The Solar Pi Platter is a versatile expansion board for the Raspberry Pi Zero™ computer that provides power from a single-cell Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, additional peripherals including analog inputs, PWM outputs, USB ports and optional hardwired ethernet. A real-time clock allows for scheduled power cycling. Dual charging sources support both low-impedance devices like common USB chargers and high-impedance devices like Solar Panels. The Solar Pi Platter allows the Pi Zero to be used in a wide variety of applications ranging from solar-powered remote data acquisition systems to battery-backed file servers. The Solar Pi Platter sits underneath the Pi leaving its 40-pin expansion port available for other expansion boards.
I jokingly call the Solar Pi Platter a versatile power board that can run Linux for $5 (and, now $10) more. I designed it in early 2016 as a way to give the amazing Pi Zero a flexible power system and set of peripherals designed for battery powered applications where capable power management was useful. A fellow member of my local makerspace, Solid State Depot, convinced me to launch it as a kickstarter campaign and marketing. The kickstarter was successful and we built boards in the fall for an on-time delivery in December. The boards for sale here are from the initial manufacturing run.
I documented the design on the board on hackaday.io and there is a full set of documentation and demo applications in my git repository. My project partner, Mike Seiler, also wrote some python demo code which can be found in his git repository.
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Dan Julio is a hardware design engineer with wide range of experience ranging from ASIC design to board-level circuit design and layout to firmware and application-level software development.