Photon Battery Shield Hookup Guide

Contributors: Jimb0
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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)

SparkFun Photon Battery Shield


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:

Lithium Ion Battery - 2000mAh

Lithium Ion Battery - 6Ah


19 Retired

11 Retired

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.


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!