Low form-factor Raspberry Pi alternates

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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.

Pankaj Jangid

Re: Low form-factor Raspberry Pi alternates
On 21/9/19 7:24 pm, Pankaj Jangid wrote:
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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.

Re: Low form-factor Raspberry Pi alternates
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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).

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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):
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,


Re: Low form-factor Raspberry Pi alternates
On 21-09-19 11:24, Pankaj Jangid wrote:
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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

Re: Low form-factor Raspberry Pi alternates
On Sat, 21 Sep 2019 14:54:01 +0530, Pankaj Jangid wrote:

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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

If they can make a PIC16F work with wifi, any larger uC will work.


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