First time Raspberry Pi user, and I have so far been very happy with the Brick Pi package. I got the ready to go package, and have so far been able to get everything working over wifi, including internet, PuTTy, VNC, and the Adafruit Raspberry Pi WebIDE. I have tried some python examples that worked well, motor tests etc.
The problem I have is that when I built the simplebot and unplugged the RPi usb power supply, and tried to run it remotely over wifi with a 6AA battery pack, after about 10 seconds of operation the wifi stops working because of the power draw. Unless the batteries are absolutely brand new out of the packet, the motors stop working as well. I also tried an 8AA battery pack which performed about the same. So, with only two motors and a wifi dongle, the battery power supply is insufficient for independent operation. I confirmed this by reconnecting the usb power supply along with the batteries and it worked fine for about 10 minutes before I stopped testing. I have looked in these forums and realize that the power draw of the RPi is a problem, but I didn’t think it would be this drastic.
I assume this is because my wifi dongle is probably not the most power efficient, but even if I replace it with a newer, better one, what sort of battery life can I expect and are battery-only powered projects really viable with the BrickPi, especially if I also want to use the ultrasonic sensor or more motors? Will modifying the BrickPi to the “upgraded power” version make much difference in this case? I have also heard suggestions of modifying the usb ports on the RPi to allow more power supply - is this possible/safe? Thanks for any help.