Review: Zero4U – A 4-port Pi Zero USB Hub
Welcome to the first Raspberry Coulis Review! Today I’ll be here to review the Zero4U, a 4-port Pi Zero USB hub created by UUGear and whether it makes a nice accessory for your Raspberry Pi Zero.
Zero4U: A 4-port Pi Zero USB Hub by UUGear
Those lucky enough to own a Raspberry Pi Zero will know that USB connections are limited on the popular pocket-sized computer. However, the guys over at UUGear have created a fantastic little 4-port Pi Zero USB hub that provides some much needed connectivity. I first saw the Zero4U after UUGear tweeted an image and a link to their site. After I retweeted expressing my enthusiasm about the device, Shawn from UUGear dropped me a line asking if I would be interested in reviewing it for them if they sent me one. Of course, I was more than happy to oblige.
At the moment, you can only buy the Zero4U 4-port Pi Zero USB hub directly from UUGear themselves. They are based in the Czech Republic but ship abroad at a reasonable price. Mine arrived within a few days, and it came well packaged and protected too. As such, you need to factor in exchange rates when purchasing the Zero4U – it currently costs 200 Kč (Czech Koruna) which is roughly £5.80 / €7.40 / $8.40 with shipping costing 125 Kč, which works out at around £3.60 / €4.60 / $5.20.
Putting together the Zero4U is very simple – no soldering is required and it only takes a couple of minutes. The hub comes with 4 sets of screws, nuts and spacers:
Before you tighten the screws together, you’ll need to ensure that the 4 pogo pins (the brass-coloured pegs on the underside of the Zero4U) sit on the brass-coloured pads on the underside of the Pi Zero (they are labelled PP1, PP6, PP22 and PP23):
Once lined up, simply place a spacer between the Pi Zero and the Zero4U and then start gently tightening with a small Philips-head screwdriver. I recommend doing this in opposite corners rather than tightening one side then the other just to distribute any forces equally.
You should then have a fully assembled Zero4U:
During my test, I first tried powering my Pi Zero and Zero4U using the USB 3.0 port off my laptop. Whilst this booted and worked well, I was limited to what I could connect because there was not enough power being provided to the peripherals attached. However, when I switched to the proper Raspberry Pi PSU (providing 2A) then everything worked perfectly. Therefore the same rules apply to the Zero4U as with any USB peripheral attached to your Raspberry Pi – make sure you have a suitable power supply!
Simply put, the Zero4U is a Pi Zero USB hub and it does the job perfectly well. There are some nice additional features, such as white status LED’s that show which ports are in use and a blue power LED. If you wanted to use the Zero4U with other Raspberry Pi’s (i.e. with existing USB ports) then you can also connect the hub via mini-USB (on the Zero4U) directly to the Raspberry Pi and add 4 more USB ports, however the current provided is slightly lower this way because it switches to bus-power mode as opposed to self-power mode. To provide more current to the USB ports if you connect to any other Pi than the Zero), then you may need to provide additional power via the JST 5V port. There are more detailed instructions available on the Zero4U product page.
As Raspberry Pi accessories go, the Zero4U is an excellent one. Not only is it well made, it is very easy to get up and running and provides 4 additional USB ports to your Pi Zero. The only downside I could think of was that you have to buy directly from UUGear, which is not a major issue but does add a little more to the cost for people living outside of the Czech Republic. However, their shipping fees are more than reasonable – in fact, comparable to some of the Raspberry Pi suppliers in the UK, which is fantastic considering you are paying for international shipping.