Raspberry Pi Zero W ?

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by AA7EJ, Jun 26, 2018.

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  1. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am almost finished with my code (VNA) which is currently running on RPi 3B.
    The plan is to "port" it to Zero.

    I would like to hear from someone who is actually using Zero to do something in amateur radio.

    I have been reading the mail it is not that exciting as I expected.
    "5 $ computer in short supply ?"

    I did turn my Zero on and it is not the fastest gun it the west and on top of it single core CPU.
    How does same piece of hardware " works" as quad core CPU and single core CPU running same OS?

    73 Shirley
  2. N3AT

    N3AT Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's a good little unit, but it has a lower clock rate, less ram, etc. It isn't as quick or capable as the 3B. For $5 it is a great deal.
  3. K6ZX

    K6ZX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    For $5 its a fantastic deal. I'm using Zero W's for a whole host of home automation applications that require WiFi. At $10 its half the price of the microcontrollers I had been using, and programming on Linux is a whole lot more straightforward than the embedded real-time OS on the microcontrollers. Course it doesn't have analog IO so need an analog to digital converter if that's necessary.

    The thing is, you have to design your VNA platform to use appropriate hardware and software for the computational task it needs to perform and the performance you expect. This means that the hardware platform needs to have sufficient 'computing power', RAM, and program/data storage, etc. to perform the task with the user interface response time you desire. I don't know what language you are implementing your project in, but you may be forced to use, say, C instead of Python to get the performance you desire even though implementing it in C may be more work.

    It is very difficult to give advice without having a very thorough understanding of your application's software processing requirements and your performance expectations. Its quite possible that a Zero isn't an appropriate hardware platform for your application. But that doesn't mean it isn't a valuable platform for appropriate tasks. A little engineering must be done to pick the appropriate hardware/software for the specific application. And if you're building something you intend to productize and actually sell, then cost becomes a major constraint.

    I wouldn't call moving an application from a Pi 3B to a Zero a 'port', it should just run on either. So if it were me I'd just try it on the Zero and see if it worked and met your expectations. If it does, great, if not, oh well.
    KK4NSF likes this.
  4. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for reply.
    Yes, the VNA is written in C++.
    Mainly for learning experience and fun.
    So far I got the I2C running for plain Hitachi style LCD and still struggling with SPI for "real" LCD /TFT.

    "I'm using Zero W's for a whole host of home automation applications that require WiFi."
    Could you elaborate on your experience as far as practical range of WiFi goes?

    As soon as I get the LCD/TFT going I need to "hook" both 3B and Zero wirelesslly to my router.
    The "scary" part is - I am currently connected from my PC to RPi 3 via Ethernet and do not want to loose that while adding WiFi to RPi 3.
    Folks keep telling me it is a snap to connect to Internet via WiFI. The "problem " is I am not just connecting to Internet.
    I guess I need to learn about "static IP " .
  5. K6ZX

    K6ZX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I haven't really done any measurements of the Zero W's WiFi performance. I haven't had any problems within my house and they seem to be just as capable as any other WiFi device that I have. They are not transferring large amounts of data (no video streaming or anything like that).

    It is a snap to connect them to your WiFi network. This is almost certainly what people mean when they say 'Internet'. You can configure the RPi 3's wireless interface while leaving the Ethernet config as is and it should select whichever network it detects at boot. I am not 100% sure about this, but my laptops do this, I'm running Debian Linux on all my systems and they work this way with no special configuration. Assuming you're using Raspbian, it is a Debian derivative.

    There are several ways you can configure the IP addressing.
    1. You could configure a 'static' address locally in the device.
    2. Depending upon your wireless router, it may have a feature that provides an IP address (through DHCP) to the device and then enters the hostname/IP address info for that device into its Domain Name Service (DNS). Then other devices (such as your laptop) can connect to the Pi using its hostname. Your router would perform the DNS function for your network and provide the IP address of the Pi to the laptop when the laptop requests it. This is all normal DNS functioning and happens automatically if the router has this capability. I use the OpenWRT software package on my routers which provides a package called 'dnsmasq' that performs this function. It is really slick and allows you to access devices on your local network by hostname even though they are being served dynamic (i.e. not fixed) IP addresses by your router (DHCP server).
    3. You could configure your router to serve a 'fixed' IP address to the device via DHCP. This moves the configuration of the network interfaces into the router and not the local device. It accomplishes the same thing as in number 1. above.
    This is a matter of style but it can be easier to manage your network through your router instead of configuring each device locally. Nothing wrong with doing it locally, but it can be a little easier to do it in a more centralized way. It can help when configuring multiple devices to avoid using the same IP address for two devices, which is, of course, not good and will cause a lot of problems. This is the advantage of using your router's DHCP to serve IP addresses, it won't (unless it malfunctions) serve the same address to multiple network devices.

    Good luck with your project, sounds like fun!

    KK4NSF likes this.

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