Raspberry Pi (RPi) is a mini computer system that is widely used for learning to program and setting up home automation systems. It is quite a powerful system considering its size and price range.
Many users have doubts regarding the power options available for the recent RPi 4 model since it is slightly different from its predecessors. So, in this article, we will discuss the power options in RPi and whether you can use USB for powering a Raspberry Pi 4.
Can you power a Raspberry Pi 4 from USB?
Yes, Raspberry Pi 4 is powered by USB type C and you can use any charger that matches the Voltage and Amps specifications. But there are also other alternate input methods to power up the RPi. Earlier RPi versions had micro-USB ports and they are not as efficient as the USB C in the latest RPi 4.
Raspberry Pi 4 requires a 5V and 3A power supply unit and it can be provided by using appropriate charging adapters or the official RPi cables and power supply.
Although the RPi 4 can be powered using a USB C, you must know the different factors depending on the connection. Because when you try to power the RPi using an unsupportive power supply, you can encounter the following issues:
- Improper voltage can lead to damage to the hardware
- Peripherals connected to the RPi cannot function properly
- Processing power may be reduced
- Low voltage warning will be shown constantly
- Some functions and applications may not work properly
So, you must know the different factors that must be considered before choosing a power supply with USB C for your RPi.
What to consider before connecting power to USB?
There are some factors to consider when powering an RPi with USB. Let us now understand those factors so that you can avoid damages caused by electrical incompatibility.
Factors to Consider When Connecting USB
We know that RPI 4 uses a USB Type C connection for power. But what are the voltage and amps specifications for the charging adaptor?
There are various charging adapters available with Type C connectivity. But you must choose the right one for your RPi so that it will not damage the system.
RPi 4 requires a 5V and 3A power supply to function. Any charging adapter that has this specification will be perfect for the RPi.
The official accessory from the Raspberry Pi can support it without any issues. But if you want to connect a third-party charging adapter, it should support the 5V and 3A power. That means you can use a 15W charging brick with the RPi 4.
When you insert an improper power supply into the RPi, it can display an error message showing a low voltage warning. Sometimes you can see a lightning bolt symbol on the top which refers to the low voltage.
Another factor you must consider is the peripherals you will be using with the RPi. Because they will also draw some power that will be consumed by the RPi. So, if you don’t power the RPi properly, you cannot properly use the connected peripherals.
Particularly, if you are using USB enabled keyboard and mouse, you must power the RPi appropriately so that it can run while powering the accessories too.
So, if you own an RPi 4, you must consider these factors for providing a power supply to your device and ensure that you use the appropriate power supply for it.
Recommended ways to connect power in Raspberry Pi 4
Although USB C is the primary preference for powering up an RPi 4, you can use other forms of connectivity too. There are two different methods to power up an RPi 4 without using a USB C cable and adapter. They are:
- Using 40 pin connector
- Using PoE adaptors
Using the 40-pin connector
You can find pins on the RPi similar to a normal motherboard. In these pins, you can find some labeled 5V and GND. Although these pins are used as output, you can apply appropriate voltage and use them as input.
Using PoE adaptors
When you want to utilize the pins properly, you can interface them with appropriate pin heads. The ethernet port will have many unused pins which can be utilized to power the RPi with the help of a PoE head.
You must use the RPi over a wired Ethernet connection and a power injector for the PoE. Using these two, you can simply connect both to the pin head and connect the RPi to an Ethernet connection to power it up.
These are the various methods you can use to connect the RPi with alternative power supplies if you don’t have USB-C connectivity.
Connecting RPi 4 with a USB is possible but you must have a Type C USB with proper voltage and amp specifications. Also, you must consider certain factors when connecting an RPi to avoid damage and improper power supply to the Raspberry Pi. You will now have detailed knowledge of providing a proper power supply to the RPi in the best way.