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Raspberry Pi Zero IoT adapter adds Grove modules and more

Jun 21, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 2,373 views

Dexter’s $17 “GrovePi-Zero” IoT expansion board for the Raspberry Pi Zero features analog, digital, and serial ports that support Grove modules.

Back in 2014, robotics specialist Dexter Industries released a GrovePi expansion kit for the Raspberry Pi equipped with ports that support SeeedStudio’s catalog of hundreds of Arduino-compatible Grove sensors and I/O modules. This was followed up with a $30 GrovePi+ board. The company has now spun a smaller, simpler GrovePi-Zero I/O kit specifically for the miniscule Raspberry Pi Zero.

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The GrovePi-Zero has already achieved its modest $3,000 Kickstarter goal, with a month to go. Packages start at $17 (early bird), $22 (standard), or $25 with acrylic case. Starter kit configurations range from a $44 home garden monitor kit with basic sensors to $84 and $139 expansion kits with many more gizmos. A WiFi dongle and 8GB SD card are optional, but are thrown in for free in the $139 Grove Starter Kit.

GrovePi-Zero details
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Like the GrovePi+ and other Grove-enabled IoT expansion kits for the Raspberry Pi, such as Pi 2 Design’s 502IoT Shield, the GrovePi-Zero lets you easily prototype IoT concepts without messing with breadboards, jumpers, and other components. It has fewer ports than than the GrovePi+, and lacks the ATmega328 MCU for Arduino compatibility.

GrovePi-Zero Starter Kit
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The GrovePi-Zero is equipped with three analog ports, two digital ports, a serial port, and a 40-pin stackable header. A pair of LEDs is also available. By comparison, the $30 GrovePi+ has five more digital ports, an additional serial port, and three I2C ports, in addition to the MCU. The pricier, $79 and up, 502IoT Shield lacks the Arduino support, but offers additional features like 1-Wire, PMOD, WiFi, Ethernet, M.2, and USB.

GrovePi-Zero setups using various Expansion Kit components
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Although the GrovePi-Zero is a general-purpose I/O board, an optional 8GB SD card offers Dexter’s robotics focused version of Raspbian, called Raspbian for Robots. Dexter Industries provides a community-developed software library with programming examples for most Grove sensors in Python, C, Java, and Scratch. The company also sells a Raspberry Pi-based GoPiGo robot and BrickPi, an Arduino-enabled motor controller kit for the Raspberry Pi.

GrovePi-Zero and Raspberry Pi Zero (left), plugging them together
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Whereas the GrovePi+ supports a range of Raspberry Pi models, the GrovePi-Zero Kickstarter page mentions only the Raspberry Pi Zero. The board is somewhat longer than the 65 x 30mm Zero it stacks on top of. The Kickstarter page notes that you will need a Zero board with a populated 40-pin connector, or it’s off to soldering class for you.

Further information

The GrovePi-Zero is available through July 20 on Kickstarter starting at $17 or $22. Shipments are scheduled for September. More information may be found at the GrovePi-Zero Kickstarter page and eventually, at Dexter Industries.

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One response to “Raspberry Pi Zero IoT adapter adds Grove modules and more”

  1. Brad Sweet says:

    I asked and they responded saying this will work with the other Pi boards.

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