FriendlyELEC ZeroPi is a Tiny Allwinner H3 SBC with Gigabit Ethernet, USB, an Optional SPI Flash

FriendlyELEC ZeroPi is a Tiny Allwinner H3 SBC with Gigabit Ethernet, USB, an Optional SPI Flash

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FriendlyELEC has recently launched a new family of boards called the “ZeroPi”. While they go by a name similar to that of the Arduino Zero Compatible development kit for robotic motion structure systems, the FriendlyElec ZeroPi boards are tons different as they feature an Allwinner H3 processor, a Gigabit Ethernet and are very similar to the fairly popular NanoPi NEO boards but they do not come with any I/O headers asides from breakout pins for serial communication.

The Zero Pi

The board was designed for users who would be connecting most of their peripherals over USB which explains why it does not come with headers. The board comes with a Micro SD card slot through which the operating system is booted but it also comes with the option to boot from the network (without the need of a microSD card) via the SPI flash.

Some of the ZeroPi specifications are highlighted below:

  • CPU: Allwinner H3, Quad-core Cortex-A7 Up to 1.2GHz
  • DDR3 RAM: 256MB/512MB
  • Connectivity: 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet
  • USB Host: Type-A x 1
  • MicroSD Slot x 1
  • MicroUSB: for power input only
  • Debug Serial Port: 4Pin, 2.54 mm pitch pin header
  • Power Supply: DC 5V/2A
  • PCB Dimension: 40 x 40 x 1.2mm
  • Working Temperature: -20℃ to 70℃
  • Weight: 15g
  • OS/Software: u-boot, UbuntuCore

The ZeroPi runs the FriendlyElec’s FriendlyCore distro which users will need to download and flash there SD Card with. Since the FriendlyCore is based on the same distro like Debian, Ubuntu, OpenWrt, and DietPi, it comfortably supports any of them and they can all be used as the operating system for the ZeroPi. The compatibility with friendly core also brings support for the features listed below to the ZeroPi:

  • Support LCDs with both capacitive touch and resistive touch
  • Support WiFi (USB WiFi)
  • Support Ethernet
  • Supports Bluetooth
  • Supports audio playing (HDMI Audio)
  • Supports USB cameras and other USB Peripherals
  • Supports Qt 5.10.0 EGLES and OpenGL ES1.1/2.0

The 512Mb RAM version of the board is currently on sale for $12.99 on FriendlyELEC store with a metal or acrylic enclosure add-on for a few extra dollars. More information on the boards can be found on the product page or the ZeroPi wiki page.

About Emmanuel Odunlade
Email : emmaodunlade@gmail.com Website :

Hardware Design Engineer | #IoT Consultant |All things #ML | Entrepreneur | Serial Writer | Passionate about Innovation and technology as tools for solving problems in developing countries. Spare time is spent around writing and advocacy for the growth of the Maker/DIY Culture in Africa.

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