It got me thinking about how I use/have used older Raspberry Pi in the past. Up until recently, I was using a Raspberry Pi 2 as my in-home file server with no problems. I still have a NES controller that I use for NES emulation, that has a pre-production Raspberry Pi Zero inside it. I have a Raspberry Pi 3 that powers my interactive tabletop RPG screen, which hopefully I’ll be able to use again soon.
Due to my position here at The MagPi, I do have a wider variety of Raspberry Pi boards than most; however, you can always grab cheaper/older models off eBay, or your auction/local sales website of choice, if you’re on a really tight budget.
This extended lifespan is by design. Of course, code is code, so learning and using Python naturally works across different Raspberry Pi boards. However, even the newest Raspberry Pi OS is still compatible with original Raspberry Pi models. In the past, when I’ve spoken with engineers in the office, they’ve pointed out how a lot of features and functions are backwards compatible. Some still have an original Raspberry Pi Zero powering Kodi on a TV at home.
It’s clear that power isn’t everything. Just look at Raspberry Pi Pico – it’s more suited to certain projects than even the most powerful Raspberry Pi, and it’s much smaller to boot.
Recycling Raspberry Pi
Using and reusing Raspberry Pi is built into its DNA. The amount of different little projects I’ve put together with the same Raspberry Pi is too high to count (on our fingers at least), and just because there’s a newer Raspberry Pi, it doesn’t mean we’ve stopped using it. I think I’ve only broken a single Raspberry Pi, and that was an original Model B that got a lot of use in the early years from a lot of people. The only reason I upgraded my file server Raspberry Pi is because the Raspberry Pi 2 became a gift for my sister, and she still uses it to this day.
Upcycling doesn’t just have to mean using hardware from the eighties, and recycling doesn’t have to mean completely melting down and remaking – Raspberry Pi computers have a very long lifespan, and can be recycled ad infinitum for newer and better projects thanks to cross-generational compatibility