The new $5 Raspberry Pi Zero is the epitome of flexibility and low-cost portability for enthusiastic hobbyists and professionals alike. This new version is just half the size of a Model A+, yet it features more RAM and faster CPU. However, the small size and the extremely affordable price come at the cost of reduced connectivity options. This article is going to give a clear idea about what kind of accessories you will need to get the most out of your new Raspberry Pi Zero.
Since most of you are already familiar with the Raspberry Pi 2, let’s compare it to the new model and see what exactly is missing. The original Pi 2 features 4 USB ports, 40 GPIO pins, a full HDMI port, Ethernet port, a combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video output, CSI, DSI, and a microSD card slot. The new model only has a mini HDMI port, a single USB OTG port, a HAT-compatible 40-pin header, and headers for composite video and restart. As you can see, the new Raspberry Pi doesn’t even include a way how to connect to the Internet. Luckily, you can easily extend the capability of Pi Zero using compatible accessories or you can buy raspberry pi zero starter kit.
- USB Ethernet Adapter – a portable USB to Ethernet adapter costs around $10 and lets you easily plug a standard RJ45 to your Raspberry Pi Zero.
- Wi-Fi dongle – if old-school Ethernet cables aren’t your thing, you can always buy a Wi-Fi dongle for Raspberry Pi that plugs into the USB port.
Full-size USB Ports
- USB OTG Cable – you need a reliable OTG cable (On the Go) in order to plug USB Wi-Fi dongle, keyboard, or USB hub into the Raspberry Pi Zero.
- USB Powered Hub – chances are that you will want more than just a single USB port. That’s where a quality powered hub comes into play. You can plug as many devices as you want since it receives additional power via its own adapter.
Full-size HDMI port
- Mini HDMI to HDMI Adapter – getting 1080p video output with sound from Raspberry Pi Zero will likely require you to purchase a mini HDMI to HDMI adapter. That way, you can use standard HDMI cables to connect your monitor or TV to the Pi.
- 2×20 Male Header – no Raspberry Pi is fun without a way how to connect GPIO cables to it. You will have to do some soldering, however, it shouldn’t be too difficult even for complete beginners.
- MicroSD Memory Card – a microSD card is essential for installing the operating system on the Pi Zero. Any Class 10 card should do the job just fine.
- 5V 2A Power Supply w/ Micro USB Cable – finally, you will need to have a reliable source of power. A high-quality 2A power supply with micro USB cable is the most straightforward way to go.
With these accessories, you have essentially turned your cheap Raspberry Pi Zero into a fully functional computer. Of course, it would be foolish to spend all this money just to do what other Raspberry Pi models are designed to do straight out of the box. Simply pick and choose whatever you may need depending on your goals and project.