I have a micro SD card that I am planning on using with a Raspberry Pi Zero, I do not have a mini HDMI to full HDMI adapter, but I do have a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, say could I image the card, do the first boot on the Pi 2, have it install Raspian, format wifi/serial and then put it in my Pi Zero? Would that work, or do the Pi's install differently based on their model?

  • I don't think that would work. From my understanding each Pi is a little different in that regard and a disk Image for Pi2 is different from other Pi's. The Pi Zero hardware is more akin to Pi B+ than Pi2. – Chris Pietschmann Dec 19 '15 at 15:41

It will work if you have the A/B/+ kernel on there and have not set a kernel= in config.txt. There is no OS image or kernel for the zero distinct from the A/B/+ models, so if you buy a card with it that's what you are getting. Since the 2 came out, images have had 2 kernels in them, kernel.img (A/B/+) and kernel7.img (Pi 2).

While there are some minor differences in the peripheral set, this is also true of the A, and there is no special .dtb (device tree overlay) for it in /boot on Raspbian, only ones for the B and 2, presumably since they actually have different processors. The zero has the same processor as the A/B/+ with a higher official clock speed, which does not matter.

The kernel is very adaptive, so the fact there is no ethernet port, the USB hub may be different, etc. should not matter. If there were a need for a different kernel, the Foundation presumably would have indicated this (although TBH they are very elliptical and did not actually say this explicitly about the 2 in the announcement for that, just that it required an up to date OS image).

format wifi/serial and then put it in my Pi Zero?

Yes, that is high level configuration and would likely be the same if you ran your desktop with the card (if lower level stuff permitted that).

  • You say that the Pi 2 is a little different, but it will still work on the Pi Zero if it's installed on the Pi 2? – Patrick Cook Dec 19 '15 at 15:51
  • Sorry, I edited the first paragraph after I wrote this. You need to make sure the kernel for the A/B/+ models is there. You can't use an OS that is Pi 2 only; the above presumes you mean Raspbian. – goldilocks Dec 19 '15 at 15:53
  • I'm a little confused, I only have a Pi 2, so this is not possible? – Patrick Cook Dec 19 '15 at 15:55
  • Sorry again -- I've edited in a direct answer about the wifi and serial config. – goldilocks Dec 19 '15 at 15:55
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    To clarify, Raspbian comes with both kernels ("Since the 2 came out, images have had 2 kernels in them, kernel.img (A/B/+) and kernel7.img (Pi 2)"). Unless you remove one they will still be there. – goldilocks Dec 19 '15 at 16:00

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