Raspberry Pi-4 Hats for Increased Power & Cooling, Power & CPU Monitoring, and More

November 01, 2019 by Paul Shepard

The Abbycus V series, released on Kickstarter, are high quality no-compromise power regulators and parametric measurement tools designed for the Raspberry Pi family of single board computers. The V series was designed primarily for the Raspberry Pi-4 but is applicable to the Raspberry Pi-3 family as well.

The primary purpose of the V series is to generate stable and accurate power from low cost - poorly regulated external power sources such as generic ac adapters (phone chargers), LED strip power supplies, etc. The V series also supports battery sources of different configurations and chemistry types such as lithium or lead-acid (V12 model).

What is essential about having quality power? Computers and their attached peripheral devices have a low tolerance for inaccuracy, noise, and sudden voltage changes. It is essential to use a stable voltage source to prevent unpredictable behavior.

There are two models of the V series that address different needs. Both modules stack directly on top of a Raspberry Pi (any model with the 40 pin GPIO header) and conform to the Raspberry Pi HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) specifications

V8 Power

V8 Power generates high quality and stable power for the Raspberry Pi. The high current / high efficiency (low heat generation) switching regulator provides clean and accurate 5V power for the Pi and peripheral devices. Standard features include over-current and short circuit protection, high temperature current limiting, reverse polarity protection, and a reset-able PTC type fuse. Two high current switched 5V outputs are included to control external devices (LCD or something else?). The V8 also features safe power ON/OFF to prevent data corruption. Additionally, a brushless ball bearing dc fan mounts directly above the Raspberry Pi CPU providing excellent cooling under high stress conditions.

Abbycus V8 Essential Power HAT

V12 Power inherits all the features of the V8 plus the following:

1) Precision measurements of voltage, current, and temperature.

2) Active cooling with variable speed fan control.

3) Supports battery operation - displays the charge state and voltage of the battery source, and enables safe low battery shutdown.

4) Raspberry Pi CPU statistics are monitored and displayed.

5) One-button safe power ON/OFF. OLED display for parametric info.

6) Built-in 'Arduino' compatible micro-controller.

7) A class D stereo audio amplifier drives two speakers.

8) Open source code for easy user reconfiguration or customization.

Abbycus V12 Essential Power HAT with Parametric Measurements and much more.

Who needs an Abbycus V-something?

Need stable and accurate power?  External power is tightly regulated by an on-board buck regulator that removes the undesirable effects of noise & ripple, line & load voltage fluctuations, and resistive wire drop inherent in low cost external power sources.

Need more power for your new Raspberry Pi-4? The newly released Raspberry Pi-4 consumes significantly more power than its predecessors. The V series regulator supplies 5V at up to 5 amps with high efficiency (low heat) while maintaining voltage within +/-1.5% of nominal.

V12 Model fills more needs

Need to analyze power consumption? Real time monitoring of voltage, current, and power are displayed continuously on the built-in OLED display.

Need to analyze the Pi CPU under stress? The system monitors and continuously displays CPU data acquired from the Raspberry Pi: Temperature, clock speed, and core voltage.

Need safe OS shutdown / reboot? The V12 coordinates shutdown or reboot with the Raspberry Pi. Shutdown can be initiated from the Raspberry Pi system or by pressing the V Power Button (simple & safe one-button power ON/OFF).

Need battery management? In battery mode, the state of charge is continuously monitored and displayed. The system warns of a low battery condition and a controlled shutdown occurs when the batteries are discharged.

Need active cooling? The system incorporates a quality brushless dc fan and varies the speed with temperature (uses either the embedded temperature sensor or RPi CPU temperature).

Need to control power to external devices? Two switched 5Vdc outputs are provided for powering external devices such as an LCD display. Need these outputs for a different purpose? Please read on.

Need to make modifications for your own custom project? The embedded micro-controller is 'Arduino' compatible and comes with the Arduino bootloader pre-installed. The project code and the OS service scripts are provided as open source (no restrictions on use or redistribution).

Need Audio? The Raspberry Pi has a multitude of features but only provides stereo audio output to drive headphones. The V12 can drive two 8-ohm speakers up to 3W.

Need all those features in a very small form factor? The V series conforms to the Raspberry Pi HAT specification. The outer dimensions (LxWxH) are 6.5 x 5.65 x 3.5 cm.

A brief summary of the V8 & V12 Features:

  • On-board regulator supplies 5V @ 5A to the RPi and attached peripherals.
  • Short circuit, over & under voltage, and thermal protection.
  • Two high current switched 5V power outputs for external LCD and back-light (or something else?).
  • Reverse polarity protection and reset-able PTC fuse.
  • Safe power off to prevent data corruption.

V12 Model

  • Voltage measurement of the internal 5V regulator, external input voltage, and the RPi 3.3V I/O.
  • Current measurement for the RPi and its peripherals (LCD, USB add-on's, etc.).
  • Temperature measurement from on-board sensor (ambient or case temperature).
  • Monitors and displays Raspberry Pi CPU temperature, clock frequency, and core voltage.
  • Fan speed control uses either on-board sensor or RPi CPU temperatures.
  • OLED display shows all system parametric data in several scroll-able 'screens'.
  • 'Arduino' compatible embedded micro-controller allows DIY customization.
  • Open source Arduino code and OS Python service scripts.
  • Audio class D amplifier can drive two 8-ohm speakers up to 3W.
  • Error detection, reporting, and shutdown action.