In a past I planned an arduino project, on the microcontroller side. With the possibility to go idle and save batteries. But arduino is not a computer.

The reduced size of things like raspberry pi zero (w), are appealing.

But, is it correct that we cannot really power them with batteries for any real application?

I agree that "real application" is a kind of blur. But having a raspberry pi zero attached to a 3 times the size transformer is not really funny either.

Can you point me to a "battery" based examples applications for the zero (w)?

And negate my question ;)

My original project was a camera/picture based application. It works on arduino with the exception of defining nicely (with enough security) a network connection.

  • btw, this: modmypi.com/blog/… Dos not mention life time. – mariotti Jan 1 '18 at 3:53
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    Too vague a question for my taste. – joan Jan 1 '18 at 9:58
  • @joan Yes, maybe the title is a bit vague or more a provocation. But I actually ask for examples of battery based applications. I was looking batteries but it is difficult to find suitable ones. I wanted to see if there is complete examples which I might be able to adapt. To be specific something similar to a motion detection system, batteries powered. – mariotti Jan 2 '18 at 14:19

A microcontroller like the Arduino is better suited for battery operation over prolonged periods, with support for low-power sleep modes and overall lower consumption. A microcontroller can wake up nearly instantly, do something useful, then go back into sleep mode, lasting a long time on a battery. The Arduino won't last forever on batteries either though. Battery life has to be stretched out using a variety of methods.

The RPi is a general purpose computer and linux is a general purpose OS. The mere act of booting up will take quite a bit of time and corresponding battery capacity. Low cost has never equalled amazing battery life, and the RPi is no exception. You need some sort of external mechanism -- very possibly an Arduino -- to wake up the RPi to boot up and do something useful.

You could, of course, rig up a battery+solar solution or some sort of energy harvesting with the RPi, but you're going to spend many, many times the cost of a Zero, and the bulk is going to make the AC adapter you're concerned about look miniscule.

The size of a power solution has never scaled relative to processing capability. CPUs and circuitry have grown significantly smaller, but inexpensive power technology remains relatively bulky. They are not proportional to each other.

The comments in the linked article mention something like 6 hours of battery on 2 AA batteries, though that will vary depending on usage.

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