PhatBeat / Pulseaudio


Hi all,

stumbled some days ago on Phat Beat, thought it a good improvement for my granddaughters phoniebox

First try:
Raspberry 3b+ with latest Raspbian
Installation went like a charm, leds were indicating volume, no speakers connected yet
With speakers connected however, RaspbPi went crazy and rebooted after some seconds of playing music. I guess, the power load is simply too high despite 2.5 A USB supply
Is there any possibility to connect 5V supply seperately?

Second try
Raspberr Zero , latest Raspbian
Installed, everything just fine, loudspeakers connected, it works
However pulseaudio runs with 30% CPU load, thats nogood for any additional software I’d like to install.
Any hints?

Thanks a lot

regards from snowy black forest mountains


I have a Pirate Radio setup with a Zero W. Works just fine with a 2.5A Pi Power supply. The one Pimoroni sells. I have a 3A 5V supply with a barrel connector instead of micro USB. It endlessly reboots on that one? Inrush current is my best guess. The 3A supply just can’t handle the current spike on power up I guess? I also have 5V 4A and 5V 10A supplies with barrel jacks that work just fine on that same Pirate Radio setup. The 3A one seems to be of a lesser quality.
I only ever run VLC Radio on that Pi, its dedicated to that Pirate Radio setup. Most of my Pi’s are setup and or dedicated to a single use.
Oh, and I haven’t ever run my pHat Beat of a 3B. Never had the need or want to do it, is all. My setup works just fine on the Zero W so I left it that way. Just a FYI post. ;)


Thanks for your reply. The barrel jack isn’t an option, since a power bank with standardbusb cable should be used.
Anyhow, this does not solve the other issue, pulseaudio’s cpu load behaviour. The system must be capable of running some more prozesses than just internet radio.
Lessons learned, thanks anyway.


A barrel jack power supply can be used with an adapter. I just pointing out that all power supplies aren’t created equal. Thats all, maybe try a different power supply from a different manufacturer.

You can also power the Pi via the +5V and Ground GPIO pins.

I’ve never bothered to check the various CPU loads. I probably should look at it at some point, just haven’t done it as of yet.
The Pi Zero, being a single core, IMHO doesn’t lend itself very well to multi tasking. If I want to do some intensive stuff I move up to a 3B etc. I have used a lot Pi Zero’s in projects with no issues. My Pirate Radio, and some Rovers. It has its uses. It didn’t work very well as a Motion Eye camera though, not for streaming video anyway. Trial and error sometimes to see if it will cut it or not.

Any way I do hope you sort things out and get the results you want.

I think the Pi Foundation is pretty well at the upper limits of what can be done with the current SOC. Its going to be really interesting to see what the Pi 4 ends up being spec wise.


Newest update:
Talked to Jon from Piromoni about the CPU load issue. Send him a picture of pHat Beat, he told me, that the board is an older version, which had this problem. I bought the board 2 weeks ago from a german supplier, so i’ll go after them.

Btw: Multitasking has nothing to do with single or multicore, this is managed by the linux core. Of course, if more cores are available and the operating system supports it, the better

After I receive a new pHat Beat and set up phoniebox und Pi Zero, I’ll let you know about.

Your idea of connecting 5V directly seems very good, I try this.

If you use video streaming, you should increase GPU memory. Here Pi Zero may be the wrong choice.
I set up a server system on Pi 3B running TVHeadend as TV recorder connected to a Sat>IP recording up to 4 programms simultaneously without any problems. In addition it hosts Pi-hole, a DNS server for my home network, which dumps most part of advertising and tracking. Very recommandable! And i can do remote login with teamviewer.
As you said, test it out, how far you can go.


My pHat Beat is one of the original older ones, I bought it way back when it was first released.

One downside to feeding your +5V in via the GPIO pin is it bypasses the poly fuse, if the Pi has one. The PI Zero and new 3A+ don’t have a poly fuse. All the other models as far as I know have one. Just a FYI post. I’ve done it in several of my projects because it makes things easier feeding my power to say a Proto Hat, that then sends it to everything else via the GPIO header.


Received a new pHat Beat yesterday, now everything works like it was planned.

Rsapi Zero with pHat Beat
running Phoniebox plus Shairport-sync, installed in an old housing of a Grundig Transistor radio build in sixties using original loudspeaker. Looks and sounds great


Good stuff, glad its all working now.