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Raspberry Pi Zero Case

Inevitable, some weeks after the limited appearance of the Zero, cases are appearing on the market, First in the UK, where some had prerelease information and could grab the first profitable sales.

But now China has kicked in:

DX.com Euro 3.32 including postage.

Now some weeks to wait 😉

And it looks good! Even cheaper versions on AliExpress with the same quality. Recommended!

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VONETS VAP11G-300

The VAP11G-300 is a unique device with a fixed ethernet to wireless bridge that helps in situations where:

  • You want a fixed ethernet connection, but none is available at the location.
  • Wireless is available, but the device either has no wireless capabilities.
  • A wireless capability can be added but to configure it, a working network connection is required.
  • USB ports are scarse.
  • Wireless USB adapters are too powerhungry.
  • You want two wireless devices to communicate without a wireless router available.

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Pretzelboard aka NanoESP aka C-Control Duino


Combine an Arduino Nano with the ATMega 328, a ESP-01 ESP8266 on one board,, couple the two processors via a (software) serial connection, add a 3.3 V power regulator, make it breadboard friendly, write some tutorials aimed at starters, and you have an idea what the NanoESP is about.

Franzis Verlag and Fabian Kainka are the driving forces behind this nice little board. Sold by Conrad as C-Control IoT WIFI Board (ESP8266), Elektor and Reichelt in Germany for Euro 29,95 (as Pretzel board  – IOT WIFI Board). I got one for Euro 24,99 at the Dutch webshop of Conrad! (Easy to get outside Germany too, with (sparse) German documentation.

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TinyLCD 35 from Tinylcd NeoSec

I bought a tiny 3.5 ”  lcd touchscreen from NeoSec Solutions Pvt, Ltd, based in Mumbai, India. Not as a desktop replacement but for projects where a small touchscreen will be handy.
Not recommended. I learned there is a newer version with a working RTC, so this is now a not-supported old version.
No forum support, no information on IC’s used, limited documentation.
Just too high a price for this. Better look at an Adafruit solution in the same price range, but with excellent support and better community support also.
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Arduino 1.6.x for Raspberry PI Jessie

ArduinoAPP-01

Edit May 17 2016: Official support now: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software , still marked experimental

Edit march 22 2016: Have a look at https://github.com/arduino/Arduino/pull/4517 There is official support coming for ARM!

Old text follows, not uptodate:

This is a current build of the latest IDE for ARM, runs on RPi2 and RPi3 as reported, http://downloads.arduino.cc/javaide/pul … arm.tar.xz

I found a recipe to install Arduino IDE 1.6.0 on the Pi. Still not the latest, but much newer than 1.0.5 you get from the repositories. This is a fast process!

And on the Raspberry Pi forums a recipe for 1.6.5. Much slower to install, but it brings IDE 1.6.5 (which I need for the ATTiny85 and Micro pro!

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Raspberry Pi Zero

A new Raspberry Pi, appeared end of November 2015. Called Zero, a break with the naming convention of A, B, A+, B+, Model 2 B. Reminds me a bit of the Arduino Zero 🙂

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The specifications are close to the A+ with the following changes:

  • (over)clocked at  1 GHz (called Turbo in raspi-config).
  • 512 MB instead of 256 MB
  • Micro USB connector instead of USB 2.0
  • Mini HDMI instead of HDMI
  • No Audio connector
  • Composite video available on solder pads
  • No CSI and DSI camera and display connectors
  • GPIO connector not soldered on

IMG_4629This makes the Zero the smallest and cheapest Raspberry Pi but also the less equipped. But is essence it is just a first generation Raspberry. The price is set at $5 officially.The Zero behaves (with the right cables) as all the other Rasperry Pi’s. The OS is the same, the latest is Jessie november 2015, and runs fine. The only visible Zero addition is a new overclock option in raspi-config, called Turbo (1000 MHz). I tried also an older but uptodate  Wheezy and that also runs fine.

I ordered two at the PiHut at launch day and was pleasantly surprised to get those, delivered very fast and at a price of £4. I also ordered the PiHut Zero Essential kit, which contains, in a nice can, micro to USB 2 adapter, a Mini HDMI to HDMI adapter and a large choice of GPIO connectors to be soldered in.

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What makes the Zero special for me is:

  1. Price. Even if the local dealers in Europe will charge at least 3x the $5 price by including two cables and VAT and profit, it still is a bargain.
  2. Size. This flat design makes it fit in even smaller designs.
  3. Freedom in GPIO connections. See below for some examples how this can be done, the PiHUT understands this very well by including choices in the Zero Essential kit.

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Micro connectors

As a Raspberry Pi user from the beginning, I have plenty of cable solutions in stock. You can see what I prefer here.  Now the Zero has a micro USB connector! Not a real problem since tablets, phones and even my latest notebook, the Asus T300-CHI, also only have these small connectors. Drawers full of micro cables and hubs therefore.  So here some preferred USB devices I use now with the Zero.

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Ebay: Micro USB 2.0 Host Male to USB Female OTG Adapter. Converts a USB 2.0 to a Micro USB by inserting this little thing.
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This USB hub combined with Ethernet adapter is also available with micro USB connector
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This low weight 3 port USB hub is seen here connected to a Zero with a Ethernet adapter, a WiFi adapter and a wireless Logitech keyboard/mouse adapter. The Mini HDMI conveter is coupled to a HDMI to DVI connector. The USB power has an on/off switch, highly recommended on the workbench.
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USBASP update firmware

I got a very cheap USBASP programmer for AVR from ebay. Long cable with 10 pin connectors and an adapter from 10 to 6 pin.
To be used for programming an Arduino where the bootloader is not wanted at startup or when it takes too much space in the RAM.

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You can program a skecth into an Arduino when the USBASP is connected with the Menu option Sketch: Upload Using Programmer. This also removes the bootloader, making space.

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