I'm working on a Raspberry Pi project converting an old laptop, I got a pi 3, the old monitor with a display driver board.

I want to add a usb hub and a WD pi drive HDD. Is there any way you know of to ensure I have a sufficient enough power supply so I can condense it down to one power port and be able to power everything and possibly add a battery?


2 Answers 2


I've used an ANker 26800 battery bank, it provides 2 outputs, and I split the display one one port, and the raspberry pi on the other port. I have not chosen to add a disk drive, as I know that a spindle to spool up takes up a lot of power. There are alternatives, like making your own power supply system with several 3amp dc to dc buck converters. Which is what I've also done on automotive systems. I've also used a 10amp 5v buck converter to power a pi cluster in my truck.


To compute the power supply required you need to add up the power used by each connected component, and use a power supply that is adequate to run your peripherals.

For example

Assuming (At 5V)

  • 500mA for the RPI
  • 500mA for the display
  • 1A for the HDD,
  • Extra 1A for any additional USB

This puts you in the 3A range (15W) at 5V.

With a 25% buffer - 4A (20W) seems like a reasonable choice.

Power Supply Choices

The simplest, is to continue to use a 5V supply with any external connector you wish.

You can Split the power internally using a simple wiring harness. That is, from the connector, Individual wires go to the Raspberry PI, USB Hub, Display, HDD, etc.

In a real pinch you could use the 5V OUT pin on RPI, which is the same as powering directly off of USB port. This is limited to 2A (10W) by a fuse regardless of supply, and will likely be starved. This can impact the processor if the voltage droops or spikes as the HDD spins up/turns on.

The better way is to use a power regulator board that has a higher voltage input (12-24V common) with internal regulators for separate power rails.

This lets you use a smaller power supply (fewer Amps), and the impact of the supply wire resistance is minimized. It also reduces interference between different devices in the system.


simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

Separating the loads means less impact if one device dies/shorts or goes berserk. It is also the most obvious place to add a battery, supply voltage monitoring, soft-shutdown, etc. However this adds complexity to the design.

Note, you will probably not do better than the off-the-shelf supply manufacturers in designing a fresh power supply in cost, efficiency, reliability.

It's much easier to use a beefy linear regulator or an off-the-shelf buck/boost and not spend time developing your own power supply circuit beyond the most trivial power supply board .

Its much easier to buy a wall-wart with an extra amp than to design a switching supply from scratch.

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