PiJack Ethernet Hat for Raspberry Pi Zero

In episode 5 of my video blog I review the PiJack Ethernet Hat ($15) for the Raspberry Pi Zero. This is a follow-up to my review of the Orange Pi Zero computer ($9) which has a built-in Ethernet and WiFi.

PiJack uses the Microchip ENC28J60 Ethernet controller which is capable of 10 Mbps (or just 1.25MB/s). While the Raspberry Pi Zero will recognize and configure the PiJack automatically, the actual networking speed didn’t exceed 5 Mbps with the iperf test or when downloading a large file over a local network using wget.

PiJack Hat for Raspberry Pi Zero with ENC28J60 Ethernet Controller

PiJack uses the Microchip ENC28J60 Ethernet controller.

Here is the ethtool report with the PiJack connected:

Ethtool Report of PiJack Ethernet Hat for Raspberry Pi Zero

Ethtool Report of PiJack.

Power Consumption

Transferring a 1GB file over a local network using PiJack attached to the Raspberry Pi Zero consumes around 170mA or 0.85W while the Orange Pi Zero uses around 100mA or 0.5W for the same task. These are only very rough figures and will probably be different with your setup.

Conclusions

PiJack is a good product if you don’t want to move away from the Raspberry Pi ecosystem for your project and you need to transfer only limited amounts of data. The Orange Pi Zero and NanoPi NEO are much cheaper at $10 and offer higher networking speeds and lower power consumption. The Armbian operating system has a great community and plenty people interested in improving both the performance and power consumption of these well documented Allwinner SoC based computers.

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