A popular type of project for the venerable Raspberry Pi Zero is to turn it into a USB gadget. From smart USB drive to keystroke injector there’s a lot of fun to be had. In its standard form, the Pi Zero is outfitted with USB Micro B connectors and you’ll need a USB OTG type adaptor to get a bare Zero up and running as a USB device. A popular approach is to add an expansion board with a USB A connector. There are a few variants out in the wilds but the 52Pi USB Expansion Board caught our eye for a couple of reasons.
In the kit, there is a PCB with the USB A connector and this board bolts to the Pi Zero/Zero W using the regular mount holes. We like that the PCB runs the full length of the underside of the board making it quite a rugged little unit. The USB connection is made using small spring pogo pins on board the PCB which align with the relevant exposed pads on the Zero. It’s an approach used by lots of adaptor boards and works well in our experience.
Also supplied are two laser-cut clear acrylic pieces which sandwich the PCB and Zero. When all bolted together the correct spacing is created for the pogo pin connectors. Access to all the pins and the original USB and HDMI sockets on the Pi Zero is maintained meaning you can use it in any way you might imagine!