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Easy Raspberry basics: Project 19a Raspberry PI Zero W board setup

of Acoptex.com in Raspberry Pi Zero W

Raspberry basics: Project 19a

Project name: Raspberry PI Zero W board setup

Tags: Raspberry, Raspberry PI Zero W board, vers 1.1, v 1.1

Raspberry Pi
Monitor or TV
HDMI cable
USB keyboard
USB mouse
Power supply
8GB SD card

In this project, you needed these parts (Dear visitors. You can support our project buy clicking on the links of parts and buying them or donate us to keep this website alive. Thank you):

1. Raspberry PI Zero W board 1 pc

2. Micro SD card with NOOBS and SD card adapter 1 pc

3. Micro USB power supply (2 A 5V or 5V 3A) 1 pc

4. USB keyboard 1 pc

5. USB mouse 1 pc

6. TV or PC monitor 1 pc

7. HDMI cable 1 pc

8. T-Cobbler Breakout and GPIO Cable 1 pc

9. Micro USB 2.0 OTG Cable 1 pc

10. Mini HDMI to HDMI Adapter (HDMI to Mini HDMI Adapter) 1 pc

11. 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub 1 pc


We will learn how to setup and use the Raspberry PI Zero W board.

Understanding the Raspberry PI Zero W board

The Raspberry Pi Zero W extends the Pi Zero family and comes with added wireless LAN and Bluetooth connectivity.

Launched at the end of February 2017, the Pi Zero W has all the functionality of the original Pi Zero, but comes with with added connectivity, consisting of:

  • 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)


  • BCM2835 ARM v7 Single Core 1GHz (same as B/B+ and A/A+)
  • 512MB RAM
  • mini HDMI PAL or NTSC via pads
  • HDMI capable of 1080p
  • microB for power
  • microB for OTG
  • HAT-compatible 40-pin header
  • Composite video and reset headers
  • CSI camera connector
  • uSD slot to run OS
  • Audio from HDMI port only

Rapsberry Pi Zero vs Raspberry Pi Zero W


A Raspberry Pi Zero with smaller size and reduced input/output (I/O) and general-purpose input/output (GPIO) capabilities was released in November 2015. By 2017, it became the newest mainline Raspberry Pi. This made connecting to WiFi networks and Bluetooth controllers a pain involving USB dongles and often a USB hub.

On 28 February 2017, the Raspberry Pi Zero W was launched, a version of the Zero with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.

On 12 January 2018, the Raspberry Pi Zero WH was launched, the same version as the Zero W with pre-soldered GPIO headers.

How to check which version of Raspberry Pi Zero do you have?

Raspberry Pi Zero v1.2 - This is the first version of Pi Zero.

Raspberry Pi Zero v1.3 - This is the second version of Pi Zero which added the camera port.

Raspberry Pi Zero W v1.1 - This is the latest Pi Zero W with WiFi and Bluetooth.

Look at the pictures below.

As you can see the numbers on the back will show you the version number. There are also a few distinctive parts on the front of the board:

If there is no camera port then you have the first version of Pi Zero

If you do have both a camera port and a Raspberry Pi logo on the front then it is the second version of Pi Zero

If there is no Raspberry Pi logo on the front but instead some components then you have the latest Pi Zero W with WiFi and Bluetooth.

Signals and connections of the Raspberry PI Zero W board

Step by Step instruction

1. A little about equipment required

Before you plug anything into your Raspberry Pi, make sure that you have all the equipment you need:

  1. Raspberry PI Zero W board
  2. A micro SD card with with a full-size SD adapter. We recommend an 8GB class 4 SD card, ideally preinstalled with NOOBS. To get started with Raspberry Pi, you also need an operating system. If you haven't purchased a pre-installed micro SD card with NOOBS - not a problem, we will explain how to install an operating system onto an SD card.
  3. A monitor with the correct cable and adapter (Mini HDMI to HDMI or Mini HDMI - DVI). Any HDMI monitor for the Pi. Most modern television sets and monitors have an HDMI port, and are the easiest to get working with the Raspberry Pi. You will need the Mini HDMI to HDMI Adapter to connect to Pi Zero. You can use an HDMI cable to connect the Raspberry Pi directly to the television or monitor. Some older monitors have a DVI port. These work well with the Raspberry Pi, although you'll need an HDMI-to-DVI adapter to attach to an HDMI cable, or a one-piece HDMI-to-DVI cable. Some old monitors have a VGA port. These can be trickier to use as you'll need an HDMI-to-VGA converter, which can change digital video to analogue video. A simple port adapter won't work. For best results, use one with HDMI input, but other connections are available for older devices.
  4. A wired keyboard and mouse, or a wireless keyboard and mouse with a Bluetooth adapter. Any standard USB keyboard and mouse will work with your Raspberry Pi. Wireless keyboards and mice will work if already paired. For keyboard layout configuration options see raspi-config.
  5. A micro USB power supply. The Pi is powered by a USB Micro power supply (like most standard mobile phone chargers). Many mobile devices are powered using a 5V micro USB charger. These can often be used to power the Raspberry Pi, although it's worth checking that they provide sufficient voltage and current (5V / 1.2 - 2.5A). There are many devices which are capable of providing power over USB. Some modern wall sockets have USB ports, for instance. You can also connect to USB hubs, computers, and battery packs. If you have a micro USB cable, then you could try to power your Raspberry Pi using any powered USB port. You'll need a good-quality power supply that can supply at least 2A at 5V.
  6. A T-Cobbler Breakout and GPIO Cable.  This is the perfect extension for Raspberry Pi GPIO to breadboard, with clear GPIO labeling. This is the assembled version of the Pi T-Cobbler.  It only works with the Raspberry Pi Model Zero, A+, B+, Pi 2,Pi 3! (Any Pi with 2x20 connector). The Raspberry Pi has landed on the Maker World like a 40-GPIO pinned, quad-USB ported, credit card sized bomb of DIY joy. And while you can use most of our great Model B accessories by hooking up our downgrade cable, its probably a good time to upgrade your set up and accessorize using all of the 40 pins. That's why we now carry the Assembled Pi T-Cobbler - Breakout + Cable for Raspberry Pi. This Cobbler is in a fancy T-shape, which is not as compact, but is a little easier to read the labels. The T-Cobbler is an add on prototyping board for the 2x20 connector-type Raspberry Pi, and can break out all those tasty power, GPIO, I2C and SPI pins from the 40-pin header onto a solderless breadboard. This set will make "cobbling together" prototypes with the Pi super easy. Each order comes with a 40 pin ribbon cable and assembled T-Cobbler. You can plug the 40-pin GPIO cable between the Pi computer and the T-Cobbler breakout. The T-Cobbler can plug into any solderless breadboard. The T-Cobbler PCB has all the pins labeled nicely so you can go forth and build circuits without keeping a pin-out printout at your desk. We think this will make it more fun to expand the Pi and build custom circuitry with it. Designed for use with any 2x20 connector Raspberry Pi.  No soldering required.
  7. 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub and Micro USB 2.0 OTG Cable. You need the to connect your USB devices. 
  8. A USB wireless dongle. Only if you have the first version of Pi Zero. Alternatively, you can connect to a wireless network using a USB wireless dongle, which will require configuration.
  9. An audio lead. Audio can be played through speakers or headphones using a HDMI cable. 

2. Raspberry Pi software setup. Install an operating system to Micro SD card

If you haven't purchased a pre-installed micro SD card  - not a problem, we will explain how to install an operating system onto an SD card now.

Beginners should start with NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software), which gives the user a choice of operating system from the standard distributions. The recommended distribution for normal use is Raspbian. Alternatives are available, such as LibreELEC (Kodi media centre) or Arch Linux.

  1. Prepare a SD card. The Raspberry Pi works with any compatible SD card. For installation of NOOBS or the image installation of Raspbian, the minimum recommended card size is 8GB. For Raspbian Lite image installations we recommend a minimum of 4GB. Some distributions, specifically LibreELEC and Arch, can run on much smaller cards. If you're planning to use a card of 64GB or more with NOOBS, see this page first. The card class determines the sustained write speed for the card; a class 4 card will be able to write at 4MB/s, whereas a class 10 should be able to attain 10 MB/s. However, it should be noted that this does not mean a class 10 card will outperform a class 4 card for general usage, because often this write speed is achieved at the cost of read speed and increased seek times. The original Raspberry Pi Model A and Raspberry Pi Model B require full-size SD cards. The newer Raspberry Pi Model A+, Raspberry Pi Model B+, Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, Raspberry Pi Zero, and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B require micro SD cards.
  2. Format SD card. Before installing anything on SD card you need to have it formatted. You'll also need to make sure your computer has a built-in SD card reader, or you can use a USB SD card reader. Download SD Formatter 5.0 for either Windows or Mac and follow the instructions to install the software. Insert your SD card into the computer or laptop’s SD card reader and make a note of the drive letter allocated to it, e.g. F:/. In SD Formatter, select the drive letter for your SD card and format it.
  3. Note: If your SD card has 64GB or more, it will automatically be formatted as exFAT, which is not compatible with NOOBS. Follow these instructions to force your SD card to format as FAT32 so that you can use NOOBS.
  4. Download NOOBS files. Visit the official Raspberry Pi Downloads page.
  5. Click on NOOBS. Then click on the Download ZIP button under ‘NOOBS (offline and network install)’, and select a folder to save it to. Extract the files from the zip. Drag all the files in the extracted NOOBS folder and drop them onto the SD card drive. The necessary files will then be transferred to your SD card. When this process has finished, safely remove the SD card and insert it into your Raspberry Pi Zero board.

3. Raspberry Pi Zero W hardware setup

  1. Insert your micro SD card into the TF card slot on the Raspberry Pi Zero W board. It will only fit one way.
  2. Connect Raspberry PI Zero W board mini HDMI port to your TV or Monitor HDMI (DVI) port (use HDMI cable and mini HDMI to HDMI adapter and/or HDMI to DVI adapter).
  3. Make sure that your monitor or TV is turned on, and that you have selected the right input (e.g. HDMI/DVI,  etc).
  4. Plug in micro USB 2.0 OTG Cable to USB data port of Pi Zero and 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub to micro USB 2.0 OTG Cable. 
  5. Plug in your USB mouse and USB keyboard to 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub.
  6. If you intend to connect your Raspberry Pi Zero vers 1.2 or vers 1.3 to the internet, connect a WiFi dongle to one of the 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub ports.
  7. Connect Micro USB power supply to Raspberry PI Zero board micro USB input.
  8. You will need to install the Raspberry PI desktop. Just follow installation instructions. To connect to WiFi you will need to select your local wifi network and enter a password.
  9. When you finish an installation the Raspberry PI desktop starts up.

4. Setting up the WiFi

If you did setup of the WiFi connection during the Raspberry Pi desktop OS installation just skip this section.

You will probably want to setup the WiFi before anything else to get access to the internet. This will be needed for intalling and updating anyway. The WiFi can be configured either using the GUI or from a terminal. We suggest using the GUI as it is simpler. The first thing to do is make a note of the WiFi name and password. For most modern WiFi routers this is written either underneath or on the back of the router itself. For the examples below we will use the following details:

Wireless name (SSID): TR-2

Wireless password (key): password

Setup via the GUI

Setting up via the GUI is very straight forward. First click on the disconnected WiFi icon on the right of the taskbar.

Select the network that has the correct name for your router.

You should get a dialog asking for the WiFi password. Enter the key for your WiFi network and press Ok.

Setup via the terminal

First open up the configuration for the wireless networks using this command: sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

It should look something like that:

Add this section to the bottom of the file:


    ssid="Your WiFi name"

    psk="Your WiFi password"


for example:





The file should now look something like:

Save and exit using CTRL+X, Y, ENTER. If we are lucky everything is now ready to go. If not restart the Raspberry Pi to get the WiFi to restart: sudo reboot

5. Using Raspberry PI Zero board for programming

GPIO ports allow you to connect electronic components such as LEDs and buttons to the Raspberry Pi.

We will show you how to attach T-Cobbler Breakout and GPIO Cable to Raspberry PI Zero W board GPIO pins. Please find below:

Insert the other end of TCobbler Breakout (with pins) to breadboard.

Of course you can use jumper cables F-M, F-F to connect your Raspberry PI Zero W board to breadboard, sensors too.


If you are having trouble with corruption of your SD cards, make sure you follow these steps:

  • Make sure you are using a genuine SD card. There are many cheap SD cards available which are actually smaller than advertised or which will not last very long.
  • Make sure you are using a good quality power supply. You can check your power supply by measuring the voltage between TP1 and TP2 on the Raspberry Pi; if this drops below 4.75V when doing complex tasks then it is most likely unsuitable.
  • Make sure you are using a good quality USB cable for the power supply. When using a high quality power supply, the TP1->TP2 voltage can drop below 4.75V. This is generally due to the resistance of the wires in the USB power cable; to save money, USB cables have as little copper in them as possible, and as much as 1V (or 1W) can be lost over the length of the cable.
  • Make sure you are shutting your Raspberry Pi down properly before powering it off. Type sudo halt and wait for the Pi to signal it is ready to be powered off by flashing the activity LED.
  • Finally, corruption has been observed if you are overclocking the Pi. This problem has been fixed previously, although the workaround used may mean that it can still happen. If after checking the steps above you are still having problems with corruption, please let us know.


We have learnt how to setup and use the Raspberry PI Zero W board.


  • No libraries needed in this project


  • No sketches needed in this project

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