March 25, 2016

BooSTick

Missed the Kickstarter? Buy at Adafruit!

Slightly larger than a AA battery with holder, but supplies higher voltage for anything!

This tiny board allows you to bring the power to your project, and not the other way around. Bring your micro to the sensor without running wires! A single AA battery is used to provide breadboard power of 5V or 3.3V (or other voltages by tuning the feedback resistors). A boost regulator provides the voltage.

BooSTick provides extremely small and convenient portable regulated power to Arduino, wearables, DIY, and other projects. The entire package is about the size of a single AA and can drive Arduino projects for many hours at a time. When the battery is used up, pop another in for continued use. Or use NiMH rechargeable batteries to reduce your footprint.

What can I do with a BooSTick?

​I’m glad you asked!

Prototyping: Since BooSTick plugs right into your breadboard, you can use it for prototype power and testing.

Clapper circuit needs more than 3.3V, BooSTick provides up to 5V
Clapper circuit needs more than 3.3V, BooSTick provides up to 5V

Wi-Fi: Even Wi-Fi is possible with the BooSTick.  The ESP8266 draws a bit of a current spike at some point in its operation, so a cap is required on the power supply to keep the BooSTick from dropping out during operation.  With the cap, Wi-Fi runs great!

Wi-Fi with a capacitor
Wi-Fi with a capacitor

Arduino: BooSTick plugs right into some Arduino boards and provides power in a footprint smaller than a standard shield.

BooSTick on Mega 2560
BooSTick on Mega 2560

At 200 mA output, BooSTick can handle even the biggest Arduinos. Even if you’re sloppy with power management in your code and you use a power hungry shield, you can use two BooSTicks in parallel to provide even more than 200 mA.

Two BooSTicks in parallel for very high current
Two BooSTicks in parallel for very high current

LED lights: I’ve used the BooStick in a POV (persistence of vision) project where I needed an untethered power source to put my electronics in a bike wheel: https://hackaday.io/project/6470-multi-sensor-pov-light​ ​​

POV light with 8 bit plumber
POV light with 8 bit plumber

Remote sensors:​ I used the BooSTick to power a TI RF2500 microcontroller board with a low power radio: http://www.ti.com/tool/EZ430-RF2500 with sensors attached to it. I needed to make sure the accelerometer I wanted to use for the POV light was in the right acceleration range so the wheel rotation wouldn’t just max it out all the time. I used the RF2500 to take acceleration measurements and radio them back to my PC.

TI's RF2500 low power radio board
TI’s RF2500 low power radio board

Specifications:

Voltage outputs:

  • 3.3 V (with jumper installed)
  • Pull the jumper for a full 5V supply! (included)
  • Other voltages between 1.8 V and 5.5 V are achievable by tuning the feedback resistors. Specify different voltage if desired.

Current limit (with new batteries). This is intended to be a peak current or a pulsed current.  A new battery will only last about 20 minutes at these levels before the output voltage drops more than 10%.

  • 5V: 220 mA
  • 3.3V: 320 mA
  • Valid for both Alkaline and NiMH

Run time:

  • 5V, 50 mA: 6 hrs
  • 3.3V, 50 mA: 12 hrs
  • Valid for both Alkaline and NiMH
  • Lower current/voltage generally leads to proportionally longer run time or more
  • Want more run time?  Hack on a C size battery holder for more than 2x run time!

Indicators:

  • Green power on LED
  • Red low battery LED

BooSTick is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Files are up on Hackaday:

https://hackaday.io/project/7050-boostick-small-aa-voltage-booster