How to Power a Raspberry Pi: Using Various Sources

Raspberry Pi (RPi) is a popular experimental device among engineers and programming students. Users also love it for video games and many computing tasks.

If you recently got the device, you may wonder how to power a Raspberry Pi. You might also need more insights into RPi usage and protecting your investment.

Table of Contents

3 Methods to Power a Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pis need reliable power to work. If you don’t supply enough energy currency, the device might crash. Fluctuating power may also damage the hardware leading to losses. Here’s how to power a Raspberry Pi.

1. General Purpose Input Output (GPIO)

Raspberry Pis come with a GPIO header, a row of 40-26 pins. You can use these to link the Raspberry Pi to other computers. The pins also allow you to power the device.

Ensure you have regulated power when powering your Pi using the GPIO header. Likewise, confirm that your supply has overcurrent protection. Once you establish these measures, connect pin 2 or 5 to a 5V source. After that, link pin 6 to a ground wire.

Besides, this method suits users who have handled the device before. If you are a new PI user, verify that you are using the correct GPIO pins. This precaution will prevent permanent damage to your device.

Raspberry Pi with pins visible

Raspberry Pi with pins visible

2. Power Over Ethernet (PoE)

PoE is now popular for running various devices, including the Raspberry Pi. The method requires a spare ethernet cable to carry an electrical current and data. Before powering your Pi with a PoE cable, ensure you have a compatible device.

Currently, only a few Raspberry models support power over ethernet. These are Raspberry 4B and 3B+. While you can power other RPi models with this method, you must use a third-party adapter.

It would be best if you powered your Pi over ethernet. Once you get a PoE Hat, connect the ethernet shield to your Raspberry Pi. You may then plug in your network adapter to allow energy flow.

Ethernet cable connecting to a router

Ethernet cable connecting to a router

3. Type-C Cable in the Micro USB Port

Some modern Raspberry Pi devices allow users to power them using type-C cables. These are models 4 and 400. You can use a typical mobile charger on your RPi. Still, it won’t work as perfectly as the type-C cables designed for these devices. Raspberry Pi type C connectors have particular specifications to suit single-board computers.

If you have an older Raspberry Pi 4 board, you may have issues using a type -C cable. For example, your device may fail to turn on after a connection. This issue results from the low input power.

If you face such problems when powering your RPi, ensure you aren’t using an e-marked cable. Besides, connect a 5.1 kilo Ohm resistor to the HDMI connector and the USB port. These measures will avoid power cuts resulting from an imbalance.

Raspberry Pi 4

Raspberry Pi 4

How to Power a Raspberry Pi Pico Without USB

Raspberry Pi Pico is popular due to its versatility. This microcontroller was the first release from the Raspberry Pi team. It uses the new RP2040 chip, which has high performance.

Likewise, the model consumes less power and has low leakage.

If you use the Micro USB port for another purpose, you can still power your RPi. One way to do so is by connecting the GPIO to some batteries.

You can either use a power bank or AA batteries. The best option will depend on how long you need or power your Pico. It will also vary based on the currency the device draws.

Micro USB connector

Micro USB connector

Batteries are ideal if you are using your RPi for a short period. On the other hand, a power bank will be suitable if you’re using the device with full brightness. You should also select this option if you disable the power-saving mode.

When powering your RPi Pico with GPIO, be cautious. Here are some essential steps to follow.

· Select your power source

· Connect the ground and positive wires. The ground pin has a square head, while the rest have a round head.

· Test your connection by double-checking the wiring

· Power your Raspberry Pi Pico

Turning a Raspberry Pi on and Off

RPis don’t come with a power button. After purchasing one and learning how to power a Raspberry Pi, you may wonder how to turn the device on or shut it down.

RPis automatically turn on when connected to power. They come with a red LED light to notify you the device is on. When your RPi starts, raspberries appear in the top left corner.

Shutting down a Raspberry Pi is also a straightforward process. Click on the menu button and select shutdown. Alternatively, use the shutdown command.

The SD card on your RPi is constantly storing data. Hence, you should never disconnect the device from power abruptly. Following the proper shutdown process prevents data loss. Besides that, it protects the integrity of your SD card.

A Raspberry Pi on a computer

A Raspberry Pi on a computer

How to Turn on Raspberry Pi With Remote

Well, you first need to set the device up so that it can recognize the command. For this, you will need the following:

  • A 5V power source
  • 2 USB cables
  • An IRP1000 remote control
  • An IR remote control

When you gather these items, proceed to set up. First, plug the 5V source into your wall outlet. Then, connect the Micro USB end to the IRP1000 input side.

The next step is to push the learning button and hold. You may press any button on the remote you want to use to control your RPi.

A hand pressing a remote control

A hand pressing a remote control

The LED light on your RPi will flash three times, indicating the completion of programming. The last step is plugging the second Micro USB cable into your RPi. Afterward, connect the other end to the IRP1000 output side.

After a successful setup, your remote will control the power flow to your RPI’s output. If you press any button when the device is on, the IRP1000 will disconnect the output side.


Different USB connectors

Different USB connectors

What power do I need for Raspberry Pi?

A Raspberry Pi doesn’t use and deliver the same amount of power consistently. An ideal source should provide 5V to facilitate most applications. Moreover, it should have a maximum currency of 3A.

Can you power Raspberry Pi with a battery?

Yes. You can power your RPi with various types of batteries. This aspect increases portability. It also makes your RPi dependable in areas with unreliable power supply.

When powering your Raspberry Pi with a battery, be careful about some things. First, ensure you have an efficient converter. This will increase battery life and serve you longer. Second, you will need a charge controller using a rechargeable battery. Such a device will regulate your battery’s current and voltage.

A battery selection

A battery selection


Learning how to power a Raspberry Pi properly will ensure you enjoy efficiency. Moreover, you can optimize usage and select the best accessories.

The best way to power your RPi will vary depending on the model. While some devices support advanced methods like USB type C, others don’t. Before buying any power hardware, ensure it suits your Raspberry Pi.

Besides, read reviews by other users. These measures will protect you from common power problems.

Contact us for more tips on how to power a Raspberry Pi.