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Raspberry Pi Zero WH adds 40-pin GPIO header to Zero W

Jan 13, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 3974 views

The $18 Raspberry Pi Zero WH adds a soldered 40-pin GPIO header to the Zero W for easier prototyping or taking advantage of the new GPIO Expander tool, which lets you access your Pi’s GPIO pins from a PC running Debian Stretch.

Raspberry Pi Trading has launched a variation on the Raspberry Pi Zero W that makes it more like a regular Raspberry Pi SBC and less like a computer-on-module. Designed for those who would prefer not to solder, the new Raspberry Pi Zero W adds a “professionally soldered” 40-pin GPIO header, enabling easier prototyping or a better fit for temporary projects that need the Zero W’s small size and wireless radios, but don’t require the permanence of soldered connections.

Raspberry Pi Zero WH
(click images to enlarge)

The key motivation for adding the GPIO header, however, is to fully exploit a GPIO Expander software tool that was released last month. The tool lets you plug in a Raspberry Pi Zero or Zero W to an x86-based PC or Mac running Debian Stretch via the micro-USB port in order to access the boards’ GPIO pins. The software is much easier than using SSH, and it lets you “take advantage of your x86 computer’s processing power in your physical computing projects,” explained the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s director of software Gordon Hollingworth in his Dec. 4 blog post.

With the Raspberry Pi Zero WH, you can now gain the full advantage of GPIO Expander without requiring soldering. The drawback, aside from the roughly $8.40 it adds to the price and the inability to do soldering, is that it adds the height of the pins to your design. But that’s not likely going to be much of a deterrence.

Of course, you can still add a 2×20 male header strip to the original Zero W with the Adafruit Raspberry Pi Zero W Budget Pack (see image below). However, since it’s bundled with many other features, it costs $34.50, and you still need to solder it down.

Raspberry Pi Zero W alone (left) and as part of an Adafruit Starter Pack
(click images to enlarge)

The $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W arrived last February with the same 65 x 30mm dimensions and feature set as the $5 Zero, but with the same Cypress CYW43438 wireless chip found on the Raspberry Pi 3, giving you 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0. Other features are the same, including the 1GHz ARM11-based Broadcom BCM2836 SoC, 512MB RAM, a mini-HDMI port, microSD slot, and micro-USB OTG and power ports. It also offers composite video and reset headers, a CSI camera connector, and the 40 soldering points for the GPIO.

Further information

No official price was given for the Raspberry Pi Zero WH, and at publication time we did not find it on any U.S. distributors’ sites. However, it goes for 13.40 UK Pounds ($18.40) at the PiHut. More information may be found at the Raspberry Pi Blog announcement.

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6 responses to “Raspberry Pi Zero WH adds 40-pin GPIO header to Zero W”

  1. KI7PXF says:

    Not to steal their wind, but I’d just like to point out that the hammer-headers for the Pi Zero W worked _great_… it helps that I was never going to remove the hat I installed. But works great as a ZUMSpot/RPi DMR Hotspot.

  2. Gary Camp says:

    Is it possible to use the PiServer and the GPIO Expander software tool at the same time? So you could use $5 Zeros along with the $35 Pi3 with 1 PC “Controller”. I wish the Expander SW could use Serial also as you can string serial farther than USB for a kind of distributed intelligent home.

    Right now I am contemplating a Serial Daisy chain network but I have to do a lot of SW, even using off the shelf. Possible to do all the above, I guess. Start simple and keep adding.

  3. longjohn says:

    8 extra bucks seems a bit pricey to have a machine solder a 40 pin header in place ….. It should be more like a couple of bucks tops …..

  4. LBJsPNS says:

    Please don’t recommended Adafruit to anyone but hobbyists with zero needs for performance from a supplier. I have put them on several companies’ do not buy lists as a result of their horribly bad customer service. If you’re a professional and used to dealing with suppliers that actually care about meeting their clients’ needs, in my experience Adafruit will leave you with an extremely bad taste in your mouth.

    • Casten Riepling says:

      I’ve ordered from Adafruit about 6-7 times and have had a great experience. That being said, you need a constant supply of hundreds of parts, I’m sure you can source things much easier through a traditional vendor like Arrow, etc.

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