The SparkFun Photon Battery Shield provides you with an easy way to power your Photon module with a Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery. Not only can the Battery Shield power your Photon, but you will also be able to charge a LiPo battery through it. The board comes with a JST connector for your single-cell LiPo battery and utilizes the Photon’s on-board micro-USB connector for the charge input.
This battery shield uses a MCP73831 for LiPo charging and a MAX1704X for fuel gauging. This is a very simple shield for your Photon to provide it basic and on-the-go power wherever and whenever you might need it! The SparkFun Photon Battery Shield comes with the headers already soldered on, so you can plug and play!
The Particle Photon is a tiny WiFi development kit for creating connected projects and products. Sporting a 120MHz ARM Cortex M3 and built-in WiFi, the Photon is not only powerful, but easy to use. The small form factor is ideal for IoT projects with cloud connectivity.
Note: Not only can this shield operate with the Photon, but it can also be used with the Particle Core!
This board defaults to a 500mA charge rate - it does not have the jumper to swap between the 500mA and 100mA values like the other boards we use based on the mcp73831 charging IC.
If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 6 ratings:
2 of 2 found this helpful:
Forgetting the fact that my Photons have not arrived yet, I studied this shield for use with the Weather Shield, a 6Ah LiPo, and the 4.5 watt solar panel. Everything seems to be fine as long as I remember to cut the I2C pull-ups on the shield. I have the Weather Meter device and a weather resistant enclosure so when I mount my project outside, it will stay powered for a very long time. I have all of the Photon Shields and like the size, features and construction. Very good quality. But, like most of us, I am waiting for my Photons to arrive. The moment they do, I will simply plug them into this shield, which is plugged into the weather shield with all its sensors connected, and will then see first hand how all these Photon products operate.
Update: After receiving my Photon, I assembled my weather station using the weather shield and the battery shield. I also added a photocell for reading light levels and connected the soil moisture sensor and soil/water temperature sensor. Everything works perfect. I have found that running this system constantly will expire the 6Ah Lipo after 25 hours. I then changed the software to have the photon sleep for 1 minute, wake up and take readings for 1 minute then back to sleep. 1 minute on, 1 minute off. This extended the life of the Lipo for 4 days. However, the solar panel didn’t charge the battery at all during this time since the sun never shined. It was always cloudy. Will probably go to a larger solar panel and manage the sleep time more so it will stay alive for at least a week without any sunny days. But, as far as I am concerned, these shields worked fine and the software libraries are extremely helpful.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
I have this connected to a 2.5W (Solar Cell Large) solar call and it’s working perfectly to charge a 1000mAh battery, running a Photon that’s sleeping for 20 min, then awakening, taking a temp/humidity reading, and going to sleep for another 20 min. After sundown it wakes every 60 min so as to conserve power. I have plenty of power at this point, even on cloudy days.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
The battery shield is an extremely valuable addition to the Photon ecosystem! I have not yet tested it thoroughly (especially in combination with photon sleep states) , but it works like a charm so far.
small tip for improvement: The JST connector is too much recessed, so it is not easy to pull out the battery cable.
I will start by saying I love getting little red boxes from SparkFun!
So this battery shield works well with a LiPo battery that I bought from Adafruit about a year ago with one of their Arduino Uno Power Boost Shield (which died after a week). The battery I have is the 2500mAh 3.7v LiPo.
Sort of wondering why there are two set of 12 pin header spots on the PCB? The stacking headers are super long and would fit on the spots on the next shield down.
The guide that shows you how to access the battery gauge works very well and I have have logging my battery for about 2 hours and thus far have only used about 4%. Anyways, SparkFun always delivers!!!
I am beginner at tinkering and so boards like these make my life easy. While I will spend time and learn the fuel gauge and battery charging circuits, this battery shield did help me in quickly prototyping a device. That is the great utility part.
Coming to the not so great part… the design. If this is meant for beginners who do not know how to build a fuel gauge circuit, It can be assumed that these beginners will be using standard breadboards. With that huge space for extra through hole pins, it covers the entire bread board. Needed to use more jumper wires / extra breadboard. Connected some wires from under the shield to the bread board. Now every time a change is needed, have to unplug all wires, remove the shield and make changes. Cumbersome!
Maybe its just me. But just the photon form factor would have been easier to manage.