Let's Make Robots!


Provides regulated power and battery backup for low power systems.

The powerboard is part of a gardening project I've been working on that uses low power systems and integrates with a solar panel and battery backup. The intent was to use with with something like the msp430 series of chips and even to integrate with the MSP430 Launchpad. The board was designed to fit in a altoids smalls container and be somewhat self contained. This is just experimental so it's use and final outcome is yet to be seen. Components. The components are similar to the sparkfun designed lipo battery charger and in a way that helped in the initial thought....though looking at the docs, it is self explanatory as to how you would come up with the design. This also uses a 3.3v regulator to power the device that you would be connecting to. It has the standard set of caps and resistors as required, as well as a LED charge indicator. You can connect it to a usb port, or to a solar panel for charging/running your proc. Since this is designed for a low power setup, you won't be running bots from it, just some small sensors and a low power transmitter (something like the rfm12b).

Current status is in test.

  • Traces all checked out.
  • USB port functions correctly(only using power leads)
  • Vreg working as expected through battery and usb port
  • Charge circuit still undergoing testing.
  • Solar charging still needs to be tested.

The next iteration is a bit larger and will have an onboard processor for monitoring voltage levels of both the battery and the solar panel.

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I think the color of the board rocks .

Anyone who dares to go with surface mount components, deserves my admiration! Very clean design, voodoobot! Is the metal case just for size reference, or are you planning on mounting the board inside it?


Oh....trust me I have respect for the folks that can do 0603 and smaller....my hands aren't as steady as they once were and the 0805 as big as it is, is pretty damn small  :D

As for the case, the board was designed specifically to fit inside of it. I've been saving these cases, I have about a dozen to play with. They are nice, small and everything its perfectly inside,with the flip top, easy to access it if I need to. The design could have been better though, and I think it needs abit of work, but for a first prototype, I'm pretty happy with it. I'll mount it this weekend and drill the holes for the usb port and external power port. 

Thanks for your comment!

How will you isolate the back of the board from the metallic case? Plastic?

I was planning on lining the inside with electrical tape for the moment. I'm also looking at using plastic posts instead of metal ones(doing some shopping this weekend as I know a couple places to get some). I have to figure out the best way to actually route the external connector though. I was going to use jumper pins, but I'm thinking that would be risky and cause a possible short if they are too close to the top lid. I'm wondering if I should wire it through some gromets or some other way....we'll see.

The usb port should be fine as only the pins are connected and the plug(external facing) itself isn't connected to the ground plane. that was one of my concerns. I'm going to cut a small piece of shrink wrap though that'll fit over the bit that will go through the hole I need to cut in the case.


But I did hook it up to the solar panel just because...  :) Powerboard hooked up to solar panel and backup battery. Launchpad board connected to an io expander (MCP23018 SPI 16bit). on the press of the botton, the led's in the row  blink. Nothin special, just a test setup.  this setup can run from the solar panel alone given enough light.

hooked up

Almost complete. I still need to figure out the best way to get the power out and 5v input connectors. How I had originally planned it will most likely not work so I'll have to actually use 2 lead wire and some 2 pin connectors or maybe a power plug on the lid...we'll see...

So this is the board in the case and plugged into the usb port on comp. LED indicating charging...

top to get this working.

As far as I am concerned, it looks fantastic! Great looking job!

Nice board, single or double sided? I can manufacture them for LMRtians.

These were double as I needed to route some traces via via's.  :)

I sent you the layout/schematic right? If not, let me know if you want them, and I think the BOM...