Raspberry Pi 2 Zero Support

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W was released today!

This looks like a great new device. Starting this thread to see if there is any work being done yet to support this on Balena? Will the Raspberry Pi 3 Balena image work on this board (same processor I believe).

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I would love some input from the Balena devs on this matter. Got two Pi Zero 2 W devices in the mailbox today, but neither of them will actually deploy to BalenaCloud. With a Pi Zero W image it simply stays green without activity, as I suppose there is no architecture support (ARMv6 => ARMv7) and with a Pi 3 image it repeats 4 green flashes in a repeating pattern. It seems it can run the image, but to my knowledge indicates that loader.bin cannot be launched. I guess the Pi Zero 2 W is essentially a Pi Zero but with the ARMv7 Pi 3 architecture.

So my question is – is there anything we can do ourselves to build a third party image, or would it be possible for the BalenaOS crew to create a new image in the near future that supports the device?

Thanks in advance!

Hi, the Pi Zero 2 W uses a new package (basically the RPi 3 processor BCM2710A0 but packaged in new format as BCM2710A1), so it will probably not boot using the RPi Zero W images. You could try the RPi 3 image, but I would guess that even if it were to boot, the wifi would probably not work. The normal way for balena to support a new board would be to see if there is a new Yocto Board Support Package and then include it in balena. I am sure someone is already working on the BSP at Yocto, but this will probably take a while and then is the question whether this BSP works with the Yocto version balena is currently using for all balenaOS.

While the question whether balena will support the RPi Zero 2 W can only be answered by a balena employee, my guess is that sooner or later this will happen, but not overnight :slight_smile:

@jonathanlundstrom did you try to connect the Pi Zero 2 w over ethernet?

It looks like the WiFi needs some drivers to run on balenaOS over the WiFi at the moment. Our devices engineers are working on it :slight_smile:

I did not. Not even sure how I would connect it to Ethernet as there is no such port on the device. And which image would you suggest I try with in that case?

I’ve tried Pi Zero W and Pi 3 image with no luck, the device does not seem to want to boot, based on the activity LED.

Hi again Jonathan. You can pair a micro-usb to usb adapter with a USB to Ethernet adapter (I have used the Apple adapter successfully) to connect the Pi Zero to the Internet. As my colleague Kyle mentioned, our engineers are working on adding support for the Pi Zero 2 so we should have some news soon :slight_smile:

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Now I just need to wait for my shipments from UK and Germany to arrive to play along with you guys… :smiley:

Any news here? At the moment it is not possible to use the Zero 2 W with Balena!

Thank you very much!

Well, actually it kinda does work - if you don’t care for using the internal wifi at the moment and hacking a bit.

bcm2710-rpi-3-b-plus.dtb
bcm2710-rpi-3-b.dtb
bcm2710-rpi-cm3.dtb
bcm2710-rpi-zero-2-w.dtb
bcm2710-rpi-zero-2.dtb
bootcode.bin
fixup.dat
fixup_cd.dat
fixup_x.dat
start.elf
start_cd.elf
start_x.elf

  • mount the sd card to your pc after flashing it with the image using etcher
  • copy the extracted files from the firmware repo and overwrite the ones on the sd card
  • plugin into your RPi Zero 2 W 1.0 - also add a good USB Ethernet Interface (probably also a Wifi Dongle would work) via a powered USB Hub and power on
  • voilà

Its close enough to the RPi 3 Hardware that it will run, but obviously not yet ready for primetime.

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Thx. Do you know when it is planned to officially support the Zero 2?

Normally boards get adopted when there is a board support package (BSP) available for Yocto - and the correct Yocto version balena uses. There is an ongoing discussion on getting the board supported in some of the Yocto versions here: Support for Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W · Issue #929 · agherzan/meta-raspberrypi · GitHub - it looks like they are planning to release for Dunfell - which is also one version balenaOS is building upon ( GitHub - balena-os/meta-balena: A collection of Yocto layers used to build balenaOS images ).

However, even if this issue is closed and support is implemented, it does not mean that balena will officially support Pi Zero 2 W at the same moment, as there is still a lot of stuff from balenas side to do.

Bottom line: I am just a tinkerer and have no ETA for you. I am sure the gals and guys are working hard behind the scenes, so please be kind and patient and probably something good will show up. And if you really want to hit the road with Pi Zero 2 W - you got my little hack above :slight_smile:

But please be aware that this board will not be the golden bullet a lot of people are hoping for. Yes, it will give back balenaOS to the Zero form factor, but also no - the 512 MB of RAM are limiting the board somewhat performancewise. Also, what I am feeling - the RPi 4 and more powerful boards spoiled us A LOT. I myself was a bit disappointed of the performance - comparing it side to side with RPi 3, 3+ and RPi 4.

Have a good day.

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Alright, seems like WiFi is still the main problem. Is that right @pipex? If so, is there an ETA on when you think an image could be available for testing? Wi-Fi is unfortunately a dealbreaker on our deployed devices since they are mounted in areas where we wont be able to install Ethernet cables.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

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Seems like the needed changes were merged in meta-raspberrypi, curious to know if there’s an ETA for Zero 2 support.

Thanks !

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It’s up there now. Had to refresh the balena dashboard to pick the new hardware, but my RiPZ2 is now online. Thanks to all who made this happen.

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