My motorbike’s battery died. Now what? Use it to run a PI, of course!

(Disclaimer: I don’t get a single dollar for the links. I link what I like and what I buy for myself, and why)

My trusty R 1200 RT motorbike decided that the 11 year-old battery was not enough to start that monster boxer engine. So, I had to find a new one for it. Maybe it isn’t good enough for a 400kg bike, but I am pretty sure it can run a raspberry PI for a while.

And, guess what? It did pretty well!!!!

For this test, I took a

  • Raspberry PI ZERO, which I got for FREE when I subscribed to the MAGPI magazine. I can’t recommend it more.
  • A 12v-to-5v buck converter (I bought it on Amazon)
  • An EDIMAX Usb Adapter (which I also got from Amazon).
  • An old, pretty dead motorbike battery. At BMW, it’s around US$300 anew, and it might be worth it – the one I am using on this test is from 2005!!!! It’s eleven years!

So, this is how the whole thing looks when assembled. Couldn’t be easier:


As you can see, I connected the battery to a 2.5mm male connector. The Buck converter has a proper female connector. I spoke about having your own connector standard galore. Just check my previous posts. Or go to RUTE.IO, the coolest educational electronics kit ever for poor countries. My enhancement to RUTE is that every device that “sends” energy is male, and every device that “receives” energy is female. Except that I have been doing this years before I ever heard of RUTE, which is amazing and I can’t wait to start doing that.

The PI and the buck connector are roughly the same size. So I just put them together with some elastic band – after all, neither heats so much. It’s weird to think that the battery converter is more expensive than the whole computer.

The PI itself looks like this:


You can see the buck with its voltage display, the back side of the PI, the MicroUSB cable to from the Buck to the PI (Buy all you can, seriously!!! It’s a Nokia cable. I should buy a thousand of those!). Really. Those short NOKIA Micro-USB cables are second to none. Just go and buy twice as many as you need. You won’t regret it.

The white cable is the wifi. I don’t really love this EDIMAX, as it doesn’t have 5gz and its range is so-so… But it’s better than nothing. Make me a PI ZERO with wifi for twice the price and I will buy all of them.

The uptime?

27 hours.


Twenty-seven-fucking hours. For a dead battery. It’s amazing.

It’s going tomorrow to my grid.


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