Nov 272015
Raspberry Pi Power Usage Chart

Since the Pi Zero is small and eminently wearable, I thought I’d take some power measurements as this will be useful information for people to plan their projects. So I ran my usual series of tests and updated the table and chart showing all consumer models of Raspberry Pi.

In my standard tests, I measure the current consumption, using the calibrated shunt on my Emeter, while the Pi is: Idling; Loading LXDE; Watching HD video and Shooting HD video. Since the Zero has no camera port, shooting video is not applicable, but all the other measurements were made. Tabulated numerical data below…

Raspberry Pi Zero Power Usage Table

Raspberry Pi Zero Power Usage Table (HDMI and USB keyboard/mouse dongle attached)

And here’s the chart for those who prefer it…

Raspberry Pi Power Usage Chart

Raspberry Pi Power Usage Chart

Very Similar to A+

This shows us clearly that the Zero uses pretty much the same amount of ‘juice’ as the A+. This is hardly surprising, given that the processor is the same and there’s not a lot else on either board (just USB keyboard/mouse dongle). They both draw about 100 mA when idle and 140 mA when pushed. It’s possible that the peak current on loading LXDE is a tad higher on the Zero because the CPU is overclocked to 1 GHz and the core L2 cache is also clocked faster – but it could equally just be random measurement error. WJDK!

Voltage under load was 5.09V, so the Pi Zero uses 0.5-0.7 Watts.

Technical Specifications

I made an infographic with the tech specs on for my launch video. So I thought I’d put that here as well.

Raspberry Pi Zero specifications

Raspberry Pi Zero specifications

Revision Number

One more piece of miscellaneous Pi Zero information. Many programs use the revision number to query which sort of Pi the program is running on. Running cat /proc/cpuinfo on my Pi Zero gives…

Revision: 900092

Default Clock Settings


  22 Responses to “Raspberry Pi Zero – Power Measurements”

  1. What do you think of the connections on the rear of the board, it looks like there may be some extra ports maybe and maybe even a USB port?

    • There’s a JTAG header on the back (as I mentioned in yesterday’s video) and lots of test points but there are no additional ports that I know of

  2.  The power chart is very useful since I run remote headless WiFi PiCams for hours on battery power and try to keep plenty of reserve. Also I find the programmable Witty Pi power board with RTC to cycle the power to extend battery life thru the night..

  3. it has no overcurrent protection… 2 bad

  4. Any idea on how much current can the power supply pins (5V & 3.3V) supply?

  5. FYI, it’s possible to reduce power draw to ~30 mA by disabling the LED, disabling HDMI, running Raspbian Jessie Lite, and not plugging anything extra into the USB port. There are quite a few ways you can cut down on power consumption, even if you need one or two USB devices! Check out this post for more info on my testing:

    • I find your measurements a little questionable since you used a very cheap charge Doctor. I used a calibrated shunt and my readings agree with the offical RPi figures much more closely than yours.

  6. Can the Pi Zero power a Sense HAT (all sensors and all LEDS in white at the same time) without issue? I intend the power supply to be a battery circuit that can supply 5V 1A (1.2A may be)

  7. I’ve tested my PiZero in Idle with WiFi (a cheap EDIMAX-USB) at ~ 200mA and with datatransfer (large file via Samba) at ~250mA.
    That means more than 100mA difference caused by WiFi.

    It would be very interesting to have a list of low-power USB-WiFi-Sticks!

  8. Just got a Pi Zero running headless, can the Zero supply enough power to run wifi and a small (8GB’ish) usb stick without resorting to a powered Hub?

  9. How did you measure the current consumption of Raspberry PI. Can you mention the setup. Thanks,

  10. Have you done such measurements on orange pi boards?

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