Introduction: Build a PiAngle! Raspberry Pi Zero USB Hub
The PiAngle is a USB Hub that is specifically designed for the Raspberry Pi Zero. The Beauty of it is that the PiAngle plugs directly into the dual USB ports of the Pi. This allows you to not only power the Pi but also gain 4 USB Type A Ports. All through one single power cable(I hate wires.) You also gain hotplugging and current protection.
The PiAngle is open source. If you don't want to just to simply buy one from me on my Tindie store (Here: https://www.tindie.com/products/idlehandsdev/piangle-plug-n-play-raspberry-pi-zero-usb-hub/) you can just take the design files from the GitHub Page and modify and/or make your own! If you don't want to order boards yourself, you can also get them from me and assemble yourself using this guide, and the video. The board is available here: https://www.tindie.com/products/idlehandsdev/piangle-plug-n-play-pi-zero-usb-hub-board-only/
Here is the HackADay.io page for it: HackADay.io PiAngle Project
It should answer anything I left out here.
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Step 1: Watch the Video!
Step 2: Gather the Parts
- 1 x PiAngle PCB - Available on my Tindie Store
- 1 x FE1.1s USB Controller - Also available when purchasing a PiAngle PCB or get them from Aliexpress
- 4 x USB Type A Female
- 2 x USB Type B Micro Male Board Connector Part 1 of 2
- 2 x USB Type B Micro Male Board Connector Part 2 of 2
- 2 x 0.1uF 0402 Cap 10V
- 1 x 2.7k Resistor 0402
- 1 x 100k Resistor 0402
- 4 x 100uF Capacitor 5x5.3 Aluminum
- 3 x 10uF Capacitor 1206 10V
- 1 x Micro USB Female Connector
- 4 x Green 0603 LED
- 1 x Red 0603 LED
- 2A Fuse 1206
- 3 x 1K 0402 Resistor
- 1 x 12MHz Crystal Oscillator
- 4 x ESD Protection TVS Diode
- Soldering Paste(if using oven)
For whatever reason the USB Type B Male Part 1 of 2 won't update the part. This is the link: https://www.digikey.ca/product-detail/en/hirose-electric-co-ltd/ZX20-B-5S-UNIT(30)/H125237-ND/5994703 - I think it is because of the brackets in the link!
- Soldering Iron
- Reflow oven(if using solder paste)
- Solder Flux
- Anything you use to populate circuit boards
Step 3: Apply the Solder Paste!
There are a number of different ways to apply solder paste. One is using a stencil, another is to just apply using a fine tip on the solder dispenser. I have seen some others use a tooth pick and dipping it in solder paste to apply. Like I said, lots of ways.
I will be using my stencil, but I think most will just apply using the dispenser.
Step 4: Start Adding Components!
I like to start with the smallest and lowest first. Do all of the surface mount components, and fully solder them on. You will do the through hole ones later on.
Here is a PDF that tells you where the Parts Go.
Step 5: Reflow the Board
I use a simple $20 toaster oven. It takes a bit of practice but basically it comes down to just watching until all the solder flows then taking it out and letting it cool. Sure, for large production you need perfect temperature profiles and expensive tools, but in the case where you can check everything after, a toaster oven will work just fine. Check for bridges and tomb-stoning.
Step 6: Fix the Bridges!
More than likely there will be bridges between pins. Bridges are where the solder has joined to two separate places, whether it be pins resistors, or caps, it bridges two places that are not supposed to connect.
I find, the easiest way to remove a bridge is to put some solder flux on the bridge, and with a clean solder tip, touch it and slide it off. It will pull the excess solder with it(solder travels to the heat). Hopefully you wont have too many of these. Using a stencil often gets rid of 95% of the bridges when I'm working on a board.
Step 7: Install the Male USB Connectors
Okay this is where things can get a bit tricky. The two connectors have to fit perfectly into the Pi Zero otherwise they will be really tight, or impossible to get in. There is a small amount of tolerance to the through holes for the connector. The way I do it is I solder on one of the connectors so that it is flush to the PiAngle. I then put the other one in the holes without soldering it and insert both of them into the Pi. Now they will both be in the pi but only one will be soldered to the PiAngle. Now solder the second one to the PiAngle and they should be perfectly aligned. The pins are very small on the PiAngle, so you can spread some flux around and clean up your soldering joints after.
Actually at this point I like to test the PiAngle on a working Pi Zero. If you have one, plug in the PiAngle to the Pi and give them power. If the Pi boots up and you get a Red LED on the PiAngle you know its working. I like to do it at this stage because the USB Type A connectors are not in the way of fixing any problems at this point.
Step 8: Install the USB Type a Connectors
This is pretty straight forward. Press them in and solder. I like to turn the heat up a bit so the tabs solder faster. Don't do this if you're not comfortable with soldering as you may heat the board up too much.
Step 9: Enjoy Your PiAngle
Time to play some classic games that require a bunch of controllers! ... or maybe just connect a mouse, keyboard and wifi. Do whatever you want! The PiAngle is great because its all one tight connection that gives all of the functionality back to the Pi Zero. By building it yourself you save a lot of money.
If you can't build one, consider buying one on my Tindie Store!
If you would like to contribute to more open source projects, check out my Patreon page. Ill keep bringing cool projects your way.