Raspberry Pi Zero W Setup

Over the weekend I purchased a Raspberry Pi Zero W from Pimoroni. The Zero W is a very small computer that has wi-fi and I hope to use it to run some automated scripts.  I already have a Raspberry Pi 2 and a Raspberry Pi 3 but wanted a Zero W as its smaller and can be tucked away.


The tech specs of the Pi Zero W are:

  • 1GHz, single-core CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • Mini HDMI and USB On-The-Go ports
  • Micro USB power
  • HAT-compatible 40-pin header
  • Composite video and reset headers
  • CSI camera connector
  • 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Look how small the Pi Zero W is!
Look how small the Pi Zero W is!

I downloaded the latest Raspbian lite operating system image as I’m not looking to use the desktop GUI and I like having to use the terminal (keeps me on my toes).

To get the Pi Zero W to auto connect to wi-fi and allow an ssh connection 2 files must be placed on the microSD card’s “boot” section. The first file handles the wi-fi connection, must be called “wpa_supplicant.conf” and has to contain the following information:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev




                  ssid=”Your network name/SSID”

                  psk=”Your WPA/WPA2 security key”



When creating this file I used nano via Ubuntu, do not use a word processor (e.g. MS Word).

The 2nd file that is needed is a blank text file called ssh (no dot or file extension).

With these files on the boot sector of the microSD card, pop the card into the Pi Zero W and power it up. Hopefully it will connect to your wi-fi and SSH can be used to log into the Pi Zero W.

mac ssh
Notice the prompt alters when successfully logged into an SSH session

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