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How to solder the Raspberry Pi Zero W GPIO connector

The Raspberry Pi Zero W comes with a GPIO connector to be soldered on the PCB itself. This is a step that can be frightening when you start. In this tutorial we will learn which hardware to use and how to weld the connector properly and safely for the Pi Zero W.

Necessary material

For this tutorial, I purchased the Essential kit from PiHut. This kit comes with 3 types of connectors:

  • A straight connector identical to the one that equips his big brother, the Raspberry Pi3
  • A 90° angled connector for flat mounting
  • A female connector identical to the one that equips the Arduino cards

raspberry pi zero w essential kit pihut connectors

To solder the connector, I recommend using a good quality soldering iron. The ideal is to get a soldering iron with a control of the welding temperature. Good results are obtained between 300 and 400 ° C. Choose a soldering iron with a maximum diameter of 2mm. We find for less than €20. Take tin wire between 0.5 and 1mm in diameter.

station de soudage raspberry pi

The easiest way to solder connectors properly is to use a breadboard (prototyping board). Simply insert the connector into the breadboard and then install the soldering card.

The last indispensable tool is the desoldering pump. In the event of an error or an excessive amount of tin, you can correct the problem. Avoid cheap plastic models. The pump will operate 50 times before satellitating the piston at the other end of the room, it is lived :-D.

How to weld easily

There are many tutorials that explain how to solder well on the internet and especially good videos on Youtube. You can start with this one (In French but exactly the same case).

What to remember

  • Being in good conditions: flat, lighting, magnifying glass
  • Position the elements to be welded
  • Place the fault at the spindle and circuit junction and preheat for 3 seconds
  • Bring a little soldering
  • On contact with the fault, the weld will warm up and wet the connector. That is, it will flow along the spindle and fill the space between the spindle and the circuit
  • For connectors, two pins are first welded at each end to prevent it from moving during assembly
Attention. Limit the heating time when welding circuits where there are already components. You may de-solder components. Worse, some components are sensitive to heat, so you risk destroying them.

Weld the connector on the Raspberry Pi Zero W

Here I opted for the right connector identical to the Raspberry Pi 3. Since the micro HDMI connector is thicker than the card, it is necessary to place on one edge of the breadboard so that the GPIO connector can be flat. Hold the card in place and make 2 solder points at each end of the connector.

raspberry pi zero w essential kit pihut connectors breadboard top

You will get a correct mounting

raspberry pi zero w essential kit pihut connectors breadboard

You can now solder the remaining pins. To finish this tutorial, here is a short video of some welding points. If you have other tips, feel free to share your experience in the comments.