Stacking different Hat or pHats on same unit


Total beginner here and want to know what would be the best way of stacking multiple boards on the GPIO.
I have just received my new Zero yesterday and and looking at various projects, but once I have worked out what I need ,how do you connect say a enviopHat or senseHat and another different pHat .
I want to just run the one unit but be able to switch between 2 projects without any dismantling bits because I am thinking a custom case anyway.
I assume there must be a male/female header that makes upward expansion possible.


You need to arm yourself with two things:

and either:

or some 11mm stackable headers:

Some metal or nylon spacers would be handy too, to hold everything in place, but I can’t find the blighters!


Thanks, I realise I need to check pinouts, I looked through the shop and was possibly slightly confused , the mini black-hat-hack3r could be just what I need because the enviro can be mounted remote on the end of the ribbon. Hope to get my next order for bits in before Christmas.


On a related issue, I was wondering if there is some kind of “switching hat” available which would allow the user to plug in say, three or four different hats and access them by toggling? That would also save a lot of unplugging and rewiring (particularly when you are working on several different projects). I’m not talking about switching during a program - just having the option to choose which hat I’m communicating with when I work on something different. I wouldn’t have thought this would be too difficult, but my powers of googling haven’t come up with anything.

Any suggestions?


I don’t think that sort of solution exists.

My guess it’s likely more a question of low demand vs the economics of making something like that… with the zero being so cheap you could argue that it’s more economical to have one setup for each functionality.


Indeed, the complexity of switching 26 different arbitrary signals would mean a “switching hat” could be quite expensive.

You could, potentially, just switch the power to each HAT, but I couldn’t even guess what noise or signal issues would result!


Yeah no-one has really provided for this as haven’t even received todays order yet :)
When I was browsing I noticed some cases had fans and they go direct to the GPIO power pins ??!

Also my purchase of the Pan-Tilt Hat I did think I might add a joystick to the system and some code, if I get up to speed.
When I looked at the board I just felt its a shame that on the opposite side of the board there isn’t an unsoldered header that would allow the easy stacking of unused pins.

Many hats leave many pins unused and many boards could be stacked but the form factor of many of the breakouts from a first glance doesn’t seem to be that great.


the SPI and UART pins are broken out at the bottom of the Pan-Tilt HAT, those would be perfectly fine as GPIO.

… in an ideal world all unused pins would remain accessible - that’s what pHATs aim to provide, without complication resulting from adding traces that would otherwise somehow have to be routed without compromising the board primary functionality and/or affordability.

HATs do have another goal which is to lower the number of potential hurdles for beginners, which is pretty much at the opposite of the spectrum in that respect, and yet keep cost as friendly as possible.

regardless, I would wholeheartedly recommend the mini-black HAT for a ‘best of both worlds’ solution. It won’t fit a case, but then again there is no real solution to (practical) access and enclosure.


I have the Black Hat Hack3r and it’s very useful - currently it is sporting a Blinkt and Adafruit capacitative touch hat.
I added an actual wooden hat with conductive paint, attached with magnets to act as a switch.
Lots of spacers to act as feet, supports and to raise the wooden hat above the board.

What I would really appreciate is a tool or lever to gently and evenly apply force to pull the ribbon connector without bending any pins - as is happening too often.