The Best Raspberry Pi Accessories for your DIY Computer

By Tom Pritchard on at

Earlier this week we were introduced to the Raspberry Pi 3. With some fancier hardware and faster speeds,  it's already set to power all of your mini computer projects. Whether it's a mobile games console, custom Kodi box, a makeshift mobile phone, or even a one-button Chromecast remote.

As great as they are, the Raspberry Pi still has some limitations. Thankfully there are accessories that can overcome them, and here are some you should be looking into - whether you're upgrading to the Raspberry Pi 3 or not.

Raspberry Pi 3 Starter/Media Centre Kit, £46

For anyone buying the Pi 3, especially if it's the first Raspberry Pi they've ever owned, a starter kit is a huge plus. This one comes with the Pi 3, an official power supply, a case to keep it in, an 8GB micro SD card, HDMI and ethernet cables, along with NOOBS, Raspbian, and Kodi pre-installed. That software makes it ideal to turn your new Pi into a bonafide media streaming box. [Buy it here]

Raspberry Pi Zero plus Essentials Kit, £27

If you're opting for the smaller, cheaper Zero, instead of the Raspberry Pi 3, there are still accessory kits to get you going. This bundle comes with the Pi Zero, a power supply, an 8GB microSD card (with OS pre-installed), a minimalist USB to micro USB adaptor, a USB Wi-Fi adaptor, rubber feet for protection, a larger USB to micro USB adaptor, a mini HDMI to HDMI adaptor, and various pin headers to get you going. [Buy it here]

HDMI to VGA Adaptor, £5

As common as HDMI is, it's still not everywhere. So if you want to connect your Pi to a monitor that's not HDMI-enabled, or you just happen to prefer VGA, this is one little gizmo you need. Not all projects need a display, but for those that do you'll still need a way to connect everything together. There are plenty of cheap adaptors available, but this one is neat and gives you a bit of mobility. You can also get this similarly-styled HDMI-DVI adaptor for £7. [Buy it here]

Raspberry Pi 3 Heatsink, £1

The Pi 3 is faster than its predecessors, but speedier tech produces more heat. So if you want to take advantage of the shiny new processor inside, you might want to invest in a heatsink to take some of the edge off. Especially if you wan to fiddle with some more advanced projects. [Buy it here]

Official Raspberry Pi Touchscreen (7"), £65

Touchscreens can be found all over the place these days, and if you want to add a bit of that functionality to your Pi project you'll need this. Not all of them will need it, mind, but if you want to make a Pi-powered phone, tablet, or whatever, it's a good little gizmo to have. It's only 480p, but it has ten finger touch and it's better than a rubbish not-touch display. [Buy it here]

Camera Module, £24

A lot of devices come with cameras these days, but the Raspberry Pi does not. Better fix that, especially since adding a camera to your mini computer can open up a whole bunch of new uses. Use it as a video calling box, a home security system, or as an actual camera. It's a 5MP camera capable of recording video in 1080p resolution, so it's a handy little thing. It's also a good idea to think about getting a mount to go with it.

If this one if too big, you can always get this miniature spy camera without having to deal with loss of resolution. [Buy it here]

Zero View, £7

A camera mount for your Pi Zero, attaching to the board and giving you a place to keep the camera static. While it looks a bit large and unwieldy, the mount also has suction cups that let you hang your Pi Zero pretty much anywhere. Naturally the layout means the camera will always be facing the surface the mount is stuck to, but it opens up new opportunities for transparent materials. [Buy it here]

CamJam EduKit: Robotics, £18

There are plenty of things you can do with the Raspberry Pi, and this kit lets you explore the world of robotics. The main focus seems to be turning your Pi into a roving machine, but there are bound to be plenty of different projects you can put together. What good is a Raspberry Pi if you can't experiment anyway? [Buy it here]

Pi Sense Hat, £30

So here are some thing you might never have considered needing: temperature sensors, humidity sensors, and an LED sensor. But you can get all those features, and more, with the Pi Sense Hat. It specifically includes the three I mentioned before, plus an accelerometer, a magnetic sensor, a 5-button joystick, and a barometer. That makes it an essential tool for projects that involve environmental control, measuring speed, and so on. [Buy it here]

Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard, from £29

 

All computers need input, and the Pi doesn't come with any. So, if that's something you need, give this keyboard from Logitech a try. It's totally wireless, and even has a touchpad so you won't need to buy yourself a mouse. [Buy it here]

Adafruit Perma Proto Hat, £5

A tiny little circuit that live on top of your Pi, letting you create and test your own custom circuits for use in your projects. This is just a basic version that doesn't stack with other hats, but it's got the solderless board you need to put everything together. [Buy it here]

PaPiRus eink Display Hat, £33

If you need a basic display to show off something, whatever it may be, but don't want one that sucks up a bunch of power, eink is your bet. So add an eink display to your Pi, and get exactly that. Perfect for any sort of project that relies on displaying a small amount of information, like a calendar, clock, thermometer, or something fancier. [Buy it here]