The SparkFun 5V/1A LiPo Charger/Booster is a no-nonsense circuit for generating one amp from a Lithium Polymer battery at 5V. This LiPo charger is a very economical choice that is equipped with a simple booster circuit utilizing the PAM2401 IC, and includes protection diodes so you can run multiple cells in series for an extra kick. While the booster circuit is in operation, this board can draw more current the lower the input voltage, making it perfect to deliver a strong charge in a small amount of time.
The circuit is constructed by feeding an MCP73831 charge controller IC to the LiPo port, and to the input of a PAM2401 boost controller. Multiple connection types are provided for the battery, charge source and switch to allow flexibility of application, and two LEDs provide feedback on system status. If you need more than 5V out of your project, the SparkFun LiPo Charger/Boosters can also be daisy-chained together to get a bigger bang for your buck.
Note: This is not a direct replacement for the SparkFun Power Cell, as it uses a different IC. Also, this board does not possess any undervoltage or other battery protection features, so we do recommend that you use it only with batteries with a built-in protection circuit.
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Based on 3 ratings:
1 of 1 found this helpful:
This little breakout does a lot. Steady 5V/1A output, solid. Elegant battery management, check. Nice shutoff, enable/disable, and configuration features to boot. However, the design simply follows the basic suggested/ typical layout and clearly ignores the application note for the MCP73831/2 Data Sheet on Input Overvoltage Protection (IOVP) -
"Input overvoltage protection must be used when the input power source is hot-pluggable. This includes USB cables and Wall-type power supplies. The cabling of these supplies acts as an inductor. When the supplies are connected/disconnected from the system, large voltage transients are created which may damage the system circuitry. These transients should be snubbed out. A transzorb connected from the V+ input supply connector to the 0V ground reference will snub the transients."
The unit is designed with a uUSB cable. To not expect unregulated/ spikey/ noisy/ non-linear input voltages is simply neglectful. Over time, hot plugging/ unplugging this unit will most likely kill the MCP73831 over time. A simple TVS diode for 10-20 cents would make this a much more stable and reliable design. As is, expect it to fail relatively quick.
Works as advertised. One comment: Reading the description I expected the "enable" pin would disable the boost, but I found it disables all output. Re-reading the spec, that is what it says. Thus there apparently is no way to disable boost.
The small size is perfect for a small battery box I built as an alternative to the 4-AA battery power source for a portable sky tracker for astrophotography. The combination of charging and boosting as well as a battery disconnect switch capability without snipping battery leads is a dream come true for small hobby builds. And the red "Power On" LED is night-vision friendly.
Note that the math to calculate your battery capacity might not be simple for your load. This circuit will bend over backwards to meet the power needs of the load in spite of a falling input voltage, which means that the current draw from the battery will increase as time goes on. The worthy LiPo batteries include a low voltage cutoff function to avoid damage by being over drawn. My tracker draws a consistent 50 mA and I was able to get just 16 hours of operation from a 1400 mAH LiPo battery. The simplistic math is 1400/50 = 28 hours. So it would be best to test your project if you need to rely on it for a long running session, and maybe consider selecting a larger battery than the simple math would suggest.
I'm giving it 4 stars: starting with 5 for doing exactly what it says, then taking off 1 for the unavoidable realities of physics that aren't Sparkfun's fault.