Please help me start with Pi Zero W!

I bought a Raspberry Pi Zero W for the purpose of building this:

It has NOT gone well! First, I tried flashing the Balena image – boot was rarely successful and when it was, it didn’t connect to wifi.

Then I tried Raspberry Pi OS – two different versions. Both got stuck on the ‘rainbow screen of death’ after saying something about resizing a partition.

This morning, there isn’t any video output at all when booting with the Pi OS SD card, and the Balena one stays in a bootloop.

I tried 5 different USB power cables and there seem to be no differences. I’m using an apple iPad charger as the base, which is rated for 5V/2.1A.

Can anyone help at all? Apologies for the broad nature of the question but it is driving me crazy! What could I be doing wrong?

Possibly an SD card problem; try an different card - what size card are you using, and how are you flashing it?

Other things to try, a different PSU - you say you’ve tried different cables, but have you tried a different charger, maybe there’s something funky with it.

What utility are you using to image your SD Card?
I personally recommend and use the official Pi Foundation utility.
Raspberry Pi OS – Raspberry Pi

There is a “use custom” option if you need to flash a custom image. I use it to install Motion Eye OS. As long as its a proper image for a Raspberry Pi it should work.
If all you need is PiOS just select The top most Raspberry Pi OS (32-bit) option.

Using a “Charger” is not a good plan. More often than not they don’t provide a nice stable +5V, especially when under load. IMHO things will go better if you use a proper “Power Supply”.

So, I’ve tried two different SD cards (both 16GB).
Flashed one with etcher (tried this several times) and one with Raspberry Pi OS twice.

I will try using a proper power supply and see if anything better happens :)

I found a power supply, plugged it in – now I’m getting nothing, even with the old setup.

I think I initially had it on 9V. Would that have fried it?

I am not having the best of times with this :(

Yes 9V would have fried the Pi Zero.

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