We do magical things with Power (with a Raspberry Pi as our assistant!)
Alchemy Power Inc.
A UPS for Raspberry Pi, using dual 18650 batteries. Batteries are not included. Charges the battery when power is available and manages battery charge level. Full UPS function, with sample Python code to shutdown the Pi when battery runs low. Provides UPS 5V and 3.3V. 3.3V is generated on Pi-UpTime UPS board and does not stress the Raspberry Pi 3.3V power supply. Max current for 3.3V power is 0.7A. Ideal for connecting electronics to I2C and other GPIO devices.
Pi-UpTimeUPS works with a Raspberry Pi (or a Pi clone) with a 40 pin header. It provides power to the Pi (via the 40 pin header) and charges the battery when Power is available. When there is no power, it behaves like a UPS and provides power to the Pi from the battery. There is no reboot during the switch-over from power-to-no power-to-power. The transition is seamless. It behaves like a true UPS i.e. the battery is charged when there is power and provides power to the Pi from the battery when power fails. Hardware on board monitors battery level. When battery level is low, GPIO 26 tells the software by changing state on the GPIO. Use sample code to monitor GPIO and shutdown then Pi when battery is low.
A power reset switch resets the Power. The Pi can be rebooted (reset) by pressing this switch momentarily. No need to unplug power and unplug the battery to reset or reboot after a soft shut down.
NOTE - Batteries are not included. Please purchase two unprotected 18650 batteries. Protected cells will not fit in the battery holder. Please make sure you insert the battery with the proper polarity as marked. If you insert the batteries incorrectly it will damage the electronics.
I needed a UPS which could last over 11 hours. This one made it possible.
1) Provides UPS functionality for Raspberry Pi-2 or Pi-3 using 1 or 2 18650 battery (battery not included). It works even when there are no batteries (as long as there is power to the USB power-in port!!)
2) UPS 5V out (via micro USB)
3) UPS 3.3V @ 700mA via terminal block. UPS 5V and 3.3 V generated on board and not tapped from the Pi.
4) A reset switch for rebooting the Pi. Reboot the Pi by resetting the power. No need to unplug anything.
5) An external reset switch can be connected. Connect points are on the board for the switch. Switch is not included, soldering required.
6) Python sample code shuts down the Raspberry Pi when battery is low. Uses GPIO 26. Use of this GPIO can be disabled.
7) LEDs can be turned off to save power. LEDs indicate status of battery charge, error conditions etc.
8) Includes Battery Management System (BMS) - charges battery when power is available. Provides power from the battery when power fails. BMS also ensures battery remains charged.
9) Senses battery level in hardware. Software via GPIO 26 can shut-down Pi when battery level is low. Sample Python code to do that can be downloaded.
10) Includes a 40 pin M-F header. Stack other boards on it as needed.
11) Prioritizes power to the Pi. If Pi demands more power, it is provided from the battery-backup. Eliminates brown-outs.
12) Stack an additional Pi-UpTime UPS for more run time. See pictures provided. Ideal for remote operations of the Pi when powered by solar panels or other means.
The simple answer is "it depends." It depends on the battery capacity, the load, how truthful the battery manufacturer is, etc. Best to run your own tests. The sample code provided outputs the time stamp every 10 seconds - so you can use this to clock your run time. On the tests I did with batteries rated for 3000 mAh, running on a Pi-3 with WiFi, Blue Tooth, keyboard, mouse and monitor on, I got on an average, between 15-16 hours. Checking the battery later with a coulomb counter, it was between 2800 to 2900 mAh battery, even though it said 3000 mAh on the battery. So please do not believe what the battery manufacturers say. Do your own tests to ensure it meets your run time requirements.
One easy way to do that is to daisy chain several Pi-UpTimeUPS units together. Each Pi-UpTimeUPS will almost double the run time. See pictures provided on how to do that.
If you want to use an external battery or battery pack, please look at Pi-BB-RPS product. It is a RPS (Redundant Power Supply) for a Pi. One Power source can be a power supply from 7V to 24 V. The second power source can be a USB 5V power. Depending on the battery, power sources etc. you can use this board. Use the Bread board capability to add a Real Time Clock, GPS or other breakout boards on it for off-grid use.
Yes you can. Please make sure the Raspberry Pi, and all peripherals are properly protected in a NEMA enclosure, preferable temperature controlled enclosure.
There are several ways to attach a solar panel (or an alternate energy source.) If your panel outputs 5V (maximum of 5.5V) you can connect the power to the Power-in port on the Pi-UpTime UPS board. Stack two or more boards as shown to get the extended run time you need in case there is no sun etc.
If the solar panel does not provide 5V output (like most panels do) I would recommend using Pi-BB-RPS board. One input on Pi-BB-RPS board converts V from 7 V to 24V to a steady 5V. It can provide the necessary power to the Pi as well as for charging the batteries on the Pi-UpTime UPS. With the Pi-BB-RPS you can also attach external battery banks.
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Percy Kawas is the founder, CEO, chief Alchemist, main geek ..... of Alchemy Power Inc. (API), a company started to collect power from the wind in an efficient manner leveraging Bernoulli’s principles. The XPS-1600 is the first product which meets that goal. Measuring the performance on the XPS-1600 and my familiarity with Unix+software/hardware led me to use the Raspberry Pi. I loved the fact that the Raspberry Pi is a low cost Linux Computer, with access to GPIOs and other capabilities. It amazes me how the user community have used this product in many different ways!!!
Percy has also designed and implemented several hardware and software projects. The most recent ones can be found on API website and on Tindie. Percy has worked at large companies like AMD, Cisco, SynOptics (Bay Networks/Nortel/gone-under) and created multiple startups. Percy has also been an independent consultant for several years, taught courses at UC Berkeley extension and other places. Percy loves to referee soccer, field hockey, read, watch Nature and Science programs, hike and travel.