Raspberry Pi Zero W Adds Built In Wireless Radios

Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2017 - 04:24 PM |
Tagged: raspberry pi zero, single board computer, sbc, broadcom

The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently introduced a $10 Pi Zero W which resembles the $5 single board Pi Zero computer it launched in 2015 but adds built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios.

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At the heart of the Raspberry Pi Zero W is a 1GHz single core Broadcom BCM2835 application processor and 512MB of RAM. Storage is handled by s micro SD card slot. The tiny board includes the following I/O options:

  • 1 x Mini HDMI
  • 1 x Micro USB OTG
  • 1 x Micro USB for power
  • 1 x 40-pin HAT compatible header
  • 1 x CSI camera connector
  • 1 x Composite video header
  • 1 x reset header

The Pi Zero W uses the same Cypress CYW43438 chip as the Pi 3 Model B and offers 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, they found that many users were using USB wireless dongles along with a HID (keyboard/mouse) and they needed to carry around a hub or integrate it into their project. Adding built in wireless frees up the single Micro USB port for ither devices and hopefully allows smaller devices that use a Pi Zero as its brains.

Per RasPi.TV’s testing, the new Pi Zero W uses approximately 20mA more power than the Pi Zero which the site attributes to the wireless radios. While it more power than the previous model it is still half that of the Raspberry Pi 3 B. Specifically, the Pi Zero W pulls 120mA at idle and up to 170mA when playing back a 1080p video. Recording 1080p video from a camera uses ~230 mA. The SBC is rated at 0.6W to 1.2W (120 to 230 mA at 5.19V).

A modular official case is being released alongside the new board. US residents will be able to pick up the $10 single board computer at Adafruit, CanaKit, and Micro Center.

The Pi Zero has been used in a large variety of projects including robotics, arcade games, home automation and motion sensing cameras IoT, information displays, and electric skateboards. Integrating the wireless radio should make similar projects just a bit easier to out together.


March 5, 2017 | 08:38 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Sux we're not getting pi4 this year

March 5, 2017 | 10:14 PM - Posted by willmore

Unobtanium, so meh.

March 6, 2017 | 03:29 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

>2017
>Still no DisplayPort
Sigh...

March 6, 2017 | 09:57 AM - Posted by kenjo

Considering that you only have space for one port selecting hdmi looks to be a no brainier.

March 6, 2017 | 10:15 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

>He actually serious believes anyone still gives an F about HDMI in this modern day and age
Sigh...

March 6, 2017 | 12:34 PM - Posted by kenjo

Everyone that wants to connect to a TV does.

March 6, 2017 | 01:03 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

>Connecting a Pi to a TV
Sigh...yare yare...

March 6, 2017 | 02:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

shut up meg

March 7, 2017 | 02:17 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

No you, smeg.

March 6, 2017 | 07:31 PM - Posted by HectorO

So i'm curious, does this need an antenna connected to make it work? I can see bluetooth working with it, but WiFi I imagine needs something sticking out for decent reception.

Unless it's printed on the PCB somehow.

March 13, 2017 | 10:17 PM - Posted by willmore

There is a little antenna on the PCB near the middle on the edge with the USB connector. Looks like a 'C' that almost closed.

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