SageD360
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Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:19 am

When I was looking at all the raspberry pi boards and their specs, I looked at the Zero W's specs and thought to myself what would be some good uses for the raspberry pi zero/zero W as their specs are so terrible and yes I know you can use them to build robots and stuff like that but what else could you use them for?

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bertlea
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:29 am

I use it to run web servers and monitor other servers' status, sending alerts to my email if it sees anything unusual. It also serve as a secondary backup servers to store "older" versions of files I got just in case I have issues with latest files, so I can fall-back to some earlier versions. The Pi-zero W I got also connected to my TV so I can also watch video or play mp3 on TV when I want using omxplayer. I use the same Pi-zero W to run many different "light-wight" tasks and so far, I found it is pretty reliable.

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rpdom
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:37 am

They can be used for a whole lot of stuff. Maybe they are not best suited for desktop apps, but they can play 1080p videos without a desktop without breaking a sweat. They can also be used with their GPIOs to drive a wide variety of devices and connect to a lot of sensors and other inputs.

You don't need an overpowered CPU and a ton of memory for that. 1GHz is plenty for most things and 512MB is a huge amount for IoT type applications.

The only limit is your imagination.

alphanumeric
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:48 am

I have a couple running rovers. The small size and low power consumption are a plus plus when driving something off of batteries.
I have another one setup as an Internet Radio. Its a little slow booting up and getting going but once running it seems to be more than up to the task.
I also have a couple of the original A+'s (about the same specs / performance as a Zero) running some sense hats as weather clocks. One of them is portable and runs off of battery so the A+ works well as it doesn't draw very much power wise. These would be Zero's but for the A+'s that just keep on trucking along.

One big thing I like about the Zero is I can put on what ever header I want. I have quit a few with female headers on the bottom instead of male on top. That lets me plug them into Mini Black Hat Hack3r boards without having to use a ribbon cable. Or put them on top of my Hat / pHat instead of under it. My Zero in my Pirate Radio has a 90 degree header on it. It makes getting at the power jack etc easier. Its in a wooden subwoofer box. I can plug all my cables in from the back without having to take it out. If it was plugged in the normal way I couldn't even plug my power supply in without kinking my cable. There isn't mush room to the sides.

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thagrol
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:50 pm

Here's a few things I've done:
  • Low power always on incoming vpn server
  • Low power always on LCDproc server
  • USB dongle for generating new, random passwords: https://github.com/thagrol/pwdgen
  • Cheap cluster for learnig and experimentation
  • Add a couple of servos and a Pi camera to get a small portable panoramic camera rig.
This space unintentionally left blank.

PianSom
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:58 pm

I have a few scattered around my house listening out for Bluetooth devices (ie phones), and then telling my home automation system who is at home

Ideal hardware for such an undemanding task

Andyroo

Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:12 pm

Development box via USB - If it runs OK on a Zero I know it will be fine on a bigger brother :lol:

Test box for electronics learning - cheaper to fry a Zero W than anything else :o

Trial box - I throw OS updates at one first - if it’s OK I know it’s an application not OS issue :roll:

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:25 pm

SageD360 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:19 am
When I was looking at all the raspberry pi boards and their specs, I looked at the Zero W's specs and thought to myself what would be some good uses for the raspberry pi zero/zero W as their specs are so terrible and yes I know you can use them to build robots and stuff like that but what else could you use them for?
The specs are only "terrible" compared to later Pis. Compared to many computers I have owned or used, the spec are very, very good. I made considerable use of the original Model B...which initially had 256MB DRAM and a default of 700MHz CPU. They were perfectly capable of running a GUI desktop and using PuTTY to connect to a server.

My personal use for the Pi0W is an electronic name badge. The low power requirements coupled with a 3.5" LCD make it possible to run the whole thing on a 4Ah powerbank for upwards of 12 hours.

Sage Of Canada
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:35 pm

I used mine in an old gameboy advance case with the freeplay tech kit. Was a fun project.

Aydan
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:37 pm

I recently reactivated a spare original 1B, because I needed something to connect a sensor to and didn't have any other spare Pi lying around, and that felt positively sluggish against the multiple Pi0Ws I have deployed for similar things. Both run Raspian lite, but with the lower CPU frequency I often have lags over SSH.
The zeros are definitely usable for lots of things.
Mine are used as surveillance camera, microscope and controller for my ventilation unit.

Regards
Aydan

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rpdom
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:42 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:25 pm
The specs are only "terrible" compared to later Pis. Compared to many computers I have owned or used, the spec are very, very good. I made considerable use of the original Model B...which initially had 256MB DRAM and a default of 700MHz CPU.
The 1B originally ran at 600Mhz.

hippy
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:03 pm

SageD360 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:19 am
When I was looking at all the raspberry pi boards and their specs, I looked at the Zero W's specs and thought to myself what would be some good uses for the raspberry pi zero/zero W as their specs are so terrible and yes I know you can use them to build robots and stuff like that but what else could you use them for?
This might fall into "Robots and stuff like that" but one can use them as text to speech engines, giant HD-sized text and graphical displays, file storage, network, wireless and Bluetooth interfaces for microcontrollers and other things which don't have such things themselves.

Less electonics related; scraping web sites and downloading thing, running as email or newsgroup servers, proxy servers. They can be used for backup storage and as WiFi HotSpots or captive portals.

They can be used to make dirt cheap digital picture frames Wi-Fi or Bluetooth accessible, turn them into live information displays.

There are so many things it can do that it would probably be easier to list things the Pi Zero W's cannot do or, more strictly speaking, not do as well as something else might.

FPV
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:13 pm

We use our W's for:

- Kodi (more than enough to run 720P/1080P)
- Surveillance camera in the garden or shed
- ADSB/Flightaware tracker on the roof of the house (extremely useful not having to run an ethernet cable up there!)
- fall-back Pi-Hole (the big one is wired, this one is a backup just in case. wireless is good enough for it).

We have plenty!

dickon
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:56 pm

SageD360 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:19 am
but what else could you use them for?
In my case, as a USB gadget, firing F1 into a notional keyboard buffer, to get around my router's braindead BIOS (with the classic 'CMOS corrupt -- press F1 to continue' cretinism) and flat battery after a powercut.

It's easier than replacing the battery.

timrowledge
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:02 pm

Not so very long ago a machine with the performance of a Pi zero was a thing of fantasy, affordable only for high end engineering workstations.
Making Smalltalk on ARM since 1986; making your Scratch better since 2012

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davidcoton
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:05 pm

dickon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:56 pm
In my case, as a USB gadget, firing F1 into a notional keyboard buffer,
Marvin wrote:Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to press F1.
Last edited by davidcoton on Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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trejan
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:09 pm

rpdom wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:42 pm
The 1B originally ran at 600Mhz.
Eh? Pretty sure it was 700MHz.

ejolson
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:18 pm

dickon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:56 pm
SageD360 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:19 am
but what else could you use them for?
In my case, as a USB gadget, firing F1 into a notional keyboard buffer, to get around my router's braindead BIOS (with the classic 'CMOS corrupt -- press F1 to continue' cretinism) and flat battery after a powercut.

It's easier than replacing the battery.
That does not sound easier than replacing the battery.

Still, I have been thinking again and again that I would like to do this, as well as to wire the GPIO to the power and reset switches. In addition to a USB keyboard, if the Zero could provide a serial connection and mass storage simultaneously as USB gadgets, the result could be useful for secure IPMI-like remote administration.

Do you have a recommendation where to find more information how to do this?

chipace
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:33 pm

I used one in a solar powered weather station. If it is not battery powered, a RPi2 or RPi3 will be fine.
I always buy the latest RPi, so I really don't need extra low-cost RPis available for projects.
I probably will not buy another Zero or recommend anyone to buy one, unless it is specifically running on battery power.

SueGeo
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:40 pm

timrowledge wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:02 pm
Not so very long ago a machine with the performance of a Pi zero was a thing of fantasy, affordable only for high end engineering workstations.
What still seems damn near miraculous to me is getting this kind of functionality in something so tiny and with such miniscule power requirements.

I'm sitting here listening to music streamed over wifi from a Zero W.

I remember when a 386 couldn't play an mp3 without stuttering. And that had something like a 250 watt power supply.

echmain
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:42 pm

I use one to capture/download some radio show podcasts which are then uploaded to my Dropbox account. And then I listen to them on my iPhone.

It’s all totally automated, driven by some shell scripts and cron. And in some cases I use a SQLite database to keep track of which shows have been downloaded.

And because the Pi Zero draws so little power, it’s on 24/7.

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rpdom
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:12 pm

trejan wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:09 pm
rpdom wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:42 pm
The 1B originally ran at 600Mhz.
Eh? Pretty sure it was 700MHz.
No it WAS 600MHz when first released and later updated to 700MHz when that was decreed stable.

wh7qq
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:22 pm

I very well may buy another 0W before I buy my first 4B+. I have zeros running IoT tasks around the house and an old B+ running a Pi-hole that could just as well be on a zero. They all run 24/7 happily without benefit of forced air cooling or even heat sinks. The low power consumption is important here...my AC costs $0.46/KWh and I count every watt so I don't exceed my solar output. I even have a "slow" zero with an FE-PI soundcard for CD grade audio from .wav files...it even will record them.

That said, I will likely buy a 4B+ to replace the next x86 desktop that dies. There are tons of non-frivolous uses for the entire RPi spectrum and many do not require high specs. My first W$ '98 computer was a Compaq Presario laptop that ran 192M on a KII-433 MHz CPU and it ran W$ '98 and a whole host of applications like Office, Firefox, T-Bird, even (ughh!) Internet Exploder. A zero would have run rings around it if the software was available. A few years back, the case disintegrated so it found the trash can but I was still using it regularly for a USB microscope, running a full-up AntiX Linux. A zero with Raspbian took over.

trejan
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:29 pm

rpdom wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:12 pm
No it WAS 600MHz when first released and later updated to 700MHz when that was decreed stable.
If that happened then it was before it was publicly released. I had Pi boards from the first day and they were 700MHz.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Uses for Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:50 pm

wh7qq wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:22 pm
I very well may buy another 0W before I buy my first 4B+.

That said, I will likely buy a 4B+ to replace the next x86 desktop that dies.
That first one is easy....you've probably got at least a year, and quite possibly two. For the second one, I hope your x86 system is in decent shape.

ps. There is no "4B+", at least, not yet. Nor do I see any prospect of one in the foreseeable future.

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