We've had just a few short days to start playing with a Raspberry Pi B+, but from what we can tell it's a significant improvement over the B. We'll have pictures of the specific build in the coming week, but there are a few essential things that you need to know that have changed:
- Change in the pinout for the GPIO header
- Change in the screw holes and port layout
The pinout change means that older "hats" designed for the A or B models won't work on the B+. This is a little sad, but I think it was unavoidable given the age of the old design and the need for some improvements on GPIO ports.
The pinout change is subtle compared to the new screw holes and component placement- gone are the strange mounting holes, replaced with some parallel and equidistant mounting holes. This means old cases won't fit, but new ones are already shipping, like this one from Newark Canada.
As you can see in the above diagram from the Raspberry Pi website, you can see the components have been moved around quite a bit. One of the key improvements that you can tell right off the bat is the MicroSD card reader that replaces the old SD card.
There's a good reason for this too- the old card slot was on the edge of the board, and it was quite common for the Pi's card reader to break off if the Pi was lifted or handled too coarsely. It used to be that you had limited access to sometimes very specific SD cards that would work in the board, but so far so good with a simple and cheap Samsung 16GB from Amazon.
We're big fans of Raspbian, which supports the B+ with no issues. We've already started playing with the minidlna package on the Pi, and we have some more stuff in store. The project we have on the way is a new version of our Solar Powered Raspberry Pi, but thanks to power savings of the B+, we expect much longer battery life from the new setup. If you want to learn more about the power savings, check out the detailed writeup here. The great YouTube video by Alex Eames covers it too:
So unless you're looking to use a specific hat from an older project, these really are the better option in nearly every way over the older A and B models.