aldobaldo
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Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:47 am

This is a simple and effective idea for you Raspberry engineers :D
Like a lot of other people here, I am using the Zero or ZeroW for small hardware applications, where I am usually fine with Jessie Lite and 2GB of SD (actually most time I don't ever expand the image to fit the full 2GB).
The problem here is that you can no longer easily find 2GB or 4GB SD cards on the market.
And a 8 / 16 GB is a additional cost, that can be relevant if you are trying to create low cost things.
This while at industrial level (where you can play), I believe you can now find 2 or 4GB flash chips at a reasonable cost. So you already understood my idea: a Pi Zero with embedded 2GB or 4GB flash, maybe (why not?) with Raspian Lite pre-loaded.
You could save money by removing the SD card connector (and, for me and probably for all people that makes small things with small memory, you could remove also the HDMA connector and the camera connector; by the way a "super-lite" distribution that would take <1GB or <512MB could be another idea - one of my first software stuff worked on a Z80 with 128KB and that was even too much memory at time! I suspect that there is a lot of wasted space within a OS that takes MBs or GBs...)
Greetings and keep up the good work!
Aldo

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:16 am

With embedded storage a user can 'brick' the OS without much effort at all. Then you would have a useless..... 'brick'
You can't 'brick' a RPi with removable SD card.
Unless specified otherwise my response is based on the latest and fully updated Raspbian Buster w/ Desktop OS.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:48 am

If it was financially worth it, and possible, it would already exist.
55:55:44:44:4C
52:4C:52:42:41

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:18 am

Try using the CM or CM3. They have 4GB of eMMC flash on board and are about the size of a Pi0/Pi0W. You'll need some additional hardware, though. You might also read the CM forum to see what issues crop up when you have flash memory permanently affixed to a Pi. (Hint: It isn't all sweetness and light.)

I predict this will be a short-lived thread.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:35 am

I use Ultibo and can get apps down to 3MB, try finding a 8MB uSD card ;)
For PiCore Linux most of my testing is done on 128MB SDs
Smaller cards are usually single layer flash cells so are more reliable and have higher R/W cycles.
For Raspbian and Gentoo64, I prefer 16GB or bigger A1 rated cards.

There is a SPI boot mode, not sure but can an SPI flash chip be used?
SPI MRAM/NVAM/FRAM?
What is the biggest SO8 footprint memory?
Is the 2835 bootloader capable of reading SPI memory?
If so, what type?

Wonder which future version of Pi's will have carbon based memory?
Will the Pi4 have 8GB 64bit wide Nantero licensed NRAM DDR4?

There is an interview where Eben discusses a smaller than Zero Pi (2/3?).
It comes down to needing space for all the IO connectors.

I do think it is worth exploring memory options on Zeros.
If you stuff up and brick them you can still use them for keyrings etc
Not everything is known yet about the boot options.
https://github.com/raspberrypi/document ... ootflow.md

SPI boot mode is after NAND and before USB.
NAND boot, anyone done that?
May need to use JTAG to program it, good luck figuring that out :lol:
Secondary SD? Does that come out the GPIO header?

The Zero WH could plug into a motherboard that had SPI or SD2 or NAND on it?
I can see myself making embedded gadgets that way.
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:02 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:35 am
Not everything is known yet about the boot options.
The '2835 has not, so far as I can tell, had it's ROM upgraded to support the sorts of boot options that the '2837 supports. Even the '2836 didn't get them. So I would assume that SD or eMMC (but not both at the same time) is what there is. Remember that the whole feasibility of the Pi0 is cutting costs (and profits) to the bone. As far as the contention of the OP, I'd bet that a flash memory module would be significantly more expensive than the uSD card holder--and that alone would keep it off the Pi0 boards.

Beyond that, the problem with storage directly on the board is that when (note: NOT "if", but "when") it fails, the board is toast with it. With the SD card, you replace the card and the Pi is still usable.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:25 am

The '2835 has not, so far as I can tell, had it's ROM upgraded to support the sorts of boot options that the '2837 supports.
Think about how the 2835 and it's earlier VC1, VC2, VC3 versions were used.
They most likely booted from flash/nand/SPI not SD card.
Apple's 5th gen iPod circuit, Nokia 600, 700?
The SD card option would have been used to upgrade firmware on the embedded memory?

The 2837 got the boot network stuff added?
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:37 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:25 am
The '2835 has not, so far as I can tell, had it's ROM upgraded to support the sorts of boot options that the '2837 supports.
Think about how the 2835 and it's earlier VC1, VC2, VC3 versions were used.
They most likely booted from flash/nand/SPI not SD card.
Apple's 5th gen iPod circuit, Nokia 600, 700?
The SD card option would have been used to upgrade firmware on the embedded memory?

The 2837 got the boot network stuff added?
Remember that the CM uses a BCM2835 and has on-board eMMC flash. It can't be booted from an SD card. The SoC can boot from *either* flash *or* SD card, but it can't do both. The same is true of the BCM2837, hence (at least in part) the existence of the CM3L. What was added to the '2538 (in ROM) was the ability to boot over the USB bus. (Caveat...there is a special "rpiboot" process that will boot a '2835 through the USB port. That's how you write the system to the eMMC of a CM.)

So, yes, a BCM2835 board can be built that boots from on-board flash (and it has been done: the CM). You just can't (so far as I know) have *both* on-board flash *and* a usable SD card slot. Could a Pi0 be built with on-board flash? It is trivially obvious that it could be done. Is it a practical idea? Probably not. Is it economically feasible? Very unlikely.

Note: Having experimented with the CM, I can tell that if you think new Pi users have trouble setting up a bootable SD card, having to flash the system onto eMMC would send large numbers of them screaming for the hills. I urge anyone who thinks on-board flash is a good idea to get themselves a CM or CM3 and work with it. Browsing the CM forum would be a good idea as well.
'

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:24 am

aldobaldo wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:47 am
This is a simple and effective idea for you Raspberry engineers :D
Like a lot of other people here, I am using the Zero or ZeroW for small hardware applications, where I am usually fine with Jessie Lite and 2GB of SD (actually most time I don't ever expand the image to fit the full 2GB).
The problem here is that you can no longer easily find 2GB or 4GB SD cards on the market.
And a 8 / 16 GB is a additional cost, that can be relevant if you are trying to create low cost things.
This while at industrial level (where you can play), I believe you can now find 2 or 4GB flash chips at a reasonable cost. So you already understood my idea: a Pi Zero with embedded 2GB or 4GB flash, maybe (why not?) with Raspian Lite pre-loaded.
You could save money by removing the SD card connector (and, for me and probably for all people that makes small things with small memory, you could remove also the HDMA connector and the camera connector; by the way a "super-lite" distribution that would take <1GB or <512MB could be another idea - one of my first software stuff worked on a Z80 with 128KB and that was even too much memory at time! I suspect that there is a lot of wasted space within a OS that takes MBs or GBs...)
Greetings and keep up the good work!
Aldo

Obviously you have no idea of what is involved in R&D to bring your idea to fruition, surely the RPT have better use of their resources than wasting money to please a few individuals.

If you feel it is a profitable product then create one yourself with an Allwinner SoC.
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:31 am

my idea: a Pi Zero with embedded 2GB or 4GB flash

No thank you.

The simple fact that the RPi has no persistent on-board memory is one of its best design features. It means that the device is always in a 'factory-fresh' state every time it is powered on.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:35 am

B.Goode wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:31 am
my idea: a Pi Zero with embedded 2GB or 4GB flash

No thank you.

The simple fact that the RPi has no persistent on-board memory is one of its best design features. It means that the device is always in a 'factory-fresh' state every time it is powered on.
+1

Also the Pi board has an expected life of 30+ years, flash memory - much shorter.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:29 am

The FireTV stick Gen1 uses 8GB NAND flash iirc.
That's a Broadcom dual-core ARM - VC4 processor.

They should be cheap, see if you can hack them up.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:16 am

aldobaldo wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:47 am
The problem here is that you can no longer easily find 2GB or 4GB SD cards on the market.
And a 8 / 16 GB is a additional cost, that can be relevant if you are trying to create low cost things.
The Compute Modules, with less on them than a Pi Zero, are more expensive than a Pi Zero WH so I would expect a Pi Zero with eMMC ending up the same way.

Where you are hoping to save money; it would probably end up costing you more.

I do think there is a place for the cheapest possible Pi, possibly in TV Stick format, full-size HDMI on one end, USB on the other, with wireless, and that could be eMMC-based.

But, while RPT could develop and sell such a thing, their primary business is generating revenue for the RPF, not catering for user's needs. So, though having such a Pi variant may be welcomed by users, there may not be a business case for doing it.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:38 am

I do think there is a place for the cheapest possible Pi, possibly in TV Stick format, full-size HDMI on one end, USB on the other, with wireless, and that could be eMMC-based.
This fits your description in all but price :

https://www.modmypi.com/raspberry-pi/rp ... ute-module
Android app - Raspi Card Imager - download and image SD cards - No PC required !

aldobaldo
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:21 am

I see from some tones that some people maybe didn't got the spirit of what is just a proposal (and for an additional edition that wouldn't certainly remove Zero and ZeroW).
Maybe also not the target.
In any case, first of all it is useful to think about it.
And in order to think it is useful to talk: I always found that people that knows a weak point or does not like will be the first ones to write ;) and it is always useful to know weaknesses :)

As for some of the interesting things written, I would say:
- if today a "Pi Zero W Flash" with 4GB onboard costs more than Pi Zero W + SD card (a thing that I already doubt), tomorrow this could be a lot cheaper. Thanks to smartphones there is a lot of development in this area, and the price of EMMC and other flash will go down as it always happen;
- also there are or there will be ARMs with embedded memory
- talking about storage may link also to the talk about of a "very lite" official distribution, because some of us are good in hardware but not so good in Linux, and Raspian is part of the success of the Raspberry (this CM and Orange maybe are nice but....)
- nowadays' Flash are not the old kind of Flash, they can last years and years; additionally there are several applications where the Pi is turned on 10 minutes per day, or used in any case not often, or wisely programmed to not write so much on the disk!
- anyway, in the remote case of hardware failure -if it is not just a hobby application- you normally replace the whole thing, you certainly do not want that the customer has to open it(!) in order to change the SD...
- if you build something that has to be "on" 24/7 you could set everything in "read only" (the flash life is influenced by writings) and use a external drive.... or you simply use other hardware :P !

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:25 am

aldobaldo wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:47 am
This is a simple and effective idea for you Raspberry engineers :D
Like a lot of other people here, I am using the Zero or ZeroW for small hardware applications, where I am usually fine with Jessie Lite and 2GB of SD (actually most time I don't ever expand the image to fit the full 2GB).
The problem here is that you can no longer easily find 2GB or 4GB SD cards on the market.
And a 8 / 16 GB is a additional cost, that can be relevant if you are trying to create low cost things.
This while at industrial level (where you can play), I believe you can now find 2 or 4GB flash chips at a reasonable cost. So you already understood my idea: a Pi Zero with embedded 2GB or 4GB flash, maybe (why not?) with Raspian Lite pre-loaded.
You could save money by removing the SD card connector (and, for me and probably for all people that makes small things with small memory, you could remove also the HDMA connector and the camera connector; by the way a "super-lite" distribution that would take <1GB or <512MB could be another idea - one of my first software stuff worked on a Z80 with 128KB and that was even too much memory at time! I suspect that there is a lot of wasted space within a OS that takes MBs or GBs...)
Greetings and keep up the good work!
Aldo
Effective for some, but anything but simple. Complete board redesign, new production line, new test equipment. New software to ensure it fits in 2GB , or even 4GB of flash. Removing the other connectors means it no longer suitable for a lot of purposes, so the number sold will be much lower. Not only that but we now need to maintain another product line.

I think you may have fallen in to the mistake that many others do - a seemingly simple change, minimal engineering effort project turns out to be nothing of the sort. This is why so many Kickstarters fail. Not only that but the market demand for what works for you turns out to not be useful for most other people, so sales suck.
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:33 am

For jamesh: hey I say that the idea is simple, not that it will be simple to do it :) !!!
By the way the Jessie Lite do already fit in less than 2GBytes, so one of your points is already solved.
And by the way I am talking about applications without monitor, keyboard, etc., a lot of Zero and ZeroW are being used for this and more will be... (the first thing when you think about something like this is to guess if it will be sold, and I believe it will!) I wanted to clarify this then I forgot to write.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:43 am

aldobaldo wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:33 am
For jamesh: hey I say that the idea is simple, not that it will be simple to do it :) !!!
By the way the Jessie Lite do already fit in less than 2GBytes, so one of your points is already solved.
And by the way I am talking about applications without monitor, keyboard, etc., a lot of Zero and ZeroW are being used for this and more will be... (the first thing when you think about something like this is to guess if it will be sold, and I believe it will!) I wanted to clarify this then I forgot to write.
Might be cost effective if we sold a million units, but I doubt that level of sales. We don't have the the engineering resource to do it anyway, quite busy on some much more mainline product (!), so a moot point.
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:01 am

Might be cost effective if we sold a million units, but I doubt that level of sales. We don't have the the engineering resource to do it anyway, quite busy on some much more mainline product (!), so a moot point.
Quite busy?
Wonder what that mainline product(!) could be?

Glad I never got any CM's they sound like pains to use, Zero's fills that hole for me.
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:31 am

Hmm interesting proposal... but would probably shy away from it if it breaks connection compatibility and form factor...
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:36 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:01 am
Might be cost effective if we sold a million units, but I doubt that level of sales. We don't have the the engineering resource to do it anyway, quite busy on some much more mainline product (!), so a moot point.
Quite busy?
Wonder what that mainline product(!) could be?

Glad I never got any CM's they sound like pains to use, Zero's fills that hole for me.
Unless you are planning to use the CM industrially/commercially in a product, or want stereo cameras, then there is no point in buying one. People who are doing that tend to be more resilient to 'pains to use', because it's still easier than designing from scratch.

As for what the new product might be, should be fairly clear, but it's not the only thing on our development schedule.
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:17 pm

I am not sure that 2GB/4GB microSD are not available on market. They can be missing in the local store selling phones and TVs.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:26 pm

aldobaldo wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:47 am
You could save money by removing the SD card connector (and, for me and probably for all people that makes small things with small memory, you could remove also the HDMA connector and the camera connector; by the way a "super-lite" distribution that would take <1GB or <512MB could be another idea
You've pretty much described the Onion Omega family of modules. The RPi world is great and they dominate the hobbyist ARM SBC market, but there are other smart people out there addressing niche markets and it would only dilute the RPi Foundation's efforts if they tried to be all things to all people.

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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:27 pm

i486 wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:17 pm
I am not sure that 2GB/4GB microSD are not available on market. They can be missing in the local store selling phones and TVs.
4Gb is the lowest you can get on aliexpress
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Class10 ... 38931.html
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/High-sp ... 23375.html
and even those are hard to find
8GB will probably get you more write cycles ....
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Re: Proposal: Raspberry Pi Zero W with 2GB / 4GB embedded

Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:29 pm

aldobaldo,
The problem here is that you can no longer easily find 2GB or 4GB SD cards on the market.
Why is this a problem?

Today we buy 8, 16, 32GB SD cards for the same price (or less) as those old 2 or 4GB.

My experience of using ARM SBCs with FLASH memory onboard is that it adds a whole lot of complexity for the user.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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