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The ProtoZero is a prototyping board for the Raspberry Pi Zero
The ProtoZero is a prototyping board for the Raspberry Pi Zero
The ProtoZero is a prototyping board for the Raspberry Pi Zero
361 backers pledged £4,782 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

ProtoZero - A Raspberry Pi Zero Prototyping Board project video thumbnail
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ProtoZero - A Raspberry Pi Zero Prototyping Board

£4,782

361

** UPDATE: Stickers Added! **

Every pledge will now come with a ProtoZero GPIO sticker, as a little thanks for all the support.

Here's an image of what the sticker will look like - great for your laptop lid, toolbox, notebook, Pi case and other places:

The sticker design with GPIO pinout - handy!
The sticker design with GPIO pinout - handy!

What is the ProtoZero?

The ProtoZero is a breadboard-style prototyping board for the new Raspberry Pi Zero (and possibly the first ever Pi Zero based Kickstarter campaign?).

ProtoZero Front & Rear
ProtoZero Front & Rear

Tell me more!

The ProtoZero is designed to make it easy to move your messy Raspberry Pi breadboard projects to a PCB.

Simply add your components to the prototyping area, connect GPIO, power and GND as required - solder it all up and away you go!

Let's show you the key features:

- Full breakout of the PiZero's 40-Pin GPIO header, ready to connect to your project

- 154 holes of prototyping area - set in lanes of 3+ to make it even easier to connect your components to the Pi

- Labelled GPIO numbers and printed lanes on both sides on the board

- High-quality ENIG (Electroless nickel immersion gold) PCB plating

- Female GPIO header included

- Kit form: requires soldering of the GPIO header

ProtoZero Front
ProtoZero Front
ProtoZero Rear
ProtoZero Rear
ProtoZero Front-Side
ProtoZero Front-Side
ProtoZero Left-Side
ProtoZero Left-Side

Is it a HAT?

Not quite. Whilst it does have holes that align with the PiZero's mount holes, the board doesn't have an EEPROM or any of the other official HAT requirements.

It's also not something to wear on your head.

Which Raspberry Pi does it fit?

The name of course suggests that this board is for the new Raspberry Pi Zero, however it will fit any Raspberry Pi models with 40 GPIO pins. That's the Pi Zero, A+, B+ and Pi 2.

It will not fit any of the older 26-pin models due to the header being blocked by the composite video connector.

Of course this board was designed with the new Pi Zero in mind, which is obvious from the size and mount holes - but don't let that stop you using it as a neat little board for your other 40-pin Raspberry Pi models.

ProtoZero on a Raspberry Pi 2
ProtoZero on a Raspberry Pi 2
ProtoZero on a Raspberry Pi A+
ProtoZero on a Raspberry Pi A+

Example Project - LED Scanner

Let's say you were experimenting with some LEDs, writing code to make them flash in different patterns and sequences. You've probably wired it up with a breadboard like this:

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Wouldn't it be cool to make your very own 'add-on' style board for your project, that you can fit and remove again and again?

That's where the ProtoZero comes in. Simply spend a few minutes working out where you want your LEDs to sit on the PCB, and where resistors and wires will be placed, and then solder these to the ProtoZero.

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Here I decided to solder the resistors to the rear of the board to make the front even tidier.

ProtoZero 7 LED project
ProtoZero 7 LED project

You could add different size or colour LEDs, buzzers, sensors, ICs, RTCs, headers and pretty much anything else that will fit!

Can I stack it?

Yes! The ProtoZero comes with a standard header, but if you decide to use a stacking header (available in most good maker stores around the globe) you can stack ProtoZero boards on top of each other.

Pledges come with a standard header as the design was intended to be small and low profile, just like the Pi Zero itself.

ProtoZeros stacked (stacking header not included)
ProtoZeros stacked (stacking header not included)

Design Changes  

Refinement

Unlike my previous Kickstarter campaigns where I had a finalised product at the time of launch, the ProtoZero is still being refined although 95% of the design is confirmed.

I will be refining the product during the course of the campaign to tidy up small things like the ambitiously tiny silkscreen print on the rear. I'll also look at other minor changes such as potentially changing the pads from circle to square to make soldering easier. I already have these prototype revisions on order.

Colour

I'm also reviewing the colour, looking at using the usual ProtoBoards black/gold theme to keep in line with my previous campaigns.

PCB Quality

The current prototype PCB you see in the images and videos is made by OSH Park - a renowned printed circuit board manufacturer in the USA.

ProtoZero PCB
ProtoZero PCB

I've used various PCB manufacturers previously but chose OSH Park for the prototypes due to the low-cost low-volume options they offer. This has allowed me to keep the initial pre-Kickstarter costs down.

The final boards that are included in your pledges will be made by one of a few different reliable board houses that I have used in my previous Kickstarter campaigns.

Below is a video showing my previous Kickstarter PCBs - I may use the same PCB manufacturer including the black/gold colour scheme again:

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Price

This is an interesting subject when making an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi Zero.

The clever people at the Raspberry Pi Foundation have done such a good job on making the Pi Zero as cost-effective as possible (and manufacturing MUCH larger numbers than a 1-man-band like myself) that it's very hard to price this product relative to the cost of the Pi.

So whilst I've tried to keep costs down as much as possible, there's only so much I can do at the low order quantities that the ProtoZero will be made at.

What you get?

Let's confirm what is included in the different pledge options:

(Remember: the ProtoZero is sold as a kit. You will need to solder the 40-pin header (the same soldering effort as you will have undertaken with the Pi Zero)

ProtoZero Personal Pack

A single ProtoZero kit for the curious makers out there: 1x ProtoZero PCB, 1x 40-pin GPIO header.

ProtoZero Twin Pack

Two ProtoZero kits, double the fun: 2x ProtoZero PCBs, 2x 40-pin GPIO headers (Pi Zero not included!).

ProtoZero Triple Pack

Three ProtoZero kits. Three's a crowd, but this is a good crowd: 3x ProtoZero PCBs, 3x 40-pin GPIO headers (Pi Zero not included!).

ProtoZero Quad Pack

Four ProtoZero kits. You're some kind of serious maker! 4x ProtoZero PCBs, 4x 40-pin GPIO headers (Pi Zero not included!).

ProtoZero Five Pack

Five ProtoZero kits. The top pledge, the gold standard! 5x ProtoZero PCBs, 5x 40-pin GPIO headers (Pi Zero not included!).

ProtoZero Draft Packaging (bag will likely be black in the final version)
ProtoZero Draft Packaging (bag will likely be black in the final version)

When do you get it?

The campaign is aiming to post all pledges in March 2016. I'd like to say 'deliver' in March, but some of you guys live in far away lands so it might take a lot longer to get to you.

If all pledges are with the Royal Mail in March 2016, I'm calling it a success!

How much is postage?

All pledges from the UK have postage included - it's factored into the price.

For everywhere else in the world it's an additional £3. This is simply how much it costs, and there's no way of making this any cheaper. The price to different countries varies very slightly, but it's always around this mark.

Stretch Goals

In my previous two Kickstarter campaigns I avoided the use of stretch goals to keep things simple and avoid any possible complications. I simply wanted to deliver the product being kickstarted and do that on time, to quality and to cost.

Those projects both delivered on time and exactly as described, so I'm going to take the same approach here and avoid any stretch goals that will distract from the plan.

Why Kickstarter?

I really want to make this board and see it being used in projects all over the internet (and maybe the ISS one day - a man can dream!).

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a great design and its small form factor makes it ideal for small fun projects - especially ones you can clip on with a board like the ProtoZero!

Unfortunately I'm not one of those lucky people with hundreds of pounds spare to get a large batch made. This is why I'm here, presenting the product to you to gain funding to allow me to do this.

Where is the early bird?

Unfortunately there wasn't any room in the budget to add a decent size early bird. I really wanted this kit to be super affordable, which means things like early bird pledges have to be sacrificed.

Not in the shops (yet)!

At the time of launch there is currently no plan to supply this board to electronics stores - so you could call it limited edition, but there's no guarantee.

My primary focus is on this campaign and providing you good people with the product you've given your hard earned money for. Whilst I will make more boards than I need to cover myself for defects etc, I will only supply stores if requests come in during the campaign.

Who am I?

I'm Richard Saville, Also known as 'Average Man' from my popular Raspberry Pi blog AverageManVsRaspberryPi.com.

Average Man Vs Raspberry Pi - that's mine!
Average Man Vs Raspberry Pi - that's mine!

I'm not a programmer, teacher or any way linked to the Raspberry Pi other than my 'hobbyist' activity - generally making little projects and writing about them.

I'm 'nearly 30' and have a wife Claire and 18-month old little girl Evie. I live in Southend-on-Sea in Essex (UK) and commute to a day job in the city of London as a Business Analyst. Rock n' Roll huh?

I've got a 100% track record on Kickstarter so far, with 2 projects under my belt both of which delivered on time and with lots of positive feedback. I really hope to see some of those same names popping up on this campaign.

Questions?

If you have any questions at all, just ask. I'll respond to every comment made on this campaign, and I'll always be 100% honest and open.

If you haven't pledged but still want to ask something, try me on Twitter (@AverageManVsPi).

Share Share Share!

Sharing makes a massive difference and helps get the word out. I'd be very grateful if you have a minute or so to share this project on your social networks, with your friends, colleagues and even your dog!

Risks and challenges

Let's talk about the potential risks with this project.

The financial side has been refined, taking in to account everything from Kickstarter's fees, costs of plastic bags, postage, PCB shipping, taxes and everything in between.

The PCB manufacturer is yet to be decided, but I have used all of the board houses that I'm considering anyway, so I know they're all good guys and go out of their way to help projects like these.

The March date is slightly ambitious. If everything goes to plan this should be possible, but there's always a chance that something can be delayed with Kickstarter projects. I'll always keep you up to date either way - nothing is worse than a poorly communicated Kickstarter campaign!

Apart from that, there aren't really any other risks with this campaign due to its simplicity and careful planning. I've successfully run 2 Kickstarter campaigns previously and learnt lots of little lessons from those to make this one even better.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $7

    ProtoZero Personal Pack: A single ProtoZero kit for the curious makers out there (Pi Zero not included!)

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    96 backers
    £
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $15

    ProtoZero Twin Pack: Two ProtoZero kits, double the fun! (Pi Zero not included!)

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    150 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $22

    ProtoZero Triple Pack: Three ProtoZero kits. Three's a crowd, but this is a good crowd! (Pi Zero not included!)

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    39 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $30

    ProtoZero Quad Pack: Four ProtoZero kits. You're some kind of serious maker! (Pi Zero not included!)

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    26 backers
    £
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $37

    ProtoZero Five Pack: Five ProtoZero kits. The top pledge, the gold standard, the King Kong of pledges! (Pi Zero not included!)

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    47 backers
    £
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    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)