Powering LattePanda Alpha and Delta with PoE (Power over Ethernet)

The LattePanda Alpha and delta are great single board computers. Based on Intel processors used in lightweight laptops these SBCs pack a powerful punch, while still maintaining low power consumption. The power requirements of these boards is actually so low that you can power them through an ethernet cable with Power over Ethernet (PoE).

Most PoE enabled devices like IP cameras, network switches and WiFi access points are powered by plugging in a standard ethernet cable (Cat 5e, Cat 6 or higher). This is very straightforward as the individual wires within that cable can be used to power the device and carry data as well.

For the LattePanda Alpha and Delta this is not quite as straightforward. Both devices do have a standard Gigabit ethernet RJ45 port, but plugging the device to a PoE enabled switch cannot be used to power the device through this connector. Most users use the USB-C PD (Power Delivery) port on the new LattePanda boards to power them.

You can get devices known as PoE Splitters to split a PoE capable Ethernet connection to a power connection and a non-PoE ethernet. The simplest way to get your LattePanda to be powered by PoE is getting a PoE splitter for PoE USB-C. However currently it is impossible to power on the LattePanda Alpha board on automatically on power.

To enable powering on automatically you should use the power connector on the board. For this you need a PoE splitter that can split to DC output (12 volts). You need to take the DC connector to the JST connector. You can do this either with a custom cable or a ready made barrel connector to JST connector, if you can find one.

For power draw you need to make sure your PoE switch is capable of supplying enough power to the LattePanda. The average draw for LattePanda Alpha is around 14 watts, which is well in range for standard 802.3at poe+ capable switches or PoE injectors.