So there I am. Happy as a little boy on Christmas morning. I just got my Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless in the mail! WHOOT!!!! I’m about to start work on my dream bot that will cost hardly anything but be a ton of fun. Two hours in, and there I sat at my desk frustrated, inventing new expletives and debating smashing it with a hammer or asking for a refund. Getting the Zero W to boot up on a new image was, well, not working. It seems I made some easy to make but critical errors.
First I used PiBakery for the image. Now most of the time this is the best tool to make a image. It is awesome software, it sets up SSH, wireless, VNC all in the image so you can insert the SD card and power up and automatically the pi is Running with SSH, VNC and hooked up to local wireless. Great right? Well in this case no. The Zero Wireless is new enough that it needs to have the latest and greatest image. So that did not work for me. The image that PiBakery uses is not the very latest unfortunately (Even after updating PiBakery). And that is why it was not booting, UGH! I just want to get tinkering in building stuff. What does one do? Below is a few things you should look for and how to solve them, so you can get up and running.
- I know this has been said a million times but check that your power source has enough power (amperage) to run the pi. If not that may be your issue. The tell tale sign of this is the rainbow square on your screen and nothing happens with the pi.
- If you have made a image like I did using PiBakery you can still make it work using another pi. If you have the image already written to the SD card. Put it into the other Pi and boot up. It will do its setup sequence and set you up. Once that is done in terminal or the command line type in “sudo apt-get update” and let it do its thing, next type “sudo apt-get upgrade” and this will install all the needed components to get this to work with the Zero W. Shut down the old pi, swap the SD card to the Zero W and you should be good to go!
- If you don’t want to go through the hassle of item 2 in this list just go to https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/ and download Noobs or Raspbian and use that image. It will boot up no problem. I used https://etcher.io/ to write the image to the SD card with no issues and a quick easy boot up. I really wish I did this to start with.
In the end it was a struggle that did not have to take place if I just went to the RaspberryPi.org site and downloaded a image. Sometimes trying to take shortcuts and getting a image tailored to set things up for you and configure wireless ends up taking more time. I am not saying don’t use these tools. I am saying use them with caution and understand that with new hardware comes new issues. Sticking to the old standard ways can really be the less frustrating route to take some times.
Now go enjoy your new Zero wireless! I am just installing it into my Trilobot and will start on setting up a WiFi hotspot to remotely controll it. Wish me luck and keep an eye out here at Maker Hacks for the final build and instructions on it in a little while.