How can interest level be maintained during supply shortage?

Sadly it looks like Omicron is going to further delay normal production levels of Raspberry Pis and other electronics.

Perhaps some activities for users like best all Zynthian song, or best Zynthian-keyboard integration competition might help keep people engaged.

With the suggestion that Pi 3 Chips may be more readily available for a while, a guide for making the best of a pi 3 based Zynthian may be useful.

The " Re-Tasked Zynthian Hardware" post running only FluidSynth might be an example that would rune fine on a Pi 3. (UK? lists VAT prices)
No Raspberry Pi in stock except Pi Pico, and Pi 400

Alternate hardware?

I just surveyed the available of Pis from various suppliers, it’s really thin pickings.

I have to wonder if any of the other Pi inspired boards could be adapted without doubling the software development/maintenance effort and Zynthian staff.
I recall seeing a 51 week lead time for Broadcom chips earlier in the pandemic, I assume the Raspberry Pi is permanently married to Broadcom through Eben Upton’s relationship. The option of using other brands of SOC might help assure a more steady parts supply. There are other board with future Pi model 5 performance.

Some reference Googling:

Opinion post: Why doesn’t RaspberryPi move away from broadcom?

Supply chain: Broadcom’s lead time will be extended to 50 weeks (referencing non pi parts) (March 23, 2021)

Pi in Short Supply: Site Claims 52-Week Wait for 4GB Model ( (12/20/2021)

Raspberry Pi makes its first ever price increase, global chip shortage to blame
( 21, 2021)

Some lists of alternative boards for review, a few of the mid/low level boards are said to run raspbian.

Most Powerful Alternatives to Raspberry P (Feb 2021)

20 Best Raspberry Pi Alternatives | Best Single-Board Computer To Try (March 1, 2021)

Best Raspberry Pi Alternatives (Dec 2020)

Raspberry pi alternatives ( Jan 2021)

Pi Alternative Examples

Some spec hi-lights for The Large Product Line of Banana PIs . . . . Their Github. . . Wiki
Banana Pi (Hard to find) depository of Manuals, Schematics and System Images

BPI-M5 Amlogic S905X3 Quad-Core Cortex-A55, 4GB LPDDR4, 16GB eMMC Flash onboard

BPI-M4 Cortex A53 Quad-Core, Mali MP470, 8GB eMMC Flash, 1GB/2GB DDR
A Kernel

BPI-M3 Octo-Core 1.8GHz, 8GB eMMC flash, 2 GB LPDDR3
armbian system implementation

Some Seller Listings:

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Pro $76.70 in stock at U.S.
2GB LPDDR4, unique 16GB eMMC flash for preloaded system?

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Ultra SBC Single Board Computer $75.29
Allwinner R40/V40 Quad Core ARM Cortex A7 CPU 500MHz
2GB DDR3 SDRAM, 8GB eMMC flash onboard.

at NewEgg
BPI-M3 Banana Pi M3 A83T Octa-Core (8-core) 2GB RAM with WiFi & BT 4.0 $103.77

from Amazon:

BPI-M5 Amlogic S905X3 Single Board Computer with 4GB RAM and 16G eMMC Flash
$86.00 + $13.65 delivery January 26 - February 16
Amlogic S905X3 Quad-Core Cortex-A55 (2.0xxGHz) Processor, 4 USB 3

Banana PI BPI-M4 Realtek RTD1395 Chip 2G RAM $65.00 + $15.99 deliver Jan 31 - Feb 22
Runs Raspbian Stretch

Cheaper listing: Banana PI BPI-M4 Realtek RTD1395 Chip (2GB RAM) 59.99 + $15.99 delivery January 31 - February 22.

///// Just for reference, If you have to get a Pi Now, here are some Amazon reseller listing examples, in addition to these there are a number of bundles with PIs for $200-$500.

3 B+ selling alone for $136.00-$206.99

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 2019 Quad Core 64 Bit WiFi Bluetooth (4GB)
3 Sellers @ $149.88 US EcoZone, vis viva, & MAD ELECTRONICS AUSTRALIA

Vilros Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Basic Kit with Fan Cooled Case $123.99 (2 gig $114.99)

LoveRPi Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Computer with Heatsinks $139.99

Raspberry Pi 4 Computer Model B 8GB
$199.95 FREE delivery from vis viva
$199.95 + $4.99 delivery from MAD ELECTRONICS AUSTRALIA
$237.00 + $30.75 delivery from ZAR Systems Germany

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 8GB Extreme Kit - 128GB (SD card) Edition (8GB RAM) with Fan, Case, Heatsinks, Cables $169.99

When supply is constrained there will be opportunists trying to make some money. Good luck to them - it is a temporary state. (I wonder what my stash of RPi 1 & 2 are worth?)

We use wiringPi software library to access hardware (GPI, ADC, DAC, etc.) which only supports Raspberry Pi hardware.

Raspberry Pi have consistently provided affordable SBCs. Other contenders have come and gone and randomly changed their hardware. Zynthian supports a wide range of hardware configurations but it can become an excessively high burden to support too many devices.

Good idea to consider how to deal with the current situation. Do consider ongoing support in such deliberations.

Personally, what attracts me to Zynthian is not so much the hardware (which is great!), but the user-interface, the work-flow, and the integration of many excellent free synths and plugins. In the absence of RPi, this could be achieved with other commodity hardware. For example, touch-screen laptops are ridiculously cheap and probably offer similar if not better computing (ie. synthesis) performance. In May 2021, the cost of a Zynthian kit (without RPi) delivered to me was $AU470, but I can go down to the local computer shop and buy a 12" touch-screen laptop for less than $AU300. I am guessing that with Linux installed, such a machine could run the guts of Zynthian (touch-screen UI and synthesis) with probably better performance than RPi 4. Admittedly, it doesn’t have all the knobs and connectors but I’ll bet it would be relatively cheap to build a USB “dock” that incorporated audio I/O and some rotary encoders. Something like that would be needed to achieve the robustness offered by the current Zynthian hardware. On the plus side you also get a big screen and a battery. Audio latency might be an issue, and seems to be unreasonably slow in Linux.

In the event of a prolonged RPi drought, having Zynthian able to run on a PC would definitely open some alternative possibilities. PC hardware is available in many form factors, including single-board computers. The HackBoard 2 even has a RPi compatible GPIO connector.

Celeron N4020 CPUs are ubiquitous in low-end laptops. Here is a comparison between this CPU and RPi4.

This is a good question @MaxMaxis.

From my of view point of view, right now, trying experiences and invests on alternate hardware (except x86_64 architecture) is too hazardous.

With component shortage, sbc manufacturers are in a in a kind of “one shot” situation with new products: when you can get your hands on a stock of a given chip (eg Amlogic S905Y2 for Radxa zero or Realtek RTD1395 for Banana PI BPI-M), then you’ll go for it. Isn’t your buisness building and selling SBC ?

In this conditions, no one can expect a good software support of all the zynthian hardware ecosystem that is needed: SPI display, I2S compatible DAC, WiringPi library port, up to date basic libraries (some manufacturers distros are still under Debian Stretch !!).
And the 2/3 years old sbc’s like the ones based on the rk3399 chip that are still in stock are overpriced now (but may have a good software support).

The RBPI foundation itself suffers from this component shortage too, and, as you said, Pi4 are hard too find today. But as we’ve have seen earlier with this hardware (the RBPI4, CM4), the Foundation can introduce on the market some totally unexpected boards based on new chips with a reliable software support.

Audio IC’s and even mcp23017 are also heavily impacted, so I think that right now it’s much better to be focused on software development (unfortunately, I can’t really help here :cry:).

There’s already some devs in that direction (see the API proposal post) and this is pretty cool. Regarding your post but also all the posts about porting Zynthian on a different arch or different distro I think this is the good option: having a good software basis (synth and effect control, their routing, mixer control, snapshots …), for a headless system that should be

  • portable on all kind of basic linux distro,
  • controlable with MIDI and/or OSC and/or specific zynthian hardware (4 encoders, 4 push buttons)
  • extended with any frontend toolkit (like Qt, see post about ZynthBox)
  • complete here :wink:


I got me a bag of them a few weeks ago! (missing the DAC/ADC chips for the all in one tho)

Mcp23017: at least, as SMD component, it’s not available at

wiringPi – deprecated…

excerpt from a larger post:

"I will make a final release of wiringPi available soon – with the sources, but that’s that. No more public releases. I’ll still be maintaining it for my own uses and clients, but for everyone else, please look at for alternative GPIO library for on-going projects.

-Gordon, August, 2019."

(he thankfully said he included source for the first time on the last release)

/ / / / / / / / / / / / /

Just in case The pigpio library also does Broadcom specific GPIO (not a wiring look alike) his home page last updated: 28/03/2021

Unfortunately the source code disappeared from Gordon’s site. Fortunately it was captured and a fork created on GitHub with some wrappers for various languages. I saw someone had benchmarked various libraries and wiringPi seemed to come out on top. I did look at the others but now that I have found wiringPi source on GitHub being updated I have gone back there. It has limitations but it is open source so they can be fixed. I have already submitted feature requests and pull requests to fix them. My third is on its way…

I actually managed to almost fully port the zynthian over Armbian on an Orange Pi PC(which can easily be found in China for reasonable prices).
Since I didn’t have the rest of the required hardware on hand, nor could I get it in a reasonable time span, I implemented my own solutions.
That means: 4xquadrature encoders and some sort of microcontroller(I had an stm32 available) which I interfaced using uart ) for the wiring part. It works acceptably well, albeit without interrupts. The Arduino uart protocol frames are followed by a pin toggle which should aid the Orange Pi in that sense, but it was far easier doing it with polling.
The main bottleneck that I seem to have right now is the spi screen. It’s just garbage. Not the display, but the kernel driver itself(running on 5.4.x kernel). It takes too much CPU power to push the frames via spi. You should have far more luck using a dedicated display interface on any particular board (hdmi, DSI, RGB, lvds, whatever).
As for performance, I’m mainly using it as a sampler and it works just fine with 3xFluid Synths and effects on each channel.
It struggles though when changing anything in the UI.
There’s clearly room for improvement and porting zynthian to other platforms is certainly feasible.
I’m planning to make a thread of its own, for Allwinner/Armbian ports.
@le51 also has successfully did a port in the past, so his experience can also help a lot.


Go to Aliexpress, see how tracking cookies are good sometimes (in my case at least :wink:), and follow that link:

This board is 15 € (17.5 $) has a CS42228 codec wich has 6 passive inputs and 8 passive outputs

While that one is 49 $ (44 €) with an AD1938 codec 4 inputs, 8 outputs. But it provides active inputs and outputs stages (with OpAmp),

Good to know:

Both needs an external clock reference feeded through the pin header row.

Both codec are supported in mainline linux kernel

CS42448 is supposed to be working on the RBPi with the Audioinjector Octo board

AD1938 is working on Beagle Bone Black with the CTAG FACE board

And the prices are shipping an VAT included for France.

I have ordered the CS42448 one , it costs the same price as only two single CS42448 chips :crazy_face:

I totaly agree.
And, so far i have understanded (I’m really not an expert in all that linux graphic layers) from various readings through the intenrnet:

  • The fbtft lib is not fully integrated in the kernel tree, but stays in the staging directory.
  • It looks like it is because the mainline (since kernel 5 ???) graphic layers have involved a lot. And the fbtft lib looks really hard to migrate to fits the new mainline standarts.
  • So no new drivers will be integrated and only fix are accepted (eg: ili9488 you have to use a kind of hdmi to SPI framebuffer copy trick but at least “it works”).
  • And nobody wants to do the hard job. (The RBPi Foundation maybe ? These cheap displays are necessary accessories for a bunch of applications)

In May 2021: