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Tutorial: PowerBlock with RetroPie

This is a post as part of a tutorial series about getting to start with the PowerBlock with various images for the Raspberry Pi. In this tutorial we will learn how to use the PowerBlock with RetroPie, a very popular distribution for retro gaming.


If you have not already done it, we need to download the RetroPie image first. You get the image on the official RetroPie downloads site. When you have downloaded the image you need to load it on your SD card. You can follow the Raspberry Pi Software guide for that, if you are unsure how to do that.

Installing the PowerBlock Hardware

Make sure that the Raspberry Pi is switched off before you do any hardware work on it. Attach the PowerBlock with its 2×6 female header to the GPIO pins of the Raspberry Pi as shown on the following image:

PowerBlock with Attached Power Switch
PowerBlock with Attached Power Switch

Attach your power switch to the two pins that are marked with “Switch”. Again, the above image shows that exemplarily.

Attach the micro USB connector of your power supply to the micro USB connector of the PowerBlock:

PowerBlock with attached micro USB cable
PowerBlock with attached micro USB cable
It is important that you connect your switch to the PowerBlock before you connect the micro USB cable of your power supply. Otherwise the Raspberry Pi will start with an endless loop of booting and shutting down.

Installing the PowerBlock Service

We need to go to the console in order to install the PowerBlock driver. If we are in EmulationStation (the graphical front-end of RetroPie) we can exit it by pressing F4.

In order to install the PowerBlock driver and service we can follow the quick installation instructions as given on the driver Github site. To install the driver and the service you just need to call this one command:

wget -O - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/petrockblog/PowerBlock/master/install.sh | sudo bash

That command will download the installation script of the PowerBlock service and start the script. It will compile and install the driver as well as install and start the service.

When the script is finished, you get a success or failure message in the console. In case of a success, you can also see that the optional status LED stopped to flash and, instead, is permanently switched on.

Video Demonstration

This video shows how to get started with the PowerBlock and RetroPie.


As you can see, getting started with the PowerBlock involves very few steps. We hope you enjoy your PowerBlock and wish you good luck with your project!

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