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LeoPanthera said 6 months ago:

I wonder if they will sell you more than one Raspberry Pi Zero?

The Zero is advertised as being $5, and it makes me angry every time, because it's not possible to buy it at that price.

Every Pi retailer either has a one-per-customer limit, and charges shipping, or, charges up to $15(!) per Zero if you buy more than one.

So it's essentially a $15 device being advertised as $5. I shouldn't be so annoyed about it, but I can think of so many cool uses for multiple Zeros, and I just can't get them.

sswu said 6 months ago:

This post on the forums [0] is the best answer I've read yet.

They sell the Pi Zero (W) at such a low price to promote the platform for educational and non-commercial purposes. However, the margins are so low at that price that they cannot afford to sell in bulk. They apparently do offer bulk buys (>500 [1]) at higher prices.

The few options to buy multiple are to buy kits (which basically pass that bulk pricing in the form of overpriced accessories), or at a higher price (e.g. I see $22 on Amazon), or be very patient and keep ordering.

[0] https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=198705#p1... [1] https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=201916#p1...

jldugger said 6 months ago:

> However, the margins are so low at that price that they cannot afford to sell in bulk

Typically, ordering in bulk is how you _support_ low margins, by amortizing all the various fixed overheads. What I suspect you mean is 'the margins are negative, and we're hoping to make it up via attach rate.'

simonh said 6 months ago:

I don't think they're planning to make it up at all. I think the point is to make the entry price for beginners and people on low income as affordable as possible. I think people here complaining they can't order them in bulk at $5 or assuming there's some clever business scheme behind it all are kind of missing the point.

BTW has anyone here found the 'introduction video' Techcrunch mentions in the article, that they say makes such a good case for the store? The only one I can find is the music video one that really doesn't make a case for anything. Unless that's the one they mean? Confused.

oliwarner said 6 months ago:

Indeed. It's a loss-leader.

The aim is to pull in real people with single sales, both to grow their community and support further sales down the line of more powerful hardware.

Bulk selling these to industry for [near]-disposable application doesn't help the organisation or its aims. It also forces them up another rung of production capacity and warehousing, which is a serious expense.

fnord123 said 6 months ago:

I think they misspoke. I think they didn't mean bulk but really "retail" or "commercially". i.e. small number of units to large number of customers vs. large number of units to small number of customers.

adrianN said 6 months ago:

If they can't afford to sell in bulk, the margins are actually negative.

mobilemidget said 6 months ago:

Does anybody know how negative?

personally would have rather seen them priced at a value it could be bulk ordered. As many others pointed out, they are neat to build multi node projects or prototypes of doodles with.

gmiller123456 said 6 months ago:

Actually, the better answer is the part of your [0] reference that you didn't copy:

"* In effect, since the Zero(W) would cannibalise sales from the other models, we lose the profit margin we would make on the P3. Cannot afford to do that in quantity."

Or, more specifically, their intent is to undercut any manufacturer that would want to make a very low cost board at a sustainable profit margin to prevent one from taking hold.

You can buy as many Orange Pi Zero's (with WiFi) as you want, any day of the year for $12.76 (the price goes even down slightly if you buy more than one) [1].

[0] https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=198705#p1... [1] https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/New-Orange-Pi-Zero-...

alias_neo said 6 months ago:

Although this may work in general, it hurts the very purpose of the Pi.

I have an open source project I've been working on for some time, it's based around the Pi Zero W, however, here in the UK it's practically impossible to get more than one Zero W unless you order individually from each site and pay shipping individually for each. Even then, you'll be paying at least £12+shipping per unit. It's wasteful and needless to do all this individual shipping.

Is not just a case of buying individually until I can get all the Pis I need, because once I release, if users have the same issues getting the hardware, the project is pointless.

For now the project is sitting on a shelf until I find an alternative platform or Pi stops this 1 unit per customer "shortage".

richardwhiuk said 6 months ago:

The purpose of the Pi is to get kids a computer they can play with.

I struggle to see how your inability to buy lots of Pis disagrees with that.

vageli said 6 months ago:

> The purpose of the Pi is to get kids a computer they can play with.

Where did you get that idea? From the raspberry pi website:

> Our mission is to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world.

kingosticks said 6 months ago:

Yes, that is their tagline. Take a look at their strategy document[0] if you want to understand why the parent's interpretation is more accurate.

[0]: https://static.raspberrypi.org/files/about/RaspberryPiFounda...

semi-extrinsic said 6 months ago:

Just curious: what is the use case where the Pi Zero W is better than, say, an ESP8266 as in the Wemos/Lolin D1 mini board? Those you can actually buy in bulk for $4.

From my point of view, the fragility of having to deal with a microSD card makes a Pi-like solution a complete non-starter if you want to scale.

ac29 said 6 months ago:

The Pi Zero W can run a full Linux stack. The ESP8266 is essentially a fancy microcontroller. They aren't really comparable solutions, though they can certainly do some of the same tasks.

semi-extrinsic said 6 months ago:

I know the difference between the stacks, but what I'm asking specifically about the Zero is, when do you

(need the additional benefits of a full Linux stack) && (the modest hardware of the Pi Zero W is enough) && (are shipping stuff at scale yet can live with the flakyness of microSD)?

seba_dos1 said 6 months ago:

You don't need to ship stuff at scale in order to make sensible use of more than one board.

benj111 said 6 months ago:

So assuming they are selling the zero at cost or a loss, why?

This thread just shows how confusing the situation is, and it isn't even clear to me that it helps in promoting the education side, further it damages the brand and puts people off buying.

Why not have a school and student channel, so that they can buy at $5. And then sell it at a higher cost retail? Everyone knows where they stand, schools can bulk buy $5 zeros, which presumably they can't now. The current system just seems to be a mess.

twic said 6 months ago:

A better way to think about it is that a Pi Zero costs $15, and that the Pi Foundation gives away free "$10 off your first Pi Zero" vouchers. It just happens that they bundle those together.

Waterluvian said 6 months ago:

That would be a better way to advertise it. Attracts newcomers and whatnot. And doesn't feel slimy.

TomMarius said 6 months ago:

Yeah, and it actually makes me want to go and purchase it, because getting $15 of value for $5 sounds way better than having to go out of my way to buy $5 of value.

Symbiote said 6 months ago:

Shipping isn't free, I don't see how it's wrong to exclude that from the $5.

steve19 said 6 months ago:

Nobody is selling to for $5. Adafruit sells it for $10 excluding shipping, ebay sellers have it listed for about $15/10 GBP with free shipping.

The price really is a lie for consumers. Maybe $5 refers to the price they sell to distributors, who need to mark it up.

penguinlinux said 6 months ago:

Microcenter sells them for 5 dollars. This is the first unit. I happen to have one close to my home so I've been able to buy a few of them, I just buy one each time i go there. I am building retropie machines for my friends so i get them for 5 bucks. you can only buy one pi zero w for 5 dollars. but you can always come back and buy more.

LeoPanthera said 6 months ago:

It's 5 dollars for one.

If you want 2-5, it's $10 each, and if you want 6+, it's $15 each.

This is exactly my point. It's asinine to advertise it at $5. If you don't live near a physical Microcenter, it's not even $5 for one, because they charge shipping too.

Spivak said 6 months ago:

I don't know any stores that include shipping on their price tags. But you're right, the Zeros are so popular that the MSRP of $5 is difficult to achieve without them being constantly sold out.

Hard to blame the market for correcting, they're worth way more than $5.

michaelt said 6 months ago:

The Raspberry Pi foundation outsource all their manufacturing, as is normal in the electronics industry.

In the absence of component shortages, they could up production of Zeros by 10x or more if they wanted to. And the Zero barely has any components, so a component shortage seems unlikely.

If there's such high market demand that the product constantly sells out when offered for the MSRP, why haven't they just told their manufacturer to make the next manufacturing run much larger?

pbhjpbhj said 6 months ago:

I think this is reasonably analogous:

My kids school has a "chocolate table", at their fair, you pay a pound and win chocolate, it sells out really quickly. Why don't they procure enough chocolate to meet the high demand?

Or, other are asking "why don't they price out the poor kids - there enough to seek only to the rich kids at a higher price?".

michaelt said 6 months ago:

School's not procuring more chocolate because they think too much chocolate is unhealthy, so it should be kept out of the hands of children.

AFAIK it's not the RPi foundation's policy that RPi are unhealthy or that they should be kept out of the hands of children.

So I don't understand what you're trying to say with your analogy?

IshKebab said 6 months ago:

That's not how economics works! If they aren't making a loss at $5 then by now they have had plenty of time to ramp up production to meet demand (and save money since more production means lower costs).

The fact that they haven't strongly implies that they are selling it at a loss.

ForHackernews said 6 months ago:

They might well be making a loss at $5!

Don't take this too harshly, but the Raspberry Pi foundation's goal is to encourage young children to learn about programming and computer science, not to subsidize the IoT hobbies of wealthy adults who already have careers in computing.

qhwudbebd said 6 months ago:

They failed at that goal. Hobbyists, yes; hobbyists building stuff with their kids, yes; kids on their own or in schools, not really.

There have been campaigns to get RPis into schools for free, but for the most part, they gather dust there.

Whatever their original goal, they might as well embrace their only successful market and stop using 'it wasn't meant for you' as an excuse for every engineering mistake they make.

kingosticks said 6 months ago:

Getting stuff into schools and getting them to use it is difficult. There was a push some years ago for Lego Mindstorms kit in schools. That stuff was very cool but mostly went unused - nobody knew how to use it, let alone create lessons around it.

The RPF's work is better in that it's both cheaper and a more joined up plan with both kit and teacher resources. A big part of their work is running courses for teachers but training people takes time. That goal is expectedly still ongoing. The code club stuff they do seems pretty successful too. I have no doubt they will continue what they are doing and I think it's the correct strategy.

There are plenty of other SBCs out there now (in response to RPi) which can embrace the consumer market as you desire. It sounds like you are looking for something that meets everyone's requirements; a product that makes no compromises in features or cost. I wish you luck.

qhwudbebd said 6 months ago:

I'm not in any feasible target market for them anyway because I'm happy to pay significantly more for higher spec SBCs with mainline kernel support, avoiding proprietary boot loaders/threadx and long-obsolete SoCs. The current crop of RK3399 boards are a great example of that.

But I do understand why the lower spec, lower price point devices appeal so much to hobbyists and makers. These people actually buy and use RPis in significant numbers, unlike the schoolchildren whom they keep aiming at and failing to reach. These people are the only reason for the RPi's success.

The RPi folks would be better to acknowledge and take credit for the important part they've been playing in the maker and hobbyist movement and plan their future devices on that basis.

kingosticks said 6 months ago:

On what basis do you think they are failing to reach school children?

qhwudbebd said 6 months ago:

Anecdata rather than a rigorously conducted survey across UK schools. It was very much the consensus amongst my teacher friends when I kicked off a discussion on the topic whilst attempting to donate a handful of them. (I had a bunch spare from doing some speed testing on them.)

Interestingly, they also felt the microbit had been much more successful and accessible, so I guess it's not a lost cause to create a product for that market.

kingosticks said 6 months ago:

The foundation do publish yearly reviews (not sure if they done a 2018 one yet) on their website with statistics they have gathered.

But it's interesting the microbit was considered more successful in your group. Perhaps having the name of the BBC behind it gave it more weight. Or the fact they gave them away free to younger children.

qhwudbebd said 6 months ago:

I think maybe it's also a simpler device to understand end-to-end, a bit like 8-bit micros were when I was a kid?

kingosticks said 6 months ago:

I think this is it. It's a simpler device which is easier to get started with. At the cost of being able to do less with it but that's a good tradeoff, in primary school at least.

IshKebab said 6 months ago:

> They might well be making a loss at $5!

Yeah that's what I said?

pbhjpbhj said 6 months ago:

That's not how finance works either. Moving up from one level of production to another can mean acquiring new warehousing, creating new distribution channels, etc.. Can mean need to increase head count (and thus risk). Risks being left with excess product - eg if a competitor comes on the scene.

Those risks are worth it, perhaps, to achieve higher profit. But if the risks are merely to satisfy some demand for cheap gadgets, rather than meeting the educational aims of your org, then "there's more to life, let someone else do that".

foldr said 6 months ago:

> asinine

"Asinine" means "extremely stupid or foolish", and it's a very harsh term. Are you sure it's the word you were looking for?

thinkmassive said 6 months ago:

Pretty sure Microcenter sells the Pi Zero for $5 and the Zero W for $10. Still a good deal, and I also pick one up each time I go.

Edit: oops, just checked and the Zero W is indeed on sale for $5. I think this is a recent MC discount though, and the official price is $10, which is still reasonable. It also puts the $15/ea for 2-5 units in a better perspective.

starik36 said 6 months ago:

I've tried building a retropi box on a regular RPi and it was too slow for anything but original NES games.

How are you able to build these with Pi Zero?

LeoPanthera said 6 months ago:

Because it's not possible to buy it without shipping. (Fry's had them in physical stores, briefly, but quickly sold out and never got anymore.)

It would be fine if you were allowed to buy more than one, because then the cost of shipping per unit would be negligible, but you're not, you can only buy one.

So it's totally fair to include the shipping cost, because there's no alternative.

abrugsch said 6 months ago:

one word: Microcenter I don't live in the states, but am on a forum of people centered around various projects that (among other things) happen to make use of Pi Zero's the people who live near MC's are always saying how they just popped into their MC on the way home from work and picked up a (sometimes couple of) $5 zero W. So yeah while your experience is that $5 zeros don't exist (as is mine since in the UK there are exactly zero B&M stores that sell zeros, with the possible exception of this new RPF store - great if you're in/near Cambridge, sucks for the rest of us) the truth is that there ARE $5 Pi's available from walk-in retail outlets (in your country and possibly now mine too.)

gangstead said 6 months ago:

> in the UK there are exactly zero B&M stores that sell zeros

Now there's one!

abrugsch said 6 months ago:

But how much is a zero(W) in the new RPF store?

ekianjo said 6 months ago:

Technically if you buy locally (in the same country), shipping the raspberry pi zero would fit in a small enveloped and cost probably only one dollar max. The surcharge is ridiculous.

dietr1ch said 6 months ago:

Shipping 10 together is not even nearly as expensive as shipping one 10 times. Free shipping and constant per item shipping costs are a lie that ends up with higher costs.

kortilla said 6 months ago:

But it should go down per device significantly when shipping multiple. A one per customer policy and charging for shipping is usually a sneaky way to make money on the shipping.

etaioinshrdlu said 6 months ago:

It raises a good question. Why can't they meet market demand? There have been shortages for years now.

Do they not want to?

jstanley said 6 months ago:

> and I just can't get them.

Why can't you just pay $15 for them?

sucrose said 6 months ago:

OP most certainly can, but that wasn't the point of their rant. They're criticizing retailers for their inability to sell RP Zero's in bulk at $5/unit.

enobrev said 6 months ago:

There's a store near me that sells them for $5. I bought three around the holidays for various projects for $15 plus tax. No limits, as far as I know. They didn't say a thing when I asked for three.

Considering how many others are saying what you're saying, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to share what store I'm referring to.

patrickg_zill said 6 months ago:

I have 2 of them, paid $10 plus tax . I visited a microcenter and they were $5 each, I and a friend of mine bought 1 each.

DrScump said 6 months ago:

Damn, there used to be a Micro Center 5 minutes from my house. Now, there's only 1 in all of CA.

_archon_ said 6 months ago:

Is a Pi Zero worth $15 to you? If so, buy one (or many). If not, don't.

High-demand cars often sell for well over sticker price. A few recent examples are the Civic Type R, the Focus RS when it was 1-3 years old, the BRZ when it came out... Demand is higher than supply, and vendors (car dealers in my car reference) are profiting from that.

I understand your outrage, but the fact that multiple vendors are selling at this high price means that the market is saying the product is worth it. If you choose the perspective that the Zero is a $15 board which you can occasionally buy for $5, you can be free from spite and simply decide if you want one. Ten bucks and a slightly different perspective is a small price for tinkering and being free from anguish!

collyw said 6 months ago:

It hardly unique in that sense. Flights to Europe 1 Euro (plus airport tax, and booking fees and cabin baggage). Restaurant prices in the States where you are expected to add on 15% tip. Prices advertised before tax. I guess you would need some sort of regulation to real prices up front.

tmaly said 6 months ago:

I have managed to buy a Pi zero for $5 at a Micro Center store.

jrockway said 6 months ago:

They were $3.14 last March. Their bigger brothers were not $22.07, though.

ihuman said 6 months ago:

That's only if you buy 1


>1 at $5.00 each

>2-5 at $14.99 each

>6+ at $19.99 each

jsight said 6 months ago:

TBH, I never realized just how strange pi pricing was until seeing that web page. 1 for $5, but if you act now, you can get two for the low price of $30! Its really strange and it makes me wonder what the real price in quantity (>500 units) is.

bpye said 6 months ago:

The Pi Zero pricing is entirely to get them into the hands of people. I seem to recall reading somewhere that volume pricing is similar to that of the Raspberry Pi Model A, which makes sense given that they are very similar just smaller.

mcshicks said 6 months ago:

You can bring a friend (or two) and they can buy one also. I'm in San Diego and last time I drove back from Northern California I just stopped by (it's in Tustin) with my wife and picked up 2. If you need many then of course it doesn't work. I don't think there is any rule about you going back in another day either, although I guess if you went everyday they might notice. They didn't take down any information when I bought them, they just handed them to me.

Nursie said 6 months ago:

Some of the alternatives (Orange Pi Zero in particular) might be a good option... They have more powerful hardware too, AFAICT, though the mainline linux support isn't as good.

(Although looking at that now, the cheapest board is still about $9)

SuddsMcDuff said 6 months ago:

I got frustrated with the 1 per customer policy of Raspberry Pi Zero so I ended up bulk buying a bunch of Orange Pi Zero's from Ebay and I could not be happier. I found the support materials great, and the addition of an RJ45 port with PoE was a big plus.

lrem said 6 months ago:

See, being able to run "just Linux" is about the main selling point of RPi. It's no secret you can get boards with better performance/price or performance/power, or even build your own RPi at a lower price (not sure about zero). But RPi being just "plug and play" with familiar software platform means that I can just go and link my software skills with physical doohickeys.

steevdave said 6 months ago:

Just about every other board out there is just as plug and play as the RPI.

I'm not saying that to downplay the RPI - the community it has around it is great, but long gone are the days of trying to get Linux running on a random arm board. And I should know, I have over 100 different arm machines at my place.

makomk said 6 months ago:

For the Orange Pi Zero, you can just download an Armbian SD card image much like you would with Raspbian - except that unlike Raspbian, everything but the kernel and bootloader is just stock Debian and receives updates straight from Debian. (In theory the next upcoming Debian release should work stock out-the-box, but it's a lot less user-friendly to get working.)

Nursie said 6 months ago:

Eh, my experience with the orange pi zero was similar. But then I've been playing with debian on embedded boards since the NSLU2 days, so I guess I'm probably a little blind to the challenges.

Any build that doesn't start with a multimeter, a soldering iron and a TTL->USB cable is pretty straightforward...

classic959 said 6 months ago:

I used the 'slug' (NSLU2) to run my first NAS. For me, that was a great introduction to setting up useful linux devices on my home network.

(A wee pang of nostagia there when I saw it mentioned)

Nursie said 6 months ago:

Nice, I had two slugs. The community and Wiki were awesome. I eventually ended up adding a page about soldering a USB wireless card on to one of the unused USB headers on one. The other ran my website and an email server.

Happy days :)

dom96 said 6 months ago:

> even build your own RPi at a lower price

How would you go about doing that? Any guides out there for something like this?

lrem said 6 months ago:

I'm afraid step 1 of such a guide would be "get a relevant engineering degree". I got mine on the wrong floor of the building, so all I know is that "RPi is overpriced for what it contains".

kingosticks said 6 months ago:

Could you provide a breakdown of what you know it should cost? That would be interesting.

zamazingo said 6 months ago:

They are actually $5 at microcenter in the US.

rmoriz said 6 months ago:

The zero WH model with Wifi and Bluetooth is sold without such limits, includes pre-soldered headers. Price is below 15€ In Germany right now and if you order 3+ (or just order more than 29€) there is free shipping. https://www.sertronics-shop.de/en/2089/raspberry-pi-zero-wh

close04 said 6 months ago:

The RPi Zero W costs 10.35E. That's more than double the advertised price (I'm ignoring shipping here). It's not a big deal though, I doubt anyone interested in "joining the club" would pass because of the extra 5-6E but the point stands. It's impossible to find the Zero W for the advertised price in many parts of the world.

I get the limitations on manufacturing, costs, margins, etc. But they could just advertise it for 10E, sell it for 10E and actually make a profit that they can use to improve the product, drop prices later, etc. If I end up paying 10E anyway I'd prefer it if the ad didn't tout "Only $5". It's misleading no matter how much I like the company who's doing it.

kelrien said 6 months ago:

The raspberry pi Zero W was never priced at 5€ AFAIK.

edit: found the announcement: https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-zero-w-joins-f...

close04 said 6 months ago:

Mea culpa. I was under the impression that every subsequent model is released at the same price point as the old one (similar to the normal RPi at $35).

But this means the original Zero was marketed at $5 which was still never the case where I live (10-20E was/is the norm, maybe courtesy of the shortage). This being said I bought them either way. It just felt a bit disappointing when the expectations set by the promotional material weren't met when ordering the product.

carlhjerpe said 6 months ago:

Sounds like the reaction to all promotional advertising doesn't it? Cars are advertised the same, but with the advertised versions price is like 0.7 of what they have actual version you'd want to buy because they overcharge for accessories. They might be making a loss on the 5$ version to make it up on more powerful boards sold later on and therefore using the entire device as an ad campaign.

close04 said 6 months ago:

It’s not quite the same thing. After it was launched I could never get the Zero for 5$/E. There was no upgraded model that I could buy, it was the only one and sold for up to 4 times the advertised price in my region. Today the Zero W is sold at the advertised price so no problem here.

Now imagine a fixed configuration car being sold at double the price. Car ads usually have a fineprint “config used in the ad includes bla and bla and costs this much”.

Where it is like the car industry is when they advertise fuel consumption or emissions numbers that are never achievable in real life. And in that case I feel the same.

carlhjerpe said 6 months ago:

My thinking is that it's and advert for the brand rather than the specific product to get people into the ecosystem of rpi.

thinkmassive said 6 months ago:

Exactly! $5 Zero, $10 Zero W, still an excellent deal compared to alternatives. An ESP dev board or a Feather costs more, and those don’t run Linux.

People who complain about the cost making their projects difficult should speak up about the alternatives they’re jumping to instead.

altmind said 6 months ago:

esp32 boards(not a devboard, but rpi is not a devboard too) starts from $4.42 with free shipping on aliexpress. yet you are right - less ports, slower, less memory, no linux and a different microarchitecture.

thinkmassive said 6 months ago:

ESP32 without a devkit is just a surface mount chip. It would be more fair to compare that with the RPi’s SoC alone.

randomsearch said 6 months ago:

$10 still a good price though.

entity345 said 6 months ago:

The Pi Zero is at £4.66 here in the UK (so $6) including 20% VAT.

zulrah said 6 months ago:

with 1 order per customer and £3 shipping fee

kingosticks said 6 months ago:

Buy a Pi Zero and a Pi Zero W for £17 (delivered) from Pi Hut. Bargain!

Cthulhu_ said 6 months ago:

But where can you actually buy it at that price?

entity345 said 6 months ago:

The price I quoted is from UK-based online stores like Pimoroni and The Pi Hut.

said 6 months ago:
said 6 months ago:
tfolbrecht said 6 months ago:

When they saw C.H.I.P. and other arm dev boards were coming to eat their lunch, they instituted these anti competitive practices. Think of that $10 off as a bribe so that RP Foundation can continue to dominate.

driverdan said 6 months ago:

Unfortunately CHIP folded a while ago.

snvzz said 6 months ago:

I lost faith on Raspberry Pi when they went anti-consumer by implementing some DRM bullshit[0] using their firmware blob together with a dedicated crypto chip in their camera accessory to prevent third party cameras from working. Nevermind the extracted key that's circulating through the net: The crypto chip is itself not cheap and totally unnecessary if not for the DRM.

So, until they backtrack and apologize for their disgusting anti-consumer behavior, there's no way I will buy or endorse their products in any way. There's plenty of highly competitive alternatives[1] and absolutely no need to buy from these crooks.

[0]: https://np.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/7npv6a/20_raspberry...

[1]: https://www.hackerboards.com/

jwr said 6 months ago:

I have done some hardware design work with the RPi Compute Module and two CSI cameras. There is indeed an authentication chip on the cameras you buy from the RPi foundation. From what I understand, the idea here is to limit the drivers, so that the auto-tuning software (adjusting color balance, brightness, etc) only works with the original camera, not with clones.

There is nothing that prevents you from connecting other CSI cameras (there are plenty available), or writing other drivers. It's just that the auto-tuning functions of the original drivers will only be enabled for original cameras. The driver authenticates the camera(s) at startup, and if they are not the original ones, disables the auto-tuning.

The Foundation says it is a way of securing a revenue stream and recovering some of the cost of R&D work that went into the drivers. I can see how that is a compromise that could be chosen.

Personally, while I am not a fan of locked-down solutions, I find it hard to get as outraged at this as some other people apparently are.

snvzz said 6 months ago:

>From what I understand, the idea here is to limit the drivers, so that the auto-tuning software (adjusting color balance, brightness, etc) only works with the original camera, not with clones.

That's not nice, or is it now?

qhwudbebd said 6 months ago:

Can't agree more. I used to think they were doing the best they could, subject to their eye-wateringly poor taste in SoC manufacturer.

But these kinds of shenanigans and playing the artificial scarcity game with the RPi0/0w made a very convincing argument to go elsewhere for project SBCs, if the horrible bcm283[567] wasn't reason enough.

Fortunately, for a little more money, you can get far nicer boards that run fine with mainline kernels and without binary-only boot loaders, e.g. the current crop of RK3399 boards which even have 4GB RAM, USB3 and NVMe interfaces.

nexuist said 6 months ago:
kristianc said 6 months ago:

Cambridge native here - the store is super cool.

The look and feel is very Apple store so that probably is the fairest comparison - but they’ve managed to retain the good bits without it feeling like the chaotic jumble sale that Apple Store’s have become.

Dotted around the store are live demo machines showing Python code running on Pis powering sensors etc, and tutorials showing you how to run it etc.

Was really interesting and heartening to see the number of young 11/12yos in there, boys and girls, either experimenting with the Pis or playing Minecraft etc.

klmr said 6 months ago:

The comparison to the Apple Store (just downstairs from the Pi store …) is both apt and misleading: Apple Stores are all shiny but in essence it’s a sales room. the Pi store, by contrast, has the potential of becoming a place to geek out, to learn something new¹, and to mingle. Let’s see whether this will actually happen. As somebody else said, with luck it might become a modern version of Maplin/RadioShack.

¹ I’m aware that Apple Stores also offer courses but as far as I understand these are more along the lines of “Here’s how to send emails” rather than “You’ll learn something cool about computers”. Both have their place, but they’re quite different in spirit.

donarb said 6 months ago:

The Apple Store has classes for kids that teach them to program robots such as the Sphero. With Swift Playgrounds for the iPad, kids can program Raspberry Pi as well.

opless said 6 months ago:

Ditto here.

It's an almost worthy successor to Maplin/RadioShack.

Much pleased.

Arn_Thor said 6 months ago:

Headlines that include the word "Apple" for no reason are much cooler than headlines that don't

erikpukinskis said 6 months ago:

Is there another computer hardware store you think would be a better comparison?

setr said 6 months ago:

They failed to even make the comparison beyond the headline, and oddly, don’t really say anything about how the raspberry store is cool... just that it (might) make sense, contrary to popular intuition

jaabe said 6 months ago:

I think the point might be that you don’t need to trash something else just to say the Pi store is cool.

I personally think the comparison is silly. Because you get to play around in the Pi store I think it’s much more similar to a games-workshop or board game store than an Apple store. Even if the aesthetics are similar to the latter.

Arn_Thor said 6 months ago:

Literally any tech brand or concept store. Samsung, Microsoft, Xiaomi just off the top of my head. A comparison to anything is not made anywhere in the article. It's literally just a clickbait title

earenndil said 6 months ago:

Not that I'm defending the title, but would "the Raspberry Pi store is much cooler than a Samsung Store" sound better? No, because samsung stores are far less common and iconic.

darkpuma said 6 months ago:

Also that would sound like damning with faint praise.

rusk said 6 months ago:


sangnoir said 6 months ago:

> feint

Incorrect - it's not damning with fake praise - it's damning with super-light praise; the implication being the subject of 'praise' is not that great.


rusk said 6 months ago:

For some strange reason, paper with light lines on it is called feint ruled which is the source of my confusion going all the way back to my school days ... but every day is a school day, evidently.

sangnoir said 6 months ago:

Wow - that never registered in my mind before and I would have told you, with all conviction, that books say "faint ruled". Apparently[1] it's a 19th century variation of faint as used in the printing industry.

1. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/fein...

said 6 months ago:
gambiting said 6 months ago:

Those brands have this own stores at all? I've never seen one. I've seen many Apple stores though.

Arn_Thor said 6 months ago:

They do. But that doesn't even matter. The point is that the article makes no comparison to any store. They just wedged Apple in the title because clicks.

They could have spun it many other ways. Raspberry Pi's first physical store. You can see examples of what the Pi can do, even play around with them. Consult with staff about which Pi is best suited for your needs. Buy merch and goodies.

Again, the article itself makes no comparison to anything

8draco8 said 6 months ago:

I understand why they did it but to be honest if this will introduce someone to Raspberry Pi, open source and whole makers space then it was worth it.

pbhjpbhj said 6 months ago:

Ha, I'm the opposite never seen an Apple store (irl) but been in a Samsung store, it was cool.

8draco8 said 6 months ago:

To be fair Samsung Stores are pretty much knock offs of Apple Stores, the only difference is that they have more TVs. Apple invented the idea of minimalistic, plain shop in premium locations, every other brand is getting a lot of inspiration from them.

fhbdukfrh said 6 months ago:

Apple most certainly did not invent the premium location minimalistic retail store, it's the standard template for high end fashion and boutiques globally. Look are the people behind their store team and you can see why.

darkpuma said 6 months ago:

Microsoft has stores now too, don't they? But the apple store comparison is probably more appropriate.

User23 said 6 months ago:

As far as I know since the demise of Radio Shack, Fry's is the only hardware enthusiast shop with a real retail presence.

patrickg_zill said 6 months ago:

Also Microcenter

zwayhowder said 6 months ago:

Take a walk through Akihabara or DenDen Town in Tokyo/Osaka respectively and you'll find many stores that used to trade in 10 year old computers are now full of ARM based systems and paraphernalia. It was great to get a couple of new cases that I could touch before handing over my money.

po said 6 months ago:

Yeah I was surprised to find that on my most recent walk through as well. It seems like there are a lot more of both e-Sports and ARM-related stores now. It's a fairly recent thing. Wasn't that way even 2 years back. I still feel like the prices on the Raspberry pi stuff was high but it's because it's imported I guess.

comex said 6 months ago:

Seems like comparing apples and... uh, raspberries.

lacer said 6 months ago:

Why can't fruit be compared?

hrnnnnnn said 6 months ago:

They can be, at least in the case of apples and oranges, and they are "remarkably similar" [1].

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1120087/

tobyhinloopen said 6 months ago:

https://youtu.be/NWWeQlXfSa0?t=520 ( 8:40 )

"Bitch that phrase don't make no sense why can't fruit be compared!?"

ekianjo said 6 months ago:

So this is an article about a store, just based on the official video? Looks like the author did not even go there.

coldtea said 6 months ago:

With the news outlet margins (and pay) these days I'm surprised they could afford the connection subscription to stream the video...

keypusher said 6 months ago:

Would be really cool if they set some time aside for workshops, demos, or other interactive use of the space aside from just selling stuff. Without some serious guidance and help, many Pis just turn into an unusual way to play Minecraft.

tsumnia said 6 months ago:

Because this headline demands a cynical response - this isn't cooler than Apple, its cooler than RadioShack.

Also, why the couch? Unless there are some coding camps at the location, I can't imagine someone (even a parent) coming in and needing to sit down. Maybe an experienced sales associate that maps out the types of activities that can be done, but I doubt that as well.

laumars said 6 months ago:

> this isn't cooler than Apple, its cooler than RadioShack.

Arguably it could be cooler than both. You’re making an arbitrary distinction where one isn’t needed. Plus we never even had RadioShack in the UK (maybe Maplins might have been more apt? But I think the Apple comparison serves the authors point quite fine).

> Also, why the couch?

Plenty of shops in the UK have seating. It isn’t that weird at all.

> Because this headline demands a cynical response

No, it really doesn’t. You just chose to be negative for your own personal reasons.

benj111 said 6 months ago:

"we never even had RadioShack in the UK"

We did kind of.

Tandy was basically RadioShack, they even sold RadioShack branded products.

I would like to say that it rebranded as RadioShack towards the end, but I cant find any evidence of that. So that's probably just my failing memory.

dpwm said 6 months ago:

> I would like to say that it rebranded as RadioShack towards the end, but I cant find any evidence of that. So that's probably just my failing memory.

Many of them became Carphone Warehouse circa 2000 [0]. By 2001 the brand had been killed off. My last memory of Tandy was buying a RadioShack 14in TV. It didn't disappoint: it came with the schematic.

But, I definitely remember seeing a shop with RadioShack written on it in Boston, Lincolnshire around 2004 – and that was a town that I don't think ever had a Tandy. I never checked it out as my component needs were satisfied by an independent electronics shop in Lincoln.

I'm speculating that, after Tandy went, independent distributors of RadioShack products sprung up. There does appear to be a shop in Lancashire using the RadioShack logo.[1] Though unless they've got incredible warehousing, they can't sell much RadioShack stuff any more.

[0] https://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/01/03/tandy_is_dead_long_...

[1] https://www.yell.com/biz/radio-shack-lytham-st-annes-2879625...

abrugsch said 6 months ago:

There used to be a random electronics junk and appliances shop in Fareham (I forget the name now, it was late 90's/early 00's) which took on a role as a radio shack disti. I don't know if the town had a tandy when they were around as the chain was deep sixed before I lived there. However the Tandy's I did know as a kid were just like radio shacks in the states - same Archer branded parts, same computers (ever wonder what TRS in TRS-80 stood for? I'm guessing Tandy Radio Shack.) They had the classic radio shack logo as it became and had the catalog to order stuff from. unfortunately the shop closed down and a regular white goods appliance shop appeared in its place. it was a genuinely interesting place to go, they had baskets full of random cables and pieces of VCR's. it was a personal mecca for me for a while. I just wish I could have nabbed a few old computers they had before they went...

targ2002 said 6 months ago:

I remember this shop very fondly, I used to walk home from school, and pick up quite a few components for various electronics projects, but while I was away at uni it closed, I was very disappointed when I went back to my parents.

I can't remember what it was called. But I had a friend who worked there many years ago.

abrugsch said 6 months ago:

I FOUND IT! It was called Techno Trade street view was only good back to 2008 and it was already something else but a search on the address came up with: https://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/techno-trade-fareham

laumars said 6 months ago:

> ever wonder what TRS in TRS-80 stood for? I'm guessing Tandy Radio Shack

Good guess!

> The name is an abbreviation of Tandy/Radio Shack, Z-80 microprocessor.


laumars said 6 months ago:

It’s funny you mention Carphone Warehouse because just last week I thinking how that name has also become a relic of the past due to the miniaturisation of handsets. I mean I know Carphone Warehouse doesn’t sell actual car phones anymore but the name of it’s store does amuse me as a reminder of a bygone era.

stan_rogers said 6 months ago:

Tandy and Radio Shack are the same company. On this side of the pond, Tandy was the brand for a leatherworking hobby shop run by the company, while Radio Shack was electronics; you'd usually find a Radio Shack and a Tandy store next door to each other in the sixties and seventies.

jki275 said 6 months ago:

And into the 80s! I remember them. I miss Radio Shack -- not the cell phone store they became, but what they were in the 80s.

C1sc0cat said 6 months ago:

They had to rebrand as Tandy as in UK if you said RS you meant RS Components - basically the biggest electronics supplier in the country.

at my first job the electronics shop had a standing account so if you needed anything electronic you just got it added to that's weeks order

NeedMoreTea said 6 months ago:

When Maplins was just a Southampton mail order outfit advertised in the back of electronics magazines, Tandy (Radio Shack) was very much a thing in the UK. The shops were always Tandy, the products always Radio Shack prepacked from the US. They spread pretty wide as even small towns often had a shop.

It was the place to buy a pack of 3 resistors, or 2 spade connectors or fuses for your car for 10 to 50 times a reasonable price. It was an OK place to buy books though, as we still had the net book agreement so UK books had the price pre-printed. The US Radio Shack branded books they carried were much more expensive, and always shrink wrapped.

Maplins when they arrived were super cheap by comparison. RS and Farnell had minimum orders and needed a business account.

laumars said 6 months ago:

I do remember Tandy. In fact I Nearly included them in my previous post but declined to because of how long ago they closed. However I hadn’t realised they were the same parent company as RadioShack.

Tor3 said 6 months ago:

> Also, why the couch?

I love shops with couches or comfy chairs. And every shopping mall should have them, spread around. If I can't sit down now and then I don't stay there for very long - I need to get out of there. Another poster mentioned that he never shopped together with his SO - he goes to his shops, she goes to her shops. That's fine when you're in your own town. That doesn't work so well when you're visitors to an unfamiliar city. And I hope to go to Cambridge reasonably soon. With my wife.

hinkley said 6 months ago:

You’ve never gone clothes shopping with your SO? Remember the chairs by the changing room?

These are the changing room chairs for the other half.

gholling said 6 months ago:

That's one of their uses... I had a chat with a couple of people sat down and they were just waiting for their SOs to finish browsing. So I gave them a MagPi and Hackspace magazine to read while waiting.

I noticed that they bought the Hackspace!


C1sc0cat said 6 months ago:

Its also why the mothership Games Workshop in Nottingham has such a nice café/bar.

They also did a nice GW branded bitter

clintonb said 6 months ago:

I've always found this situation weird. When my wife and I go shopping, we don't really do it together. I go to my stores. She goes to hers. No need for chairs.

I can certainly understand why someone might shop with an SO, but it's never been a requirement for us.

collyw said 6 months ago:

When I rarely go clothes shopping it does seem to be pretty normal for couples to shop together.

benj111 said 6 months ago:

How does that work? You go into the shop, see shirt, check size, buy it, bam, done. Spend 30 minutes ogling PCs, Cars, Bikes, (pick your poison), before going to to find your partner who is still in the first shop with 50 rejected tops outside the changing room. So you find a seat.....

(This is a therapy session right?)

arkitaip said 6 months ago:

I think it's cooler for people who actually create and hack hardware. There's a level of play and tinkering that you probably never ever experience in an apple store.

abhishekjha said 6 months ago:

The problem is core CS subjects don’t train you enough to do that. You would have to learn that from somebody who already is an expert and that maybe a little out of reach for a lot of people. I have been wanting to hack hardware but I haven’t had any guidance yet about what/how to proceed and debug. Looks like abstractions have gotten complicated enough for somebody to necessarily ignore how it works under the hood lest modifying the behaviour.

gambiting said 6 months ago:

Why would a CS course teach you any of this? You want an EE degree to learn this, not CS

SiVal said 6 months ago:

There are exceptions, but neither really teaches these things in most universities. My EE classes were about the skills needed to design a RasPi, not use one, which was "electronics technician stuff", not "serious electrical engineering". And CS is about lofty concepts of algorithms and type theory, where mere "programming" is a dirty business that sometimes can't be avoided. Hardware in CS? Oh, dear.... (Clutching my pearls, heading for my swooning couch.)

Using a RasPi is in that middle ground of intellectual disrepute where hobbyists teach each other and have lots of fun. It's what you do after school.

collyw said 6 months ago:

CS must teach at least some hardware, no?

crumpets said 6 months ago:

Not really. Hardware and machines that actually run algorithms are just an implementation detail. :)

zimpenfish said 6 months ago:

Anecdata: Mine did (CS, Manchester, 92-95). First year a certain amount of hardware was mandatory, second and onwards was optional (and I opted out.)

(Many people opted in because it gave you a chance to be lectured by Steve Furber and later work with him on 3rd year projects, IIRC.)

C1sc0cat said 6 months ago:

Also for years only Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and UMIST where considered the truly good CS degrees.

TickleSteve said 6 months ago:

Manchester Uni CS certainly was partially hardware-based up until '97 or so.

Was doing CS, but plenty of hardware topics were available, such as creating your own processor on an FPGA, etc.

How can you possibly write good software without an appreciation of hardware??

jki275 said 6 months ago:

Certainly did in my program. Computer Org & Design has been a canonical part of CS for a long time.

bunnycorn said 6 months ago:


Do they have a LM7812? And a LM117Z for a fan? Do they have a NTC 100K with a beta of 3950? I'll also need a 40x40x20 fan at 24V, 3 pin. Plus some DIN562 M3 nuts, but it needs to be stainless steel.

And I expect no to pay more than $10 for all of that.

Not cool.

nicky0 said 6 months ago:

Call me crazy but sometimes it's nice to sit down.

jplayer01 said 6 months ago:

> why the couch

Are you American? Do your stores not have seating?

Tijdreiziger said 6 months ago:

I'm not OP but I'm Dutch, our stores don't have seating.

jayd16 said 6 months ago:

It does have a "Steve Jobs designs RadioShack" vibe to it.

darkpuma said 6 months ago:

> " its cooler than RadioShack."

Such a headline would probably be misinterpreted as criticism.


Noxmiles said 6 months ago:

I really hope, that they spread this store into other countries. Also, RPi (coding) events or RPi exhibitions in this store would be an perfect way to promote it.

onion-soup said 6 months ago:

Upbeat ukulele music still in 2019? Really?

Tsiklon said 6 months ago:

Atmospheric Black Metal apparently isn't whimsical enough to achieve mass market appeal.

Jokes aside, in my opinion, this sort of music while twee and forgettable is appealing enough to not leave a bad taste in the mouth about the whole advert. Especially when the subject matter has to be seen as approachable to a wide audience of people across age boundaries.

C1sc0cat said 6 months ago:

Ukes have replaced recorders in a lot of uk schools music classes so might be targeting their demographic

setquk said 6 months ago:

I bet that’s shut before May.

I genuinely think it’s a great idea but retail is dying on its arse here and that is way too niche.

leadingthenet said 6 months ago:

I doubt they expect to make a profit.

abrugsch said 6 months ago:

Fully agree. This is less about the act of trying to sell more pi and make enough profit to run the store but to have a branded edu-zone promoting the scene. And Cambridge is pretty much the only place in the UK where this will work. I don't see them opening any others around the country. well maybe ONE other, possibly in the north (Manchester/Liverpool way) or Edinburgh maybe

kbumsik said 6 months ago:

Look at the messy cables between the monitors. This is how DIY/hacker shop is meant to be.

sangd said 6 months ago:

I have had 4 different RPi boards in the past including the latest and the pi zero, and every single of them failed to work reliably. The hardware design and quality are poor. One of my board had soldering issue, another has power supply issue, another has SD card reader issue. You would run into lots of tough ones. Software eco is mostly for playing around. There're lots of frustration around but no good answers. I like the idea, I like its motivation, but they need to focus on the core values and make it work well. I up-voted because I still think that it has good values for kids.

elagost said 6 months ago:

Curious what you mean by "Software eco is mostly for playing around". They run full Debian, and despite the limited I/O throughput, there are a number of relatively high profile projects that are widely used. Most people I know with one run pi-hole, openvpn, a cacti system, etc. I personally run Syncthing, pi-hole, openvpn, and an internal webserver that hosts movies/tv from an attached drive. It's pretty decent as a NAS too. You can apt-get install and/or compile whatever you want on them. I've also used one to coreboot my laptop with the GPIO output.

jsight said 6 months ago:

I'm surprised to hear of so many issues. Like the other commenter, I have used a couple of them for everything from home automation and network storage, to an openwrt router.

I worry a bit about the SD cards (especially with the zero, which is really being overworked), but overall I haven't really had any issues.

classic959 said 6 months ago:

I have 4 RPi's in frequent use. The one in my kitchen (music player, Pi 2 model B) needs a clothes peg to squeeze the SD card into the reader otherwise it won't boot. So that's a 25% failure rate for me as far as hardware issues are concerned.

It has worked reliably for a few years with the clothes peg though!

sangd said 6 months ago:

If you have set up the board for a single purpose and let it run, I think it may last for some time. I constantly switching different SD cards for different OSes with different configuration and software updates. Maybe that would result in something different from you guys? My soldering problem is visible through bare eyes. What RPi should have done is to design a complete system from power supply, USB hubs/dongles, video adapters, wifi/bluetooth adapters. I went through a bunch of them and it got me really frustrated trying different USB hubs/power supplies (1 works out of 4 hubs), and I am not sure the reason why (I got 3 external power supply on 3 out of 4 hubs).

thinkmassive said 6 months ago:

How do you know the problem is the boards? Many people have had issues with SD cards and power supplies, but I don’t recall ever hearing of a bad RPi before.

said 6 months ago:
pininja said 6 months ago:

This is awesome! I remember when these first came out and meeting Eben and Liz at the Bay Area Makerfaire. Fun folks! They’ve started something really special.

peter303 said 6 months ago:

Fewer do-it-yourself options with the demise of Radio Shack. In my town MictoCenter fills the gap with Raspberry Pi kits, Arduino and components.

djsumdog said 6 months ago:

I wonder if they sell any water poof cases. I've had a hard time finding a case that can fit a Pi + battery and yet has grommet holes for wiring (so I can connect outdoor sensors). Most of what I've found are hacked together things or people drill into expensive pelican cases and then epoxy all the cables with a resin.

said 6 months ago:
83 said 6 months ago:

If you aren't opposed to using your own enclosure search the term 'cable gland'. I keep a variety on hand and they work well, if a little chunky. Just be mindful of the sensor end of the wire, capillary action via the insulation can be a problem.

tombert said 6 months ago:

Since the goal of this might be hacking in general, do you think it's possible that they'd sell something like an ODroid in one of these stores? Most of my hacking in ARM land has been with an ODroid for the last couple years just due to the amount of power you get from them.

owaty said 6 months ago:

How are they going to afford the rent and salaries? Besides being very niche, their margins must be very low.

gambiting said 6 months ago:

Isn't the whole raspberry pi company set up as a foundation/charity? They probably take a loss on the store to promote the idea.

michaelt said 6 months ago:

Right, but resources they spend running a loss-making store are resources they don't get to spend on other opportunities that might better advance their foundation's goal.

Staffing a shop with skilled EEs could get expensive fast.

kingosticks said 6 months ago:

I don't mean any disrespect to anyone but I don't think they need to staff the store with "skilled EEs" to make the store a success.

klmr said 6 months ago:

They’re almost certainly not expecting for the store itself to be profitable. Rather, the store is a billboard for the company (the same is actually very much true for Apple Stores; except those are probably crazily profitable in addition). In a way, the store’s main purpose is to take the product out of the niche. Let’s hope it works.

tzhenghao said 6 months ago:

This is super awesome. Does anybody know if they have an analogous program like Today at Apple but for kids to actually experiment with code? Would be nice to have volunteers though. Just a thought.

benj111 said 6 months ago:

I would hope that would be their main thing. Not sure they could justify just a shop.

Ps I hadn't come across today at Apple before, so checked the website. There were only 2 beards there, both well trimmed, and no plaid. Apple has called peak hipster!

onhn said 6 months ago:

Slightly disappointed its not called the Raspberry Pi shop.

INTPenis said 6 months ago:

I have three pi zero cameras and one regular pi camera at home for watching my dog when I'm away.

t0astbread said 6 months ago:

Now that's where I'd throw my money out

nakedrobot2 said 6 months ago:

I guess there a lot of stores in the world that are cooler than an Apple Store :) but OK, good headline writing.

mishurov said 6 months ago:

By definition. Because it's tech for people, not for consumerist monkeys.

thedrbrian said 6 months ago:

Websites that don’t waste half of the screen are much cooler than those that do


madengr said 6 months ago:

Barf; a clone of an Apple store. Thankfully I’m old enough to remember real electronics surplus stores. Mazes of electronics piled high, with interesting people working the counter.

ytninja said 6 months ago:

what do they sell?? actually I'm fed up with apple