I wanted to check if a card set up in a Raspberry Pi 3 would work in a Raspberry Pi Zero W, so I followed this:
I put the prepared NOOBS Lite card into a Raspberry Pi B3:
Network Access required... entered password.
A port of Debian jessie for the Raspberry Pi (minimal version)"
Set Language & keyboard
OS(es) installed Successfully
sudo shutdown -h now
I unplugged power, moved the card, the USB hub with keyboard & mouse still attached, and the monitor cable (to a mini-HDMI adapter) to the Raspberry Pi Zero W.
It started up and the activity LED blinked. I was able to log in on the command line and enter a few commands. Then I shut it down.
I was a little surprised because I thought that a card set up on a model Pi 3B model (CPU BCM2837) might not work in a second Pi with an earlier type CPU (BCM2835).
Troubleshooting page: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=58151
I read through this troubleshooting page. The polyfuse info caught my attention.
Maybe static electricity or a surge caused the problem? Note: applying power may delay polyfuse recovery.
The page also has a special trick to try. I did it on a Zero W:
I used a microUSB-USB cable to connect the middle (data) port of the Zero W with a Windows PC. The PC detected and sounded for the new device. (My keyboard stopped working, so I removed the Zero W and reseated the PS/2-USB adapter. The keyboard worked again.)
If the special trick works, then maybe it narrows down the problem to the card reader circuit. Whether it works or not, it might be good to set the board aside 'a few days' for polyfuse recovery.