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posted by martyb on Tuesday July 21 2020, @06:40PM   Printer-friendly
from the how-well-have-they-worked-for-you? dept.

It's FOSS has an overview of 13 Raspberry Pi-like single board computers.

The Raspberry Pi Zero and the Raspberry Pi Zero W were added to the line up of Raspberry Pi's in the last few years. These ultra-small form-factor SBC's have been a big hit and continue to be a part of Raspberry Pi projects from the maker and DIY communities.

Due to the smaller form factor and the prices these boards are targeting, they have had to cut down on many features like a dedicated Ethernet port, slower processor (compared to their full-fledged cousins).

In an earlier article, we listed the best alternatives to Raspberry Pi. In this one, I'll list some alternatives to Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by stormwyrm on Wednesday July 22 2020, @06:38AM (2 children)

    by stormwyrm (717) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 22 2020, @06:38AM (#1024873) Journal

    I have an Orange Pi Zero, and it could have been a perfect little device as an authentication and security server for my home network except that it kinda suffers from rather bad thermal issues. The CPU temperature of the AllWinner H2+ regularly hits 50°C even with RPi heat sinks even when the CPU is idling, although if I turn on the air conditioning it lowers down to something like 30°C. I've attached a hardware random number generator circuit that I built myself out of a pair of Zener diodes hooked to a differential amplifier that feeds in random noise into the GPIO pins. I have a hacked version of rng-tools that is capable of feeding the Linux kernel entropy pool with random data read from the GPIO pins. For now I use it as a strong password generator but I later plan on trying to make it do other things like distribute authentication credentials to the various machines in my network. Only problem is that it's a bit unstable given how it runs so hot even on idle.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday July 22 2020, @07:21AM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday July 22 2020, @07:21AM (#1024878) Journal

    Those little heat sinks that you find in RasPi kits don't do much by themselves. You usually need a heatsink case (oh look, there's a FLIRC for Pi Zero [flirc.tv] now), or a fan to make a real difference. You could also point a desk fan at it. You can get one with a clip on it to position both the SBC and fan as needed, and maybe even power the fan using USB (inb4 it all melts).

    That being said, 50°C should not be a big deal. What does it get up to when it's not idling?

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    • (Score: 2) by stormwyrm on Wednesday July 22 2020, @07:54AM

      by stormwyrm (717) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 22 2020, @07:54AM (#1024881) Journal
      So far the only really heavy workload I've put it under so far is statistical testing of the output of the RNG circuit (remember this is custom hardware that I hand-soldered together), to validate that it's actually producing a reasonably high-quality random bitstream. It seems to pass the statistical tests I've figured out how to use and evaluate (Diehard, Ent, and rng-tools FIPS tests so far). I've not yet decided on how best to use it to provide centralised authentication for my home systems.
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      Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate.