[beagleboard] Reducing Power Consumption on BBB

not sure if you have seen this already, but section 6.1.7 of reference guide


6.1.7 Power Consumption
The power consumption of the board varies based on power scenarios and the board boot
processes. Measurements were taken with the board in the following configuration:
 DC powered and USB powered
 HDMI monitor connected
 4GB Thumbdrive
 Ethernet connected @ 100M
 Serial debug cable connected

Table 4 is an analysis of the power consumption of the board in these various scenarios.
Table 4. BeagleBone Black Power Consumption(mA@5V)

Idling @ UBoot 210 210 210
Kernel Booting (Peak) 460 460 460
Kernel Idling 350 350 350
Kernel Idling Display Blank 280 280 280
Loading a Webpage 430 430 430
The current will fluctuate as various activates occur, such as the LEDs on and
uSD/eMMC accesses.

You can put the boar din a sleep mode depending on how much asleep you want too go. You can turn of the 3.3V rail and the 1.8V rail to save power by writing I2C commands to the TPS65217C… I don’t know what peripherals you still want to be active so this may not work…

You can power down the HDMI by sending I2C commands to it, but it may or may not save you the amount of power you are looking for.


Best way would be to modify the kernel.


I have three questions about BBB power consumption:

(1) Does anyone have a measurement of BBB power consumption when CPU sleeps and all peripherals are off through software command?

(2) Does anyone know whether its PRU can still run while CPU sleeps? We intend to use PRU to read data from a SPI bus, timestamp it and write to flash. Is it possible to be done without CPU involvement?

(3) What is the lowest CPU speed of BBB through voltage scaling and what will be its power consumption difference comparing to highest speed? We also intend to change the CPU speed to reduce power consumption, as out task is not so computing intensive all the time.

(4) Looks like the default OS of BBB (e.g., Angstrom) does not support sleep mode, anyone knows a way to patch it? Becaue of that we currently plan to use either TI’s linux or android for this purpose. Any suggestions?



Hi WenZhan

I want to use my Beaglebone for a low power application as well. I want to reduce the power consumption. I haven’t touched the PMIC yet. Any pointers?

I could not wake my board up with the on-chip RTC with the Angstrom Linux. So I moved to TI’s Arago Linux. I am facing a few issues there as well. Please take a look at http://e2e.ti.com/support/arm/sitara_arm/f/791/p/274073/991224.aspx#991224

Thanks and Regards,

Hi Gerald,

Is it possible to power down the sys_5V rail via I2C? I can’t seem to find the description anywhere in the documentation.

Thanks much,

Did you check the TPS65217C datasheet?


I think a variation on this question is: Can I run a BBB using just a 3.3V supply? At first glance, there’s not a lot using 5V [Other than USB].

I note the 1.5V supplies etc. are from the TPS65217C - and it’s main input is that 5V.
If I used an external 3.3V supply, applied to the expansion header [or the battery access pads] would that be enough to power up?
Which components would be most affected by losing the 5V?

– Alan

USB uses 5V. The LDOs that generate the 3.3V need 5V. Just supplying 3.3V will give you questionable operation as the LDOs basically won’t be working.


It is worse than that. The tps65217 recommended 3.7V LI+ single cell battery will not adequately power the system, either. The LDOs in the tps65217 have 200mV drop-out, so they will work with a fresh battery (but start to droop as the battery gets below 3.5V). The real problem is the TL5209 – which has a 500mV drop-out.

If somebody really wants to use the LI+ battery, one possibility would be to forget the warrentee and kludge in a tps77533d in place of the TL5209. Those PLM guys at TI have it spec’d at 0.169V dropout at 500mA. Three significant figures! Geese…


Hi everybody

Interesting discussion. I also would like to keep power consumption to a minimum for my headless BBB.

@Gerald: How exactly would you power down the rails and HDMI?

Best regards,

HDMI cannot be powered down without taking down the 1.8V rail. You can certainly take down all the rails via the PMIC, but that may be too low in power as that would shut everything down.

If HDMI is not connected, no cable, the framer does go into a lower power mode. You could also take the LCD pins and turn them off, either high or low, to save some power as well.

To turn ff rails, send I2C commands to the PMIC. refer to the datasheet…But, be careful not to have devices partially powered, devcies off and signal pins still active.


Thanks Gerald - that was quick.

Excuse my beginner question. How exactly would I do that or where could I learn how to do that?
I never sent any I2C command to anybody and have no clue how to :wink:

Best, Niko

Well, that requires software and needs to be built into the power management layer. 3.8 kernel does not have a lot of power management, but some of the newer kernels do, like 3.12. You can also do voltage and frequency scaling to lower the power, but that will also require some SW expertise…


Hi Wen,
I do have a similar requirement in my project, PRU writing to flash. Do you have any leads over this??