Since the raspberry pi zero takes less power to power up. How many AA batteries do I need to power it up to play a movie in a loop? And how long would this last?

  • I'm not enough of a hardware guy to give you a great time estimate, but AA would be drained extremely quickly. They're only 1.5V, so you'd need several of them to boost up to 5V, and they're not exactly powerhouses.
    – Jacobm001
    Jan 12, 2016 at 0:01
  • what would you recommend as a better power source besides an outlet. i wonder if i can rig cell pone batteries together. Jan 12, 2016 at 0:05
  • What's your experience with electrical engineering? Your wording frightens me. Lithium batteries can explode if you don't know what you're doing... You could use a battery bank, something like: amazon.com/10000mAh-Portable-Gerneration-External-Technology/dp/…
    – Jacobm001
    Jan 12, 2016 at 0:06
  • If I'm correct, the one linked to above should last a little over 3.5 days for an RPi Zero.
    – Jacobm001
    Jan 12, 2016 at 0:09
  • 18650 batteries are larger than AA batteries but WAY better, try looking into that. Jan 12, 2016 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


I suggest not going with AAs but just getting a high mAh phone charger. I have one about the size of the PI that has 10,000 mAh. I used it all night and it didn't seem to go down any (of course it only has 3 bars so I'd guess it was still over 2/3 full). Easily recharged--and 2 or 3 of them will keep you going indefinitely.

I wouldn't suggest running directly off AAs at any rate--the voltages don't match up quite right (6v is a little high for 4xAA and 4.8 is a little low for 4xAA rechargeable).

I have seen USB phone chargers that take 4,6 or maybe 8 AA batteries, that might work but even with 8 I doubt you'd get more than the 10,000mAh rechargeable.

  • However if you combine some batteries with a suitable boost (where the combined battery voltage is less than 5Volts) or buck (more than 5V) converter (or a combined buck-boost one that can covert a range of input voltages either side to a specified output voltage that you'll want to set to about 5V) which are available as uncased, assembled modules on well known auction sites you have the output side sorted - you will just want a way to put power into those batteries - if they are rechargeable ones...!
    – SlySven
    Jan 12, 2016 at 4:48
  • how long did it last? Jan 13, 2016 at 0:24
  • Never ran it all the way down. I'll hook it up and see. I guess I can look at the syslog to find the last activity after it crashes...
    – Bill K
    Jan 13, 2016 at 0:27
  • @duckx between 24 and 36 hours(died last night while I was sleeping). That is with a Wi-Fi dongle the entire time and running a minecraft server for a few hours last night(i only mention this because it makes the pi significantly hotter so it's using more power during that time)
    – Bill K
    Jan 14, 2016 at 16:46

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