The Raspberry Pi Zero is simply a micro computer that is only $5! These little guys are hard to get…sold out most places in the US as soon as they arrive. There are some Micro Centers that have them in stock…but the closest one for me is in Mass and that is a bit of a drive. Reddit community to the rescue!
So some people in the Cambridge area posted pics showing the the Micro Center there had them in stock. I put out a simple request to see if someone would buy one for me & ship it & I would reimburse them….someone did!
I now have this cool little computer with GPIO outputs. I could turn it into a USB gadget if I want…or another little retro gaming station. I’m leaning more towards a USB gadget of some sort…simply because it has a nice small form factor and I need to get my creative juices flowing. To do that, I need a console cable as to be able to get into the pi zero without having to hook up a keyboard. I ordered this little guy from ebay (a USB to TTL with 3.3v conversion). What makes talking to the pi zero via serial tricky is that most serial talks with a voltage of 5 volts…but the GPIO pins on the raspberry pis all talk with a 3.3v…so you will either need a converter of some sort, or this little USB to TTL to do the work for you.
Well, the little TTL chip came in….I put the jumper on 3.3v…put the RX of the chip to the TX of the pi and then vice versa for TX to RX and then GND to GND and VCC to 3.3v on the pi….and…it sort of worked…but was kind of a loop. In looking back, I’m lucky this didn’t damage the Pi…or the TTL chip. What does work is the following:
The unconventional part here is that I’m using the 5v of the TTL’s jumper to power the Pi. All I know is that it works!
Now to figure out what I want to do with it. I think I would somehow like to make it into a little ethernet gadget that can somehow use the internet of the computer it is plugged into. That would be cool…to have a little “thumb drive” computer…to put files on and manipulate with whatever scripts or something. We’ll see what I come up with. =)
So a buddy of mine had a raspberry pi that had lost its HDMI functionality so he got a new one. He knew I liked toying with electronics and such so he gave me his old one. I had never played with a raspberry pi before but knew that it is basically a little linux computer with GPIO outputs for electronics…so of course I was eager to toy with it.
Having 3 young kids, I don’t have much free time on my hands so I wanted a project that would be quick but cool at the same time. Did some online searches and decided to make a little retro gaming station with it….and the results couldn’t be more gratifying!
I had an old playstation 1 that the kids broke (took the spindle off the cd rom) so I had controllers. I ordered one of these puppies to be able to hook it to the pi. Download the image for the pi from here…boot it up all hooked up and voila! If you’ve got the controller hooked up, you don’t need to do any setup…it just walks you through and sees the controller right off! You can use a keyboard if you want but it’s not needed. The project even had a tutorial on how to wire in a controller if you like.
Nice to break my kids into gaming old school. =) Yes, that is them playing Ninja Turtles Arcade for NES.