Single Board Computer suggestions?

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by N0FN, Jun 4, 2018.

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  1. N0FN

    N0FN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm developing a client-server contest logger for portable operations. The idea is that the server will run on a low-power single board computer and then smartphones/tablets can be used at the logging stations to connect to the server over wifi or bluetooth. The server just needs to be able to run Python and wifi or bluetooth. The processing power required over and above the networking stack is VERY MINIMAL.

    I've heard of the Raspberry Pi and the BeagleBone Black, but I haven't kept up with the exploding landscape of single board computers that run a full OS as opposed to microcontrollers like Arduino. What is available out there in the categories of low power consumption and wireless networking? Cheap is always a great benefit of course.

    I've considered trying to develop a custom firmware for something like the ESP2866 but I don't think I'm ready to write a whole webserver in C ;).

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have.

    -Neil N0FN
  2. W5PFG

    W5PFG Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you really want to go compact, look at Pi Zero W (includes wireless.) They are relatively low power consumers and are very cheap ($5.)

    In addition to the ones you mentioned, there is also the ODROID.
    AG6QR likes this.
  3. AG6QR

    AG6QR Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've got a network of Raspberry Pi computers working as cameras, web servers, time servers, and network attached storage. Mine are all "big" model 3 variants, but the model zero W looks like it may be my next one.

    The large community of users for the Pi makes things easy. Almost everything you could want is immediately available via apt-get.
  4. N0FN

    N0FN Ham Member QRZ Page

    That might be the best recommendation of all. The "network effect" is real.

    I'll take a look at the Pi Zero W.

    -Neil N0FN
  5. VA3VF

    VA3VF Guest

    As already mentioned, the Pi Zero W may be all you need. The problem is that the dealers I checked will sell only one per customer. Also, I have never seen them for $5, $10 is more like it. I use the Rpi3 and RPi3+, and they are great, but a bit more expensive.

    I'm looking forward to the ASUS Tinkerboard S with 16G of eMMC on board. No @#$% micro SD card needed. It was supposed tho have been released a couple of weeks ago, but no reports so far.
  6. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi, I have one of last year tinkerboards. I think it is great! 2GB RAM, 2x clocks on the RPi. Not what the OP needs but good enough for my desktop
  7. AA7QQ

    AA7QQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    UDOO X86 (I have the Ultra version). Not cheap, but blows the rest away.
    NVIDIA TX2, if you want insane computing (No WIN kernel.

  8. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll admit being against Arduino, mainly because it is about 10
    years behind in communication technology BY ITSELF.
    I did try Due , but it got too convoluted.

    But it all depends on WHAT is your application.
    I would take hard look at Bluetooth as far as what is reasonable distance it can REALLY cover.
    Just received missing parts for RPi Zero , I suppose it went by sailing boat around The Horn.
    The "$5 Zero computer" is waiting for some smart hungry lawyer to challenge that - I paid $15.

    My other "gripe" is that ALL available software "libraries" were influenced by unconventional / hokey Arduino "hiding main() concept" and were written, in general, in C.

    Again, if "C" does the job , don't knock it, but cramming bloated "C" code to new users is not being progressive IMHO. Most of these "libraries" are open source , but beware - few of them are just copies of other code.
    Good luck with your project.
    73 Shirley
  9. VA3VF

    VA3VF Guest

    And this is for the non W, the Zero W is a bit more expensive still.
  10. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Pi 3 is probably the best bang for the buck -- lots of software out there, and it is pretty stable. Some of the newer boards, if they stick around, will be slow to grow in popularity, meaning you will work harder to do what you want. We have a number of Pi at work for various things -- test fixtures, general play, RS-232 and RS-435 monitoring, etc...

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