Raspberry Pi Zero Breakout

A break out board for the Raspberry Pi Zero for use with 5v signalling, and featuring a full size USB-A socket

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This board was developed for use in my Direct UV Printer, but may be useful to other projects. It consists of x3 Texas Instruments TXS0108E voltage level converters for 5V signalling and full size USB-A for WIFI dongle etc.

Flexible Flat Cable (FFC) version;
- 14 i/o lines including the serial RX TX, broken out to a 24pin x 1mm FFC connector.
- SPI lines broken out to one 1x4 0.1" header
- 4 i/o lines broken out to 1x4 0.1" header
- 2 i/o lines broken out to 1x2 0.1" header
- 0.1" +ve/-ve header for power into FFC connector

0.1" header version;
- 16 lines to 2x8 0.1" header
- SPI lines & 4 I/O lines broken out to a second 2x4 0.1" header.

Both cards include an EEPROM following the Raspberry Pi HAT conventions to allow specification of the pin INPUT / OUTPUT configuration. And the single USB socket broken out to a full size powered USB-A socket via POGO pins.

Shared under the Creative Commons - Attribution - ShareAlike 3.0 license.


Schematic for 0.1" header board

Adobe Portable Document Format - 36.67 kB - 06/24/2016 at 16:46


Girbers - PiZero-board-0.1

Gerber files for for 0.1" header board

Zip Archive - 42.31 kB - 06/24/2016 at 16:46



Eagle CAD board - Flexible Flat Cable version

brd - 138.16 kB - 05/02/2016 at 01:18



Eagle CAD circuit - Flexible Flat Cable version

sch - 389.75 kB - 05/02/2016 at 01:16



Eagle parts list - Flexible Flat Cable version (much the same for 0.1" headers)

plain - 2.75 kB - 05/02/2016 at 01:07


View all 6 files

  • 8 × C3,4,5,6,7,8,10,11 - 0.1uF (SMD 3216) SMD capacitor
  • 1 × C9 - 0.33uF (SMD 3216) SMD capacitor
  • 1 × R1 - 5K (SMD 3216) SMD resistor
  • 2 × R6,7 - 3.9k (SMD 3216) SMD resistor
  • 3 × U1,2,3 - TXS0108 Interface and IO ICs / Other Interface ICs

View all 12 components

  • Notes on bcm2835 - SPI

    David Brown07/25/2016 at 17:05 0 comments

    Some working notes regarding using bcm2835 for SPI control, as the CE1 line is used as an I/O line the following lines need to be commented out to prevent it being taken out of service;

    File bcm2835.h;
    line 329 => //BCM2835_SPI_CS1 = 1, ///< Chip Select 1
    line 330 => //BCM2835_SPI_CS2 = 2, ///< Chip Select 2 (ie pins CS1 and CS2 are asserted)

    File bcm2835.c;
    line 330 => //bcm2835_gpio_fsel(RPI_GPIO_P1_26, BCM2835_GPIO_FSEL_ALT0); // CE1
    line 347 => //bcm2835_gpio_fsel(RPI_GPIO_P1_26, BCM2835_GPIO_FSEL_INPT); // CE1

    I'll add instructions when this has been tested fully. There may be a more elegant way of implementing this.

    I need to check and see if the option to setup with (BCM2835_SPI_CS_NONE) and then call CS manually in the code would be an alternative.

  • Setting up Hat EEPROM

    David Brown07/21/2016 at 15:53 3 comments

    This process is taken from Howto: Raspi HAT EEPROM and device-tree but corrected for a couple of syntax errors (using Raspbian).

    As a preliminary step, you need to activate videocore I2C. This is done by adding a line at the beginning of your /boot/config.txt file

    sudo nano /boot/config.txt
    then add


    First of all, you need to get EEPROM utils (to make EEPROM content and flash it) and device-tree compiler (dtc).

    git clone
    sudo apt-get install device-tree-compiler
    Read more »

  • 0.1" header version

    David Brown06/24/2016 at 16:18 0 comments

    I've re-jigged the board to suit 0.1" header pins, this should make it more useful for a variety of projects. Files and schematic will be added to the files section.

  • Version v3.0

    David Brown05/02/2016 at 13:43 0 comments

    I've uploaded version v3.0 of the board which has the headers moved to prevent clash with the micro USB connector on the Pi. I have also added a PolyZen over voltage protection diode to the 5V inlet to add a degree of over voltage protection.

    Before I killed the Pi, the wifi adaptor plugged directly into the v2.0 board was working happily through the pogo pin connection to the header pads on the Pi.

  • v2.0 board

    David Brown05/02/2016 at 00:11 0 comments

    well I've recieved the v2 boards from OSH and everything looks good. I've noticed one irritating issue, which is the micro USB ports on the zero stick out slightly, and clash with one of my headers, but is fine if run as a 90deg header under the board.

    The other issue was when I accidentally contacted my 5V converter against the shielding on a ribbon cable and fried (connected to 12V) the zero and I assume the level converters - oops. So I want to add some voltage protection in the form of a voltage protection diode.

    So I will make some adjustments and upload the finalised version.

    Bare board

    Populated board

    Board & Raspberry Pi Zero

View all 5 project logs

Enjoy this project?



StuartP wrote 11/11/2016 at 17:49 point

David, have you got details of the PogoPins you used please ?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jarrett wrote 08/16/2016 at 20:14 point

Are those pogo pins really reliable?

I considered doing that too, it's super annoying that they don't break out the USB data lines. It would take, like, no extra effort and increase hackability by a huge amount

  Are you sure? yes | no

David Brown wrote 08/16/2016 at 20:24 point

I've had any issues with them, and its not like they are being load cycled. As long as you are in the mid range of the displacement then there should not be any long term changes. I imagine if you compressed them to the limit then issues may arrise. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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