I am trying to bring up a LidarLite V3 on a new Pi Zero W. I've read everyone's fixes, theories, etc., posted above. I am a bit new to the Pi environment, and am brushing ~20 years of rust of my unix/Linux skills. I have the LLv3 wired to 5v, GND, (1000uF 16V cap between 5V and GND), and SCL and SDA connected to the appropriate pins on the 40pin GPIO on the Pi Zero W. The i2c detect function works, showing a device at address 62. No other devices on I2C. total wire length from LLv3 to GPIO is about 12", with cap soldered in about halfway along 5V/GND. If wire length is in fact problematic, that could be my problem. I can detect the LLv3, but I only get zero's from the test program by Sanderi44 on GitHub. I tried switching clock and data, just to make sure I didn't have them wrong, but when I switch them I2C detection fails. I don't yet know how to check kernel version, and downgrade, per guidance by one of you here. I am also wondering if the 40pin GPIO 5V has enough punch to drive the LLv3 effectively. Just for grins, I pulled the 5V line, and when I plug it back in, it reboots the Pi Zero W. My guess is that LLv3 plus big cap draw voltage too low for Pi's liking.
Any further insights on kernel downgrade, wire length or other I2C bus corruption issues?
Also, FWIW, other I2C devices (temp + pressure), IMU, work on I2C, and give non-zero data back.
Thanks in advance for any guidance.