I just want to add UPS functionality to some of my flock of raspberry pis, and with an emphasis on portability.

One of the ways to get this is with certain USB battery banks. I have one here that is capable of continuing to provide output even while you plug the pack itself in to charge. This works, but is quite cumbersome and bulky.

What I'd like is a portable circuit that has a battery JST plug or just solder pads, so I can choose what size lipo to use, and most importantly is designed around having reliable power delivery to the pi. An elegant way is to allow for this battery board to charge the lipo whenever the pi is powered via microUSB, and to serve power to the pi as a UPS whenever it becomes unplugged. Preferably, the entire contraption can mount cleanly on the underside of the Pi to enable transparent full use of GPIO pins, and be a reasonable form factor for both full size Pi and Pi Zero.

This way, I can use a very small lipo with it and it will still serve a useful purpose, because even with only one hour of reserve power available, which would only require a tiny battery, it does provide the ability for me to hot-disconnect from power without shutting it off!

Having a JST plug would be excellent as well as it would mean that the battery can also be hot-replaced as long as the pi is plugged into USB power.

Furthermore, the functionality should be seamless so no configuration or limits on which Pi models (in particular the Bluetooth-having versions behave differently in many cases) are used. It really really preferably is a transparent hardware only modification.

  • I reckon that there are tons of great circuits that already support this at 5V off a single lipo, and more even cheaper ones which would not need to boost voltage, with more cells. But being able to directly attach or solder to the pin layout of a pi would be a great plus. Still welcome suggestions of all applicable options though.
    – Steven Lu
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 5:10
  • Furthermore, a low voltage alert (GPIO) pin is also really really good, so it can trigger pi shutdown.
    – Steven Lu
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 5:11

2 Answers 2


Here is an example of a valid but not-ideal answer. It is kind of hacky (several wires, plus extraneous microusb port?, etc), but the use of a good Adafruit design is definitely a plus.

However, if you look at the page detailing how to use this, it's got quite some quirks and relies on some GPIO behavior that is not guaranteed depending on whether a Bluetooth-having Pi is used or not.

Here is another product, but this does not meet the requirements by virtue of not supporting any charging capability. So it's just going to drain the battery and then we're done and have to swap the battery. I want a little bit more convenience than that. A Zero Lipo with charging would be nearly perfect. Even if it has just a few more components!'

OK. I found the UPS PIco. This has the features I want, although it is a bit bulky. I think I am just asking for something that does not exist just yet. Hopefully soon!


I have ordered one of these products. Looks solid.

Not Lipo, sadly. So it is bulky.

And this product is definitely the ticket. It does not appear to be available for purchase anywhere, yet, however.

  • Please accept your own answer with a click on the tick on its left side. Only this will finish the question and it will not pop up again year for year.
    – Ingo
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 10:25

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