Best Power Cable

My Banana Pi M3 arrived today, and is working somewhat ok. However I have noticed a bunch of freezing in some circumstances (seemingly random). The first power adapter I tried (2.1A, 5V), just didn’t appear to produce enough juice at all, and the board would crash within minutes of booting up, then I switched to a 2.5A plug and have been able to use the board for extended periods without freezing, but will still get the occasional (seemingly random) freeze. I am planning of buying a new power cable for (almost) exclusive use with this device, I would like to know if a 3A plug would result in a more stable experience, I am also going to put heatsink’s on the Pi. I also observed that the freezes appeared less frequent when both plugs were connected (in power and otg), I don’t know if there is any logic to this or not, if this is the case then I would probably be best getting some sort of dual plug that could output 2.5+A through each port. I just want the most stable solution, without the need to solder anything extra onto the board. I am using the latest Android ROM btw.

You want to use your M3 and not care about power problems?

Do this = the only solution so don’t ask me for more read TK’s posts and mine.

Nope. You do the same mistake as the vendor: Looking at specs/amperage. The problem is the Micro USB connector and USB cables. That’s why responsible vendors use this connector type only for devices that need a few mA since it’s impossible to power anything reliably that needs more than that.

Look at this statement from a real Open Source Hardware vendor:

Given this and especially that the M3 might need way more amperage than the max. 2A possible with Micro USB the choice of this connector type can only either be called moronic or smart since so many customers get fooled to think they can power the M3 with the PSU/cables they used for a RasPi or smartphone before.

If you don’t want to solder anything immediately remove the heatsink to prevent undervoltage situations (the slower the CPU is, the less amperage it needs, the less you experience voltage drops). You can supply power to both Micro USB sockets but only one will be used at a time. So it might seem that works more reliably but in reality the PMIC switches between both power sources on the fly and this way it can recover more often from undervoltage situations.

When you want to avoid workarounds and implement a real solution use either a solder iron or the trash bin :slight_smile:

I agree with most of your posting, but …

To attach the heat sink was a really smart move. How about if you tell the software to control the frequency of the chip instead of hoping that overheating would do the job. I cannot believe you suggest this to someone - shame on you.


Try to understand the relationship between improved heat dissipation --> more consumption --> more often undervoltage/undercurrent situations. It’s easy. Never every try to increase needed consumption by better heat dissipation (due to less throttling) if you’re already suffering from power problems. First fix the problem, then address the next one. Since he doesn’t want to fix his first problem he would only worsen his situation with a heatsink or even a fan.

I still don’t understand you. I guess you didn’t read my posting (No.2) and the link in it.

Apply heatsink --> better heat dissipation --> CPU can clock higher under load --> board needs more power --> undervoltage/undercurrent situations happen more often.

Only apply heatsinks after fixing the power problem. Everything else will just worsen the situation, causing more freezes, corrupting the OS image earlier. This is the next thing that will happen: strange symptoms on top due to filesystem errors due to frequent crashes, all this is well known since almost 4 years (since the Raspberry foundation came up with the ‘great’ idea to use the wrong power connector).

It’s not that hard to understand that he has no problem with heat but with power instead, isn’t it? How should a heatsink solve a powering problem?

Ok, thanks for all the replies. I assume my problems are due to power and/or voltage drops, but they may be being caused by heat, when my heatsinks arrive I will let you know if there is any noticeable difference with or without. Would getting a better quality cable (or maybe better quality PSU) help reduce the problem? I would prefer to not go down the soldering root as I have never soldered anything in my whole life, and don’t have soldering tools at hand. But if that really is the best solution then I might look into it. I am trying to find what the best solder-less solution is first. Is it possible it’s just instability with the android rom? I haven’t tried any other OS on it much yet.

@Dragan, if you read my postings above carefully, you find a link with the magic word: frequency

@Alec_Cowan, cool, you read and understood. Why don’t you ask your friends and colleagues - I am sure you find a guy who can do the little soldering for you. This takes no more than 5-10 minutes

That’s easy: Return the device since it’s broken by design and refund your money. Not kidding.

What Tido doesn’t understand is how modern SoCs/CPUs work. If you’re able to somewhat reliably power your board through the crap connector (some call it Micro USB) with a cable that doesn’t suck that much (means: Look for any PSU for RPi that is rated 5.1@2A or better 5.2@2A and has a fixed cable) then the best you can do is to avoid any heatsink.

The reason is simple: Then you can benefit from superiour single threaded performance (single threaded workloads may raise cpufreq up to 1.8GHz) but will limit automagically the consumption when your device is under full load (then dvfs together with thermal throttling will clock all CPU cores down so that consumption doesn’t exceed the magical 10W which is the absolute maximum the crap connector is able to deal with – on a board that might consume even more WHEN you make the mistake to apply a heatsink or even a fan)

Of course you can go the Tido route and adjust cpufreq settings to 1GHz max. Then you successfully destroyed single threaded performance too and win nothing. YMMV

But the best idea is still to leave the solder iron where it is and to try to get a refund. The GPU performance is lousy, the ‘SATA’ performance is even lousier and you can’t benefit from the CPU performance due to the crap connector used for DC-IN without replacing it with something sane.

Even more crappy than the hardware is software and support here. In case you sometimes get answers to questions they’re mostly wrong or misleading. :slight_smile:

I guess you pretty much answered my question in a round about way, the best solder-less solution is a 5.2V@2A+ usb plug with a fixed cable. I understand the Banana Pi M3 has problems, and I also know that If I was fully aware of most of these problems before purchase, I would have probably got something else instead. However as a UK citizen, for me it is not worth the time and effort (and probably shipping cost’s), of sending the device back to china, to try and negotiate a refund. So I am simply trying to get the best I possibly can out of it, and truthfully I don’t think it’s terrible so far.

Another quick question though, are 5.2V plugs common place? I have certainly never seen or heard of one.

@Dragan, you sound like TK and returning to China is BS If you had an electrical engineering degree you would know that to get or adjust a power supply to 5,2Volt is not as easy as solder two cables. Beside you do not skip the crappy MicroUSB in opposite you lousy engineer would simply overload it. P = U x I (5,2V x 2A = 10,4W) the little contacts can get warm /hot. Bullshit par excellence

WTF single threaded performance, why would you buy 8 cores if you do not intend to use it. So, 1GHz is stil better than have nothing, but to think into other people is not your strenght. 1GHz and running stable is still better - with heat sink you can try to go higher.

…you’re at the source of power supplies made to compensate the crap connector. Just two examples:

You’ll find countless PSUs, just take care that they’re rated 2A and keep in mind that you should be on the safe side regarding consumption. So again: Don’t be a moron and do NOT use a heatsink, it’s counterproductive. Without a heatsink you benefit from superiour single threaded performance (that’s what ‘desktop usage’ is about in contrast to server usage or benchmarks) and dvfs + thermal throttling prevent the CPUs consuming too much when running under full load.

A heatsink only makes sense if you replace the crap connector with something sane and that requires soldering skills. And the next time you think about such a device you should inform yourself prior to buying and choose a local reseller. Your next step is now

Try to get back your money (partially): you can’t use the advertised speed and the device doesn’t work reliably. If none of the customers is doing this nothing will change.

I’m thinking of maybe querying a refund, as it has come to my attention how much of an overpriced piece of crap this board actually is compared to other competitive boards. I am wondering what board might be a better option, I was looking a the Orange Pi 2+, however didn’t see a download for that specific model on the page. Features I really like are the built in wifi, built in bluetooth, and emmc, as well as being able to run an android image. My use case is mostly gaming (Emulators + Some native android games), and Kodi.