RasPiO – new breakout boards from Alex Eames

Alex Eames started doing amazing things with the Raspberry Pi very shortly after we launched. He runs RasPi.TV, and he’s become a good friend of the Raspberry Pi project over the last couple of years. RasPi.TV is a really terrific blog and YouTube channel dedicated to all things Pi, and in recent months Alex has also been branching out into Raspberry Pi peripherals: you may well have seen his extremely successful HDMIPi Kickstarter last year.

The latest addition to Alex’s stable is a range called RasPiO: at launch, it’s a selection of three new expansion boards for your Pi.

There’s a GPIO labeller; an expansion board that takes male or female wires; and another expansion board with a protection circuit for each GPIO port. We think they’re great: extremely simple, phenomenally useful, and very keenly priced. Here’s Alex to explain what it’s all about.

You can read more about RasPiO at RasPi.TV. We’ll be ordering some ourselves for Pi Towers, once we’re all done with the work on our new website (coming real soon now – we’re very much on the final stretch!) and have some time to play again.



Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

Thank you Liz. You’re very kind. If it wasn’t for you guys and your “interesting little computer” none of this would have happened.

Quite a few businesses have now sprung up because you guys. I bet that was an unexpected outcome (at the outset) of the Raspberry Pi project?

Richard Sierakowski avatar

A really thoughtful and useful development particularly like the protection:)


liz avatar

It was something we thought about when we realised Pi was going to be quite big (not this big: we didn’t expect it to get this big). It’s why we left value on the table for the community with things like cases. We decided not to make our own because we wanted to seem some community case businesses come up around the Pi if it was successful. It’s very much an Upton family philosophy thing: we both believe very strongly that the world needs more entrepreneurs. It makes the individual people doing the work happy; it gives people much more flexibility of choice when buying things; and being able to own your own business is *fantastic*, so I’m really, really glad to see so many of you doing that.

Dougie avatar

As one of Alex’s early testers it’s nice to see this released to the world.

(Alex ran a Twitter competition and pulled my name out of the hat.)

Jim Manley avatar

Very clever! It wasn’t clear what the differences were just looking at the photos, but the video makes them intuitively obvious to even this most casual of observers. I especially like the ability to unplug a wiring bundle in one swell foop to swap in another project. Way to go in fulfilling an actual need!

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

Don’t tell anyone Jim, but the ‘project detachability’ was something I realised after I put the first prototypes together. Rather than a ‘very clever design consideration’ it was a happy side effect. Useful though, because no matter how many Pis you buy, you always need a few more. ;)

liz avatar

“Project detachability” had everyone in the office going “GOD, THAT’S USEFUL!”

I’m going to pretend you did it on purpose.

Rob avatar

I went through to the cyntech page to get the price of the RasPiO Breakout and it was $4.95. Clicked on Add to Cart and it very clearly said Total £4.95. So it must be free P&P then ? No only after I had gone through the whole PayPal process did it then show an additional P&P cost of £3. I paid anyway but this has left a bitter taste in my mouth.
I though companies had to be up front about P&P costs ?

suicidal_orange avatar

I think it’s because the cost can only be calculated once you know where the buyer is, which is not known on the site. Would be good if they added “+P&P” though, even without a value…

I’ve had this on lots of sites`that use Paypal so if it doesn’t say “FREE P&P” in huge writing I now assume it will be added – expectation it makes it easier to swallow.

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

I’m very sorry about that. Nobody should have a bitter after-taste when buying one of my products. I hate that. :(

Will see what I can do to get it made clearer. It does say at the top of the page “ALL PRICES INCLUDE VAT but not delivery.” But it’s in the ‘blue banner’ part, in a small white font, so it’s probably too easy to miss.

I’m afraid the Shopify system that Cyntech (& Pimoroni & Phenoptix & many others) use is rather inflexible in many respects. It would be much better if postage was added before it went to PayPal. I pointed this out to Cyntech last week. We delayed launch for a week looking for a good solution, and found none. :( I wonder if other Shopify stores have found a way round it?

Probably the best thing to do is add some text to the product page along the lines of ‘minimum postage charge of £3’ so you’ll know it’s going to be added before it goes to PayPal.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Now I can say “I told you so” ;)

Chris avatar

They look good. My only comment would be that could the connector to the Raspberry Pi main board be longer or on a ribbon cable? So you could mount your board still if the Pi was in a case.


Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

Someone should have thought of that ;)


If you visit the product pages you’ll see the above photo using them ‘off Pi’ with a ribbon cable (IDC connector at one end).

Benoit Lachance avatar

for two breakout board (10£) the shipping cost is 13£ for shipping in canada….
numbers do not make sense to me…
I often buy from ebay uk, shipping is more reasonable
got cold feet when I saw the shipping cost…

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

I expect Cyntech’s US branch will have these in stock soon and shipping should be less from there.

AstroJetson avatar

I’ll wait, I want the pro and the card, but the shipping was more than the items.

dudemandude avatar

Yeah we always get jacked when it comes to shipping, books or electronics and software in Canada.

I wonder if the proceeds from this products sale go to the foundation at all? Just curious as it’s not really a new idea and the price is kind of high. Usually by this round in the game the clones get cheaper in price not more expensive (eg. Cobbler is like $8USD).

I just made my own for <$0.25 and a couple minutes work, but if you want save your time as it could be better spent building something worth while. There are tons of identical products on ebay for <$8 shipping included.

I won't include a link as I don't like to advertise directly for anyone but for $7.22CAD (That's total cost including shipping n' all that) there is the newer T shaped model or the original design. Search for something like 'Raspberry Pi GPIO T-Cobbler' and sort Lowest + shipping.

Jamie avatar

P&P to the UK does seem expensive (and off-putting) compared to the £1 for an SD card from Swag store / Pimoroni Ltd

3 x as much for the same weight and size class item.

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

I agree with you, but sadly :( there isn’t anything I can do about it. Longer explanation in reply to comment #4.

Tobias Huebner avatar

Just wanted to say that I think these are great products! As a teacher I`m especially exited about the Breakout Pro. It really simplifies the process of connecting LEDs to the Raspberry Pi and creating small circuits for educational purposes. And it`s good to know that the Pi is protected, even though my pupils never destroyed one by connecting the wires the wrong way round. (I was afraid of that when I first started working with the GPIO, but it seems like it forgives a few mistakes).
I`ll buy a few of these soon. Oh – and I also like the colored ribbon cable which brings me to the only suggestion I have: I think you should put a prominent link to this ribbon cable, because I think a lot of people would like to buy one together with the RasPiO. I for example would like to buy the one you have on the picture with the Pibow toxic case – could you please post the link to this cable and tell me what length it has? Thanks!

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

Thanks Tobias.

Loved your juggling video the other day :).

The Breakout Pro won’t protect you from connecting 5V, 3V3 or GND to each other, but it does protect the Pi from other wiring errors.

It was always part of the plan to create bundles with these cables in. We’ll get to that soon. The one in the photo linked above is 20cm length.

Richard Sierakowski avatar

Cost of postage is not just the carrier component but the time taken to pick, pack and label the order. The cost charged is insignificant compared to the satisfaction of utilising the product.

It is sold at a very reasonable price and any postage and packaging levied is in a ball park figure compared to other on line suppliers.

I for one am very content with the whole offering.


Benoit Lachance avatar

Hi richard,
From a Canadian buyer’s perspective, this is not true.

Modmypi store:
$20 order (two pi cases) + camera case…
$9 Shipping

fresh trial (24_march_2013):
Add one $9 PI case to the basket,
$4.93 Shipping

So shipping is 50% of order
which makes more sense, and what I am used for goods coming from UK..

Benoit Lachance avatar

fresh trial (24_march_2014), not 2013…

Steven avatar

Having completed my first GPIO project (the traffic lights!) only yesterday I was overjoyed to discover these breakout boards this morning and have ordered the Breakout Pro.

I foresee the following advantages:
(for slow, fumbling, eye sight failing, mid-aged people like myself).
1. I’ll clearly see the pin labels without continuously counting and rechecking pin locations.
2. I’ll have better access to the pins, to attach a choice of cables.
3. I’ll have piece of mind that if my circuit is wired incorrectly I will not ‘Fry my Pi’!
4. I can easily remove the Breakout Pro and circuit from my Pi withouth having to rewire it again at next use.
5. All the above will be equally advantageous for Kids.

Note to Alex:
On the ordering from Cyntech, it is not clear if I will receive the ‘introductory offer’ of ‘a free RasPiO® port labels board/key-fob as well (worth £2).’ The website could be made clearer to avoid ‘bitter/sweet’ experiences. Simply, how long does the offer stand…

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

You will get the port labels board. We haven’t yet decided how long to run that promotion for, but it will be for at least a couple of weeks. It’s quite difficult to plan these things in full detail as you never know quite how well or how badly it’s going to go. So sometimes (but not always), vagueness is better than making a promise you can’t keep.

I’m sure we will improve the system (in areas where we can) as time goes by and we get feedback like yours.

Steve avatar

Excellent news, thank you for your reply. I look forward to receiving my breakout board and (re-)trying my hand at soldering… I was still at school the last time I had a go… Measured in decades rather than moons!!! ;)

Steve avatar

Update: RasPiO Breakout Pro
I finally got around to soldering it up today, I spent some time practicing my soldering before having a go at the real thing and I am MORE than happy with my results.

It works!!! ;)

Thanks Alex, an excellent product and ‘sweet’ experience for me. :)

byazit avatar

excellent job done. I was waiting for one of this for long time.

Leo Leibovici avatar

Where can you get the headers that allow stacking? I can’t see them on Cyntec’s site?


Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

Cyntech haven’t managed to get them in yet Leo. Pimoroni sell them for £2 each. I think 4tronix sell slightly different ones for about £1.

Leo Leibovici avatar

Thanks Alex

ColinD avatar

Project detachability is GENIUS (even if only an accidental afterthought). I use Meltwater’s excellent RGB-LED kit at events to demo straightforward GPIO hence being able to wire this up on a semi-permanent basis to a breakout board will come in handy.

Ta muchly.

Eric Montgomery avatar

Just got my Breakout Pro yesterday. Can’t wait to put it together and start playing. Thanks guys!

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