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HubSerialixed - USB Hub + UART for Pi Zero W

November 15th, 2017

Nov 11, 2017

On January 24, 2016, we made first announcement of Hubpixed, a USB Hub - first of its kind product - for Raspberry Pi Zero. It had 4 USB Hubs and did not require and cable or connector. And although the USB Connectors were a little protruding, the area near the 40 Pin Connector was empty - and the 40 Pin Connectors could be accessed. When Pi Foundation updated their design to 1.3, the Pogo Pin locations were changed and we updated our design to support the updated Pogo Pin Position.

Subsequently, the Hubpixed evolved to HubPiWi in which we knocked off one USB Port and added support for Wifi. The HubPiWi Blue further enhanced it by providing support for Wifi as well as Bluetooth.

The launch of the Raspberry Pi Zero W, obsoleted the HubPiWi and HubPiWi Blue but hubpixed was still a useful product.

With this background we are today announcing today another product in the series, that we are calling HubSerialixed. Hubserialixed has 3 USB Hub Ports - which are same as the ones in Hubpixed - The forth USB port has been removed and we have a USB to UART Bridge chip. The RX, TX Pins of the Bridge chip come on a 4 Pin Header.

You can connect any of your add on device using the 4 Pin Header - it could be 433 MHz RF module or a thermal sensor or may be and ADC. Since this UART port works off the USB, you are not concerned about the inbuilt UART ports available on the 40 Pin Connector. In fact none of the Pins of the 40 Pin connector are required to be used.

We have kept the 40 Pin Connector area vacant - so that these pins are still available to be used if you wish to.

The UART Pins are provided as 4 Pin Jumper with following Pins

1. 3.3V

2. UART TX

3. GND

4. UART RX

There are two mounting holes in the design and you could possibly design a small add on board that will fit on the 4 Pin Header and the two mounting holes. This gives the design extreme flexibility.

In the initial prototype we had only 3 Pin. We had earlier assumed that the power supply was not required, which could have restricted the possibility of having an active add on board.

Here is how the initial prototype board looks like.

The project is expected to go live on kickstarter in a week time. Stay tuned for more information.

More Technical details

1. lsusb lists out the USB UART chip

2. Install minicom

sudo apt-get install minicom

3. See the device number for the USB Serial Port

ls -la /dev/ttyUSB*

4. Start minicom

sudo minicom -D ttyUSB0

5. You can now short the Tx ans Rx Pins and should be able to see the typed character echoed.

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