markatlnk
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On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:49 am

How about on the next version of the zero, add solder pads and traces on the bottom of the board for a few useful circuits. Don't solder on the parts, just the traces. There are a few things that might be useful for a few but by only putting the traces on and not the parts it won't increase the cost. Things I would like to see are:

1. 5V boost circuit so we can power it from 3.7V LiPo cell
2. LiPo charger so the LiPo could be charged maybe from a solar panel
3. A/D converter of some sort to measure a few voltages

If we use some common parts that aren't too small or hard to get, then people could solder them on as needed.

Just thinking.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:07 am

Why not build your circuits and connect them to the GPIO block?

tweak42
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:23 am

Interesting idea for traces. I would like traces to easily solder on a male USB type A connector. This would make stacking a bunch of Zero's in gadget mode to a powered usb hub simpler.

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Elescalador

Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:56 am

I'd settle for $2USD more expensive but also more readily available (or a single core CM1.2 - Low cost of a zero and sd card memory). Wifi might be nice too.
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markatlnk
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:58 am

Yes you can just create a block to plug into the GPIO pins, just trying to get a few ideas going. Maybe a few signals that aren't on the GPIO could be there also. The Idea is to do something with the board that doesn't increase cost. Yes I know that a relayout would cost, but that is just once. I teach electrical engineering and want more students to build stuff with things like the Pi Zero.

Pads for a WiFi chip would be great, but you would need lots of other things like a hub and that would be a bit much.

Mark

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:39 am

markatlnk wrote:Yes you can just create a block to plug into the GPIO pins, just trying to get a few ideas going. Maybe a few signals that aren't on the GPIO could be there also. The Idea is to do something with the board that doesn't increase cost. Yes I know that a relayout would cost, but that is just once. I teach electrical engineering and want more students to build stuff with things like the Pi Zero.

Pads for a WiFi chip would be great, but you would need lots of other things like a hub and that would be a bit much.

Mark
For your EE students, I would think that building carrier boards and using a CM/CM3/CM3L would make a lot of sense.

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VeryNoob
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:59 am

I'd love to have the header holes for the power in (so I don't bypass the fuse, etc) and for the USB. It would make stacking Mini-Hats (caps) on it a lot more useful. You could have USB hub-caps, USB wifi-caps USB sound cards. When I build a project, one of my (minor) gripes is having all the cables hanging out. On something small like the zero, having a micro-usb plug hanging out the side doubles the size.

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rpdom
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:53 am

VeryNoob wrote:I'd love to have the header holes for the power in (so I don't bypass the fuse, etc)
There is no fuse, etc on the Zero. The power in is connected directly to the data USB and the 5V pins on the GPIO connector holes.
and for the USB.
That one might be useful.

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:53 am

VeryNoob wrote:I'd love to have the header holes for the power in (so I don't bypass the fuse, etc) and for the USB. It would make stacking Mini-Hats (caps) on it a lot more useful. You could have USB hub-caps, USB wifi-caps USB sound cards. When I build a project, one of my (minor) gripes is having all the cables hanging out. On something small like the zero, having a micro-usb plug hanging out the side doubles the size.
The Pi Zero has no fuse. There is nothing to bypass. Again, that's why you can use the GPIO block for that without it being any different. (The lack of power protection is one of the ways costs were cut on the Pi Zero *and* another reason why the Pi Zero is not the best choice for rank beginners to start with.)

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:55 am

tweak42 wrote:Interesting idea for traces. I would like traces to easily solder on a male USB type A connector. This would make stacking a bunch of Zero's in gadget mode to a powered usb hub simpler.
I didn't pick up on this earlier... A full sized USB-A connector requires through holes. The board design would have to reflect that by making sure there were no conductors where the holes need to go.

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:16 am

I don't have much visibility, but I suspect that it would need a minimum price of $10 to start to increase production levels, ie it would need at least a $5 hike to get large scale manufacturers interested. $5 simply doesn't have the margins for large scale production. Would people be willing to pay $10, or would that put the Zero too close to the other models pricewise, for somewhat lesser features.
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gregeric
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:06 am

Move the camera's I2C pins up to 44/45, then bring out the I2S bus on 28-31 at the pair of unused lanes present on that fine pitch connector.

That will allow sound input on camera boards with a cheap MEMs mic, or high quality audio in/out boards to be added there independent of the 40-pin header.

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:23 am

gregeric wrote:Move the camera's I2C pins up to 44/45, then bring out the I2S bus on 28-31 at the pair of unused lanes present on that fine pitch connector.

That will allow sound input on camera boards with a cheap MEMs mic, or high quality audio in/out boards to be added there independent of the 40-pin header.
But only on a Zero, so inherently a relatively small market for your camera/audio board.
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gregeric
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:27 am

Yeah, I suppose you might be relying on "enterprising" 3rd parties to build them, which wouldn't bring in any revenue for RPT/F :(

Edit: originally I had in mind a revised camera board with MEMs mic on board, now I realise a simpler solution with the mic placed on the flex cable itself, towards the camera end.

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:25 pm

I'd have paid 10 bucks for a Zero. Especially if it meant I could buy it in bulk. ;)

The camera connector was a nice add on. I'd rather have WIFI though. I don't see that happening, not without added cost. Likely no room anyway, even if you remove the CSI connector.

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CarlRJ
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:22 pm

jamesh wrote:I don't have much visibility, but I suspect that it would need a minimum price of $10 to start to increase production levels, ie it would need at least a $5 hike to get large scale manufacturers interested. $5 simply doesn't have the margins for large scale production. Would people be willing to pay $10, or would that put the Zero too close to the other models pricewise, for somewhat lesser features.
I would quite cheerfully buy the Zero for $10 (when I come up with uses for more of them). And I'd cheerfully pay $10-$20 for a ZeroW with the 3B's SDIO-connected WiFi added to a (marginally larger as needed) Zero board. It'd be fairly low-cost, tiny, low power, WiFi connected, with GPIO pins and an available microUSB port - perfect for lots of IoT projects. It's not just a matter of costing less than other models, the fact that it's very small and relatively low power make it especially attractive.

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Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:46 pm

I'd pay up to 10...but I suspect they want to keep it at 5 because the illusion of a $5 computer draws people in - I personally thought the $30 Rpi was overrated and didn't attract me because I mostly use microcontrollers. It wasn't until a $5 version came out that I got curious enough to buy one. Now I've got a B, two 3s, and I think 8 zeros. And I've told all my nerd friends about them and they've bought some too. $10 may not have lured me in..
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:30 am

I think all that is lifely to be added to the Zero is connections (or more accurately pads for connectors), if they can be done within the manufacturing constraints.
So we may get SDIO pads to support separate WiFi, and possibly a Display connector (though maybe it needs a greater variety of displays available for that to make sense). Providing unpopulated circuits for power, ADC, DAC (etc) seems unlikely. Anything that can be easily added to the existing GPIO (like relay output, ADC, DAC) is, IMO, extremely unlikely to appear on any version of the Pi. Onboard WiFi/Bluetooth is a non-starter because of the costs of regulatory approvals.

Anything that is added (like the camera connector) has to have broad appeal, so WiFi, possibly Bluetooth, and possibly touchscreen would qualify. I can't see there being enough consensus on alternative power inputs for that to fly. Of course the number one request is for some form of pale red equine....

The question of the long-term future of the BCM2835 will have interesting implications for the Zero. 2836 unfortunately didn't last, and the 2837 doesn't seem a good contender. So a revised Zero will probably need the next gen processor, possibly downclocked (as the 2837 in the 2B2) to keep power consumption low.

Apart from the CM3 variants launched on the 16th, and the already announced 3A, the need for a new SOC means we should not expect any new releases this year.
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hippy
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:47 am

jamesh wrote:Would people be willing to pay $10, or would that put the Zero too close to the other models pricewise, for somewhat lesser features.
I'd pay $10. It also has attributes the other Pi's simply don't have, particularly lowest size and low current draw.

One-off price is pretty immaterial for most people, just a note of a different colour, for multiples it's not that much more expensive because there is some saving in shipping. Buying ten individually at £4 each with £2.50 shipping costs £65, buying ten at £9 each with £5 shipping is £95. It's more but not excessively.

Not sure how much it could save but a Pi Nought-Point-Five, a Zero without HDMI, without CSI, without DSI, just one USB power plus data socket, might do well because many people won't be using those in micro-clusters, embedded applications, or in USB gadget mode. Basically a SoC breakout board.

One thing to bear in mind is how many sales are being lost because it's not readily available in quantity.

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:21 am

hippy wrote: One thing to bear in mind is how many sales are being lost because it's not readily available in quantity.
Also bear in mind how many sales are being made to people, knowing that supplies are short and they can only buy one at a time, are buying extras as a hedge against future usage.

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:51 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:Also bear in mind how many sales are being made to people, knowing that supplies are short and they can only buy one at a time, are buying extras as a hedge against future usage.
I'm wallpapering my living room with spare Pi Zeros "just in case". ;)

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:33 am

CarlRJ wrote:
W. H. Heydt wrote:Also bear in mind how many sales are being made to people, knowing that supplies are short and they can only buy one at a time, are buying extras as a hedge against future usage.
I'm wallpapering my living room with spare Pi Zeros "just in case". ;)
I think that wins you an internet today. Take good care of it.

Actually...when it comes to the Pi Zero, people tend to focus exclusively on the "supply" part of "supply and demand", except for their own "demand". To balance the two, one can attempt to adjust either aspect, or some combination of both.

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rpdom
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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:35 am

davidcoton wrote:The question of the long-term future of the BCM2835 will have interesting implications for the Zero. 2836 unfortunately didn't last, and the 2837 doesn't seem a good contender. So a revised Zero will probably need the next gen processor, possibly downclocked (as the 2837 in the 2B2) to keep power consumption low.
The main issue I can see with switching to the 2837 (or even 2836 if it was available), is the separate RAM chip. There isn't really room on the Zero board for the RAM without placing it on the other side of the board, and we've been told that adding components to the other side of the board would increase production costs dramatically.

I suppose a PoP version of the 2837 could be made, but apart from the development costs being too high, there would also be heat issues.

A single core, reduced clock, PoP 2837S(?) might be a possibility, but still the dev costs wouldn't be worth it for the Zero.

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:03 am

rpdom wrote:
davidcoton wrote:The question of the long-term future of the BCM2835 will have interesting implications for the Zero. 2836 unfortunately didn't last, and the 2837 doesn't seem a good contender. So a revised Zero will probably need the next gen processor, possibly downclocked (as the 2837 in the 2B2) to keep power consumption low.
The main issue I can see with switching to the 2837 (or even 2836 if it was available), is the separate RAM chip. There isn't really room on the Zero board for the RAM without placing it on the other side of the board, and we've been told that adding components to the other side of the board would increase production costs dramatically.

I suppose a PoP version of the 2837 could be made, but apart from the development costs being too high, there would also be heat issues.

A single core, reduced clock, PoP 2837S(?) might be a possibility, but still the dev costs wouldn't be worth it for the Zero.
Yeah...the elephant in the room is the cost of a new SoC (and the hippopotamus in the swimming pool is the manufacturing cost of a new chip). *If* in the extraordinary situation that those two factors could be overcome, then a single core, 28nm (should run cooler and use less power), Cortex-A53 chip in a PoP-compliant package, using PoP RAM (512MB would be enough...single core, after all) would be a really slick upgrade.

Not going to happen, of course, but it would be a rather neat thing.

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Re: On the next version of the Zero (without adding cost)

Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:12 am

Just adding traces is a brilliant suggestion - espceillay the full sized USB as I have to currently bodge WiFi dongles using the test pads

And as you say its as close to a zero cost option as you can get :)

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