LilyPad Basics: Powering Your Project

Contributors: Gella
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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 Product Page and the Documents Tab

Example of the documents tab for the LilyPad Arduino USB - ATmega32U4 Board.

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.

BoardVoltage Regulation Input Voltage
LilyTinyNo1.8V - 5.5V
LilyTwinkle / LilyTwinkle ProtoSnapNo1.8V - 5.5V
LilyMini ProtoSnap3.3V1.62V - 3.63V, 5.0V through USB
LilyPad Arduino SimpleNo2.7V - 5.5V
LilyPad Arduino SimpleSnap3.3V2.7V - 5.5V
LilyPad Arduino USB - ATmega32U4 Board3.3V2.7V - 5.5V
Lilypad USB Plus3.3V1.8V - 5.5V
LilyPad Arduino 328 Main BoardNo2.7V - 5.5V
LilyPad XBee3.3V1.8V - 9V
LilyPad Simblee BLE Board - RFD771013.3V1.8V – 3.6V
LilyPad MP33.3V3.7V - 6V