KB: raspberry pi hardware recommendations

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KB Article
Keywords Raspberry Pi, Hardware

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If this is the first or main automation gateway for your setup, we we commend the Raspberry Pi (RPi) 3 as it's 75%-125% faster than the RPi 2. As the primary automation gateway (any machine running Yombo Gateway software) runs more processes and tasks than any joining gateway nodes; for details, see Gateway clustering.

Any joining gateway nodes can be of any model.

Shopping List

After much research, our RPi shopping list has been built to ensure a long last lasting, trouble free operation. The primary concerns are power and heat, especially if you use a PiFace Digital 2 board (or other stackable board), or will be placing this RPi in areas that get warm/hot.

This build uses a powered USB hub to power the RPi and any USB devices that consume power. If you don't plan to have many USB devices, just use a simple USB power supply than can provide 2 amps for RPi 2B and 3B. For RPi Zero and Zero W, anything with at least 750mA should work.

Note: We reviewed various kits, but haven't seen anything we'd recommend yet, most due to inferior micro SD Cards.


  • Any regular USB keyboard your Raspberry Pi. Wireless keyboards and mice will work if already paired.
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B ($39.99) - Includes Raspberry Pi 3, case, and a heatsink (only $4 more than the RPi alone).

Most heatsinks alone are $5 with shipping, for another $1, get a case. At the very least, use the bottom of the case without the top to protect the bottom portion.

  • GPIO ribbon cable ($5.95). Use to move devices such as PiFace digital boards away from the RPi to improve air flow if installing in warm or hot areas.
  • Power supplies
    • Any existing USB power source will work as long as it's 2+ amps.
    • Raspbery 2B and 3B should have a 2amp power supply. This AmazonBasics 7 Port USB 2.0 Hub with 5V/4A Power Adapter ($18-19) with a huge 4amp power supply gets the job done. This hub will easily power your RPi and any USB devices you can throw at it. RPi 3 can only support USB 2.0. RPi 4 isn't expected to be released until 2018 and rumor is that it'll also be USB 2.0. Even if it does go to USB 3 when the next one comes out in 2018, USB 2.0 is still plenty fast enough for serial interfacing and other automation tasks.

Other items

  • StarTech 3-Feet USB Y Cable ($6-7) - Ensure the power from the USB hub gets delivered to the RPi.
  • Samsung 32GB EVO+ Micro SDHC card ($15-17) - A perfect price point as well as best performance. After much research, this is the fastest card for the Raspberry Pi 3 and is faster than more expensive cards.  Don't buy the more expensive cards, they are slower for our use case. For example, this card is much faster than the Samsung Pro or Sandisk extreme. Using a cheap no-name card can hurt performance drastically, cutting performance by as much as 60%.
  • PiFace Digital Revision 2 ($38-40) - Supports relays, various inputs and outputs. Useful for controlling devices such as garage doors.
  • 120pcs jumper wires ($6.99) - Misc jumper wires.
  • 8 Channel Relay Module with Optocoupler ($12.59) - Control higher powered items and can be connected directly to Raspberry PI GPIO pins or through the PiFace Digital board. This model is only $2 more than a 4 module version, use the above pins to connect the PiFace digital to the relay module.
This page was last edited on 24 August 2018.