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Raspberry Pi Zero WH: My Sad Experience with It and How I Burned It Probably by Overclocking | https://git.io/ilyaigpetrov-rpi0 | by https://git.io/ilyaigpetrov

Raspberry Pi Zero WH: My Sad Experience With It and How I Burned It Probably by Overclocking

Article finished on: 28.06.2019.
VERDICT: Wi-Fi barely works and connecting it via ethernet/usb to your router is another mess. I think I damaged wifi while overclocking it. Lesson learned: don't overclock RPI0.

RPi Zero WH is a small 32-bit 1GHz arm-based computer with 512mb RAM, wifi, bluetooth, mini HDMI and 2 Micro USB ports developed in the UK.

RPi Zero In a Socket Looks Like Totem

Keyboard doesn't work, see known issues below.

RPi Zero On A Desktop Table

I had an idea of having my own cheap TV box that may replace state-controlled TV for my family and possibly for other citizens of Russia who suffer from lack of propaganda-free TV.

Free Software Foundation classify RPi as "Single-board computers with fatal flaws".

Buying Guide

For the puporse of experimentation I've bought:

Item Link Price USD Price RUB
1. The RPi Zero WH board + BadUSB/USB-A Addon Board. W stands for wireless, H stands for "pre-soldered GPIO header" which may be used for attaching other electronics like a radio board to it but the nake header pins aslo may become an obstacle when you plug the board into an usb port of your TV. Aliexpress $20.53 1332.03 rub.
2. Transparent acrylic case for it. Aliexpress $6.31 291.33 rub.
3. Mini HDMI male to HDMI female adapter to connect it to HDMI port on your TV on notebook. Aliexpress $0.55 35.69 rub.
4. 5 Micro USB to USB OTG adapters to connect my keyboard to the board. Aliexpress $0.78 per 5 50.61 rub. per 5
5. 32GB micro SD class 10 memory card by Microdata (even their web site http://www.ansonchina.com doesn't work so I'm not sure if it was a good choice, here is an f3 test of it). Aliexpress $2.84 184.27 rub.
Total $31.01 1893.93 rub.

Peripherals

Item Link Price USD Price RUB
6. A bluetooth remote control by/named Q5 which pairs with Kodi but OK button doesn't work for some reason. Aliexpress $8.20 531.54 rub.
7. A bluetooth gamepad targeted for VR but I planned to test it with NES games in Kodi. Unfortunately it has a "trackpoint" instead of a hard fixed cross which makes it unsuitable for gaming. Aliexpress $6.66 432.12 rub.
Total $14.86 963.66 rub.

If your TV supports CEC then its remote control signal may be transferred to the RPi over HDMI.

Use Cases

You may use this small computer as:

  1. As an always online node serving as a bouncer for IRC or Jabber.
  2. As a host/pinner for static files served via IPFS (my experience) or a host for a site behind CloudFlare Argo tunnel (for caching, protection from DDOS, dynamic IP).
  3. As a media center and a retro gaming console.
  4. As a desktop computer if you don't need browser and love to work from terminal.
  5. As a chromecasting device based on Kodi (UPnP/LDNA) and BubbleUPnP.

Overclocking

I've tried the following in my /boot/config.txt (thanks to wouterds from this post):

warranty will be voided because force_turbo is used in combination with over_voltage

# 10% overclock
arm_freq=1100
over_voltage=8
sdram_freq=500
sdram_over_voltage=2
force_turbo=1
boot_delay=1

It worked fine for pinning a piar of videos on IPFS but once I started playing videos in Kodi the device started to halt.

Linux Distributions To Try

  1. Raspbian Stretch Lite: Good for configuring RPi, worked well as an IPFS pinner, after some changes in config.txt Kodi may be used in a standalone mode (without Xorg or Wayland) with some bugs (UI is zoomed slightly so edges get out of screen).
  2. Raspbian Buster Lite: Kodi is 17.6, not 18.2, keep checking for 18.2 here.
  3. Haven't tried: Ubuntu Core: Every snap package is confined for better security but you can't install new software without a snap, systemd can't be excluded, no stable or official snap for Kodi (wsnipex/2017, alan/2018, both from this discussion).
  4. LibreELEC: System configs are readonly, no package manager, but you may install binaries into your home directory, ipfs can't be mounted due to lack of FUSE I guess, very minimalistic so you have no tmux or other luxury.
  5. OSMC: my wifi connection was intermittent with it so I paused testing.
  6. Guix: armhf-linux target doesn't fit RPi Zero, arm-linux-gnueabihf was advised as a better triplet binaries for which are absent currently.

Kodi

Recent Kodi works out of the box on LibreELEC.

WiFi And Internet Speeds

See wifi tests. In short wi-fi is so slow that you can't use it for serious tasks.

UPnP/LDNA

Once I was able to cast a clip from my android to kodi but aftewards the app couldn't find rpi0/kodi during multiple repetitive scans.

USB Addon Board

Issues

USB addon board doesn't work in most cases, the non-power micro usb slot is your best friend you should trust.
Also powering your rpi0 via USB addon board affects pairing with other usb devices (keyboard doesn't work when powered from the addon). I was able to setup g_ether and g_mass_storage but couldn't reach my goals (faster connection to a router and a virtual file system for other media centers).

As A Mass Storage

  1. Guide by @gbaman with a file.
  2. With a loop device which may be mounted and edited: https://linux-sunxi.org/USB_Gadget/Mass_storage.
  3. Module options: https://www.kernel.org/doc/Documentation/usb/mass-storage.txt

Virtual FS As An Interface

I had an idea of exposing a virtual ntfs filesystem as the only interface of my rpi for other media players to consume. User could cd youtube.com; cd a_channel_name_he_is_subscribed_to and play some videos served via FUSE from youtube, ipfs/ipns or d.tube. Unfortunately one tested box shows an empty folder without any video files inside (maybe due to errors I see in dmesg on my notebook), another player caches videos and directories to the library so further modifications are not reflected (maybe linux pospones modifications up to unmounting, dunno).

Not Done

  • Integration of ipfs FS mounts and Kodi.

Photos in hires.

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