Photon Battery Shield Hookup Guide

Pages
Contributors: Jimb0
Favorited Favorite 6

Introduction

Free your Photon from its USB cable by powering it through the Photon Battery Shield. The Battery Shield has everything your Photon needs to run off, charge, and monitor a LiPo battery.

Photon Battery Shield

The Shield features two unique IC’s: an MCP73831 charge controller and a MAX17043 LiPo fuel gauge. With them, you’ll be able to charge your battery through USB and monitor its voltage and state-of-charge.

Please Note: All SparkFun shields for the Photon are also compatible with the Core from Particle. The WKP, DAC and VBT pins on the Photon will be labeled A7, A6 and 3V3*, respectively, on the Core, but will not alter the functionality of any of the Shields.

Covered In This Tutorial

The purpose of this hookup guide is to familiarize you with the hardware and software of the Photon Battery Shield. It’s split into the following sections:

Required Materials

The Photon Battery Shield equips your Photon with just about everything it should need to use a LiPo battery – it even includes headers! Of course you’ll need the Battery Shield and a Photon.

Particle Photon (Headers)

WRL-13774
19
24
SparkFun Photon Battery Shield

DEV-13626
12.95
5

The one thing the Battery Shield doesn’t include is a battery. Our compatible LiPo batteries come in a variety of shapes and capacities – the larger the battery, the longer it will last. Any of the following will work:

PRT-00341
11 Retired
Lithium Ion Battery - 2000mAh

PRT-08483
12.95
26

PRT-10718
19 Retired
Lithium Ion Battery - 6Ah

PRT-13856
29.95
4

If you want to use a battery of your own, just make sure it’s a single-cell (3.7V nominal, ~4.2V max) lithium-polymer (LiPo) or lithium-ion (Li+). Optimally, choose one that is terminated with a 2-pin PH-series JST connector, otherwise you may need to do some wire splicing.

If you don’t already have one (or just want to stock up), you may also need a Micro-B USB Cable, which will come in handy when you need to recharge the battery. If you don’t want to plug that cable into a computer, a USB Wall Charger is useful to have on hand.

Suggested Reading

Using the Photon Battery Shield doesn’t require a whole lot of pre-existing knowledge. If you want to learn more about the foundational concepts in this tutorial, here are some guides we recommend:

Battery Technologies

The basics behind the batteries used in portable electronic devices: LiPo, NiMH, coin cells, and alkaline.

How to Power a Project

A tutorial to help figure out the power requirements of your project.

I2C

An introduction to I2C, one of the main embedded communications protocols in use today.

How Lithium Polymer Batteries are Made

We got the opportunity to tour the Great Power Battery factory. Checkout how LiPos are made!