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Let’s dive into how we can use a set of power-optimizing strategies on a Raspberry Pi and turn it into an off-grid IoT solution.

I’m hoping a good portion of you saw the recent Explaining Computers video comparing various Raspberry Pi models and how long they last on a 12V lead acid battery versus a USB battery pack. If not, it’s worth a watch!

This inspired me to think more about how useful a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B could really be in a remote, battery-powered setting. I mean it’s tempting, right? When developing on a single-board computer (SBC) you get access to the full Python language and all of its libraries. There is a file system that can handle whatever you throw at it (within reason). Virtually anything you want to run on a generic Linux distribution can run on a Pi.

But…the Raspberry Pi 4 wasn’t necessarily designed to run off-grid. That’s more what the Raspberry Pi Zero and Raspberry Pi Pico are for after all.

However, there are scenarios where, whether it’s out of convenience or necessity, using a Raspberry Pi to its fullest extent in the wilds is worth trying.

In this project, I want to measure how long a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B will last on a USB power bank in a real world setting as it gathers sensor data and relays it to the cloud. I also want to run a comparison between a stock Raspberry Pi and a Pi configured with a set of power-optimizing strategies.

I’ll tackle this with:

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (of course)
The largest (affordable) battery pack I could find (a 30, 000 mAh beast)
The Blues Wireless Notecard (for remote cellular and an onboard temperature sensor)”

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