Introduction: Solar Powered Raspberry Pi

Picture of Solar Powered Raspberry Pi
What i'm going to show you today is how to run your raspberry pi off the sun using solar power & Battery.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

Step 2: Connecting the Battery

Picture of Connecting the Battery

First off we need to connect the wire to car power adapter then to the battery.

The battery is a 12V 1.3 ampHour battery The length of time the battery last very much depends on what you are doing with.

But here is quick calculation

If the raspberry pi uses 3 watts a hour then a 12v battery at 1.3 amp hours gives 15.6 watt hours

So 15.6 divide by 3 gives you 5.3 hours.

So the battery should last about 5 hours

If you want it to last long get a bigger batter or wire two up in parallel

Step 3: Connecting USB

Picture of Connecting USB

Next we need to plug in the usb power adapter.

I know it possible to make a power adapter from a 12v Battery to USB connection however this way is easier and almost as cheap.

If you would like to make your own adapter search on instructables

Step 4: Connect the Solar Panel

Picture of Connect the Solar Panel

Connect the solar panel to the battery and point it at the sun. 

And now all thats left to do is power up the pi


AndreG68 (author)2016-05-10

This is a very helpful post. I want to run a rpi off solar in a context where there is no other power source. I have read that the rpi or sd cards might be damaged if it suddenly powers off when the battery runs out. It would be best, therefore to include in the setup something that will initiate a clear shut down when the battery voltage dips below a certain point. I would like to use a cheap 3.3V arduino mini pro to do this job. Are there any instructables around that show how to set something like that up? are there any cheaper solutions that will do the same job?

KandiK1 (author)2016-03-02

Not bad, I just use a 7AH battery instead with a 5 watt and it runs continuously. Quick to charge when the sun comes up too. Might get a 12AH battery later for it. You don't wanna discharge them past a certain percentage too much.

KandiK1 (author)KandiK12016-03-02

5 watt solar panel i means.

MaciejS14 (author)2016-01-24

Hello. I have a question to anyone who actually built above setup. What happens when the current from battery runs out and there is not enough sun to power the Pi? I imagine that it switches off but does it automatically switch on then the power is back?

sparky3489 (author)2015-12-25

You may want to look into a UPS instead. I have an advanced design for one, I just haven't actually built it yet. I can give you the plans if you like.

sparky3489 at yahoo dot com

BradysoBOT (author)2015-07-18

this is a great project, but is there a way to make it switch to wall power once the battery runs dead? I use mine as a web server and I can't have it go down.

JohnM374 (author)BradysoBOT2015-12-03

yes. it gets more complex though. you need a series of relays which can trigger when the battery voltage gets too low, and when the voltage gets back up to fully charged.

JohnM374 (author)BradysoBOT2015-12-03

yes. it gets more complex though. you need a series of relays which can trigger when the battery voltage gets too low, and when the voltage gets back up to fully charged.

JamesS79 (author)BradysoBOT2015-08-08

Checkout a charging circuit, which should get you on your way to a full blown UPS

MadPierre (author)2015-11-13

Been out and got my bits. My plan in the future is to have a solar power cctv system

Dodutils (author)2015-08-19

Little question, why 12V Solar cell + Battery and not 6V ?

AlbericoS (author)2014-09-18

hey there is was just wondering if you could run the rpi using this solar panel continously, and if you touched the metal crocodile clips would you get electrocuted?

MikeC9 (author)AlbericoS2015-01-14

This is a peak 4W solar panel, and the raspberry pi generally uses about 1.4W (without any add ons), so it should be possible to run indefinitely with direct sunlight.

Touching the exposed metal on this is definitely ok: this uses a 12V battery, which is well within the safe limit.

mikered1 (author)2014-11-12

If you used a model A, the power would last naerly 3x as long.

patnovak (author)2014-06-04

great job

lookwhatjoeysmaking (author)2013-02-20

this is fantastic. grate job

sahmeepee (author)2013-01-13

I think you can get the same solar panel for quite a lot less on Amazon if anyone's looking to make this. It's £30 at Maplin, but only £23 with free delivery at Amazon UK.

tjlm (author)2012-08-22

Does the solar panel have a built in charge controller or are you connecting it directly.

koff1979 (author)tjlm2012-08-22

I believe the solar panel has a build in charger controller.

amandaghassaei (author)2012-08-16

awesome! I just got two of these in the mail, I'm excited to start messing around with them!

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