The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is the latest entry into the Raspberry Pi Zero series, and a massive improvement over its predecessor, the Raspberry Pi Zero.
Released at the end of October 2021, this model has since then been the best solution for low-cost computing. The fact that it uses minimal power compared to the other models makes it the optimal battery-powered computer.
If you have bought a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W or are planning to buy one, you can enhance your experience with these five accessories that drastically complement the shortcomings of this computer’s smaller size.
Let’s get down to what they are.
Buyer’s Guide For Raspberry Pi and Its Accessories
Factors to Consider When Buying a Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is a small and affordable computer that you can use to learn programming and build projects. If you’re looking to buy one, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First of all, make sure you get the newer model that has wireless connectivity. The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is the updated version of the original Raspberry Pi Zero, and it comes with built-in Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity.
This makes it easier to connect to the internet and other devices, so it’s a good choice for projects that require wireless connectivity.
Next, consider the accessories you’ll need to get started. The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W doesn’t come with a power supply or a microSD card, so you’ll need to purchase those separately.
You’ll also need a mini-HDMI-to-HDMI adapter to connect it to a monitor and a micro-USB-to-USB adapter or hub to connect a keyboard and mouse. We have already mentioned some of the essential accessories you’ll need for your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W above.
Consider the power requirements and performance of the model you buy. If you want to play games and want more performance out of your unit, then opt for a Raspberry Pi 4.
Make sure to buy a heatsink for Raspberry Pi 4 to dissipate all the heat it produces. If portability is your main requirement, opt for the smaller, less power-hungry Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.
Finally, think about what you want to do with your Raspberry Pi Zero W. If you’re just getting started with programming, you might want to get a starter kit that includes everything you need to get up and running.
These kits often come with a pre-installed operating system, a book or tutorial to help you get started, and other useful accessories, including mini-HDMI-to-HDMI converters.
Factors to Consider When Buying Accessories
Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Pinout
A pinout is the perfect starter accessory for anyone who wants to mess around with the GPIO of their unit.
When buying one for yourself, you need to be aware of a few factors. First, make sure that the pinout is compatible with the model that you own. You also need to make sure that you have a screwdriver that fits the size of the screws.
Another important facet of a pinout is how beginner-friendly it is. Some pinouts will have printed indicators identifying each pin for easy access, so if you’re a newbie, you should opt for one that fulfills this requirement.
Fortunately, the pinout we mentioned above checks all these requirements, making it perfect for rookies as well as experienced veterans.
Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Pin Header
A pin header can be soldered onto the GPIO for easy access to each individual pin.
When buying a header, ensure that the header’s pin height matches your needs. Another factor that you should keep in mind is if the header is the correct size.
Make sure you have a soldering kit on hand before you buy a header.
Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Ethernet Hub
An Ethernet hub allows your unit to get high-speed internet through a cable.
The main thing to look out for when buying an Ethernet hub is the speed that the Ethernet port on the hub supports. A speed of 100MBps is the standard, and anything below it will be sub-optimal.
It’s better if your Ethernet hub comes with extra USB ports, which can come in handy.
You also need to consider if your project allows the Ethernet hub to take in power from an external USB connector. If it’s a fully portable project that you’re going for, opt for a hub that works directly from the power supplied by the Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Battery
The main factor to consider in a battery is the number of volts that the battery outputs. For a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, a voltage higher than 3.7V may fry the chip.
You also need to take the capacity of the battery into account, as it’ll directly influence how long it can provide power to your unit.
Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W USB Hub
Buying a USB hub for your unit is fairly straightforward. You only need to consider two factors when shopping for a USB hub.
Firstly, look for the number of USB ports the hub has and if they will be enough for whatever project you have planned.
The other factor is if you need a high-power USB 3.0 port for your project. Hubs with a USB 3.0 might be slightly more expensive and draw in more power, so keep that in mind.
Where To Buy Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W And Its Must-Have Accessories
Since its launch in 2009, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has released a plethora of credit-card-sized computers, sub-categorized into three series:
- Raspberry Pi
- Raspberry Pi Zero
- Raspberry Pi Pico
Each of these series includes products with generational performance increments, with the standard Raspberry Pi series being physically the largest and most powerful of the bunch.
As the names suggest, the Zero series is smaller than the standard, and the Raspberry Pi Pico is a further miniaturization of the Zero series, having only the most necessary components in it.
Unlike the others, Raspberry Pi Pico cannot run Linux on it and uses MicroPython, CircuitPython, C, or Rust as the only programmable languages.
Compared to the Raspberry Pi 4 B 8GB, the latest model in the mainline series, Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, cuts back on the power requirements of the chip and lowers the performance as well.
Compared to the 1.5GHz CPU clock on the Raspberry 4, the Zero 2 W is clocked at a substantially lowered 1GHz. On top of that, due to its smaller PCB Zero 2 W, only carries the most essential input/output. There is a micro SD card slot if you want to increase the storage space.
A direct consequence of this is that in terms of raw power, Raspberry Pi 4 easily wins out. It can run emulations better, games will run smoother, and the overall user experience will be significantly superior on the larger unit.
However, in terms of power consumption, the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W takes the cake. When running at idle, the wattage used by the smaller model is a mere 0.7 watts.
The Raspberry Pi 4 B, in contrast, takes in a whopping 2.7 watts, which is more than triple the power consumption of the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. This makes the Zero 2 perfect for portable setups that run on small batteries, provided that you can live with the reduced performance.
- Priced very reasonably
- Has integrated wifi and Bluetooth chip
- The reduced power consumption of the CPU chip makes it perfect for portable setups
- The performance pales in comparison to the Raspberry Pi 4
- Has only one micro USB port, and lacks a proper ethernet port as well
Every Raspberry Pi has standard, universal 40-connector GPIO pins. GPIO stands for General Purpose Input Output. This opens the gate for people who like to fine-tune or tinker with their electronics.
A GPIO connector allows you to connect the microprocessor chip to other devices. While the GPIO pins have no function, they can be manually customized through the software.
If you want more versatility out of your Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W and have the appropriate knowledge, then this pinout is the perfect solution for your needs.
The pinout board by HCDC is one of the best in business and is universally compatible with all models of Raspberry Pi, except for the Raspberry Pi Pico.
It uses alloy steel for the connectors, while the PCB is constructed out of FR-4 fiberglass. As a bonus, it also includes a screwdriver to allow any new tinkerers to jump right into the action.
- It has a terminal block-type interface for stress-free access to the GPIO connectors
- Has an included screwdriver for the wiring screw terminals
- The terminal block is marked with the identification of every GPIO pin, making connection easier
- Due to its smaller size, the screws are tiny and might need a bit of finesse when using a driver to screw them in.
- The tip of the included screwdriver might fail after a few uses
If you ever plan on using the GPIO on your Raspberry Pi, then a pin header is a must-have.
This specific product comes in a pack of 10. It grants users easy access to each individual pin and is a perfect fit for Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero 2.
The 2×20 pins on each of the 10 included pieces are gold-plated for better conductivity and lower latency. Do note that you will need to solder it in place when you buy it to get it to attach properly.
- The cheap price tag and the abundant number of pieces make it perfect for multiple projects
- the 11.5mm pin height allows for ample room when soldering wires to the pins
- The pins might break easily when bent
While the addition of Wifi in the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is a welcome addition, sometimes you need an Ethernet connection for high-speed transfer of all those bytes.
That’s where this Ethernet expansion board comes in. While it may increase the power input, in return, it gives you a full-fledged Ethernet port to play with.
On top of that, the additional 3 USB ports, one of which is USB 3.0, make this the perfect solution for all your adapter needs.
- On top of the Ethernet port, it also acts as a USB hub for Raspberry Pi Zero 2
- Multi indicators on the PCB allow for monitoring the power, Ethernet, and USB port status
- The Ethernet port works fast and flawlessly
- You will need to give the hub power through an external USB cable
- The micro USB jumper is fragile and might break easily
Anyone who wants to use their Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W on the go is going to need a battery that has the proper current and voltage output to power it up without burning the chip.
The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W cannot take input voltage higher than 3.7 V, and this 1200mAH lithium-ion battery is manufactured exactly according to the requirements of the model.
It can attach to the Raspberry Pi without the need for soldering, and fits snugly right above it, without covering the GPIO.
- The battery backup is impressive, sometimes hitting 15 hours of power before needing to be recharged
- Easy to set up and use
- The price of the battery is somewhat unjustified for its quality
One of the main things holding the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W back is the fact that it has only one micro-USB port. You cannot connect a keyboard or a mouse to use the Raspberry Pi OS (Operating System).
This makes having a USB hub an absolute necessity, especially if your use case involves the use of input devices or even pen drives.
With this USB hub, you get a total of 4x USB slots which are powered by an external USB port. The PCB of the hub has 2-way back power protection as well as over-current protectors for added safety.
- 4x USB slots are more than enough for most use cases
- Safety measures to prevent damage to the board
- Only has USB 2.0 instead of the much faster USB 3.0
With our product and buyer’s guide, you should have the information to make a hassle-free purchase. So go out there, and explore the world of Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.
Claudio Sabato is an IT expert with over 15 years of professional experience in Python programming, Linux Systems Administration, Bash programming, and IT Systems Design.
With a Master’s degree in Computer Science, he has a strong foundation in Software Engineering and a passion for Robotics with projects that include Raspberry Pi and Arduino platforms.