Jetson Nano Power Supply (Barrel vs. Micro USB)

When you get a Jetson Nano Developer Kit, the first thing you need to figure out is how to power it. Should you use the Micro USB port with the same 5V 2.5A power supply you use on a Raspberry Pi? Or should you invest in a 5V 4A barrel jack power supply? Here’s the short answer:

Power your Jetson Nano with a 5V 4A barrel jack supply. You might also want to invest in a powered USB hub to take the strain off the main power supply. This is especially true if you want to use the Nano as a desktop computer and run the advanced GPU simulations.

Disclaimer: Please proceed with caution - The author takes no responsibility for any damages caused by the proper or improper use of information in this article.


No matter which power supply option you choose, you should first familiarize yourself with a command line utility called nvpmodel. You’ll want to make sure that you have this setup properly based on your power requirements.

Whenever you startup your Nano you should query it using nvpmodel to see what model you are currently using, like this:

sudo nvpmodel -q

Using sudo may prompt you for a password, so when I ran it on my Nano I got this:

mitch@jet1:~$ sudo nvpmodel -q
[sudo] password for mitch: 
NV Power Mode: MAXN

Verbose query

For more details you can also pass in the verbose flag, like this:

sudo nvpmodel -q --verbose

View /etc/nvpmodel.conf

The default nvpmodel configurations can be seen by dumping the contents of /etc/nvpmode.conf to the console like this:

cat /etc/nvpmodel.conf

Setting the model

I will go into detail when I discuss each power supply option, but in brief:

5 Watt Mode

If using the Micro USB you should use -m 1, also known as 5 Watt Mode:

sudo nvpmodel -m 1

10 Watt Mode

When using a 5V 4A barrel jack you should use -m 0 (that is a zero, not the letter o), also known as 10 Watt Mode:

sudo nvpmodel -m 0

How to Power a Jetson Nano

There are a number of ways to power a Jetson Nano. In this section I am only going to discuss the following:

  • Micro USB power supplies
  • Barrel jack 5V 4A (20W) power supplies

I will also provide a link if you want to experiment with powering the Nano using batteries.

Micro USB

I noticed the first thing people do when they get a Nano is plug in a Micro USB adapter. Usually one they used with a Raspberry Pi. Besides the convenience of having an adapter handy they also don’t have to set a jumper (described later for the barrel option). This makes for a quick start - but don’t go too crazy.

If you are running headless, this may be fine. But once you start plugging things into the USB ports and running the GPU intensive simulations things can become problematic. I’ve booted up the desktop using the Micro USB, while hooked up to a HDMI monitor, keyboard and mouse. But I kept things simple and immediately queried and setup the nvpmodel parameters.

If you do go this route, I would strongly recommend using a powered USB hub to connect all USB peripherals.

Micro USB nvpmodel settings

By default the Nano is probably in 10 Watt mode. If using a Micro USB adapter you should change that immediately to 5W mode.

sudo nvpmodel -m 1

By default, the setting should persist after reboot.

Barrel Jack (5V 4A) Power Supply

Before you can connect a 5V 4A power supply to the barrel jack on the Jetson Nano, you will need to put a jumper on J48.

For an A02 carrier board (pre-2020) J48 is the solo header next to the camera port. See the yellow jumper in the picture associated with this article.

For a B01 carrier board (2020+) J48 is a solo header behind the barrel jack and the HDMI port.

If like me, you have a 2.5mm plug on the end of your adapter, you will need a 2.1mm adapter to fit the Nano.

The power supply that I use, adapter and a set of jumpers are listed below:

5V 4A nvpmodel settings

When using the barrel jack to connect a 5V 4A (20W) power supply, you should set the Nano into 10 Watt mode to allow maximum power usage.

First, query the nvpmodel to see if it is set to max power already:

sudo nvpmodel -q

If the query returns MAXN then you are all set.

NV Power Mode: MAXN

If not, you can set maximum power using this command:

sudo nvpmodel -m 0

As with the other model, the setting should by default persist after reboot.

Battery Power

Powering a Nano by battery requires a long list of considerations that are beyond the scope of this article. I would suggest that you look at an example like the NVIDIA Kaya robot project.


A useful utility for monitoring your Jetson Nano is tegrastats. It should be installed by default. It lets you monitor temperature and power usage.

To use it, run the following at the command line:

sudo tegrastats

Example output:

mitch@jet1:~$ sudo tegrastats
[sudo] password for mitch: 
RAM 1035/3965MB (lfb 372x4MB) IRAM 0/252kB(lfb 252kB) CPU [4%@102,6%@102,1%@102,0%@102] EMC_FREQ 2%@204 GR3D_FREQ 0%@76 APE 25 PLL@30C CPU@32C PMIC@100C GPU@29.5C AO@37C thermal@30.75C POM_5V_IN 1036/1036 POM_5V_GPU 41/41 POM_5V_CPU 124/124

The last line of data will update every second until you press Ctrl-C. If you want to keep it running, just leave it open in a second terminal window.

For information on what the various values mean, see: tegrastats Utility in the NVIDIA Tegra Linux Driver Package documentation.

Jetson Stats

Another utility that works at the command line is Jetson Stats.


Install Jetson Stats

sudo apt-get install python3-pip
sudo pip3 install -U pip
sudo -H pip install -U jetson-stats

Run Jetson Stats

sudo jtop

This will create a display of information on the state of the Nano.

Press q (as in quit) to exit.


Even though you can power a Jetson Nano using a Micro USB adapter, I would strongly recommend using a 5V 4A barrel jack power supply. Then immediately put it into 10W mode. Then use the utilities referenced in this article to setup and monitor the performance of the device.

Here is a list of additional articles that I’ve written on how to use the Jetson Nano:

About the Author

Mitch Allen has worked for software companies in Silicon Valley, along Boston’s Route 128 and in New York’s Silicon Alley. He currently works for a robotics company in Massachusetts.