Raspberry Pi PoE prototypes: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Our new boards arrived, with the modifications made based on the feedback we received from previous prototypes. Board itself looks Good.


On the flip side is the Ugly. 



That bare metal ring? It should have been voided, as the other screw holes are. Oh well, it doesn’t degrade the functionality of the board, we just have to use plastic spacers with this one. Obviously we’ll fix it before the production.

The Bad was found from our previous prototype round. By now we have three broken Ethernet ports on Raspberry Pi’s. It seems that when the PoE cable is disconnected, there is a transient voltage spike in the data lines which gets coupled to Raspberry Pi and eventually destroys the Ethernet interface of circuit. This damage can be avoided by always disconnecting Ethernet cable to Raspberry Pi before disconnecting cable to PoE switch.

We obviously have to fix this issue before we launch the product. A protection scheme has already been designed and it will be prototyped on current design. This issue will not delay our campaign launch in May. We’ll be individually in contact with those of you who ordered a kit and ask if you want to have this version of the board or one with the transient protection a few weeks later.

We’re still waiting for a few of the higher quality parts, but of course we could not wait to test if it works as designed.



The board works well, and it’s next task is to test the protection scheme. As we’re going to make another round of prototypes, option to buy kits is open! Contact us at Indie@ell-i.org and we’ll arrange things from there. We’ll sell the kits with no mark-up, but you’ll have to be skilled with soldering iron to assemble one. You can find earlier experiences of hand soldering the board from Vaasa Hacklab’s blog post. Be sure to sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you updated of our progress.

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