Is My Pi Zero Dead?

The Pi Zero is so minimal, it can be tough to tell if its working at all. Here's how to do a quick check (from this sticky)!

  • Take your Zero, with nothing in any slot or socket (yes, no SD-card is needed or wanted to do this test!).
  • Take a normal micro-USB to USB-A DATA SYNC cable (not a charge-only cable! make sure its a true data sync cable!)
  • Connect the USB cable to your PC, plugging the micro-USB into the Pi's USB, (not the PWR_IN).
  • If the Zero is alive, your Windows PC will go ding for the presence of new hardware & you should see "BCM2708 Boot" in Device Manager.
  • Or on linux, run sudo lsusb or run dmesg and look for a ID 0a5c:2763 Broadcom Corp message. If you see that, so far so good, you know the Zero's not dead.

I tested on Linux and here's my actual dmesg:
[226314.048026] usb 4-2: new full-speed USB device number 82 using uhci_hcd
[226314.213273] usb 4-2: New USB device found, idVendor=0a5c, idProduct=2763
[226314.213280] usb 4-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
[226314.213284] usb 4-2: Product: BCM2708 Boot
[226314.213288] usb 4-2: Manufacturer: Broadcom


but there will be NO LED LIGHT (looks so dead but its alive!)

This guide was first published on Nov 26, 2015. It was last updated on Nov 26, 2015. This page (Is My Pi Zero Dead?) was last updated on Nov 17, 2019.