I have read on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's website and forum that RPi Model B rev 2 should not get more than 1200mA of power on a 5V power source. This post (Safe to power a raspberry pi from a 50W adapter) confuses me. Someone here is saying a single RPi board can handle 10A (10,000mA) on 5 volts. Can the Raspberry Pi handle 10Amps? My Element14 manual/data sheet states that I should not give the RPi board more than 1200mA, but many places on the Internet state otherwise.

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  • Please define "handle". Like BobT says, it will only draw as much as it needs, but you cannot pass anywhere close to 10A through the RPi to a device off the GPIO pins, USB, etc. You will let the magic smoke out of the box, and it will never work again. – Butters Aug 6 '13 at 14:44
  • @Butters, Many devices cannot "handle" a lot of amps meaning circuits and components melt or a fuse burns out. – Devyn Collier Johnson Aug 6 '13 at 14:49
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    I think it is just the way you worded that, but what you said is incorrect. In your house you have a single 100A or 200A run to your panel, which is broken out to 10 or 20A circuits. When you plug in your toaster, it has the full 10A of that circuit available to it, but it will only draw say 1A. Now if you use an extension cord that is rated to 1A, but try to draw 10A through it, you will have problems. Does that make sense? – Butters Aug 6 '13 at 15:15
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    The Pi also has a fuse on the board to limit power current to around 1Amp. So it could never, ever handle 10A. – Gerben Aug 6 '13 at 15:53
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    I think they are referring to two different things. Per the pi specs, it can draw, 700mA to 1200mA depending on what peripherals you have hooked up. I don't see any contradicting information there. That being said, there is still some confusion on what you are asking. If you have a 5v 10A regulated power supply, then plug it in... You won't burn anything. If you are trying to power a peripheral that requires 10A you will kill the Pi. – Butters Aug 6 '13 at 18:48

The Raspberry Pi will only take as much current as it needs, assuming the voltage stays at 5 volts. A power supply with a higher current rating just means there is more power available than is really needed.

It's not clear what the 10 amp figure is referring to. The RasPi board cannot come anywhere close to providing that amount of current from its ports, so you'll need to clarify what you mean by 'handle'.

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  • So I could have a 5V 1500mA power cable and the Raspberry Pi will still function without physical or software damage? – Devyn Collier Johnson Aug 6 '13 at 14:52
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    Yes. You can power it. But if you connect say motors that draw 10A via the Raspberry Pi power pins it will fry the +5 PCB traces. It wont damage any IC's. The PCB traces can only handle so much power (W) going through it. Imagine traffic. 3 lane highway with 1 car an hour is fine. But the olympics come to town and 500 cars an hour and the roads are stuffed- this friction will cause wires, PCB traces and any conductor that can't handle the load to BURN ! So be carefull what you connect to it. – Piotr Kula Aug 6 '13 at 15:55
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    Yes, you could have a 5V 1000 amp (1000000mA) cable attached and the Pi would work fine. – BobT Aug 6 '13 at 19:05

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