The Alchemy Power PiZ-UpTime PLUS Aims to Solve Your Remote Raspberry Pi Power-Loss Woes

Designed for use with Li-Ion or Li-Po batteries, this smart UPS is configurable for immediate or delayed reboot on power restoration.

GP Consulting's Alchemy Power division has announced the launch of a new uninterruptible power supply (UPS) add-on for the Raspberry Pi family of single-board computers — offering a "guaranteed reboot" of inaccessible boards should power be interrupted.

"I got tired of toggling the power to reboot the Pi after a soft shutdown," GP Consulting founder and president Percy Kawas explains of the board's origins. "After a software shutdown, the power on a Raspberry Pi needs to be toggled to reboot. This is usually done by toggling the power to the Raspberry Pi. This becomes an issue when a Raspberry Pi is deployed remotely e.g. for monitoring temperature in a refrigeration unit or using a Pi with solar panels or other green energy sources or using a Pi in an automobile etc."

The PiZ-UpTime PLUS, Kawas' latest entry in the PiZ-UpTime UPS family, aims to solve that. At its heart, it's a straightforward uninterruptible power supply: add a lithium-ion or lithium-polymer battery and connect it to a Raspberry Pi board's 40-pin GPIO header — with a cut-out providing access to all but the first eight pins, allowing for additional hardware to be connected. When the power is cut, the battery will keep the Raspberry Pi ticking over.

The "PLUS" in the name indicates additional functionality, provided via a Python script talking to the board over I2C. The board can be set to soft-shutdown the Raspberry Pi safely either as soon as power is lost or when the battery is running low; and when power returns, it can either turn the Raspberry Pi back on immediately or delay booting to allow other devices to come up first.

"The operating modes can be mixed or matched as needed," Kawas explains. "LEDs provide operational information. Sample Python code provides information on operational parameters like Vin, Vout, battery [voltage], input current, battery current and temperature (on the board)."

The board is available to buy now on the Alchemy Power Tindie store at $51.50; the user must supply their own battery.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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