As in question - since the new Zero lacks any ethernet connection, what is the easiest way to connect the Pi to a PC, excluding connecting any USB WiFi?

Is it possible to use MicroUSB directly? How about powering the board? Another microUSB? This might be quite simple question, but due to so many "this cheap 5$ board" news on Google it's hard to find anything useful for a person new to Raspberries.

  • Yes, you can use the microUSB directly if you configure the Zero as an ethernet gadget.
    – goldilocks
    Dec 2 '16 at 13:57

The way I initially connected was with a USB serial dongle at the PC end connected to the Pi's UART and ground.

You can then use terminal emulator software to log in to the Pi. You then have the old fashioned 80x25 text window to enter commands etc.

I think Windows users tend to use a tool called putty for the emulator (there was a tool called hyperterminal in the distant past).

This is the sort of dongle you need. Try to get one with male to male jumper leads thrown in.


You can also connect the 5V to the Pi's 5V pin to power the Pi Zero from USB at the same time.

I used this dongle.

enter image description here

  • +1 for powering the Pi by using the Pi's 5V pin. Dec 1 '15 at 20:34
  • Does the eBay module you shared have the CP2102? I've used the PL2303x happily with El Capitan Mac OSX... any issues with drivers for the CP2102? 99p is super-cheap so I'm tempted! :)
    – Toby
    Jan 4 '16 at 22:15

If your PC is connected via LAN not WIFI you can follow this procedure. After setup you will be able to ping raspberrypi.local and use the IP address to SSH into your pi zero. You will need nothing more than a usb cable from pi zero to your computer.

Source: https://gist.github.com/gbaman/975e2db164b3ca2b51ae11e45e8fd40a

Setting up Pi Zero OTG The quick way (No USB keyboard, mouse, HDMI monitor needed)

For this method, alongside your Pi Zero, MicroUSB cable and MicroSD card, only an additional computer is required, which can be running Windows (with Bonjour, iTunes or Quicktime installed), Mac OS or Linux (with Avahi Daemon installed, for example Ubuntu has it built in).

  1. Flash Raspbian Jessie full or Raspbian Jessie Lite onto the SD card.
  2. Once Raspbian is flashed, open up the boot partition (in Windows Explorer, Finder etc) and add to the bottom of the config.txt file dtoverlay=dwc2 on a new line, then save the file.
  3. Finally, open up the cmdline.txt. Be careful with this file, it is very picky with its formatting! Each parameter is seperated by a single space (it does not use newlines). Insert modules-load=dwc2,g_ether after rootwait. To compare, an edited version of the cmdline.txt file at the time of writing, can be found here.
  4. That's it, eject the SD card from your computer, put it in your Raspberry Pi Zero and connect it via USB to your computer. It will take up to 90s to boot up (shorter on subsequent boots). It should then appear as a USB Ethernet device. You can SSH into it using raspberrypi.local as the address.

I have found it easier to change the cmdline.txt and config.txt first then use the following command:

ssh user@hostname.local

Hostname being the pi's hostname. The user being the username of the pi you want to ssh into. It will then ask you for your password.


password being your pi's password for the user you have selected.

  • This answer doesn't seem relevant.
    – user96931
    Feb 9 '20 at 23:21

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