Raspberry Pi Zero FREE on the cover of this month’s MagPi magazine. Yes you read that correctly. Raspberry Pi have pulled another world first out of the bag. Back in the pre-internet days when I used to buy PC magazines, they used to have a cover disk. Well Raspberry Pi have come up with a ‘cover computer’. It’s an absolutely awesome idea and is sure to cause ‘quite a stir*‘.
Raspberry Pi Zero, a brand new spin of the Raspberry Pi, is designed to be as inexpensive as possible. A year ago the model A+ launched at $20, now the Zero launches at just $5 (UK £4 inc. VAT). This is what it looks like…
I counted 88 components on the PCB (counting the PoP as 2).
How On Earth Did They Get The Price So Low?
“We sweated every component to see what we could leave off,” said Eben Upton when I talked to him at Pi Towers last week. “All the components are on one side of the board, which makes it cheaper to manufacture.”
Here’s my traditional video walk-round…
Smaller Board, Less Connectors
It’s also a much smaller board with less connectors than its bigger brothers and sisters. The Zero has…
- an unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header (in the standard B+/A+/Pi2B layout)
- micro-USB power port
- micro-USB OTG host port
- mini-HDMI port
- unpopulated composite header (TV)
- unpopulated reset header (RUN)
There are no; CSI (camera) or DSI (screen) ports, no analogue audio, no ethernet and no full-size USB ports. The power circuit is simplified too, since there’s no need to power a camera and multiple USB ports.
The other big surprise is that it’s got 512 Megabytes of RAM, compared with the A+’s 256 MB.
Aside from being extraordinarily cheap, I’d say it’s got “wearables and small embedded applications” written all over it.
Weight, dimensions and power usage were all measured in the RasPi.TV lab.
Dimensions: 65mm x 30mm (31mm including micro-USB port overhang) x 5.4mm (mini-HDMI)
Processor: BCM2835 with VC4
Default Clock Speed: 1GHz with L2 cache overclock giving about 30-40% more processing power by default
Memory: 512MB RAM
Power Consumption: 0.5-0.7W (100-140mA at 5.09V)
Revision Number: 900092
It’s Half-HAT Sized
Raspberry Pi Zero is half the size of the A+ (or a standard HAT)…
It’s A Special Edition Model
The Raspberry Pi Zero is a special edition model, so nothing (long-term availability, price stability, feature set or form factor) is guaranteed past the initial production run(s). However, if it’s popular enough, it’s quite possible that more will be made.
It might not be wise to bet your livelihood on developing a ‘Pi Zero-only’ add-on though. But all 40-pin compatible Pi add-ons should work well with it (if you solder a header on).
What’s It Like In Use?
It’s a lot like a model A+, but faster because of the extra RAM and the 1GHz overclock. To use it with an HDMI screen, you’ll need either a mini-HDMI to HDMI lead or an adaptor. You’ll also need an OTG USB cable if you want to use the USB port. The Pi Hut has put together a little “Zero Essentials Kit” which includes the Pi Zero, all the adaptors and a choice of headers, along with a nice tin to keep it all in…
Other than that, it’s your normal Raspberry Pi experience in a smaller, lighter, much cheaper but eminently more hackable and wearable format.
Where Can I Buy One?
- MagPi subscription
- Raspberry Pi SWAG store
- Buy this month’s MagPi magazine from a shop or news-stand
- There will no doubt be other vendors too that are as yet unknown to me
I have a feeling the MagPi is going to sell ‘a lot of copies’* this month.
* Classic British understatement.
More Photos For Your Perusal
I will update my Pi family photo in due course and publish that when it’s done.