. It is a Linux box, with all the power that is associated. It is also a newer system so less prior work is available.

Python is an easy language to learn and read. Arduino uses a C++ variant a bit more complex syntax but similar to Python.

The Arduino is a simpler hardware system, and really geared at those trying to learn hardware, the Raspberry PI is a system to lean software, although it has hardware interface.

I am currently working on a system based on Arduino (although making custom boards).
Have you looked at BruControl? You would not have to reinvent the Wheel.

Arduino based but requires Windows for the interface. Fairly easy to learn the scripting (with C++ background which I do not have but similar to Visual Basic, which I do know). It can be customized quite easily.

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