Yet Another Pi Zero USB Hub

It’s quite fascinating to see the world of hackers rise up and start messing around with new hardware as soon as it’s released. As everyone knows, the Raspberry Pi Zero only has two micro USB ports… a bit lacking for any computer — even one the size of a credit card. While there will probably be an official USB hub coming out someday, we’ve already seen a few home-made versions — though we think this might be the nicest layout so far!

[Richard Hawthorn] threw this PCB design together to give the Pi Zero four USB 2.0 ports. It can be attached by either a USB connector, or by soldering 4 pins between the two boards. It can either be powered off of the Pi Zero, or with an external power connector jack. In a future design he hopes to add pogo pins so it can just be attached and detached whenever you need it.

It’s a bit more involved than simply strapping a mini USB hub to the back of your Pi, but if you’re interested in a more sleek solution, [Richard’s] got all the details on his GitHub.

36 thoughts on “Yet Another Pi Zero USB Hub

      1. It’s kindof implicit in USB. If there’s no serial bus, it’s just a U.

        BTW it would be good if this includes an option for external power, powered USB hubs are normally pretty expensive. You can get unpowered ones for almost free.

      2. Dumb USB Powered Hub Question – Doing just about anything on a Zero requires plugging in a hub, and often needs more power than a standard USB device puts out. Do I need to buy a powered hub, or can I do something like plugging a 5V USB power supply into one of the ports on a non-powered hub (which I have lots of lying around)? Thanks!

  1. “All the details”? All he has is 7 images, an Eagle.png image, a front and back pcb image, and 5 “assembled” images. No parts list, no assembly details, not even an image of a completed and populated board.

    No, James, Richard does not give us “all the details” on the Github page.

    1. Far better off to redo the layout the board from scratch only reusing the outline and USB connector placement locations. Just use whatever sample circuit from the chip vendor and follow their guideline carefully and you’ll have a better board.
      The routing for the USB lines are even done as high speed differential tracks. The crystal placement is also a bit far and running long tracks for that isn’t a good. For high speed circuits, you don’t simply line up parts, you have to place them where they should be and watch what you are routing.

    2. Maybe he’s still waiting to receive the remaining parts, and make sure the thing actually works, before publishing details sufficient for others to replicate it?

      The project page hasn’t been up long. HAD generally doesn’t ask permission from content creators before featuring something, and as a result, things sometimes get featured before they’re ready. Looking at Richard’s other projects, which do have full details, there’s no reason to think he won’t post these details for this project too – but when HE is ready.

      1. “… still waiting to receive the remaining parts, and make sure the thing actually works, before publishing details sufficient for others to replicate it”

        But no need to wait for those things to see if it actually works before publishing it so HaD could publish it as well, eh?

      1. I dunno, re-shaping a commercial PCB isn’t going to be easy, they don’t normally leave any unused areas to cut off. The quality looks a bit higher than a lot of the stuff you’d get commercially. It also has that home-made look, all the passives lined up in a row, and pads in case it needs a capacitor.

        1. Oh wait, you mean it’s just a standard design, shaped to fit? Well yeah I suppose so, there isn’t a lot of scope to add new ideas to a USB hub. So all designs are gonna be pretty standard, based around one of the hub chips you can buy. That said, a 7400-based design would be something to see!

    1. This one seems to be a powered hub, but we can’t say much till details have been released.

      If you are looking for something compact with a lot more features, then you can have a look at http://cubeinfinity.com/

      I’ve designed a lot more than a USB hub and you can subscribe to get a powered 4port USB hub with Ethernet for $15. Estimated shipment date is last week of February.

      Fee free to contact me for more information.

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