I am wanting to use a Raspberry Pi 3 to communicate with two Texas Instruments CC2538s (over serial USB), I am wondering if the RP will be able to provide enough power over its USB ports to power these.

From what I can tell the CC2538s require 3.3V to power them via the SmartRF06EB board.

Will the RP be capable of this or will it not work for what I need to do

  • 5
    This question is vague and lacking in detail. If what you are asking is Raspberry Pi Power Limitations
    – Milliways
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 4:49
  • What details would help, I am currently powering the boards off of the USB 2 ports on my computer and they are working fine, however that has a dedicated power supply. From what I can find online, they take 5V over USB which is automatically regulated by the board, to 3.3V Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 7:20
  • 1
    If you want a specific answer to this question you'll need to provide the specific current usage number you have in mind. There's no shortage of datasheets for the CC2538, but it appears that it can be configured in a variety of ways and connected to a variety of external devices, which will change its current requirements. Set it up powered from something which isn't a Pi, measure its power consumption, compare against the 1.2A available.
    – goobering
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 13:20
  • I have had a lot of trouble finding the exact amount of amps required, the quick start guide quotes 0-500 mA, I have also seen 480 mA floating around and then another manual saying less than 1500 mA. so at this point, I am unsure of what the exact requirements are. I also don't have any device to test the load that is currently being drawn and for the cost to purchase one I may as well just get a raspberry pi to test if it works. This that's why I posted here to see if anyone with some experience on the matter could help out Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


The short answer is that the Raspberry Pi can provide just over 1 amp (1.2-1.5 or so for all the USB ports combined. It is at 5 volts.

You said you need 3.3 volts - there are modules that can step the 5 Volts down to 3.3

See this table that shows the output limitations of the various models:
Raspberry Pi Power outputs

  • 1
    The boards automatically regulate the voltage from 5V to 3.3V so I'm not worried about that. My main concern was with the amperage, however, I don't know what the exact requirements are. The main reason I was concerned was that people have noted having trouble with external hard drives which are powered over USB Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 7:23
  • Amps don't have to do with volts
    – manarinian
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 7:15
  • Amperage and voltage are two different things
    – manarinian
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 12:56

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