Highly Unofficial "Raspberry Pi 3B Mini," Customized for TPCast, Appears for Sale

Cut-down single-board computer packs the same power as a Raspberry Pi 3, but in a more compact footprint.

Gareth Halfacree
24 days agoDrones / HW101

An unusual customized Raspberry Pi variant, designed for use in video streaming applications, has surfaced for sale — and it's been dubbed, extremely unofficially, the "Raspberry Pi 3B Mini."

Traditionally, Raspberry Pi has been very protective of its board designs. While it's entirely usual to see Raspberry Pi-shaped single-board computers (SBCs) on the market — many of which simply riff on the fruit theme and call themselves Banana Pi, Orange Pi, or the like — they're based on completely different systems-on-chips (SoCs).

While a third-party board built around an official Raspberry Pi-specific SoC did once launch, the HardKernel ODROID-W, it soon disappeared from the market and was never replaced.

The board brought to our attention by CNX Software, though, is extremely unusual. Designed for use in a TPCast wireless VR adapter for popular head-mounted displays, it's a riff on the theme of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B - and uses the same Broadcom BCM2837 chip found in the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and later editions of the Raspberry Pi 2 family, but in a considerably more compact board.

The TPCast board includes 1GB of RAM, a microSD Card socket for storage, a CSI port for cameras, a head carrying two USB 2.0 ports, and what appears to be a four-pin connector for composite video and analog audio. The usual 40-pin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header is replaced by a smaller 28-pin version — slightly larger than the 26-pin version which appeared on the original Raspberry Pi.

While clearly designed specifically for TPCast, and featuring the company's name on the silkscreen layer, the board has popped up for sale separately - including from a site dedicated to first-person video drone parts, where it is sold at $24,99 for use in combination with the OpenHD video streaming, remote control, and telemetry software.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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