February 2017

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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EMAIL INTERVIEWMatt Newton and Ken Sinclair

Matt Newton, Director of Technical Marketing, Opto 22

Raspberry Pi Starter Kit

The starter kit includes everything you need to use your Raspberry Pi to power a real-world application that can control industrial pumps, motors, switches—all kinds of real-world devices.

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SinclairLast month Opto 22 released the digital I/O carrier board for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer. Opto 22 has come out with a followup release that’s a starter kit for the I/O carrier board. What comes in the starter kit?

Newton:  The starter kit includes everything you need to use your Raspberry Pi to power a real-world application that can control industrial pumps, motors, switches—all kinds of real-world devices. The kit includes:

●    Digital I/O Carrier Board for Raspberry Pi
●    8-position I/O mounting rack
●    4 digital I/O modules (1 DC in, 1 DC out, 1 AC in, 1 AC out)
●    Mounting accessories and ribbon cable

SinclairThat’s a lot of gear to pack into a starter kit.  How much does the starter kit cost and where can people purchase it?

Newton:  The starter kit is only $99 (it’s a $215 value) and comes with everything needed to start prototyping whatever product or application you can think up. The sky's the limit for what you can do with it. Just use your own Raspberry Pi and power supply, and start building something. It’s available for purchase on the Opto 22 website at

SinclairWho is the starter kit designed for?

Newton:  The purpose of the Digital I/O System for Raspberry Pi was to get engineers, developers, and makers started on a path to build projects that include real-world electrical loads like industrial motors, pumps, and sensors, through their Raspberry Pi's GPIO. The starter kit is designed for the engineer, maker, or tinkerer who knows what they want to do from an application perspective but might not be sure how to assemble all of the I/O modules to complete their project.

It’s really geared towards someone who wants to get their hands on some gear now and start playing around with it. Maybe that person is very strong in the software development arena but isn’t sure how to choose the right I/O. The starter kit gives them a well-rounded set of I/O modules to start prototyping and building their project.

contemporary SinclairWhat are some of the projects that people purchasing the kit are coming up with?

Newton:  The projects we’re seeing people come up with are really interesting. I had one customer who was going to build a remote oil field monitoring device powered by a Raspberry Pi. He had tried rolling out the Pi with some breadboards and components he had put together, but he ran into problems related to power surges that were killing the Pis. The carrier board and I/O were what he needed exactly to protect the Pi once it was deployed to the field. The I/O provides isolation between field devices and the Raspberry Pi.

Another customer is planning to use the carrier board for a Raspberry Pi-powered version of the machines his company builds. Their machines are used for computerized cutting, bending, and notching equipment for the window and door and other manufacturing sectors.

That’s the amazing thing about the Raspberry Pi. It packs a ton of computing power and resources into a small footprint. Now that engineers can connect real-world devices to the Pi, I’m really excited to see what other cool projects people are going to come up with.


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