“PowerBlock” – The safe power button / power switch for Raspberry Pi

The PowerBlock is a soft power button add-on board for the Raspberry Pi. It allows safe shut down and allows you to conveniently turn on and turn off the power to the Raspberry Pi with a toggle or a momentary button.

Instead of just cutting the supply voltage with the risk of data loss the PowerBlock ensures a safe shutdown without the risk of any data losses that could occur otherwise.

Furthermore, an LED that you can optionally attach to the Powerblock indicates the power status at all times.

PowerBlock

PowerBlock in Action – Demo Video

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 Features and Technical Specifications

  • Soft power button / power switch for the Raspberry Pi
  • Clean system shutdown before cutting the power
  • Supports toggle and momentary buttons
  • Automatic detection of button type
  • Smooth power status indication via optional external LED
  • USB-C connector for power supply
  • 2×6 pin header for mounting on the Pi
  • Pin outs for optional external 5V power supply
  • Additional switched 5V output pins
  • No soldering required
  • Software daemon for clean shutdowns
  • Input Voltage: 5V
  • Output Voltage: 5V
  • Maximum Continuous Current @ 25°C: 7 A
  • MOSFET Static On-Resistance: 6 mΩ

Any toggle or momentary button can be connected to the PowerBlock. The type of switch is automatically detected. The power status of the Raspberry Pi can be indicated via an optional status LED.

You can order the PowerBlock here:

What our customers say

Works great! I have no clue with linux, managed it with your 1 line install.
I’d recommend to everyone.

-Will

Very neat little add on that “does exactly what it says on the tin”. Well made and sits nicely, was very easy to implement and get working.

Would recommend this product and was a smooth and easy transaction.

-Charles

I bought the PowerBlock for part of my project i was building a Super Nintendo Pi. The product arrived swiftly, was easy to setup and works great, just what i needed. Would recommend.

-Chris

 Further Details

The PowerBlock provides a Raspberry Pi power switch functionality. Why is it useful? The Raspberry Pi comes without a power switch. As soon as you plug the USB cable into the Raspberry, it turns on. If you want to shutdown the Raspberry Pi, you need to call a shutdown command to bring the system into a state in which you can safely remove the power cable again. If you just pull out the power cable the file system of the Raspberry might become corrupted and you risk losing data.

Here, the PowerBlock comes into play for safe shutdowns. It is stacked onto the GPIO header of the Raspberry Pi and provides a USB connector itself, a connector for a power button to control the power supply of the Raspberry Pi, and a connector for an optional LED to indicate whether the Raspberry Pi is off, booting, running, or shutting down. A micro controller on the PowerBlock board manages the power supply and monitors the button state as well as the state of the Raspberry Pi. The driver ensures that a clean shutdown is done when you switch off. This also means that you do not need to plug and unplug the USB cable from the Raspberry anymore if you want to completely and safely turn it off.

Hardware Details of the PowerBlock

PowerBlock
PowerBlock

Compatible with Raspberry Pi Models A, B, and Zero

The dimensions exactly match the mounting holes of the Raspberry Pi and can be mounted to the Raspberry Pi models A, B, and Zero.

PowerBlock

2×6 pin female header as connector to the Raspberry Pi

This header makes use of pins 1 to 12 of the GPIO header. The PCB is kept as small as possible so that you can easily access all other pins that are not used by the PowerBlock.

PowerBlock USB C Connector

USB-C Connector for the power supply

The PowerBlock comes with a USB-C connector so that you are able to use your latest power supply accessories.

PowerBlock Power Switch IC

Pin Out for a toggle or a momentary button

To control the power state of the Raspberry Pi the PowerBlock provides an interface for attaching a toggle or a momentary switch. The on-board microcontroller monitors the state of that switch as well as the one of the Raspberry.

PowerBlock Power Switch IC

Pin Out for Status LED

The PowerBlock indicates the power state of the Raspberry Pi an optional 5V status LED. It can be attached to the two dedicated pins. These possible states can be “off”, “booting”, “on”, and “shutdown”. The different states are indicated with easy-to-distinguish static and pulsing patterns.

PowerBlock

Signal breakouts for input voltage, output voltage, and control signals

There are individual pin outs for the 5V input and output voltages, as well as for the control signals S1 (pin 12), and S2 (pin 11).

Powerblock with Button and Status LED (not included)

In-Service Programmer (ISP) pin-out for ATtiny

The PowerBlock makes use of an ATtiny85 microcontroller. You can access the microcontroller with the ISP header to reprogram it with whatever functionality you like.

 Getting Started with the PowerBlock – Hardware and Software Setup of the Soft Power Button

Powerblock with Button and Status LED (not included)To turn the Raspberry Pi on and off with the PowerBlock you need to attach a toggle button or a momentary button to the two button pins of the PowerBlock.

You can use a toggle or a momentary button. The type of button is detected automatically be the PowerBlock.

Powerblock with Button and Status LED (not included)The PowerBlock has pin outs for an optional status LED that indicates the power state of the Raspberry Pi. You can directly attach an LED to the pins that are marked with “LED”. You need to pay attention to the polarity of the LED: The LED pins are marked with “+” and “-” for that.

The LED will blink in four different patterns that depend on the power state of the Raspberry Pi:

  1. Off: The LED is simply off.
  2. Booting: The LED slowly fades in and out.
  3. On: The LED constantly stays on.
  4. Shutting down: The LED fades in and out twice as fast as during boot up.
Powerblock with Button and Status LED (not included)You need to connect your USB-C cable only to the PowerBlock – and not to the Raspberry Pi directly. Alternatively to the USB-C connector you could also use the 5V and GND input pins for power supply.

For the software installation please follow the instructions from the driver website.