Photon Battery Shield Hookup Guide
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.
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:
- Battery Shield Overview – A quick overview of the components and features of the Photon Battery Shield.
- Using and Charging a LiPo Battery – Some tips and tricks for running off, and charging a LiPo battery with the Shield.
- Using the MAX17043 LiPo Fuel Gauge – Example code – including a Particle library – demonstrating how to read the voltage and state-of-charge outputs, plus other features of the MAX17043 IC.
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.
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:
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.
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:
- How to Power a Project – Hopefully you’ve already figured this out, since you’re reading a Battery Shield tutorial. This tutorial does have an enlightening section on battery power.
- Battery Technologies – Specifically, check out the section on Lithium Polymer batteries.
- How Lithium Polymer Batteries are Made – Learn everything you always wanted to know about what goes on behind the scenes at a battery factory.
- I2C Communication – I2C is a popular low-level, two-wire communication standard. This is what we’ll use to communicate with the MAX17043 fuel gauge IC.