So a few weeks ago, I picked up a little USB A/C WiFi dongle, to use with my RaspiBoy handheld gaming console. This console’s heart is a Raspberry Pi Zero, which has no built-in WiFi, so I needed a dongle to allow this unit to have easy internet connectivity (for updates and whatnot). Anyway, I picked up a cheap dongle off Amazon (specifically, this Onelink USB dongle), mostly because it stated right at the top of the user comments about this unit that it worked with Raspberry Pis.
Well, long story, but it doesn’t. At all.
Okay, technically you can get them to work with some Raspberry Pis, just not Zeros, and it is a significant pain in the ass to make it work. So, that was a big waste of time, money, and effort, all for nothing.
Anyway, I went ahead and dropped by Adafruit’s site, and picked up a different USB dongle, one that works with a Raspberry Pi Zero. I know this, because Adafruit specifically supports Raspberry Pis, including the Zero. And they provide simple instructions for how to install the dongle and configure it for use with a Raspberry Pi (Zero or otherwise).
The funny thing is, I have a Raspberry Pi Zero W, the newest version of the Zero, which has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. Unfortunately, I tried using it instead of my standard Zero version 1.3, and it kept having issues like locking up and causing the screen to freak out. I can’t use it in this unit, obviously, so a dongle is required…
Except it really isn’t. Technically, I can connect my RaspiBoy to my phone and give it internet connectivity via USB Tethering (which is part of my cellphone package), and I used this to update the unit and prepare it for using a WiFi dongle. So why bother using a separate dongle at all? Simple: My home WiFi is much faster than through my phone, and it allows me to connect to my home network, allowing for use of Samba to copy over ROMs to the unit. I know most people use USB to copy over ROMs, but I prefer Samba, and find it to be faster overall.
Unfortunately, I have to wait about a week for my new dongle to arrive, so I’m going to have to move my ROMs over via USB later today (currently recharging the battery), if I want to play tonight. And I have an appointment with some retro JRPGs and racing games!