Forums

Low form-factor Raspberry Pi alternates

Started by Pankaj Jangid September 21, 2019
Hi,

I am currently experimenting with Pi Zero W, which is a Raspberry Pi
board with minimal configuration and has a very small form factor and
has wifi.

Raspberry Pi is a good generic board. But for specific applications like
Home Automation etc. we probably don't need a generic board. As of now
we could think of only few functions that the board must
support. Example,

1. Switch on/off something
2. Report status
3. Support for external sensors
4. Low power (must survive a couple of months without charging)

If anyone of you have worked on similar applications then please suggest
me some alternates. I want a really tiny system to be fixed into a
cabinets along with 3-4 sensors and battery.

Regards.
-- 
Pankaj Jangid
On 21/9/19 7:24 pm, Pankaj Jangid wrote:
> I am currently experimenting with Pi Zero W, which is a Raspberry Pi > board with minimal configuration and has a very small form factor and > has wifi. > > Raspberry Pi is a good generic board. But for specific applications like > Home Automation etc. we probably don't need a generic board. As of now > we could think of only few functions that the board must > support. Example, > > 1. Switch on/off something > 2. Report status > 3. Support for external sensors > 4. Low power (must survive a couple of months without charging) > > If anyone of you have worked on similar applications then please suggest > me some alternates. I want a really tiny system to be fixed into a > cabinets along with 3-4 sensors and battery.
Look at the ESP8266 based modules. For a couple of bucks you get an ARM with a megabyte or more of flash, WiFi support and good low-power modes. It's widely used in home automation and you can even play Arduino on it if you're not serious enough to need a debugger. If you want to run Linux the Orange-Pi might suit. It's similar to a Pi zero but with no HDMI. Not really low power though, Clifford Heath.
On 21-09-19 11:24, Pankaj Jangid wrote:
> Raspberry Pi is a good generic board. But for specific applications like > Home Automation etc. we probably don't need a generic board. As of now > we could think of only few functions that the board must > support. Example, > > 1. Switch on/off something > 2. Report status > 3. Support for external sensors > 4. Low power (must survive a couple of months without charging) > > If anyone of you have worked on similar applications then please suggest > me some alternates. I want a really tiny system to be fixed into a > cabinets along with 3-4 sensors and battery.
If you really want to get rid of the board, you could try using something like an Arduino. When you're done prototyping, a microcontroller is pretty easy to implement in your design on its own instead of using a complete prototyping board. On the other hand boards like the Pi Zero and Arduino Nano are so small and cheap that it's probably better to just keep using them. But then my advice about the Arduino (or similar) still stands. Microcontrollers are better suited to those simple tasks than a Raspberry Pi, and they draw less power. -- Robert Spanjaard
On Sat, 21 Sep 2019 14:54:01 +0530, Pankaj Jangid wrote:

> Hi, > > I am currently experimenting with Pi Zero W, which is a Raspberry Pi > board with minimal configuration and has a very small form factor and > has wifi. > > Raspberry Pi is a good generic board. But for specific applications like > Home Automation etc. we probably don't need a generic board. As of now > we could think of only few functions that the board must support. > Example, > > 1. Switch on/off something 2. Report status 3. Support for external > sensors 4. Low power (must survive a couple of months without charging) > > If anyone of you have worked on similar applications then please suggest > me some alternates. I want a really tiny system to be fixed into a > cabinets along with 3-4 sensors and battery. > > Regards.
What size battery?? I dont think you are going to meet requirement 4 with a Pi Zero or any of the pi boards. The number I saw for low power zero was 80mA idle. There is an add-on board called a Sleepy-Pi (I think it is) that has a small uC that powers off the Pi and will power it back on after some event (timeout, switch closure, etc). It's likely though that by the time the Pi has booted back up you have missed any transient event. You are not going to be able to read your sensors when the Pi is shutdown. Also since the Pi will be shutdown in the "low power" mode, wifi wont work. Bottom line Pi wont work if you must have requirement 4. Look at this Interfacing ESP8266 with PIC16F877A Microcontroller https://circuitdigest.com/microcontroller-projects/interfacing-pic- microcontroller-with-esp8266 If they can make a PIC16F work with wifi, any larger uC will work. -- Chisolm Texas-American
Clifford Heath <no.spam@please.net> wrote:
> Look at the ESP8266 based modules. For a couple of bucks you get an ARM > with a megabyte or more of flash, WiFi support and good low-power modes. > It's widely used in home automation and you can even play Arduino on it > if you're not serious enough to need a debugger.
ESP32 (which is the newer version of the ESP8266) was also my first thought, assuming a non-huge volume (when you might want something more custom).
> If you want to run Linux the Orange-Pi might suit. It's similar to a Pi > zero but with no HDMI. Not really low power though,
A lot of the Linux SBCs suffer from connectoritis - have to fit a fullsize ethernet jack, a stack of USB A ports, a fullsize HDMI, etc and now it's the size of a small paperback. As well as things like this (which might be a bit slow): https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/iMX233/iMX233-OLinuXino-NANO/open-source-hardware there are systems-on-module that are basically just SoC/RAM/flash and the connectors are up to you. The iMX6 and iMX7 are quite good for this, eg: https://www.variscite.com/product/system-on-module-som/cortex-a9/dart-mx6-cpu-freescale-imx6/ https://eu.mouser.com/new/wandboard/wandboard-pico-imx7-som/ Theo