How to read the status of the Power-LED (or the rainbow square - if you like that better) on Raspberry Pi 3 to detect an low-voltage-condition in a python script? Since the wiring of the Power-LED has changed since Raspberry Pi 2, it seems that GPIO 35 cannot longer be used for that purpose.


Since it seems to be non-trivial to detect a low-power-condition in code on Raspberry Pi 3, i solved it with a quick hardware hack. I soldered a wire between the Output of the APX803 (the power-monitoring device used on Pi 3) and GPIO26 and that way I can simply read GPIO26 to get the power status. Works like a charm.

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On the B+ (and presumably Pi2) the "PWR" LED was connected to a GPIO pin as was the APX803 voltage monitor chip. This let the LED be controlled, and (presumably) let the Pi detect under-voltage.

The Pi3 "PWR" LED is directly connected to the APX803 but the APX803 is still connected to PWR_LOW_N. Unfortunately this is not documented and the schematic is incomplete, but is reputed to be on a port extender. Obviously the kernel can detect this, but again there appears to be no documentation. The only option seems to be exploring kernel sources.

How can I control the red LED again shows some info about the output status.


I did a bit of digging, and was directed to https://github.com/6by9/rpi3-gpiovirtbuf/ I have tested on my Pi3, and it works. rpi3-gpiovirtbuf g 135 produces output

Get state of 135 as 1
get_config dir input, active low (inverted), not terminated

which is active low and indicates Voltage is OK.

Admittedly this is not Python, but is very simple c and it would be possible to replicate.

Incidentally testing proved to be a challenge. For all the reports on this site of inadequate power supplies, I could not find one which was reliably low, and had to make a variable regulator.

The APX803 is open drain, so it should be possible to pull it low (and turn the LED off) with a program.

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