It was very hard to get the chance to order one Raspberry Pi ZERO. I tracked the availability of the ZERO with the website “Where is my Pi ZERO”.
At the time I ordered the tiny SBC the only shop selling it was “The PiHut”. I ordered the “ZERO Essentials Kit” with a bunch of connectors and plugs. I would highly recommend the kit because all adapters, plugs and an 8 GB micro-SD-card are included. This makes it very easy to get the ZERO up and running.
Essential Kit Details:
- 4 x Rubber Feet (To protect your tiny Raspberry Pi)
- 1 x MiniHDMI > HDMI adapter (to allow the use of standard HDMI cables)
- 1 x MicroUSB > USB adapter (to allow the use of standard USB devices)
- 2 x Single row, 20 pin GPIO headers
- 1 x Dual row, 40 pin female GPIO header
- 1 x Dual row, 40 pin right-angled GPIO header
- 1 x Dual row, 40 pin GPIO header
The picture below shows the components from the Essentials Kit which you need for the ZERO itself. The adapters like the HDMI adapter and USB adapter are not shown in the picture.
ZERO – USB-adapter-cable
To connect the USB WiFi module an adapter is needed. The USB adapter which was included in the Essentials Kit was not working. I tried to connect the WiFi module, keyboard and mouse but I got no response. I decided to build my own USB adapter to perform a test if the board is broken or not. The USB adapter I build is shown in the picture below. It does not look very nice with all the open wires but it works perfect and I got my ZERO up and running. I am very happy that the board is okay and only the USB adapter is not working.
I am not sure if I should search for a micro USB WiFi adapter which I could directly plug into the USB port. As I know this kind of WiFi adapter is not available in online shops. You can only build one by your self.
The USB adapter I built works and it was a very cheap solution. Only a little soldering work has to be done.
ZERO – Usability
I started the Raspbian graphical user interface and after a few seconds I could start working as normal with one of the bigger Raspberry Pi’s. The Raspbian Jessie UI is not very fast but for such a small and cheap computer it works perfect. The only problem I see is that a USB hub is needed to connect the mouse, keyboard and WiFi module parallel. I tried a cheap USB hub and it worked out of the box. No need to configure something. The keyboard, mouse and WiFi adapter worked from the first boot-up.
The USB hub you see in the picture is the following model: ORICO USB 3.0 4 port hub
I bought a cheap Mini-USB-Hub and disconnect the wires / desoldered the USB-cable and replaced it with a micro-USB-cable. Now I have a perfect solution for my Raspberry Pi ZERO and additional USB-devices with no strange locking wires.
The picture below shows the mini-USB-hub I opend to desolder the normal USB-wire.
The next pictues shows the micro-USB-cable I cut in the middle to solder the end with the plug on the mini-USB-hub.
After soldering the mini-USB-hub looks like shown in the next picture with a web-cam and WIFI-module connected. Everthing worked very well by the first attemp.
Raspberry Pi ZERO 1.3 – Update
Since May the new Raspberry Pi Zero 1.3 is released. The major change is the micro-CSI connector for a Raspberry Pi camera module. This is pritty cool because now your are able to use the Raspbery Pi camera together with the ZERO. The connecter is now on the right side as you see in the picture. To attache the camera module to the ZERO a special mirco-CSI calbe is required as shown in the next picture.
Raspberry Pi ZERO W – Update
The latest model is a Raspberry Pi ZERO W with a guild in WIFI antenna and module. This makes the tiny SBC perfect and ready out of the box for the IOT world without an additional USB WIFI adapter.