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This question already has an answer here:

Spec wise - all raspberries require 5v 2A input.

My project needs multiple remote rpi’s to send periodical status of GPIO using python script ( runs on Raspbian Strech Lite ).

Is a 2A a must ?

marked as duplicate by Dmitry Grigoryev, Gene, tlhIngan, Patrick Cook, Phil B. Aug 5 '18 at 9:16

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  • @Fabian I'm asking explicitly for pi-zero and not in general as mentioned – Guy . D Jun 5 '18 at 10:41
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    "Spec wise" - NO Raspberry Pi requires 5v 2A input – Milliways Jun 5 '18 at 11:02
  • @Guy.D The answer that Fabian has found covers RPi Zero and RPi Zero W. What is it that you're still missing? – Dmitry Grigoryev Jun 21 '18 at 12:57
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Don't know if this will help but I found this post which outlines that the RPi is only really drawing 1.2A. They also mention that he was able to get his RPi to draw 0.5A.

Here is a power consumption chart which compares the different RPi. From the chart it claims the RPi ZeroW consumes about 250 mA for watching short High-def videos.

Someone also looked at the Amps used and posted a video. He showed that it reached around a similar mA as the link above.

  • Spec is dramatically different ( quad core for starters). I wonder if switching GPIO consumes a noticeable current – Guy . D Jun 5 '18 at 8:48
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    I added to my post. Hope the update helps. Apparently many tests on the Amp usage of the RPi had been performed, results are just diluted around the web. – Hojo.Timberwolf Jun 5 '18 at 9:00
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    The reason its difficult to find 'hard' numbers when it comes to current draw is that it is effected by many things. Using wifi or bluetooth, cpu at idle vs full out, USB devices, screen, camera, GPIO sourcing power, power LED. All of these things effect how much current is being drawn. The Zero can get down as low as 80mA (maybe even lower!) but it all depends on what you are doing. So really the answer is you have to setup the way you are going to use it and then test it and see what it is drawing. – Chad G Jun 5 '18 at 15:12
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A remote Pi often has power constraints. This answer assumes that you need the requested information for designing a way to power your remote Pi.

I prefer to use an ammeter instead of specs to determine actual current requirements. Although a multimeter can work, you may find an inline meter helpful. This can help you determine your actual current and power usage instead of having to deduce that from specs.

For example, my remote Pi's have multiple sensors and actuators hooked up to GPIO. I choose to power each Pi directly via GPIO 5V and measure the current and power usage with a inline digital meter This particular meter would only work if you power your Pi from 12V via DC-to-DC converter like I do. The linked meter won't measure a 5V source but it should be easy to find equivalents. Knowing the exact power requirements of my remote Pi has helped me plan out battery needs, etc.

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