Best choices for a newbie to put on a Pi Zero?


Gradually getting every together ready to begin my projects

  1. I will be using a VGA screen most of the time with your HDMI adaptor but also want to be able to see stuff when out and about mobile.
    Plug and Play would be best but will need to show text and basic graphics like a compass display.
    The text required would be sensor readings from an enviro-pHat .
  2. I also want to send the data to a data back up.
  3. Has anyone managed to link up with a Bluetooth enabled stand alone GPS ie decoding the data received by the GPS to display correctly NMEA format, via a Bluetooth dongle.
    Want to keep the overall size compact and will design a custom housing to mount every thing in.


Scroll pHAT has been pretty popular, but it’s possibly a little low-resolution for your requirements at just 11x5 white-only LEDs :D

Most larger LCD displays are tricky to get the best from, and stupendously expensive too.

I’ve never set up any sort of backup solution on a Pi, but I’m sure someone here must have!

There are some old guides out there concerning connecting a GPS to the Pi, a quick look didn’t find anything newer. It’s one of those things that’s best to try if you have a GPS handy. Usually following some up to date, generic (Debian)Linux instructions will work.


Thanks for the reply. GPS idea was just that I am involved in some Emergency environmental monitoring and the GPS position was just something I thought might be cool. Have the GPS and can link to an android phone so may have to stick with that.
Trying to free up communications devices like the phone.
Would consider possibly a 16x2 text display and just show current direction by up to 3 letters.
Happy to use std sized Pi boards if need be, As I said earlier a custom case will be designed to fit on a car dash board with the sensors outside - not used whilst driving .


Might just have to look for a compact VGA monitor as another option.


Bluetooth is part of the hardware on a Pi 3 but the cheap ten quid usb GPS work ok if you are outside. Inside and sometimes in a car they suck.

So with a zero maybe don’t go bluetooth?


Thanks, my Bluetooth GPS which I have had for about 10 years is very good, it also has provision for an external antenna - was actually better than the Garmin that was linked to my APRS station. Also found in a drawer an old Sirf3 GPS on a CF card but don’t have an old PDA to check it out.

Worked with GPS stuff from the days when the US military restricted the accuracy of them.

Might have to look into a Pi3 as well .


If you have all the gear then its just a bluetooth dongle my ebay £3:00 one works fine.

You could prob get a phone powerpack and turn it into a mobile datalogger no probs.


Thanks was thinking along the lines of data logger, will look into phone powerpacks - think tablet ones may have more power

Will see how it goes - need to sort some other stuff out first.


Have a google of “Nextion TFT” screens. These are cheap TFT screens with an interface board that you can send data to via serial. The instructions aren’t great but, in short, you design a template/form on a Windows app and send it over to the screen and it remembers it and then your application just needs to send the data to fill in the values. They are touch screens and quite a cheap/neat way to make a quick user interface.

The initial learning curve is a bit steep but there are some YouTube users out there who share some tips etc.

No affiliation with Nextion, just someone who bought a few of these little screens and am currently implementing them in a Raspberry Pi / ESP8266 home automation system.