Configuring A Jetson Nano with the Stereo Labs Zed Camera

Zed camera with Jetson Nano


1. Hardware Setup

Since we’ll be using our Nano with the ZED camera, we’ll want to make sure we’ve got enough juice to power the both of them. We ran into some initial issues from powering the Nano from its USB port using a 2A power adapter, but this wasn’t enough and would shut down as soon as we turned on the camera.

As seen above, it was recommended that you use the open header pins which allows up to 6A, or the 5.5×2.1mm barrel plug which allows up to 4A. JetsonHacks has a detailed writeup on the various ways to power your board.

For our setup, we used this 5V @ 5A Power Supply from Amazon that costs only $13.99. In order for the board to accept this power, you need to jumper the pins on J48. 

Now onto the fun stuff…

Install J48 jumper to enable power from the barrel or header pins.

2. Prepping the OS

Following the Getting Started instructions over at NVIDIA, we installed the Jetson Nano Developer Kit SD Card Image onto a 32GB microSD Card (16GB UHS-1 minimum). If you’re on a Mac like we are, you could use Etcher to write your image onto the uSD card. When your uSD card is ready, insert it into the Nano and boot it up. 

Note: the card slot may not be as obvious at first, but it’s under the heat sink in between the two boards. See image below. You know the Nano is on when the green LED next to the usb port is lit. 


3. Baseline

This is your opportunity to make sure you have all of your updates taken care of and set up your baseline. You should have configured all the basic system settings by now and you’ll have a good starting point.

The image comes with NVIDIA’s JetPack 4.2 which is based off of Ubuntu 18.04 (LTS Kernel 4.9) and has the NVIDIA drivers installed along with the following packages:

  • TensorRT
  • cuDNN
  • CUDA Toolkit
  • VisionWorks
  • GStreamer
  • and OpenCV

4. Installing ZED SDK

The Jetson Nano will need an Internet connection to install the ZED SDK as it downloads a number of dependencies.

Download the ZED SDK for Jetson Nano and install it by running this command and following the instructions that appear:

>chmod +x ZED_SDK*


Once installed, you can test it by running the ZED Explorer application. This app will let you play around with the settings and view the two cameras. To run it, enter the following commands:

>cd /usr/local/zed/tools/

>./’ZED Explorer’

6. Installing ZED Python API

We want to play around with the ZED using Python, so we’ll be installing the Python API. The ZED SDK needs to already be installed. Then we can proceed to install the remainder of the pre-requisites.


  • ZED SDK 2.8 and its dependency CUDA
  • Python 3.5+ (x64). (Windows installer)
  • C++ compiler (VS2015 recommended)
  • Cython 0.26
  • Numpy 1.13.1

Clone ZED Python API so we can install the pre-requisites using Pip3 then build and install the library.

git clone

Change directories to the newly cloned folder and install the required dependencies.

pip3 install -r requirements.txt

That will take a few minutes, once that’s done you can build and install the libraries for use in your projects. The build and install process takes about 4 minutes each.

python3 build

python3 install

If everything installed without errors, then you can go ahead and run the examples which will be our starting point for our next project.

We ran the Live Camera example, which is what we’ll be pulling into our next project for facial recognition + proximity sensing.

python examples/

Some Potential Issues

Jetson nano shuts off when turning on the camera: Not enough power will cause a shutdown/power off. example using USB power adapter that may only be 1-2A capable

Viewing zed explorer through vnc causes color issues and some console errors. 

Next project: Face detection + proximity sensor using the ZED camera (based off Adam Geitgey’s Example + ZED Python API Live Camera Sample)

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