Solar Pi Platter

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Available to buy at Tindie.
The Solar Pi Platter is a versatile expansion board for the Raspberry Pi Zero™ and Pi Zero W™ computers 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.


  • Single-cell Lithium Ion battery management system supplying up to 10W power at 5V
  • Low impedance charging input with Un-interruptible Power Supply (UPS) functionality
  • High impedance charging input for use with solar or inductive power sources
  • Real Time Clock with Alarm Power Control
  • Battery charged power-up control
  • Automatic Low battery power-down control
  • Three high-speed USB expansion ports with per-port Transaction Translator
  • Power control for two USB expansion ports
  • Expansion port for RJ45 Ethernet jack
  • Two analog inputs with configurable reference
  • Two PWM outputs with configurable period and support for Servo mode
  • Simple command interface via a USB serial port
  • Programmable power-on default operation
  • User-accessible EEPROM configuration settings
  • Watchdog Timer


  • File server or router with built-in battery backup
  • Solar powered time-lapse camera
  • Remote control and sense applications
  • Embedded system control with battery backup
  • Portable computing applications
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Downloads and Links

GitHub repository with all software related to the Solar Pi Platter including utility software (talkpp and ppd), example scripts and applications.
User Manual
Zip file with pre-compiled talkpp utility and ppd daemon for loading into /usr/local/bin on your Pi. talkpp is a simple utility program that allows you to communicate directly with the device or you can use it in scripts. ppd is a daemon (started in /etc/rc.local with the command "/usr/local/bin/ppd -p 23000 -r -d &") which provides network and tty access to the device as well as automatically shuts down the pi in a controlled fashion when the battery voltage is too low.
The development of the project documented at
The product was launched as a kickstarter project with a fellow Solid State Depot member, Mike Seiler.
Available at


Demonstration Projects

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Simple remote control robot with video streaming built on an old Sparkfun base with parts I had laying around as a demo for the kickstarter campaign.
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A solar powered time-lapse camera that can work in a remote location storing photographs to the Pi's Micro-SD card and using DietPi for reliability.