Hackaday and Adafruit Launch the Pi Zero Contest

Hackaday and Adafruit are teaming up to bring you the Pi Zero Contest. Unless you’ve been hiding out in your workshop for the past month or so, you probably already know The Pi Zero is the $5 Linux-based computer which has been taking the world by storm. Think you have the next great project for this single-board computer? Enter it for a chance to take home one of three $100 gift certificates to the Hackaday Store. We know Zeros have been hard to find, so we’ll be giving away 10 of them before the contest is over. Even if you don’t have a Pi Zero, read on!

This is all about documenting quality projects to Hackaday.io. We’re looking for well thought out, well documented builds intended for the Pi Zero. Any project submitted to this contest can also be rolled over to the 2016 Hackaday Prize. Think of it as getting a head start.

Here are the details:

  • From February 2nd, to February 20th, Lady Ada will make 10 ‘From the Desk of Lady Ada’ broadcasts focusing on this contest. During each broadcast she will present an idea for a Pi Zero Project. You don’t have to build Lady Ada’s projects, they’re starter ideas to get your wheels turning. If you don’t have a Raspberry Pi Zero, don’t worry! You can prototype with a Raspberry Pi Model B, or a Pi 2. There are also 10 Pi Zero boards up for grabs before the contest is over.
  • The deadline for winning a Pi Zero is 12:00am PST February 25th, 2016. The judges will pick the 10 most well thought out and well documented projects.
  • On February 29th, the judges will announce the winners of 10 Raspberry Pi Zero boards.
  • The grand prize for this contest is one of three $100 gift cards to the Hackaday store. The deadline to enter is 12:00 am PST March 14th, 2016.

Entering is easy.  All you have to do is submit your project. Just click the “Submit to” drop down list on your project page. Then select Adafruit Pi Zero Contest.

So fire up your soldering irons, warm up your 3D printers, and load up your favorite code editor. It’s time to start hacking!

80 thoughts on “Hackaday and Adafruit Launch the Pi Zero Contest

  1. Everyone keeps touting the Zero as a $5 computer, yet I haven’t seen it anywhere for anything below 25€. Maybe it’s $5 in the US, but at least over here it’s nowhere near those numbers.

      1. Got mine from MCM electronics for $5.00 each. Got free shipping as well because I went over their “free shipping” threshold.

        I know it’s unfair that you have to pay for shipping, I suggest maybe holding protests?

        Oh and dont bother right now looking for the pi Zero on their site, they sold out again. I was lucky and got two of them in the 15 minutes the several hundred they had sold out in.

        1. *touches finger to nose* I find many things elsewhere for less. Seems like they could shave a little off after all of these business awards, which is ironically what turns me off to begin with. As opposed to ‘dumb warehouse robot’, they seem to try to provide an experience/ideal that has never rang true with me and my workmates. After having a couple of bad experiences, I simply took my dollar elsewhere. I have the same problem with Make: and its ‘we support you building anything’ bs just as long as you are willing to pay $20 extra for the ideal. pfft.

    1. I got one for £4.20 in the UK the other day, just lucked out that Pimoroni had some in stock at whilst I was getting some other bits. They were all gone an hour later. Whilst stocks are low prices will be high, it’s called capitalism. Of cause I don’t count the postage as that would be unfair, at these low prices someone has to pay for it to be posted…

    2. Don’t buy from scalpers?
      I was able to get mine for $5 plus another $4 something in shipping if you really want to count that against it.

      Tho to date I haven’t been able to do anything with it because the thing keeps corrupting every SD card I put into it… 3 cards so far, two power supplies (all of which work with all of my other SBCs) and I still can’t reliably get past issuing the reboot command more than ~3 times.

    1. The price is real and if somebody tells you otherwise , it is a marketing trick ;) the reason for the current price is very simple … there is a HUGE demand … and almost non-existent supply

    2. The original Pi selling out in a minutes can be understood, since they did not know whether it would take off.
      This time, it cannot be argued that they did not know the Pi0 would fly off the (electronic) shelves like crazy. So, the limited availability is obviously a marketing play. Not necessarily a good one at that.

      1. “So, the limited availability is obviously a marketing play” What, you not serious???. They make no extra money if someone buys them at cost and sells on at an inflated price. If you knew anything about distributing electronics you world know your first run is low in case you cock up the final design. It’s basic business, adafruit talk about this strategy all the time. There is no ‘marketing poly’ or conspiracy to inflate demand.

      2. Mobile phone makers tend to hog the CPUs that are used in a boards as this. The problem is most likely not marketing, the problem is most likely that they simply can only get a limited amount of CPUs. Or possibly some phone manufacturer (like Apple) is hogging most of the production lines, so that everyone else has to share the limited left-over capacity. I work for a consumer products company, I have experienced that kind of stuff first-hand. :)

          1. The chips have to be produced on the “same” machines as other ones. so there are batches with only so much chips. If there are not enough, you have to wait till the machines are free for another batch…

    3. ive bought them for £4.00 when they first came out from pimorini here in the UK and there shipping was reasonable as well. there are a lot of people trying to cash in on the demand hiking up the price. When supply and demand even out the price will settle down and those hiking the price up wont get the business anymore.

  2. I, for one, can’t wait to see all the detailed documentations of the brilliant and ingenious projects that are going to get submitted to the contest, no matter whether the board costs half the price of a one-way tram ticket, or whole. Also can’t wait to see the project ideas, that should be fun, I hope it will be more than a Nyan Cat board ;)

    1. I have decided on my project.

      Because I don’t actually have a Pi Zero, I will be doing a project that is very easy to code even without the hardware.

      It will also be cross platform compatible so I don’t have issues there.

      Here is it’s name and features (I may add features later as well).

      Title: Voice Operated Door Jam.

      Features: –
      1) Able to work with any language or accent.
      2) Will accept sign language from mute people.
      3) Has Gesture Detection as a backup communications method.
      4) Will Jam a Door in the triggered state.
      5) Default state: Door Jammed
      6) Fault condition: Jammed Door

  3. Did someone see the Orange PI ONE ? it has 4 cores, Ethernet, and it yes,is available now for less than 10$ + 3$ shipping worldwide.
    I don’t want to buy obsoletes Broadcom chips, just because it is 5$( +17$ shipping to me, when there will be some)

      1. Their software is my biggest concern. Not so much about knowing what they are doing, but rather what is really in this software? Perhaps it is just me but I don’t trust a little known Chinese project with no accountability to ensure everything is secure and honest. And I don’t have the time to comb through it just to save a few bucks.

    1. I looked at the Orange Pi and the Banana Pi. Thanks for letting me know about the software issues.

      I want something just for Network Accessible Storage. A Pi-like board that can run Linux (doesn’t need to be fast) and has SATA (at least SATA II) for a hard drive and hopefully an onboard Wi-Fi.

      Then I can just add a HDD/SSD to have a headless network storage unit. Plug it onto teh Wi-Fi router or have it’s own Wi-Fi.

      1. “has SATA (at least SATA II)” — That alone would rule out nearly all of the Pi-like boards since it’s internally just a USB-to-SATA-bridge and would top out at 480Mbps, ie. nowhere near SATA-II speeds. On some boards it’s also wired into an internal USB-hub that shares its bandwidth with the other USB-ports, similar to how the USB-ports on Raspberry Pi are all internally connected to a USB-hub, and thus you’d get even lower speed out of it.

          1. I’m also using several Odroid C1’s – as a NAS, Proxy Server and ZoneMinder Camera server respectively. They work a treat and use very little electricity.

            The gigabit ethernet is great, their CPU’s are faster than the PI, and USB2 doing 480Mbps is still pretty reasonable. Software wise I was able to install a real debian distro, and the only issue I’ve had is some niggles with SD card compatibility.

            For the NAS, I have 3 x 3TB desktop USB drives attached for main storage, and a smaller 1TB portable USB drive for torrents (because it will get thrashed). It works great streaming media for several clients simultaneously, and doing bulk copies is bearable.

      2. Well I had a look around and there are two good options.

        One is Cubox but it’s a bit expensive.

        The other is the PIs

        I want a WiFi NAS so it doesn’t need to go any faster than the slowest link which is the WiFi.

        802.11n is only about 130Mb/s and an average Hard drive is about 240Mb/s.

        USB 2.0 is 480Mb/s so in theory I could use a Pi Zero and a USB 2.0 Hub and a USB to SATA bridge and normal 2.5″ Hard drive and a USB 802.11n WiFi dongle.

        A perfect project for Zero but I can’t buy one anywhere.

        1. Next time when you upgrade your WiFi router, get one with USB 3.0. They have NAS support on some of the router. If you don’t like the factory firmware, just get one with OpenWRT or Tomato ARM support.

    2. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Orange-Pi-One-ubuntu-linux-and-android-mini-PC-Beyond-and-Compatible-with-Raspberry-Pi-2/1553371_32603308880.html

      A lot of people fuss and complain about Allwinner/Orange Pi software support. If you want that, you must pay for it and that will be baked into the price of the board. Nothing is free. Fortunately, there’s a fairly large community around the Allwinner chips and the various Orange (and Banana) Pi boards.

      Also, be advised Avago bought Broadcom and is, sadly, laying off:

      The Raspberry Pi Zero is a loss leader and the Hackaday/Aadafruit contest is just marketing for each other.
      Adafruit is a rip-off.
      Also, it’s very likely the Pi Zero will never be broadly available for $5 except on the rare occasion when you can get one at a microcenter.

      It’s just me, but I predict the entire Raspberry Pi foundation will fold. They’re just a shell for Broadcom and Avago calls the shots now.

      1. > Adafruit is a rip-off.

        What do you mean? I always have the impression that the excellent documentation and tutorials they provide are well worth the money we pay them. Not to mention coming up with new hardware designs all the time. I think this is a good value for those money. Or do you know any other company that does a better job at this for cheaper?

        1. Depends on how much you value their documentation. I personally think it has a fair value. But does it justify their high prices and even higher shipping? I guess it comes down to an individuals preference. It did for me for a while. But the shipping costs got old.

          I have since stopped ordering anything from them ever since I started following their forums. Their employees can be easily classified as downright rude in some occasions. Customer service is clearly not one of their strengths and they do not make any attempts to hide it.

        2. https://www.adafruit.com/products/2817
          Well worth the money eh?
          Great value huh? Think of the long hours gone into that new hardware design. What golden paper are Adafruit’s documents printed on?

          If you just want to play it safe, you can’t beat Mouser, Digikey, JDR, MCM, Elcom, Futurlec. For surplus stuff, BGMicro, All Electronics, Electronics Goldmine. (I know I’m missing some). Many manufacturers still offer free samples. Ebay/Alibaba can be a great resource as well, if you do your homework first.

          1. These are certainly great sources of *parts* and even sometimes ready modules. And you can get your parts there, or directly from China, nobody stops you. But they suck pretty badly at tutorials, howto videos, explanations of basics and so on. Ebay/Alibaba is actually actively misleading and outright lying about what you are buying. So where would you “do your homework” if Adafruit wasn’t there?

            Yes, great value:
            Well worth the money:
            And yes, you don’t even have to pay them to have access to this documentation or to refer to it. Once paid for, it’s available for everyone, so you don’t “pay for the paper”. You pay for the work which went into preparing it.

          2. Adafruit is there to sell products at inflated prices. They are a business who’s goal is to make a profit. Any means to achieve that goal is a business expense. Adafruit’s “excellent documentation and tutorials” are little more than strategic product advertisements. Adafruit shares little to no information on anything they do not sell. There is no profit in that. Whatever value you can get from their documentation is not much more than a forum post, youtube video, or someone’s private blog. Hackers often take much pride in “figuring it out first” and sharing their spoils with the greater community anyway. It’s a good stripe for their careers as well. They don’t (and you don’t) need Adafruit to learn about the hardware or software. If Adafruit disappeared, their tutorials will be lost, but would anyone really care?

            Datasheets and application notes from the manufacturer are of the most value. Forum posts, youtube videos, even sometimes this site has good info. For parts that are NDA’d, reverse engineered documentation by any dubious source is of very high value. Adafruit documentation? meh.. Kinda useless really, even for hand-holding.

      2. “Fortunately, there’s a fairly large community around the Allwinner chips and the various Orange (and Banana) Pi boards.” — Since when? I don’t know about Banana Pi, but at least the Orange Pi – forums are nearly dead and the IRC-channel is even deader. The most-skilled devs have also lost interest and abandoned OPi.

        1. And who are these “most-skilled” rockstar devs you refer to? I’m thinking maybe you could go with what’s already out there and use your own skill perhaps? I mean, learning is kinda the point. This site is called hackaday you know. 2c.

          IRC Channel? I had no clue anyone still used that. I have an IRC client on the same floppy disk as my gopher browser. A fine chat program running on the 16mhz 286 clone. My 286 was better. It had a NEAT chipset and came with a Turbo button. Memories.
          I’m thinking that might be the reason for your perceived deadness. Just sayin.

          The Orange Pi .org forum (from the company) is not very good because of the latency from China. Too slow. The .cn forum has more goings on, but the latency is slow, and it’s in Chinese.
          The biggest reason for sparse/scattered info is the the H3 is a very new chip. The A10 had the same problem. The Banana Pi forums have a more activity, but those boards are more expensive. They’re based on the more mature A20 soc’s.

          Start with:
          Work your way out from there.

          For the Bananna Pi:

          1. Ad hominem: “(of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.
            “vicious ad hominem attacks”

            Really? I’m sorry you feel that way. Gee. Honest, it’s about the position you take, not you personally.

            If you like IRC, that’s all well and good and if you need nameless “most-skilled devs” to guide you through development, or determine the deadness of a forum, then it’s your call too. Just not everyone agrees with that.
            And I think on a site called “hack a day”, it’s not about hand-holding, it’s (at least in part) about digging in and figuring it all out yourself, hence the “hack” in hack-a-day.

          2. I occasionally use IRC and that story reminded me of my old Mac IIfx and Amiga 2000 that had IRC clients and web browsers with a tiny foot print.
            Also MacGopher had a hilarious mouse icon.

  4. how can we use our project for this and the HAD prize when we don’t even know what the HAD prize theme is yet
    maybe the challenge is to only use analog circuits heh,..

    also, what about projects where it doesn’t really matter if you use a zero or another version of the pi, it would basically be the same project with either

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