Last week, someone talked about how they are taxing their computer with work, plus a constant Zoom call. They wanted to set up another machine for this, but didn’t have a lot of money. That is why I started looking for alternate options. Of course, the Raspberry Pi was the first thing I thought of.
It’s not the best option, but with a good USB mic and camera, this could be a great alternative. While Zoom does not create a Zoom interface, you can always connect via web browser.
The bigger issue is during this time of “Work at Home”, something like the Logitech C920 are out of stock. Pi cameras are in abundance, and are really easy to install. So I decided to use it with both cameras to see if a Pi camera could be used for these conversations.
Raspberry Pi Setup
- Raspberry Pi 4 B+
- Pi 1080p Camera
- Logitech C920 (when back in stock)
- Fifine Gooseneck Podium Microphone
Setting Up the Pi Camera
The Raspberry Pi camera is very easy to setup. Depending on the ribbon cable (for whichever Pi you use), you will simply insert it into the locking cable connector, and push the latch closed. Make sure you put it in correctly (yes, the first time I had the cable in backwards).
This Pi camera comes with 2 ir lights, and 3 sensors to switch from day to night mode. The IR lights don’t need to be attached if you don’t want that function.
Setting up Raspbian Pi
I don’t claim to be an expert in setting up a Pi box, so I refer you to the NOOBS Setup at Raspberrypi.org. This will show you how to download the image, flash onto the SD card, and do first time setup.
Using other Pi OS?
As long as you can run a browser that can capture camera and microphone, and the OS can support the webcam, you should be able to run Zoom. Windows for IOT does have Zoom capability, but I am not sure if that is for Intel or ARM based machines.
Other ARM Core Computers
Arduino, Odroid, Rock64, Jetson, are all Single-Board Computer (SBC) alternatives. Some can perform better than a Pi for Video conferencing, and may be able to use the same Pi camera. Check out Electromaker for a great comparison of SBCs.
As for this video, I work solely on the Pi 4 Model B, since that was the request. I might just see what’s the best alternative out there.