New Raspberry Pi A+ Just $20
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Monday, 10 November 2014

As we predicted over the weekend, when we noticed a web ad for it that had been shown prematurely, the Raspberry Pi Model A+ has been launched today. The additional news is that it will sell for just $20.

After the Raspberry Pi B was upgraded to the B+ it was inevitable that the model A would follow. We were even promised something "special" in a recent interview. 

Despite trying to keep it secret until today's official announcement by Eben Upton, Element 14, a major Raspberry Pi retailer, briefly published some details on Sunday by way of a web page getting ready to sell you a new model A+ and on the basis of this leaked info we were able to deduce that the A+ has acquired the same set of improvements that were introduced with the B+.


Model A+


The board layout looks very different and it is much smaller than the model A or B+. Judging from the photograph, the A+ board just encompasses the four standard mounting holes which makes it 56x65mm - the model B+ is 56x86mm. The part of the PCB occupied by the USB and Ethernet sockets has been removed along with the network chip. The layout is essentially the same as the model B+ as you can see by comparing the photo with a model B+


Model B+


The features of the A+ are listed as:

  • 700MHz Broadcom BCM2835 CPU with 256MB RAM
  • 40pin extended GPIO
  • 1 x USB 2 ports
  • 4 pole Stereo output and Composite video port
  • Full size HDMI
  • CSI camera port for connecting the Raspberry Pi camera
  • DSI display port for connecting the Raspberry Pi touch screen display
  • Micro SD port for loading your operating system and storing data
  • Micro USB power source
  • Smaller board footprint and is fully HAT compatible
  • Stream and watch Hi-definition video output at 1080P
  • Combined 4-pole jack for connecting your stereo audio out and composite video out

In this video Alex Eames provides a full walkaround and shows the A+ in action:



Following the official announcement we now know that the key improvement is indeed the new 40-pin GPIO socket, which makes the model A+ fully compatible with the HAT expansion standard. This means that any new HAT expansion cards should now work with the A+. It also specifically has a connector for the, as yet unannounced, Raspberry Pi touch screen. This was partially demoed in a recent interview and marked as "coming soon". 


Another welcome change is the micro SD port, but the new A+ still has only a single USB 2 connector. The launch announcement confirms that device's power consumption is 25% lower than the A or 45% less power than the B+, which is roughly what we had guessed because it is basically the same design minus the Ethernet chip. Even so a current consumption of 200mA still makes some battery operation difficult. 

The third improvement inherited from the B+ is better audio thanks to the audio circuit incorporating a dedicated low-noise power supply.

The only point on which we were wrong was with the price - of which we said:

 it would be a big surprise if it wasn't $25.

The price tag has been set at just $20 (plus taxes), which certainly makes the model A+ good news, except of course for all those Raspberry Pi case makers who will now have to redesign their model A cases.

Perhaps now the model A costs about the same as a book, a few coffees or beers it will become the success that the A never was. 




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Last Updated ( Monday, 10 November 2014 )