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Raspberry Pi Zero W Adds WiFi & Bluetooth, Sells for $10

February 28th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

The first Raspberry Pi was launched 5 years ago on February 29, 2012, and the Raspberry Pi foundation has made an habit of announcing new products on the anniversary of the board. This year is no exception, as the foundation has just announced Raspberry Pi Zero W, based on the popular Raspberry Pi Zero, but potentially much more useful, as they added a WiFi and Bluetooth LE module to the board.

Raspberry Pi Zero W specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 processor @ 1GHz with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – microSD slot
  • Video Output – mini HDMI port and composite video (via 2 unpopulated  pins)
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (same Cypress CYW43438 wireless chip as Raspberry Pi 3 Model B)
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x micro USB port for power only
  • Camera – 1x CSI camera connector
  • Expansion – Unpopulated 40-pin HAT-compatible header
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

You’ll get the same operating support as Raspberry Pi Zero, and other Raspberry Pi boards with distributions such as Rasbian.

They’ve also launched a case for RPI 0 / RPi0 W boards with three interchangeable lids:

  • One with an aperture and mounting point for a camera
  • One with an aperture to let you access the GPIOs
  • A blank one


You can purchased Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) for $10 via one of the global distributors (Pimoroni, Adafruit, The Pit Hut, and Canakit), as well as some local distributors. Many are selling starter kits instead of the board only.

Thanks to hmartin for the tip.

  1. tkaiser
    February 28th, 2017 at 18:12 | #1

    LOL, still just the try to rip-off clueless people. Tried to order 10 pieces and got the usual ‘There is a maximum of 1 unit per customer for this product.’ (so simply add shipping costs per single unit and you know the real price since you can not bulk order this ‘product’).

  2. Varghese
    February 28th, 2017 at 18:49 | #2

    RPI Zero ,Claiming it to be 5$ and fooling everyone … better go with Orange pi Zero , pretty good hardware , all you need to do is , make the kernel work for you ..

  3. Theguyuk
    February 28th, 2017 at 18:50 | #3

    £12.10 with postage in UK or mad price on eBay, where oddly some people have multiple pi zero W to sell?

  4. Theguyuk
    February 28th, 2017 at 18:56 | #4

    Better investing in nanopi neo air, costs more but you get 8GB emmc to run OS from instead of slows sdcard or sdcard errors problem.

    Can Dietpi OS headless, use the Neo Air WiFi, Bluetooth?

  5. boudycca
    February 28th, 2017 at 19:58 | #5

    For heavens sake its. 10 quid + postage… That’s hours of fun for less than a cinema ticket.

  6. tkaiser
    February 28th, 2017 at 19:59 | #6

    @cnxsoft:
    ‘Sells for $10’ would mean €9.50 for me. In fact the best I get is ordering through Pimoroni from UK (£9,60+£4 = €16). Since they announced also a new german distributor (buyzero.de) I checked offers there too. Cheapest variant is a so called ‘Essentials Kit’ (one unit per customer!) for €24.95 + €5.69 shipping. Hey, that’s just €21 more per unit than expected when reading about $10 😉

  7. Theguyuk
    February 28th, 2017 at 20:51 | #7

    Pimeroni on pi zero w postage

    Austria £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    Belgium £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    Bulgaria £7.50 3-5 working days Next working day
    Croatia £7.50 3-5 working days Next working day
    Denmark £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    Finland £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    France £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    Germany £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    Ireland £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    Italy £7.50 3-5 working days Next working day
    Lithuania £7.50 3-5 working days Next working day
    Netherlands £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    Norway £5.50 3-5 working days Next working day
    Poland £7.50 3-5 working days Next working day
    Portugal £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    Romania £7.50 3-5 working days Next working day
    Spain £7.50 3-5 working days Next working day
    Sweden £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day
    Switzerland £4.00 3-5 working days Next working day

  8. Theguyuk
    February 28th, 2017 at 20:56 | #8

    Pi hut, world postage rate on pi zero w

    EUROPE

    Service Cost Estimated Delivery Window
    Standard Shipping (Royal Airmail) £4 – £12 3-5 Working Days

    REST OF THE WORLD

    Service Cost Estimated Delivery Window
    Royal Mail Airmail (Standard) £4 – £12 5-7 Working Days

  9. February 28th, 2017 at 21:02 | #9

    @boudycca
    You must be living in London, or cinema tickets’ price must have doubled since I left.

  10. willmore
    February 28th, 2017 at 21:53 | #10

    @cnxsoft They’re almost $20 here in middle of nowhere USA.

    • nobitakun
      March 1st, 2017 at 01:10 | #11

      wtf? people is so silly paying that much for a cinema ticket. Here in spain the regular cost is like 10€, but the hell I’m going when I have to pay regular price, I’m not crazy, I always wait for offers and pay 5€ at most for going to the big screen. It’s completely nonsense to pay more for cinema than for a bluray.

      Anyways, going back to the topic, as some people said, OrangePi would be a better investment, this crap has 1ghz monocore. How they dare…

  11. Theguyuk
    February 28th, 2017 at 22:18 | #12

    @willmore
    So a nanopi neo, nanopi neo Air and a nanopi M1 are cheaper than going to the cinema then?

    andahammer.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=61_90

  12. Maicol Manier
    February 28th, 2017 at 23:14 | #13

    Literally a nonsense of a product. As Orange Pis are still around this is pure rubbish.

  13. willmore
    February 28th, 2017 at 23:17 | #14

    @willmore

    Yep. Or an Orange Pi Zero, One, PC2, etc.

    I don’t got to the movies anymore, but I do have a lot of SBCs. 🙂

  14. boudycca
    February 28th, 2017 at 23:54 | #15

    @cnxsoft
    Its called “Cinema De lux” you can still go cheap back breaker seats still but thse are comfy Motorised chairs for £10.35…4hr movie….easy

  15. anon
    March 1st, 2017 at 00:17 | #16

    > same Cypress CYW43438 wireless chip

    Love the datasheet for that chip. Nope, it doesn’t tell everything about the chip, but it’s still 100 pages, and tells a bunch. Cypress was always among my favorite semiconductor companies – makes interesting products, doesn’t treat their customers as sh%t (and everyone who buys a product with a chip from company X is a customer of company X, no matter what many of them arrogant bastards think).

  16. willmore
    March 1st, 2017 at 01:02 | #17

    @anon

    Just looked it over. Yep, 108 pages. It’s a great hardware manual. I could probably lay out a board with it and hook it to a SoC, but there’s zero info on how to write a driver for it. Anything outside of the hardware description is missing.

    In their defense, this is an aquired Broadcom chip, so it may take a while for Cypress to get its documentation up to the standard we expect of Cypress.

  17. Jon Smirl
    March 1st, 2017 at 02:49 | #18

    You guys know that Cypress just recently bought Broadcom’s wifi division, right? And then Cypress published Broadcom datasheeets that were previously NDA only. So this wifi chip was a Broadcom offering last year. The driver for these chips is already in the kernel – it is the Broadcom wifi driver. This chip used to be the BCM43438. It is also in the Ampak AP6212.

    They still need to work on pricing, the Q5000 price for the CYW43438 is $5.50. AP6212 can had for under $1.50 and it contains the same chip.

  18. peter
    March 1st, 2017 at 03:11 | #19

    @tkaiser
    At kiwi-electronics.nl you could get one for €13,50 (incl. shipping to D, without tracking though).

    As for the current maximum order: RPi-foundation says that production numbers of the zero w will be way higher than for the zero, so there is a good chance for bulk orders later on.

  19. peter
    March 1st, 2017 at 03:24 | #20

    peter :
    @tkaiser
    At kiwi-electronics.nl you could get one for €13,50 (incl. shipping to D, without tracking though).
    As for the current maximum order: RPi-foundation says that production numbers of the zero w will be way higher than for the zero, so there is a good chance for bulk orders later on.

    Erratum: just tested: shipping to D would be €4,50 – so in total €15,50 …

  20. willmore
    March 1st, 2017 at 04:20 | #21

    @Jon Smirl

    I literally said that in the sentence right above your comment:

    “In their defense, this is an aquired Broadcom chip, so it may take a while for Cypress to get its documentation up to the standard we expect of Cypress.”

  21. Conundrum
    March 1st, 2017 at 13:15 | #22

    My one working Zero seems to have mysteriously vanished.
    I sent the other one with a copy of my prototype AI code to some guy who wanted it for a magic mirror, never heard back but suspect that he “forgot” to pay me.

    Interestingly broken units which boot but HDMI does not work are sometimes off spec crystals.
    Try them on an old B/W TV with video input and manual vert/horiz hold and sometimes you can see the problem.

  22. March 1st, 2017 at 16:18 | #23

    I got my Orange Pi for 7USD shipping included. RPI foundation is just a pure marketing agency.

  23. Jerry
    March 1st, 2017 at 16:32 | #24

    Only one? So how would one build a high performance cluster of RPi zero Ws with wifi as backbone?

  24. Theguyuk
    March 1st, 2017 at 17:30 | #25

    @zoobab
    Depending where you are in the world Aliexpress can sell and deliver you a Orange pi zero for less than the purchase price of a Raspberry Pi Z W.

    Allegedly Raspberry Pi just misuse charity status to keep a bunch of people in work till retirement.

  25. maurer
    March 1st, 2017 at 19:11 | #26

    @Theguyuk
    but orange pi zero software support for embedded wifi is terrible !
    armbian guys tried to reverse engineer a firmware but without success so that’s why most people but rpi 0W

  26. tkaiser
    March 1st, 2017 at 19:42 | #27

    @maurer
    Unfortunately your claims about Wi-Fi on Orange Pi Zero are absolutely wrong, please see here for details: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/3025-building-openwrt-images-for-orange-pi-zero-with-the-armbian-kernel/&do=findComment&comment=26211

    OPi Zero with mainline kernel is perfect for playing an AP for a bunch of ESP8266/SONOFF devices and also housing the home automation software since magnitudes more powerful than RPi Zero. Wi-Fi is somewhat slow but for the appropriate uses cases this doesn’t matter at all. And when re-enabling Wi-Fi powermanagement (h3consumption tool in Armbian) OPi Zero also consumes less than an RPi Zero with an USB Ethernet dongle.

  27. Lalith
    March 2nd, 2017 at 03:08 | #28

    Another over hyped piece of rubbish from the “Foundation” , no thanks.

    Stick to Orange Pi.

  28. tkaiser
    March 2nd, 2017 at 05:18 | #29

    @Jon Smirl
    AP6212 is used on the following devices lying here around: Banana Pi Pro, Banana Pi M3, Beelink X2, NanoPi Air, NanoPi M3 (and hopefully soon ASUS Tinker Board and Orange Pi Zero 2 will arrive which also rely on AP6212). I’ve ordered one Zero W with the enclosure kit (since special camera cable included which would add $5 otherwise) for €26 from Munich based german distributor. Amazing that Xunlong manages to charge half the amount for shipping their Orange Pis from the other end of the world to Munich compared to inner city RPi shipping 😉

    Will do then some Wi-Fi speed comparisons with AP6212 and RTL8189FTV equipped devices since mythical ‘RPi foundation’ claims onboard antenna on Zero W would be ‘better’ than aerial on RPi 3.

  29. Theguyuk
    March 2nd, 2017 at 05:50 | #30

    I feel sorry for those who get lumbered with this running off sdcard

    NComputing’s RPi 3-based “RX300” thin client can be used as a client for its vSpace Pro 10 virtualization platform, as well as in standalone Raspbian mode

  30. Sander
    March 5th, 2017 at 18:09 | #31

    Here in the Netherlands: RASPBERRY PI ZERO W for 11 Euro. Shipping 2.50 Euro.
    And actually for sale: See https://www.kiwi-electronics.nl/raspberry-pi-zero-w

  31. tkaiser
    March 8th, 2017 at 00:38 | #32

    @Sander
    Maybe I will order in the Netherlands too — bought my Zero W a week ago at buyzero.de but still no board delivered (same city and expensive DHL shipping, LOL!). Anyway, since I prepared Wi-Fi tests already I simply started and will add Zero W later: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/3739-wi-fi-performance-and-known-issues-on-sbc/

  32. tkaiser
    March 10th, 2017 at 00:58 | #33

    First round of onboard Wi-Fi tests finished. I tested RPi Zero W and 3 (same BCM43438 module used with onboard aerials that perform more or less the same), NanoPi Air with AP6212/BCM43438 (results comparable to every other SBC using this module with same TX power settings and same antenna connected to an U.FL connector), Pine64 with RTL8723BS (same as on Nextthing’s CHIP) and Orange Pi Lite using 8189FTV.

    On all boards except Raspberries I used same cheap external antenna (the one Xunlong ships with their boards) to get comparable results. Tested through a couple of different locations/setups and the results weren’t that surprising: All those single antenna 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi get close to or slightly above 40 MBits/sec TCP/IP bandwidth with ideal conditions. With larger distances and a lot of stuff in between performance drops a lot, OPi Lite being the winner here again. Wi-Fi powermanagement settings affected only AP6212 (tested only with ‘legacy’ dhd driver and not mainline’s brcmfmac).

    I did not try to tweak TX transmission power (EIRP) to stay compliant to local regulations but did all tests also with an el cheapo TL-WN823N USB dongle using RTL8192CU chipset but more importantly MIMO with two antennas . Since my AP features at least the same amount of antennas and is capable of 802.11n throughput with this dongle was almost twice as good in ideal conditions and compared to the Raspberries almost 5 times better under worst conditions.

    So no surprises here (except cheap OPi Lite being the single antenna winner and RPi Zero W and 3 with their onboard aerial performing not that bad). If you need bandwidth get 802.11n or 802.11ac, use as much antennas as possible on client and AP, avoid 2.4GHz and choose 5GHz instead.

    https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/3739-wi-fi-performance-and-known-issues-on-sbc/&do=findComment&comment=27158 (2 posts below you find also a link how to headlessly set up Zero W and to deal with Wi-Fi there the easy way)

  33. Jon Smirl
    March 10th, 2017 at 09:31 | #34

    @tkaiser

    Almost all SOC wifis setup are set to run at significantly less than max FCC approved power. This is done so that no matter how the board varies during manufacturing it will stay below FCC limits if all of the random stars align and a PCB ends up with a perfectly matched set of components. So.. first thing I would check is if the 8189FTV is running with more power. The Broadcom chips may just default to a lower power setting.

    PS — most of these chipsets are purposely designed so that it is impossible for them to generate more than legal power output without adding a supplementary PA chip. This makes it fairly pointless to run designs based on these chips through FCC over and over and over. The manufacturer of the PCB has zero control over many of the things being tested, those things are controlled by the wifi chip maker. But we endlessly keep retesting things like channel frequencies.

    If the board with the Ampak module has been laid out correctly you can replace with AP6212 with a AP6335 and get 11ac support. Assuming the PCB follows Ampak guidelines there is a whole spectrum of pin compatible modules.

  34. tkaiser
    March 13th, 2017 at 00:00 | #35

    @Jon Smirl
    Thank you for your insights. Am preparing some sort of a Wi-Fi FAQ for Armbian (since user expectations and missing knowledge are a constant issue in the forums and users waste a lot of their time following outdated/wrong instructions they found on the net) and might get back to you with some questions.

    BTW: the price to pay for added Wi-Fi/BT combo on the Zero W is a higher idle consumption. I measured just 365mW a while ago with RPi Zero (after disabling HDMI of course) and now with latest Raspbian Lite and the same settings on new Zero W it’s 560mW instead: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/3676-raspberry-pi-zero-wireless-rumors-speculation/&do=findComment&comment=27371

  35. tkaiser
    March 14th, 2017 at 05:42 | #36

    Daily update: Just double checked with normal Zero the consumption numbers with current Raspbian Lite: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/3676-raspberry-pi-zero-wireless-rumors-speculation/&do=findComment&comment=27503

    It’s 180mW more (380mW vs. 560mW) idling with a Zero W compared to Zero when running Raspbian Lite with identical settings. With these settings Xunlong sets now the pace since with similar performance settings OPi Zero consumes less than RPi Zero W while having Wi-Fi active.

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