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Powering a Raspberry Pi Zero With USB-C

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Mcllrn)

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a capable SBC that can run a full-blown OS just like the regular Raspberry Pi. Despite its notable popularity, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a new iteration of the pocket-sized board, and makers are itching for new features. It’s hard to slow down a community as dedicated as the Pi community though, and today we’re sharing an awesome USB Type-C Pi Zero upgrade developed by a maker known as Mcllrn.

This isn’t the first of Mcllrn’s projects we’ve featured. They recently turned the CPU into a button, (which isn’t very practical or something we’d recommend, but some of the best Raspberry Pi projects are ones you can do, not should do). 

Raspberry Pi

(Image credit: Mcllrn)

The mod is fairly straightforward and requires little soldering to pull off. A USB 3.1 Type-C connector is soldered to a male micro JST connector. There are test pads on the backside of the Pi Zero that you can solder the female micro JST connector to, but you could also use pins to connect it. In this case, Mcllrn’s project uses a Pimoroni inky pHAT, which envelopes the GPIO, so an alternative solution was necessary.

Before you go heating up the soldering iron, be aware that this setup has no voltage regulation. According to Mcllrn, the rig worked fine with 5V chargers, but pushing too much juice through will most likely fry your Pi.

To get a closer look at this project, visit the original Reddit thread for more details, and be sure to follow Mcllrn for future Pi projects.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.