I know there are plenty of guides out there for making a switch that uses the GPIO pins to shut down the Pi, but all of them use quite a lot of circuitry, but what I want is to just put a paper clip to connect two of the pins and as such turn it off.

Is this possible?

  • Connecting GPIO pins with apaperclip (short-circuit) may damage the Pi.
    – aastefanov
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 0:38
  • @alb3rtano0012: It depends on which pins you want to connect and if they are internal pulled up/down.
    – malleYay
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 8:53

4 Answers 4


I'm afraid this is not possibible.

The best you can do with a paper clip is to short the "run" pad so that the Pi resets.

Even when the Pi is shutdown it still consumes about 100mA from the 5V line. Some of the circuit complications you see may be to completely separate the Pi from the power source to prevent this drain.


You can write a Python script for example, which adds a interrupt routine to one of the pins, so when this pin gets pulled low (with your paperclip) it executes the shutdown command.

If you need more specific help with that let me know and I will post a example script.


You could shut down the Pi by just disconnecting the power line. Many claim however it could potentially damage the file system - or worse.

We're shuting down a lot of Pi's with simple radioshack 220v mains timers. We've done this since a couple years resulting in about 50,000 of raw unplugs and cold reboots. I still have to see the first Pi not wanting to spin up in the morning.

If you follow the book it is not the right thing to do, but the effect depends on your exact situation. What works for us might not work for you. I do understand we're lucky.

  • Two ideas to make this less scary: have the Pi execute a timed shutdown command some minutes before the power is cut, and use read-only file systems for as much of the data as possible.
    – Frepa
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 11:26
  • @Frepa that'll make it better! Our environment doesn't allow this however; 1 - it's our customers who set the timers and 2 - many of our boxes are running in environments with multiple daily powercuts. But if that's not the case, I would built that in for sure.
    – EDP
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 14:40

The Adafruit PiTFT kit also has an option to use one of the buttons as a power switch.

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