Raspberry Pi fans have another way of powering their mini 'puters and attached gizmos thanks to an impending update to the Power over Ethernet (PoE) Hardware Attached on Top (HAT), as the silicon required for its predecessor gets increasingly difficult to come by.
According to Pi supremo Eben Upton, it will not only run cooler, but can now pump out up to 25W to the Pi (when running with a suitable switch.) The original unit implemented the 802.3af standard, and could manage the 13W needed to power a Raspberry Pi 4 under load – though that's less than ideal for some of the more power-hungry peripherals.
Powering your Pi over Ethernet but still requiring an external power source for the odd peripheral or two did defeat the object somewhat. And that's without considering the borkage that bedevilled the first version in 2018 due to issues with the current being supplied. A mea culpa from the Pi Foundation included the phrase "It's a truism that if you don't test an aspect of a design, it will certainly be broken" as the company yanked the product from sale and offered refunds and replacements.
The subsequent tweaked design fixed the problem.
Over the years, however, the PoE HAT has become a very popular accessory for both hobbyists and those using the computer in industry. However, Upton noted "Unfortunately, the first-gen PoE HAT uses silicon that's in short supply."
Even the Raspberry Pi team are not immune to the shortages affecting the industry it seems, although Upton said "Raspberry Pi computers, Zeros and our other products have not been affected," before adding modestly: "We're very good at pipelining."
Hopefully better at testing too, eh?
A planar (rather than wire-wound) transformer is also included in the update and the diode rectifier has been replaced by an "ideal diode" rectifier in the form of a Microchip PD70224ILQ device. As well as a maximum power of 25.5W, the maximum output current is now 5A.
The price is unchanged, at $20, and the previous generation will remain in production. ®