Directly connect to and program your Raspberry Pi Zero over USB

For a while, it has been possible to communicate and program a Raspberry Pi Zero via it’s USB data port. I’ve covered this useful feature before, beginning with Andrew Mulholland’s original work but I feel it’s worth covering again, particularly when it’s been written up in such a user-friendly way, as it has been over at Circuit Basics. In this tutorial, which features lots of screenshots, Scott Campbell has described how to connect your Zero, change a couple of config files and then set-up the necessary network connection. Read the tutorial here.

3 comments for “Directly connect to and program your Raspberry Pi Zero over USB

  1. I found about this last week. Followed all the steps, worked great. Used it on a project for a few days. Went to work on the project, Windows 10 laptop did not “see” the rpz.

    I was upset. Started to troubleshoot to the best of my ability. Restarted laptop, re flashed sd card. Just no luck. Also tried in another Windows 10 laptop, not seen there either.

    In both laptops, if I remove the sd card and plug in usb cable to laptop, “other device” is seen in device manager. Install sd card and plug back in… nothing.

    Super crazy. Lots of people cannot get it going on all the forums. Just weird. Granted I have some pi3’s, just want to use the rpz for a shooting sports counter project.

    Just wanted to share. I am open to anyone’s feedback.

    On a side note, I love the Pi Pod podccast, and that’s why I decided to post here.

    Thank you and have an awesome day.

    • Hi Shawn,
      That’s a weird problem… Not sure what to suggest. 🙁 Maybe Windows 10 is doing something ‘special’?
      Thanks for the feedback about the podcast! 🙂

      All the best,


  2. For fun:

    I decided to make a Windows 7 machine to Linux Mint. Turns out I really like this laptop now. I like the look and feel of Linux mint, new and exciting. I like the terminal and connecting to Pi over wifi. Love the sd card format and write tool, really cool to have these things “close” rather than install something.

    My favorite, the ability to read “any” Pi sd card when mounted to the OS. Very cool to me.

    Granted, I still cannot get RPZ to connect via USB. I did flash the sd card from Linux, I just can’t let this one to go.

    My Zero project is a shooting sports counter. I do have everything to make it wifi, I just do not want to go that route.

    I have made some Pi web radio, garage door openers, garden monitors with deer detection and a dash cam. I just cannot let go of this USB connection issue.

    Just wanted to share I am all in on Linux for the sake of learning and developing on Pi.

    Thanks for a great website and podcast!

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