I want to run a RPi Zero W on a crude solar panel and battery or supercapacitor.

I understand the pi has an input range of 80-120A or so, and needs a minimum of just 2 volts. This makes it ideal for me.

How can I set up the Zero W to power down if the voltage gets too low, or turn on once the voltage reaches a certain threshold, and continues running, say once clouds dissipate?

Are there any guides on this? How straight forward is it? I understand electronics, but my knowledge of the RPi is limited.


  • 1
    Your facts are wrong. Recommeded current capacity is 1.2Amps. Voltage is 5V. github.com/raspberrypi/documentation/blob/develop/documentation/…
    – CoderMike
    Mar 29 at 8:22
  • @CoderMike then how come this link says it can consume as little as 80mA? jeffgeerling.com/blogs/jeff-geerling/raspberry-pi-zero-power
    – Jodes
    Mar 29 at 8:34
  • First you have to design your power management circuitry (which is likely to cost many times the cost of a PiZero) including voltage detection because the Pi has none. Once you have done this ask a question about how to shutdown the Pi using your detector.
    – Milliways
    Mar 29 at 8:47
  • Thanks. I'm not concerned about the power management circuit. That should be easy. I just dont know how to interface the signals with the RPi and configure it to react accordingly. How to signal it to shut down, and how to revive it.
    – Jodes
    Mar 29 at 8:57
  • 1
    You have obviously done little research. It is simple to shutdown - there are hundreds of posts. The Pi will automatically boot when power is restored.
    – Milliways
    Mar 29 at 9:46

1 Answer 1


I've done the same thing: running an RPi from a battery charged by a solar cell. Due to the fact that the only way to achieve zero power consumption is by removing power (true for all RPi), I designed a simple circuit to accomplish that. The design requires addition of a Real Time Clock (RTC), and use of two overlays in /boot/config.txt.

There's a schematic and more details in this answer, but this answer didn't include the RTC... if you're interested & can't find the other answers, let me know & I'll try to help.

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