Introduction: DIY Micro USB Hub for Raspberry Pi Zero

Picture of DIY Micro USB Hub for Raspberry Pi Zero

After ordering the new Raspberry Pi Zero I suddenly realised I didn't have a suitable micro USB cable adapter to connect either a keyboard or mouse to it. Now common sense would have been to go back on-line and order either suitable cables or a suitable micro USB hub but as the maker saying goes "necessity being the mother of invention" so I decide to make my own. In this case a non-powered micro USB hub.

Step 1: Get the USB Bits

Picture of Get the USB Bits

Getting the base components was easy. A quick call into a "pound" (or the equivalent dollar, euro etc.) shop got me a micro USB data/charging cable and a USB hub as shown for the princely sum of £2.

Step 2: Tools

Picture of Tools

The basic tools are:

  • Cutter Screwdriver (flat and/or Philips)
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire Strippers
  • Scalpel/Small knife
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder

Step 3: Open USB Hub Case

Picture of Open USB Hub Case

Depending on the screws used in the USB Hub case you may need a Philips screwdriver to open the plastic USB Hub enclosure. In my case, the Hub's plastic enclosure was clipped together and a bit of squeezing and gentle persuading with a flat bladed screw driver saw it come apart.

Step 4: ​ De-solder USB Cable

Picture of ​  De-solder USB Cable

Once the USB hub is apart you should see a small PCB with a number of USB connectors and a cable. Make a note of the wire colour and positions. De-solder the existing USB wires from the PCB. Carefully apply heat from the soldering iron to the soldered wire and when the solder melts, gently lift the wire away from the PCB pad.

Step 5: Prepare Micro USB Cable

Picture of Prepare Micro USB Cable

With the wire cutters, cut the USB A connector (the bigger of the two USB connectors) off the cable. With the wire cutters or a small knife/scalpel cut back and remove about 2cm of the external cable insulation.

Using the wire strippers, strip about 5mm of insulation from each of the individual wires. Finally, for each wire twist the copper strands and using the soldering iron, "tin" them and repeat for all wires.

Step 6: Soldering the New Cable

Picture of Soldering the New Cable

Remembering to use the info from the note you made earlier ;-), match the wire colour's to the PCB pad and solder the first of the new wires from the micro USB cable back on to the USB Hub PCB.

Repeat this for each of the wires in the micro USB cable. Once finished, check your work for any solder bridges and/or dry joins.

Step 7: Putting It Back Together

Picture of Putting It Back Together

Once you're soldered all the wires back on the USB Hub PCB, reassemble it back into its plastic enclosure. You may want to add a tye-wrap to act as a strain relief for the micro USB cable.

FIN

Comments

tresho (author)2015-12-04

I already had a powered USB hub I was using for other purposes when I bought my RPI Zero last week. I bought an OTG microUSB/standard USB adapter cable for $2.49 at the same store I bought the Zero at. That adapter cable allows my powered hub to directly connect through its standard size USB plug to the USB jack on the Zero. The Zero's "USB" jack also serves to power the entire Zero as soon as the hub is powered, so the "PWR" jack on the Zero doesn't need to be used at all.

xmass (author)tresho2016-11-26

yes, I confirm this ! the pi zero can be powered from the micro usb OTG port;

in more detail: I have this powered usb hub with network port that connects to the pi zero microUsb OTG port and it works nicely.

CrtSuznik (author)2016-04-24

does the hub actually work with the pi zero? ive tried 4 (some powered and some not) and none of them work with the zero...
any advice?

retr (author)CrtSuznik2016-05-30

CrtSuznik, I just got an iogear GOFRH202 and can confirm it works ...... 3 usb ports and card reader and it has the otg connection ... I have had my wifi dongle usb keyboard and mouse plugged in at same time and all work. Got mine for $17 bucks canadian. I have tried many others (powered and non powered) and none worked until I tried this one.

https://www.iogear.com/product/GOFRH202/

jiger.jain.39 (author)2016-02-07

Hey I need raspberry pi zero I am from india I aint able to get that any one can help please ??

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Bio: Too many cool projects and not enough time.
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