Found a hub I can use with a Pi Zero

After a long and difficult search

Found a hub I can use with a Pi Zero

For a while I have been trying to buy a USB hub that I can get to work with a PiZero. The issue with the device is that it only has a single USB connector so can only plug one device in at once. Before the Pi Zero W arrived that meant that you couldn’t plug a keyboard and mouse in whilst having a Wi-Fi dongle attached, so there was no way you could get it onto the network without using a USB hub.

My original PiZero came with a set of adaptor cables - including a Micro USB to OTG USB socket. The idea was that you could plug a USB hub into this, and then use multiple devices. I bought a couple of cheap hubs, but when I plugged them into this adaptor and into the Pi - the Pi didn’t seem to recognise them. (Indeed they didn't work on the Pi A either..) I have a small profile keyboard, and when this was plugged in nothing worked on the keyboard, even the LEDs. Normally if you press numlock on a keyboard you can get the LED to light - if nothing else.

IF I plugged the keyboard into the OTG cable directly then the keyboard sprung to life. I didn’t need a mouse to get this on the network but I still needed the wifi dongle to see the network SID to connect to it whilst having a keyboard plugged in too. I got stuck in a loop here and finally configured it by putting the network card in a Pi3. OK if you have one spare to use.

More research said that there was a Belkin hub that would work - but again no joy for me. Its almost as if the OTG cable didn’t support the hub, only a single device. I even thought that the hub was drawing too much power, so bought a special PSU for USB hubs - but still the same results - only one device would work at one time

Finally the other day I found a hub that was marketed as a OTG hub - not just a standard USB one.

Adafruit usb mini hub with power switch otg micro usb

The clue to this being a better alternative was that the cable which attaches to your host device was a micro USB connector. It had a few ports, a power in socket and a power switch - all in quite a small package.

So I’m happy to report that this HUB WILL work with a PiZero/PiZeroW. Finally I found one.

I have recorded a brief video here:

You can buy these from ThePiHut in the UK here.

And from adafruit in the US here.

21-Jul-2017 Add comment

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Matthew Norman...

... who lives in the UK, who is not an actor, not a clock manufacturer, did not write a rough guide to cuba and also has never written for the Telegraph. I have written books on coldfusion and web databases.

(c) somewhere in space and time: M.Norman