USB add-on boards leverage Raspberry Pi Zero check pads, USB Gadget mode

I’ve simply come throughout a couple of USB boards that make the most of the Raspberry Pi Zero (W) check pads so as to add a number of USB Kind-A ports to the board with out soldering.

The primary one is “Catda Raspberry Pi zero WH USB enlargement board” which I discovered on Banggood for $9.99.

Catda USB board Raspberry Pi Zero WH

It’s a equipment that ships with a USB Zero plug enlargement module, an acrylic “isolation safety cowl”, an acrylic clear gentle diffraction safety cowl plus M2.5 screws and nuts for mounting it to the Raspberry Pi Zero WH board, however it ought to work any Raspberry Pi Zero together with the brand new Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W board because it depends on pogo pin to attach the 4 check pads for USB knowledge and energy, and people are in the identical place for all Pi Zero boards.

You'll be able to then plug it right into a laptop computer or pc to energy the board and, as an example, entry it as a USB gadget as explained on Adafruit. That’s why we see MIDI, HID, LAN, SSH, and USB written on the black cowl. For instance, an Ethernet USB gadget could possibly be configured in order that it exposes an IP deal with and the board accessed by SSH.

SBC with USB Gadget mode

It seems to be fairly neat, however in case you’d identical to to make use of the USB board with out the beautiful acrylic covers, the “Waveshare Pi Zero USB adapter” shall be a less expensive possibility obtainable for $2.5 on Aliexpress, and different outlets. There are additionally other models based mostly on the identical precept.

Waveshare Pi Zero USB adapterI can see some complaints on Aliexpress, as I believe some customers thought the Raspberry Pi Zero (W) would include the adapter. However all these sellers solely embody the adapter and never any Raspberry Pi board with the latter solely used to point out how the USB adapter board is related.

If one USB port is nice, what about 4? That’s what the “Raspberry Pi Zero USB Hub Powermanage” does for about $10.

USB hub with pogo pinsIt’s nonetheless utilizing the identical 4 check pads and pogo pings, however the utility is totally different because it’s a 4-port USB hub, and energy is obtainable by a micro USD or a battery by way of a 2-pin connector. It’s nonetheless not utilizing the 40-pin header, and solely depends on the pogo pins for connecting to the Raspberry Pi Zero. The board permits customers to attach peripherals with out having to make use of USB dock.

Raspberry Pi Zero W USB Hub

It’s not the primary time we write about the sort of {hardware}, as there was a crowdfunding marketing campaign for the same Hubpixel 4-port Hub for Pi Zero way back to 2016. So far as I perceive, all board offered at the moment additionally work with Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W since solely the USB and energy pins are used. However the location of many different check pads is totally different on Raspberry Pi Zero W and Zero 2 W.

Raspberry Pi Zero W vs Zero 2 W test padsIn addition to the 5V, GND, and USD DN/DP pads, different check pads give entry to USB OTG, 1.8V, TV output, SD card alerts, in addition to Bluetooth and WiFi energy standing, as proven in the official documentation.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Test Pads

There are by holes to attach the AV port on Raspberry Pi Zero, however a pad labeled “TV” has proven up in Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, so the connection is totally different. The MicroSD card check factors have moved round, however I’m unsure who would use these apart from testing since a MicroSD card slot is already current on the board.

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