LilyPad Basics: Powering Your Project
Calculating Power Needs: Operating Voltage
Most LilyPad projects can operate easily on a 3.7V rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery. The microcontroller or main sensor or component that each LilyPad board is built around has its particular operating voltage needs documented in its datasheet. You can find the datasheet for a product in the Documents tab of the catalog page on SparkFun.com.
When reading the datasheet, look for Operating Voltages - the document will typically provide a minimum and maximum voltage range. If there is no datasheet attached to the product, you can also check the schematic.
If you don't give a board a large enough voltage, it may not operate correctly (you could see strange behavior in how code runs on a LilyPad Arduino, odd readings from sensors in the Serial Port, or dim LEDs). If you project is receiving voltage above its recommended range, you could potentially damage the board or reduce the operating time significantly. Make sure the power source you choose for your project is within the board's recommended range.
Here is a list of common LilyPad Boards and their needs. The middle column displays the regulated voltage on the board from the input voltage. If you choose a board that does not include a built-in regulator, you will need to pay close attention to your power source to make sure it is compatible with your project. The last column shows the input voltage that each board can take, notice that this can be above 3.3V, the suggested operating voltage of a LilyPad project.
|Board||Voltage Regulation||Input Voltage|
|LilyTiny||No||1.8V - 5.5V|
|LilyTwinkle / LilyTwinkle ProtoSnap||No||1.8V - 5.5V|
|LilyMini ProtoSnap||3.3V||1.62V - 3.63V, 5.0V through USB|
|LilyPad Arduino Simple||No||2.7V - 5.5V|
|LilyPad Arduino SimpleSnap||3.3V||2.7V - 5.5V|
|LilyPad Arduino USB - ATmega32U4 Board||3.3V||2.7V - 5.5V|
|Lilypad USB Plus||3.3V||1.8V - 5.5V|
|LilyPad Arduino 328 Main Board||No||2.7V - 5.5V|
|LilyPad XBee||3.3V||1.8V - 9V|
|LilyPad Simblee BLE Board - RFD77101||3.3V||1.8V – 3.6V|
|LilyPad MP3||3.3V||3.7V - 6V|
Most boards in the LilyPad system are designed to operate at the system voltage (3.3V), but if you are mixing and matching from other sewable or non-sewable product lines you may encounter a sensor or board that needs 5V. In this case, first try to find a 3.3V version of the board. If needed, you can hook up a Bi-Directional Logic Level Converter.