The Raspberry Pi Zero was announced in November, but the team behind it has already delivered an upgrade to the low-cost device in the form of a camera connector that enables the official Raspberry Pi camera module to be added and makes it much easier to create a low-cost video or still camera project.
The updated Pi Zero was announced on the Raspberry Pi blog and is available now in limited numbers from suppliers such as The Pi Hut and Pimoroni. It is almost identical to the original, but adds a fine-pitch flexible cable connector to the right hand edge of the circuit board.
Raspberry Pi Trading chief executive Eben Upton claimed that the camera connector was the most frequently requested "missing" feature from the Pi Zero, and that the team behind its development was able to take advantage of a hiatus in production, owing to the boosting of factory capacity for the new Raspberry Pi 3 launch, to redesign the board to take the extra connector.
"Through dumb luck, the same fine-pitch FPC connector that we use on the Compute Module Development Kit just fits onto the right hand side of the board," Upton said.
This serendipity means that the connector works with an existing adapter cable already used to link the Raspberry Pi camera to the Compute Module Development Kit. It converts from the fine-pitch connector format used by the miniature connector on the system board to the coarser pitch used by the camera board.
Above: original Pi Zero. Below: updated Pi Zero with camera connector
The Zero became the smallest form factor Raspberry Pi among the growing family of devices, at just 65mm by 30mm, when it launched last year. The device is based on the same Broadcom BCM2835 system-on-a-chip as the original Raspberry Pi, but now clocked at a higher 1GHz and with 512MB memory.
But compromises had to be made to achieve these compact dimensions (and the lower price). The Pi Zero board has miniature connectors to save on space, and lacks some of the capabilities of other Raspberry Pi models, including the Ethernet port and the flexible cable connectors for driving the optional camera and display modules.
Raspberry Pi has addressed at least one of these omissions with the updated Pi Zero, and the additional connector does not seem to have altered the price.
"There are roughly 30,000 new Zeros out there today, and we'll be making thousands more each day until demand is met," Upton said.
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