Challenges in Using Pi 4 in Industrial Projects And The Solution

Challenges in Using Pi 4 in Industrial Projects And The Solution

As mentioned in our previous post, there has been a significant rise in demand for Raspberry Pi in industrial applications. In this article, we'd like to discuss the challenges that you may face when starting an industrial project with a bare Raspberry Pi 4 board.

  1. Dealing with industrial protocols

Photo source:

Image source:


RS232, RS485, and Modbus are common industrial protocols, but they are not directly available on the Pi 4 board. To use them, you'll need to figure out how to convert the UART pins from the Pi 4 into RS232 or RS485. There are plenty of RS485/RS232 HAT or USB converter in the market, you need this extra board to proceed.

  1. Isolated IO pins

The Pi 4 has 28 IOs, but they are not isolated IO pins, meaning you can't simply connect your 12V industrial relay and sensors. Additionally, the IO header pins on the Pi 4 are not industrial-friendly. Header pins are good for quick prototyping but not suitable for actual operation. A proper way to hook up our IOs to the Pi 4 is necessary.

  1. Powering up with a 12V/24V DC power supply

Power supply is another challenge that needs to be sorted out because Pi 4 uses 5VDC from a USB-C port, while 12V-24V DC is more common in industrial systems. A USB-C connector-based power supply is not common in an industrial system. Additionally, to protect Pi 4 from failure, it should also have protection against reverse voltage, surge, and overload.

  1. Scalability

If you are building a complex automation system that requires IO expansion over time, high-speed local bus protocols, or connection to a touch screen for human-machine interface (HMI), then building the controller from scratch may not be a good idea.

However, that doesn't mean Raspberry Pi is unsuitable for industrial projects. We simply wanted to point out how inconvenient it is to start an industrial project from a bare Pi 4 board. There are already various solutions available in the market for the challenges mentioned above. Our product team has meticulously chosen some of the best-in-class solutions from well-known manufacturers. Depending on your project's requirements, you may find a suitable one to start your project right away. The most important thing is that these products have very stable stock in supply!




Advantech Pi 4 Industrial Gateway Kit



EdgeBox RPi 200 - Industrial Edge Controller

EdgeLogix RPi 1000 - Industrial Edge Controller

CPURaspberry Pi 4 Model BRaspberry Pi CM4Raspberry Pi CM4
Industrial Interface1 x RS485/RS2321 x RS485
1 x RS232 
5 x RS285
3 x RS232
Common Interface1 x Ethernet
2 x USB 2.0
2 x USB 3.0
2 x micro HDMI 
1 x Ethernet
2 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
3 x Ethernet
2 x USB 2.0
1 x USB-C
1 x HDMI
No. of IO4 x GPIO

2 x ioslated digital input
2 x isolated digital output

12 x isolated digital input
12 x isolated digital output

DIN RailOptional (purchase seperately)YesYes


Raspberry Pi board is a generic single-board computer suitable for many industries and applications, such as education, smart home, POS, IoT, automation, etc., just like our computer motherboard. We rarely build a computer from a motherboard; instead, we purchase a desktop, laptop, or iPad depending on our needs. The same development trend will happen with Raspberry Pi, where we will see more manufacturers introduce different vertical solutions to meet different industries. As a user, we just need to focus on our solution and let the experts do their jobs. It will save us a lot of time and energy, and the results will be better.

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