How to deal with the global shortage of Raspberry Pi 3?

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The worldwide supply shortage of semiconductors in all industries affects availability of Raspberry Pi 3. How to deal with this shortcoming?

Does your control system include third generation Raspberry Pi and you are worried by its global shortage? Or are you already running out of stock and looking for a long-term and sustainable solution? And what to do if you use Unipi Neuron controllers?

Solution 1 – Switch to the momentarily more available Raspberry Pi 4

One possible solution is to switch to a newer, fourth generation. The Raspberry Pi Foundation guarantees backwards compatibility with fourth-line models, so your projects created for third generation RPi will work reliably in the new version. However, the new version does not have ensured stock availability and is directly affected by the situation of sparsely available semiconductors on a global scale. In addition, Raspberry Pi Foundation guarantees backward compatibility in terms of software, but RPi3 and RPi4 differ slightly in hardware (for example, the position of USB and Ethernet ports is inverted with RPi4 as well as HDMI and USB-C), which can affect your project in terms of structural changes.

 You are not reinstalling anything  Stock availability is not guaranteed
 In most cases, a compatible operating
 system image 
 RPi4 differs slightly in hardware from RPi3
 Processor of a new generation  Manufacturing directly affected by global
 semiconductor shortages
 Cost-effective and affordable solution
 Quick solution (just insert a microSD
 card from a PLC with RPi3)

What does it practically mean to switch from Raspberry Pi 3 to Raspberry Pi 4 on Unipi units?

  • The current operating system images we provide are ready to run on the third and fourth generation of Raspberry Pi, so you don't have to reinstall anything.
  • In terms of access to inputs and outputs, nothing changes, as our prepared APIs are independent of the processor architecture. Thanks to this, you just need to take your microSD card from the PLC with Raspberry Pi 3 (for example Unipi Neuron S103 RPi3) and insert it into the unit with Raspberry Pi 4 (Unipi Neuron S1013 RPi4).
  • The only thing that differs is the position of the inputs and outputs on the computing module (for example, Ethernet and USB).

Solution 2 - Switching to immediately and long-term available SBC Unipi Zulu

The second solution to how to deal with the shortage of the Raspberry Pi 3 is to switch to the Unipi Zulu single-board computer developed by us. Unlike the fourth-generation Raspberry Pi, we guarantee its long-term availability and have it currently in stock for the needs of your projects.

 You no longer have to take into account
 microSD cards
 In specific cases, the transition from a
 32bit version of the operating system to
 a 64bit version can be bit time consuming
 A great opportunity to switch from 32bit
 version of the operating system to
 a 64bit version
 Unipi Zulu can be found in all Unipi
and Unipi Iris units, which are
 ideal for industrial use and thus open
 numerous new possibilities of application
 Unipi Zulu provides a wide range of
 customization options
 Unipi Zulu has guaranteed long-term
 availability and support, including 
 immediate stock availability

What does it practically mean to switch from Raspberry Pi 3 to Unipi Zulu?

  • Unipi Zulu has an internal eMMC memory, which eliminates the common problems of microSD cards.
  • All Unipi units are software-open and when migrating from the Raspberry Pi 3 to the Unipi Zulu, you will still have an open platform based on the Linux (Debian) operating system, which ensures compatibility with many commercial and open-source software solutions.
  • We provide Unipi Zulu with a 64bit version of the operating system. This means that when switching from a Raspberry Pi 3 with a 32bit version of the operating system, it provides a great opportunity for you to switch to a 64bit version of the operating system. In addition, for most standard industrial applications, uploading and translating a project into a 64bit version is seamless, so all you have to do is upload the newly built project to the PLC. Users of binary applications (programmed in languages such as C, Rust, etc.) must pay increased attention to this process since it is necessary to compile the application for the new SBC architecture.
  • Because Unipi Zulu SBC is developed by Unipi technology, we have full control over what the operating system core (kernel) contains. This way you can be sure that it only contains the modules that you actually use. It also means that if you need certain extra modules in the kernel, you can add them yourself and possibly contact us and discuss everything directly with our developers.

Use case for solution 1

Our long-term customer using Neuron M203 (RPi3) units has decided to switch to the fourth generation of Raspberry Pi. For the Unipi Neuron product line, we offer replacement of the Raspberry Pi 3 to the fourth generation for all Neuron PLCs. All our customer had to do was to contact our sales department ( At the same time, the customer, who develops his own software platform, decided to take this opportunity to move from a 32bit version of the operating system to a 64bit version of the operating system. Due to the growing support and development of 64bit applications, this is an advantageous step for him in the future. That's why we've prepared a support of 64bit version of the Raspberry Pi 4 operating system image.

Use case for solution 2

Our new customer first chose Unipi Neuron L203 units for their project thanks to the high number of digital inputs and relay outputs. However, fearing the long-term unavailability of the Raspberry Pi 3, they decided to change the SBC. This gave them two choices: the fourth-generation Raspberry Pi in the Neuron L203, or the Unipi Patron L207 with the Unipi Zulu developed by us. The Raspberry Pi 4 does not have guaranteed stock availability, which would probably result in a similar problem in the near future. However, Unipi Zulu in Patron units would also allow him to expand its solution to other industries.
Wider application possibilities were crucial, so they chose Unipi Patron L207 units. In addition, because Node-RED is used as the software solution, there were no issues migrating the application to the new controller. After the initial test, they found out that one more kernel module is needed, so he contacted our technical support. After activating the module, the control unit was ready for installation. The migration, even with the additional activation of the module, took less than two working days


There are two ways to handle the shortage of the Raspberry Pi 3. Transition to a newer fourth generation, which we enable due to the implementation of the Raspberry Pi 4 in our Neuron product line. However, the Raspberry Pi 4 does not have guaranteed stock availability due to a worldwide shortage of semiconductors.
Or the switch to the Unipi-developed SBC Unipi Zulu, which we have immediately available in stock and guarantee its long-term availability.

Contact us and we will find the ideal solution just for you.

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