Raspberry Pi Zero Released

HalfEatenPie

The Irrational One
Retired Staff
Raspberry Pi Zero has been released!  


The 5 dollar board has the following specs:


1 GHz ARM11 core 
512 MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
Micro-SD Card Slot
Mini-HDMI Socket 
Micro-USB Sockets for Data and Power
an GPIO Header
Composite Video Header
All in 65 mm x 30 mm x 5 mm form


In addition, it's coming for free on every issue of The MagPi magazine in the UK!


What's even funnier, is that 6 Pi Zeros fit in an Altoids can!  


More information here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-zero/


Anyone planning on buying this?  Any ideas what's in stored?  Tell us!
 

willie

Active Member
adafruit.com has some of the starter packs, I think.  The board plus cables, power adapter, and some other stuff.  They're out of the bare boards.


They advise against powering the board from a computer usb port since the board is so power hungry, the usb port voltage can sag, corrupting data on the pi's sd card.


Overall the pi0's main attraction is the shocking price point, though you give some of it back once you add the needed stuff to use it as an interactive computer.  It could be nice for some embedded applications but it's overkill for a lot of them.  Generally for that purpose, I'm more interested in the Cortex M4 class of board.  Or check the cheap ESP8266 boards, sort of in the same class as the Cortex M boards, but with wifi and available in the 3 dollar range. 
 

rmlhhd

New Member
Verified Provider
Ordered one this morning. Hoping to pickup another one tomorrow but don't know if the WHSmith's I'll be going to stocks The MagPi
 

GIANT_CRAB

New Member
Internet of Things... without the Internet. It's quite disappointing that there's no built-in WiFi and Ethernet port. I guess those who need Internet will need to get a WiFi adapter or something. It's cheaper... so, oh well..
 

TheLinuxBug

New Member
I would buy one except it seems that all the US companies selling it are only selling it in packages or have to be picked up directly at Microcenter (which for me the closest is more than 100miles away) so in the end no matter what choice I make, there isn't a way to actually get it for the small sum of $5.  By the time I would drive anywhere or buy the 'pakages' sold on adafruit it would be just as cheap for me to buy a pcDuino3 Nano Lite or even just buy a new RPi 2 for the $35 with free shipping.


Assuming you need the power cable and adapters, the price isn't horrible, my complaint is there is no way for me to actually get the board for $5 making the whole intention of this board a bit pointless since I would spend roughly as much buying it as I would buying something twice as powerful.


TL;DR:


I would love to buy one, but without wifi or ethernet and actually not being $5.00 its kinda a deal breaker as there are other boards out there for more powerful for about the same price.


my 2 cents.


Cheers!
 
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drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
Internet of Things... without the Internet. It's quite disappointing that there's no built-in WiFi and Ethernet port. I guess those who need Internet will need to get a WiFi adapter or something. It's cheaper... so, oh well..
I felt the same way about Raspberry Pi A (original)... no network ability built into it.


I still have that A sitting in my parts closet.


I could see tethering it directly to a desktop or other device with spare USB + network and sharing network over USB...   I've never done such, wonder how feasible that is under Raspbian....  Anyone?


Someone has a document that seems to probably be the ticket:
http://maemo.org/community/oldwiki/howtosetupusbnetworkingdebian/


(this is USB networking, minus any USB adapter... so just lowly USB cable)
 
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willie

Active Member
The Zero has a USB client port but it's somewhat useless as a USB device because it uses so much power you need a separate power cube for it.  I wish someone would make such a thing that stayed 100 mA even if that meant being slower and having less memory.  Get rid of the HDMI and uses a router-style cpu (300 mhz) with maybe 32MB ram and it would be a very useful device.


There were some HN commenters favorable to the absence of wifi and staying off the IOT bandwagon, though I can also see how people would also want a wifi version.


I frankly wouldn't know what to do with the Zero board if I had one.  It would have more possibilities if they used the TI processor found on the Beaglebone, which has realtime coprocessors so you can run stuff like motor control, bit banging protocols, etc.  Hey, maybe the Beaglebone crowd will respond with a comparable super low cost board.


The ESP8266 and its ARM-based follow-on are much more interesting for IOT stuff.  I just hope the software gets easier to use.


http://hackaday.com/2015/07/13/new-part-day-the-esp8266-killer/
 
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drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
I hate getting roped into the latest low spec craze :)


What I like about this Pi Zero is the small gumstick-like dimensions.   It's pretty darn small.   Mounting one wherever shouldn't be a problem.


I think I am going to experiment with tethering some of these via USB (if I can find them later) or just stick to the model A for prototyping.


Even though these are essentially low cost, the high cost of parts still adds up.  Power USB hub $10,  SD Card $15,  USB power $10.  The hub and SD Card are mandatory.  USB power can vampire tether from a desktop / other device with enough power on USB.


So Pi Zero @ $5 (yeah right won't find it now) + $10+ + $15 = $30.. So we can build this caseless at $35~ or the price of prior models.


Now all that small size is sort of wrecked with the spaghetti heap of cables for things.   Wondering if possible to run the whole thing off 1 USB cable, including network and power (once configured) and just access it via SSH like I do everything.  Should be doable.  Single USB cable.  (yeah I have cables all over the place and am tired of the mess and space wasted by them).

The Zero has a USB client port but it's somewhat useless as a USB device because it uses so much power you need a separate power cube for it.  I wish someone would make such a thing that stayed 100 mA even if that meant being slower and having less memory.  Get rid of the HDMI
Unsure how much the HDMI eats up on power profile, but creating model without those parts on the board would be alright.  Plenty on non-GUI folks using these sorts of devices.
 

willie

Active Member
The HDMI is sort of ok on the bigger boards that people use as mini desktops but silly on this, which is mostly attractive for embedded.


USB tethering is iffy because of the power draw.  Computer ports often can't supply enough without voltage sag.  That's a big drawback of this board.


OTOH you can get cheap SD cards (under $5) and depending on what you're doing you might not need the USB hub.  The client port supports OTG, and you can do serial IO over the GPIO pins (I think there is a uart for that).


I think it's usual with these boards for supply to be limited at first, but then increase.  That happened with the RPi 2, which is a more interesting board in my opinion.


This is the low spec board I'm currently desiring: http://www.espruino.com/Pico
 
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drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
I read somewhere about prior models of the Pi and while they've sold a lot relatively speaking, the numbers are far lower than I expected.


Literally prior models have sold few million units each.  3-5 million from what I recall.  Considering how prevalent these are and how many a number of folks I know own, yeah expected 10 million low side on units shipped.

This is the low spec board I'm currently desiring: http://www.espruino.com/Pico
What do you do with that board / would you do?
 

willie

Active Member
The Espruino board is cool both as a computer coprocessor (say for crypto, plug it into USB port and keep your crypto keys off the main system) and as a smaller and more powerful Arduino alternative, good for wearable and other mini embedded applications.  It's much nicer to program than an Arduino because of its interactive Javascript and it can also run Micropython and presumably eLua etc.  You can cut off the USB plug part of the board to make it smaller if you don't mind reprogramming through JTAG.  Also it has pads for an SMT crystal so you can give a realtime clock for about 1 dollar.  Too bad they didn't put that on the board to start with.


The ESP8266 boards are also crazy cheap, like 2 dollars from Alibaba.  That's a 32 bit cpu with wifi, SPI flash, and 64k(?) of ram.  Incredible.  See http://nodemcu.com/index_en.html for Lua that runs on them.
 
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drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
The Pi 1 (A), on sale since February 2012, has sold about 4.5 million units in total.


The Pi 2 (B) has sold between 2.5 million to 3 million units since February.


Pi Zero has 10k in magazines free and another 20k out to distributors = 30k.
 

willie

Active Member
The Zero is brand new so of course the quantities are low so far.  They'll sell more but I see it as sort of a repackaging of the older RPI compute module that didn't get any traction.
 

risharde

Member
Would like to get my hands on one of these but why does it look like it doesn't have standard size usb ports... at least from the pictures...
 

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
Would like to get my hands on one of these but why does it look like it doesn't have standard size usb ports... at least from the pictures...
Correct.


The Zero has USB mini ports, two of them.  One is labeled on the board PWR for power - unsure if it is just for power or will function as full USB.


The connectors are a PITA and a cost center for buyers.  Here's why....  The HDMI is a mini variety, so that requires a cable many of us do not have and end side they are PITA to match up.  There are ~ 2 smaller HDMI types so possible to buy 2 different cables to cover basis.  Other end, need to convert out to whatever you are using.  I still have piles of VGA standard monitors so mini HDMI --> VGA.  Price of those connectors? $20-50 retail, $10 online.  Multiply by two if you want to be sure or lug your Pi to retail and defile open boxes to match it (places tend not be fond of this).


Great, now we need power.  Again, weirdo connector, there are roughly 2 mini USB standards.  Price of cable $10 each, maybe a bit more retail.  Problem is you need more ports for USB.  Need power + keyboard + mouse.  So you need a USB hub and ideally powered since RPI's are notorious for underpower states and quirky fails.  USB hub is $20-50 retail, maybe $10 online for import unbrand.


Still with all that, I left out fact that the board has no networking, nor does it have any wifi integrated.  So you have to purchase a network adapter (USB) or wifi adapter (USB).  Both are $10 online and twice that retail.


Lucky for me I have USB adapters for network sitting in a pile in parts storage.  The USB cables however, I am out shopping for those.  HDMI, I probably have one that will work, but it's in use on other gear, so out shopping for that and hoping I have the connector right.  


No wonder why these boards might start cheap (i.e. $5, $25, $35) but by the time you get done it's another $30-40 on top of that easily.  Making it meh, fatally flawed and expensive.  Two weeks from now I might end up with my parts (being cheap and ordering online).


I want to like the Pi's... But.... they are missing the mark.  Bundling cables and charging a bit more for that would be sane and increase suitability of the gear for normal people, schools, etc.  Unless you live in the Silicon Valley or have on the of few good retailers down the street for components, buying these is just an expensive novelty. Nearly everything else I buy comes with embedded storage module include and certainly comes with power cords.  
 

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
Also the Pi Zero lacks an LED to indicate power or any activity.


It isn't until you have properly formatted and loaded SD card in the slot and it goes through the boot process that you an LED illuminated.


Very short sighted and stupid approach on visual queues.  A bunch of people are going to think they have DOA boards and that will cause returns and gear abandonment to be artificially high.
 
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