Pi Zero and the USB Problem

The £5 Raspberry Pi Zero has great potential as a cheap gadget but it has one major problem – lack of USB. So it has no ETHERNET – your ONLY option is WIFI – but will the WIFI work and how the HELL are you supposed to figure that out when you only have ONE USB socket. You can have mouse, or keyboard but not both.

IF you happen to have a USB hub lying around you’re all set – but if not, here’s a GREAT idea from a pal of mine…   if you happen to have an original Raspberry Pi (ie NOT the Pi2) – plug the WIFI into that, set everything up on that – then transfer the SD and the WIFI over to the Pi Zero.

SIMPLES – I really don’t understand why I didn’t think of that first – well done David. I just happen to have one old PI lying around and I was looking to giving it a job! Node-Red on a Pi Zero? Keep an eye out for further news.


14 thoughts on “Pi Zero and the USB Problem

  1. Hi,
    I downloaded the and wrote the raspbian image, mounted on mac in a Debian VM and edited the wifi configuration and Hostname, power on, online. No other HW needed!


  2. Bah – I mentioned this in an email reply to another thread hereabouts a few weeks back! Always the bridesmaid!

    As a sidenote, a Pi 2 SD card setup with PM2 segfaulted when fired up on a Zero (and worked again OK back in the Pi 2), so keep an eye for that before you get too much into a configuration exercise and find it all goes to pot when you move the card over.

    1. Hah, no-one is claiming originality here Nigel – I just wanted to get it on the blog so people can make use of it – setting up the Pi Zero has been giving me headaches and this is a great solution. My goal when my WIFI unit turns up will be to replicate what I have on the Pi2 by installing Jessie and all the kit on the Pi 1 (model B), getting the WIFI working, disabling ethernet and then moving that SD to and WIFI unit to the Pi Zero and hoping it all works.

      1. I haven’t done much with my Zero yet – it’s just sitting there collecting uptime until I get back to it. I’ve been busy setting up my new workshop and finding all the parts I salted away over the years; I rediscovered a box of Nixie tubes, so there’s a thought…!

        Keep up the good work and write-ups with the home automation – I’m going to start some stuff with Node Red shortly, but have a few other things to get out of the way first.

    2. I deliberately did as little as possible in terms of config before moving the SD card over to the Zero. I installed Raspbian (from the NOOBS image), went into the GUI and joined the wireless network, edited /etc/network/interfaces to specify a static IP and that was it.

      1. Well it will be interesting to see if the opposite approach works. I’m busy installing the kitchen sink onto a 32GB microSD (in an adaptor) on the Pi (B+). I will back it up – and then try the Zero – but not until the WIFI adaptor turns up (it seemed like a good idea ordering from China at the time). If it works I will remove it from its case and mount it permanently on the back of the Zero.

        I am maybe 1/3rd through my script, following my own instructions on the blog – and, touch wood, up to now all is ok.

          1. See reply.. you’re right it might be an old one! Still – half way through the install and it has not fallen over yet.

          2. It’s still going and has appeared on the network as PiZero1 – which for some reason reminds me of the Borg.

  3. PS – Node Red on a Pi Zero? Yes, it definitely works. I’ve been running it since the week before Xmas. No problems at all, other than those caused by my own tinkering. 😉

    1. Excellent – well I’m stuffed until my WIFI point turns up – I blew the last one up… at which time it is going into the Pi and I’m going to have a go at repeating my Jessie success on the older Pi to then transfer to the Zero – very exciting….

  4. I guess the next question is would it work if you used a Pi2 to do the initial build/config. I used a B+ mainly because that was the easiest one to get to.

    But it ought to work on a Pi2 as well, shouldn’t it? Or does the initial install set some settings or install some drivers that are specific to the quad core processor?

    1. Pi 2 and Pi are different architecture David – I think I am right in saying you’d get absolutely no-where. I just happen to have one old Pi – I have one in front of me sporting a PiScreen which I could never get to work on the Pi2… at last I’ve found a use for it…

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