Tag Archives: Raspberry Pi Zero

WD PiDrive Node Zero – A low-energy hard drive coupled with a Pi Zero

The WD PiDrive Node Zero is a compact, all-in-one unit that includes a WD PiDrive connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero through a custom adapter board with 2 USB ports. This unit offers an affordable, low-power storage node with an onboard computer. Suitable for data logging, offline analytics, and applications where stand-alone operation are required due to network or privacy-related limitations restrictions.

The PiDrive is Western Digital Corporation‘s low-energy hard drive, designed particularly for the Raspberry Pi. It replaces the regular SATA III port with a micro-USB connection. It’s a compact combination of USB hub, Pi Zero and 2.5″ hard drive that could easily be VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) mounted behind a screen or tucked away in a neat case.

WD PiDrive Node Zero Exploded View
WD PiDrive Node Zero Exploded View

The WD PiDrive Node Zero comes with a 4GB microSD preloaded with a customized version of the popular NOOBS (New Out of Box Software). On first boot, Raspbian gets installed in the primary hard disk and not on the 4GB microSD. The SD card boots the device, but you run it from the hard drive. So you do not have to switch between the two drives.

Western Digital suggests this device as:

Ideal for video recording, data logging, offline analytics, and applications where stand-alone operations are needed because of network limitations or privacy/security restrictions.

As the Pi Zero has neither onboard WiFi module nor ethernet connector, you have only two options for taking a PiDrive Node Zero online. Either add a USB-to-Ethernet adapter and hook up to a wired network or use a USB WiFi dongle to access WiFi connection. The newer Pi Zero W has onboard WiFi chip. So, you can replace the Pi zero of WD PiDrive with a Pi Zero W to gain easier WiFi access.

The WD PiDrive Node Zero kit comes with the following:

  • WD PiDrive 314GB
  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • USB Adapter board (PCBA) with full sized ports
  • 4GB microSD card (with preloaded software)
  • Mini HDMI adapter cable
WD Pi Drive Node Zero Kit
WD Pi Drive Node Zero Kit

Once you are connected to a network, you can make amazing DIY projects like data logging weather station, JukeBox with something like Volumio or PiMiusicBox for streaming your whole music collection, mini-DLNA and Samba file server, mobile backup device and much more.

Conclusion: Out of the box, this product runs fantastically. The inclusion of the customized NOOBS installer was a smart move and makes installation a lot easier. Disassembling the unit is not at all user-friendly and the lack of networking option is a limiting factor. But it remains a charming and handy piece of kit.

ZeroPhone, A Raspberry Pi-Based Open Source Smartphone

Raspberry Pi is one of the most helpful innovations in the hardware industry. It has helped beginners and children learn programming and allowed the makers to develop powerful and cheap DIY projects. “ZeroPhone” is a new DIY smartphone that is built based on Raspberry Pi and cost about only $50.

ZeroPhone is an open source, Linux-powered smartphone, that has no carrier locks, bloated apps, or data mining. It is user-friendly and will have the typical features of a phone, but with more advanced features. It also can be modified and repaired easily.

The phone is built using widely available components, and its open source hardware and software  will give you as much control over your phone as possible.

ZeroPhone can be used for calling and SMS, SSH, pen testing, and experimenting in addition to all basic functions like calendar, phonebook, music player, and web browser. As it is a linux-based phone, you can run ARM compatible programs. SDK will be provided so you can then develop your own apps.

Features & Specifications

  • Based on Raspberry Pi Zero, ESP8266 and Arduino
  • Has Wi-Fi, HDMI, full-size USB and a 3.5 mm jack (Bluetooth as an option)
  • 2G GSM connectivity (3G coming soon)
  • 128 x 64 1.3” OLED screen
  • GSM/Wi-Fi/microphone hardware switch option
  • RGB LED and vibromotor
  • Uses of Extension Ports:
    • IR receiver/transmitter
    • Additional displays and buttons
    • 5 MP / 8 MP Pi Camera
    • Extended batteries
    • Various sensors, both analog and digital
    • Wireless radios for IoT
    • GPS, Ethernet and MicroSD expansion
    • …and much more.

The OS of ZerPhone is Raspbian Linux, which is currently based on Debian Jessie. This is because it is suitable for all functions, and will still be upgradable in the future. The user interface (controlling screen and buttons) is written in Python.

Compared with other open-source phones, ZeroPhone, as the maker said, is the only one uses affordable parts which are available on eBay, and its software will be always updated if the phone’s development will stop.

To make your ZeroPhone you will need:

  • Pi Zero
  • SIM800 modules
  • ESP8266-12E
  • Two-layer PCBs (two 4x10cm boards, one 4x6cm board)
  • ATMega328P
  • LCD screen
  • Battery
  • TP4056 battery charger
  • Buttons for keypad
  • 2.54 headers

More details about this project is available on its hackaday page, in addition to the project description and frequently asked questions.

$10 Orange Pi 2G-IoT Competing With Pi Zero W

A new competitor to Raspberry Pi Zero W is just out! A new single-board computer by Orange Pi that is now available at AliExpress is competing against Pi Zero W, the Orange Pi 2G-IoT. Using this powerful SoC you can build a computer, a wireless server, games, musics and sounds, a speaker with Android, Scratch and a lot of other options since Pi 2G-IoT is open source.

The Orange Pi 2G-IoT has ARM Cortex-A5 32bit clocked at 1GHz with 256MB DDR2 RAM, 500 MB of on-board NAND storage to go along with an SD card slot for larger storage. It also has a CSI camera connector, WiFi, Bluetooth, an FM Radio and GSM/GPRS with a sim card slot on the bottom. It is pin compatible with Raspberry Pi’s almost standardized GPIO layout.

This $10 board is impressive especially the addition of GSM/GPRS, but it is not promised to kill other competitors in sales, even though it is a powerful little computer. Since the community of Raspberry Pi product is much more larger and more supportive, Orange Pi fails in engaging its audience with the products it makes.

Unfortunately, Orange Pi website is not updated yet to include its newest product. However if you are interested in getting one for yourself right now, head over to AliExpress to get your 2G-IoT for only $9.90 and to know more details.

Via Hackaday

Raspberry Pi Security System

MWAGNER @ hackmypi.com build a security camera based on Raspberry Pi:

A family member asked me to put a camera in our garage recently, and immediately I decided to use a Pi Zero. Back when I was interviewing for my current job, I was dabbling with the idea of making a wireless, battery powered IP camera that I was going to attach to my dog, and get some cool footage of my dog running around.

Raspberry Pi Security System – [Link]

Zero W, New €10 Raspberry Pi with WLAN and Bluetooth

Five years ago (on 29 February 2012, to be exact) the original Raspberry Pi was unveiled – on this celebrated first day the available stock was sold out within a few minutes, more than 100,000 boards were ordered and the Farnell and RS Components web stores where down for while because of the high demand…
To celebrate this fifth anniversary the Raspberry Pi Foundation introduces a new product: the Raspberry Pi Zero W, that is, the Raspberry Pi Zero complete with WLAN and Bluetooth. The bad new is that this version costs twice as much as the original Zero, but the good news is that it is nevertheless available for only $10 (without accessories).


The Zero was launched in November of 2015 and has since then acquired a camera connector; these days you could hardly imagine anything or contains a Zero – from miniature fruit machines tot electric skate boards.
A disadvantage of the original Zero was the limited connectivity: the only USB port was often used for a wireless dongle; for connecting peripherals such as a keyboard, mouse and network adapter a USB hub was required, which often cost more than the Zero itself.
By integrating the Cypress CYW43438 on the board this problem is solved for the Zero W: this is the same chip that on the RPi 3 model B provides the 820.11n WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Listing all the features of the Zero W:

  • 1 GHz single-core CPU
  • 512 MB RAM
  • mini HDMI port
  • micro-USB On-The-Go port
  • micro USB power
  • HAT-compatibele 40-pin header
  • headers for composite video and reset
  • CSI camera connector
  • 802.11n WLAN
  • Bluetooth 4.0

The Zero W is accompanied by an ‘official’ enclosure.
This has three interchangeable lids: a closed lid, a lid with openings for the GPIOs, and a lid with opening and attachment facility for a camera.

Source: Elektor

DIY Pixel Art Frame Using Raspberry Pi Zero

Have you ever wanted to get an interesting art frame? That can display and flip photos, scroll text, show the weather or display social media notifications?

Frederick Vandenbosch’s new tutorial is for building an art frame using 32×32 LED matrix and Raspberry Pi Zero.

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Electronics used in this project

You can watch a detailed step-by-step tutorial for assembling the frame in this video:


You can use the Adafruit RGB Matrix HAT like the tutorial to control the matrix and to make wiring simpler. But it is not mandatory, you can also wire the LED matrix directly to Pi’s GPIO. A USB Wifi adapter or dongle plugs into one of your desktop or laptop’s USB ports, allowing you to connect to a wireless network in the home, office, or a public place. You can use this connection to access shared files, devices, and documents, or to connect to the Internet. To connect this dongle with your Pi Zero you need a OTG USB cable. Connecting this dongle with your projects will open up for you doors of innovation, and that what made this frame cool!

The wiring is as described in this picture.

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Frederick used Raspbian Jessie “lite edition” for his Zero since the application is time-critical. Because it has more improvements, he preferred using Henner Zeller’s rpi-rgb-led-matrix library instead of the regular Adafruit library – which lately seemed an old version of the same series. He wrote a code to display and scroll ppm images, you can check it out here.

You can also use Raspberry Pi 3 in order to build this project, no need to change anything in software, and no need for the Wifi dongle since you can use the onboard Wifi. Things can be displayed on the matrix are unlimited. Since you have it connected with internet, this project could be your next IoT hack!

More details about this project and other amazing tutorials can be found at Frederick website.

Turn your Zero Pi into a USB Dongle

The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero is a standalone computer that can be embedded in various applications, but maybe now it is time to add some extra features.

It comes with a USB OTG port, meaning it can function as a USB device rather than a USB host. Thus, it can become a serial device with just a USB cable, an Ethernet device, MIDI device, camera, or just about anything else you can plug into a USB port.

Novaspirit has turned his Raspberry Pi Zero into a USB gadget, just like a RNDIS modem, with some easy steps. He aims to get the maximum benefit out of a Pi Zero without having to lug around any cables: “Just plug it in and you’re networked”

His hack turned the Zero Pi into a USB dongle with shared internet, and he could install services like webmin, owncloud, and vnc making it a great all-in-one device!

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With minimal soldering, he converted the Zero’s onboard female USB jacks into a male USB plug.

You only need:

  • male usb connector
  • 4 wires
  • some soldering skills

wireing

Then you can follow the diagram to connect the male connector to Zero Pi

How to ‘donglify’ the Raspberry Zero Pi as Novaspirit suggests

  1. Attach the Raspberry Pi Zero running Pixel OS to your computer as a USB network device
  2. Set up VNC (Virtual Network Computing) on the Pi so that you can log into its desktop in a window
  3. Set up networking on the Pi so that it can connect to the wider Internet through the laptop
  4. Install OwnCloud so that the Zero serves as a cloud storage

Check out this tutorial by Novaspirit

Novaspirit guy is not the first who converted the Raspberry Pi Zero into a USB gadget that connects to the internet, but the most interesting thing about his project that you won’t lose any functionality of you Zero Pi; you can still plug your stuff and use it in your applications. In addition, he delivered a very simple hardware hack and easy to follow software tutorial on Windows.

You can check his website Novaspirit for weekly posts where you can find loads of projects and tutorials.
More details, designs and code snippets of this project can be reached here.

Share Your Internet Connection With Raspberry Pi Zero Over USB

Raspberry Pi Zero is the smallest member in Raspberry Pi single-board computers family with a single-core 1 GHz processor chip, a micro-SD card slot, a mini HDMI port and two micro USB ports (one for power, one for USB). A tutorial in CircuitBasics demonstrates how we can get an Internet access for Raspberry Pi Zero from our computer over USB, because Raspberry Pi Zero doesn’t have an Ethernet connector RJ45 to have direct access to network.

Raspberry Pi Zero - Image courtesy of Adafruit
Raspberry Pi Zero – Image courtesy of Adafruit

The trick used here is to recognize the Raspberry Pi Zero as a USB/Ethernet gadget, in other words using Ethernet emulation over USB.

What you need:

  • Micro USB to USB adapter.
  • Bonjour software installed on your computer to recognize USB and ethernet devices.
  • SSH client PuTTY on your computer.
  • A micro SD card with an image of Raspbian Jessie Full or Lite (version 5-10-16 or later).

Raspberry-Pi-Zero-Ethernet-Gadget-Pi-Zero-Plugged-Into-Micro-USB-Port

In order to do the trick of getting the Internet access over USB you need to setup up Pi Zero OTG before connecting Pi Zero with USB.
When you connect it with USB, after setting up the OTG, you will see the PI Zero under “Other devices”->“RNDIS/Ethernet Gadget” from device manager.

The last step is to set up shared Internet access with your USB/Ethernet gadget, here it’s Pi Zero, from “Network Connections”.

Communication with Pi Zero is done by using PuTTY.

ping www.google.com
ping www.google.com On Pi Zero

You can see the full steps from the tutorial in CircuitBasics.

Raspberry Pi Wifi module without USB

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This board will let you add WiFi functionality to your Raspberry Pi Zero without having to sacrifice the only available high speed USB port. The board is based on ESP8266 Wifi module.

WiFi on a Raspberry Pi using the HAT connector and an ESP8266. The goal of this project is to add WiFi to the Raspberry Pi Zero while keeping the USB port free for devices or OTG connection to another host.

Raspberry Pi Wifi module without USB – [Link]

Raspberry Pi Zero digital frame

DigitalFrame-PiZero-1024x576

Francesco @ garagetech.tips show use how to use the Raspberry Pi Zero to build a digital frame. Actually he show us how to use it as a USB storage device on an existing digital frame.

Raspberry Pi Zero digital frame – [Link]