Toby Chui's Pocket Cloud Server PCB Offers a Major Upgrade for the Raspberry Pi Zero Family

Designed to support Chui's ArozOS platform, though compatible with any OS you care to name, this board adds USB and battery capabilities.

Toby Chui has launched an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless single-board computer, designed to turn it into a pocket cloud server — with a particular focus on improving its suitability for Chui's ArozOS platform.

"This is a battery powered USB hub for the [Raspberry] Pi Zero W, designed to run with ArozOS as a pocket cloud server," Chui explains of the board. "It also works with any Pi NAS systems (e.g. OMV [OpenMediaVault]) and be able to work as a generic battery powered USB hub for most ARM single board computers that run Linux."

This low-cost add-on board transforms a Raspberry Pi Zero W into a battery-powered pocket server. (📹: Toby Chui)

"I made this for my personal project called 'Pocket Cloud Server' with ArozOS," Chui adds, referring to his project to create a Go-based server platform with a Synology DSM-inspired web user interface. "This also serve a great platform for using Pi Zero W in off-grid deployment like during conference/Maker Faire demo."

The board includes a lithium-polymer battery management system, though requires batteries with protection circuits built-in. Tested with two 1,100mAh batteries, the gadget was able to drive the host Raspberry Pi Zero W for around ten hours with Wi-Fi connected but no additional USB devices.

Chui's design also adds USB ports, replacing the single micro-USB port on the Raspberry Pi Zero with three full-size USB 2.0 Type A ports - and offers access to a fourth port on test pads, for future upgrades or expansion. Power, meanwhile, is provided through a USB Type-C connector — an upgrade over an earlier design with a micro-USB port.

The board is now available on Tindie at $26.99, though Chui warns that it will "require a bit of soldering skills to make it work"; more information on ArozOS, meanwhile, can be found on the project's GitHub repository where it is published under the reciprocal GNU General Public License 3.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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