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Raspberry Pi Zero – USB Hub Mod


 

The Raspberry Pi Zero was launched last week and I managed to get one early!

It’s really compact, but the adaptors and cables required to hook up USB devices or a display are a bit of a pity. To partially remedy this, and because I happened to notice one of my USB hubs (LogiLink UA0160) had the exact same form factor as the Pi Zero, I combined the two. A fun and low cost little project.

This is how I did it …

Power

First thing I did was to make the connections to power the Pi Zero from the USB hub’s power supply.

Removing the hub from its casing was a piece of cake, and it exposed the necessary points to solder to. At the bottom side of the Pi Zero, pads are available. These are ideal for making connections with other components or boards such as the hub.

The connections are:

  • Pi Zero PP1 to hub 5V (middle pin on the barrel jack connector)
  • Pi Zero PP6 to hub GND (side pins on barrel jack connector)

Using the multimeter, I checked for shorts and made sure the connections were correct:

  • the exterior of the USB connectors on Pi and hub made a connection
  • the inside pin of the barrel jack connector and the 5V GPIO pin made a connection

IMG_0388 IMG_0396

USB

The next step was to connect the USB OTG from the Pi to the USB port of the hub. Using some wire, I connected the data lines of the two boards:

  • Pi Zero PP22 to hub D+ (on the mini USB connector)
  • Pi Zero PP23 to hub D- (on the mini USB connector)

IMG_0398 IMG_0400

As you can see from the pictures, I used dabs of hot glue for strain relief on the soldered connections.

Bundle

Finally, I bundled everything together using a thin piece of foam to separate the two boards and avoid shorts, and two elastic bands to keep it together. Combined with small USB dongles, the result is still quite compact! I can now spend some time designing a case to 3D print and give the whole thing a finished look.

IMG_0399 IMG_0401

IMG_0408 IMG_0406

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

© Frederick Vandenbosch, 2014-2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Frederick Vandenbosch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.