No Hardware Build
1 Building A Zynthian With Just A Raspberry Pi
This guide describes how to build a Zynthian with just a Raspberry Pi and no other hardware. This allows you to test Zynthian before purchasing a kit. It may also serve as a launchpad for your own custom build.
- Raspberry Pi 3 or 4 (4 recommended)
- Good quality power supply for the Raspberry Pi (the official recommended Raspberry Pi PSU is recommended)
- 8GB (or larger) MicroSD card
- MicroSD card adapter, e.g. USB
- Personal computer
- HDMI monitor
- Micro HDMI to standard HDMI cable
- USB computer keyboard
- USB computer mouse
- Headphones or audio cable to connect to sound system with stereo 3.5mm plug
1.2 Get the firmware
Zynthian is based on a standard Debian OS with modifications to provide the rich set of functionality.
- Download the latest stable Zynthian firmware image from https://os.zynthian.org/zynthianos-last-stable.zip to the personal computer
- Install an image writing software, e.g. Raspberry Pi Imager
- Insert the microSD card into the adaptor and plug the adaptor into the personal computer
- Use the image writing software to write the image to the microSD card - note that Raspberry Pi Imager (and some other software) will use the downloaded zip so don't unzip it manually
- Eject the microSD card
1.3 First Boot
The first boot of ZynthianOS takes some time. Consequent boots are faster.
- Insert the microSD card into the Raspberry Pi
- Connect the Raspberry Pi to the computer keyboard, mouse and HDMI monitor
- Connnect the headphones or sound system to the Raspberry Pi 3.5mm audio output
- Connect power to the Raspberry Pi
- ZynthianOS starts and should display a message that it is performing some initialisation which will take many minutes - be patient and wait for this to complete
- Zynthian reboots and displays the user interface on the HDMI monitor
You should now have a functional Zynthian. Zynthian is designed to be controlled with rotary encoders and switches. It also has a touchscreen interface from which all functionality is accessible. A pointer device such as a mouse may be used to drive the interface. A cursor should show on the screen indicating the pointer position.
Welcome and happy Zynthing...