The rather incredible Pi Zero

Written by Naturebytes

November 30, 2015

It wasn’t long before we started to receive emails asking if it could be used in the Naturebytes Wildlife Cam kit. With such a small form factor it opened our minds to new kit possibilities in terms of size, but without the CSI port you can’t natively connect the Pi camera to it.

Sure – you could use a USB camera, but then you’d need to hack one in to replace the standard Pi camera that we ship with the kits. Power could also be an issue with a USB camera as you’d need to supply the new camera and you’ll need to fit in that extra juice.

The specification looks like this:

  • A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor
    • 1GHz ARM11 core (40% faster than Raspberry Pi 1)
  • 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • A micro-SD card slot
  • A mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
  • Micro-USB sockets for data and power
  • An unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header
    • Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
  • An unpopulated composite video header
  • 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

Zero_3_of_5_1024x1024

We’re thinking that the A+ is still the firm winner for now when it comes to the Cam Kit, but we’re very excited to discover what’s possible with the Pi Zero when you start thinking about monitoring plants, watering them remotely, using the Zero with the Pi weather station etc… or monitoring wildlife in new exciting ways.

It’s going to be a fun time for Raspberry Pi enthusiasts everywhere. Congrats to anyone who managed to buy one before they all sold out, or were the lucky owner of a MagPi this month.

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13 Comments

  1. Matt

    Are you planning to make the Wildlife Cam software available for download?

    Reply
    • Naturebytes

      Hi Matt, yes we are. As soon as we deliver the Kickstarter rewards we’ll release the software, instructions and 3D print files.

      Reply
  2. John Crouchley

    The new Pi zero at $5 £4 with a CSI port and low power makes it the natural choice going forward. I will be fitting one into my NatureBytes cam kit over the weekend.

    Reply
    • Naturebytes

      Fantastic John.

      You can 3D print a new insert to do the job. We will post the STI files if anyone wants to make an insert for the Zero with CSI port. We’ll be doing the same here shortly.

      We’d love to see how you get on, so do let us know.

      Reply
      • John Crouchley

        I intend to reuse / slightly alter the existing insert – it looks like drilling one hole will do it 🙂

        Reply
          • Hendrik-Jan

            Hi John,

            that looks great! Can you say anything about power use of the Pi Zero as opposed to A+?

            Only problem is that the Zero’s seem more difficult to get hold of than a bottle of cold water in the middle of the Sahara desert… 😀

          • Naturebytes

            Excellent work John! We’re going to start a post on the site for the Zero hacks / mods and would love to invite you to blog about you experience (until we launch the full NB community site which will let you do that yourself if you wanted to).

            Also, Raspi TV did a Zero power comparison (pre camera port), however it looks to be very similar to the A+ so I would expect the camera to act in a similar fashion if they were to repeat the test – http://raspi.tv/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Pi-Zero-Power-Usage-Chart.jpg

          • John Crouchley

            I’ll start writing it up.
            Headline points:
            1) just one additional hole in the insert is needed to accomodate the smaller board.
            2) you need the new camera adapter ribbon cable – the one that come with the camera is too small.
            3) you must “sudo apt-get update” and “sudo apt-get dist-update” to get kernel support for the camera on the Pi Zero.

            Then it just works.

            Tip – I used a couple of spare M2 nuts in the kit as spacers to lift the power boost board slightly – then it is easier to plugin a microUSB charging cable.

          • Sam

            John:

            I think you meant apt-get dist-upgrade (not dist-update). Oddly enough that is not 100% effective for me. Sometimes I still get “failed to create component” on a few of my installs. Not sure what is different.

          • Chris

            Just wondering if you ever finished the Zero post – as I cannot find it on your site anywhere?

          • Naturebytes

            Hi Chris,

            Do you have the Kickstarter kit & case, or did you purchase the kit from The Pi Hut? We have a new insert that ships with the Pi Hut version of the case so can now assist you.

            Kind regards,

            Naturebytes

      • Sam

        Would love to have the STL for the insert, looks like I am going to need to mod it for a Pi2B unless the rumored update to the A+ ships soon.

        Reply

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