Raspberry Pi Zero – Unboxing and Initial Setup

The Raspsberry Pi Zero is the smallest and cheapest member of the Raspbery Pi family. It’s cheap and powerful enough for a handful of funny and interesting projects! The version without wireless costs about 5 euros and the version with wireless costs about 11 euros, prices from Amsterdam stores. Here are the full specs, from the official blog announcement:

  1. A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor

  2. 1GHz ARM11 core (40% faster than Raspberry Pi 1)

  3. 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM

  4. A micro-SD card slot

  5. A mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output

  6. Micro-USB sockets for data and power

  7. An unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header

  8. Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B

  9. An unpopulated composite video header

  10. Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

You can buy just the board or a basic kit, like the one I got. There are a bunch of different starter kits out there, the one I got was very basic: the Raspberry Pi Zero W board, a pin head (to be soldered, if you want to connect components to it), a 16 GB micro SD card with NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software) pre-installed, an HDMI adapter to connect a display to it, and a USB adapter (for input – USB keyboard / mouse works just fine). You can use any micro USB cable as power source.

This is how it looks like when power, display and USB keyboard are connected:

The video below shows the unboxing of the kit and the initial setup to get it up and running with Raspbian. I even tweeted from it, which is pretty cool for such a tiny and easy to set up device 🙂

Further Configuration

If you have a Raspbery Pi Zero W, you might want to configure the device’s wi-fi and SSH access, so you can access it from your regular working machine. No need to connect a display and keyboard, YAY! It really makes things easier.

As you can see from the video, the board doesn’t come with pins to connect it to the breadboard or components. When you get the kit, you’ll also get the pins to be soldered to the board. This happens because not all projects will  need those! The Raspberry Pi Zero is so versatile that it can be used as a tiny computer, as a tiny server or any other type of small device to run your high-level code.

For playing around and prototyping, however, you’ll definitely need the IO header. There’s no real fun otherwise. So get over it and check the Basic Soldering page from my noob’s crash course on electronics.

For a complete reference on how to get started with the Raspberry Pi Zero W, check this page at Sparkfun.

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