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Battery Charging via USB

Home Forums Mayfly Data Logger Battery Charging via USB

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    • #2294
      Julie
      Participant

      The Mayfly seems to be able to charge the LiPo battery via a solar panel connected to the USB port. Does this method have the same protection (from overcharging the battery) as charging via the JST?

    • #2297
      Shannon Hicks
      Keymaster

      The solar panel shouldn’t be connected to the USB port. Solar panels should only be connected to the JST jack labeled “SOLAR”. The LiPo charger circuitry on the Mayfly will use the solar panel voltage to charge the battery.

      If you connect a USB cable to the USB jack, then the charging circuitry will use that voltage, and yes, the battery will be protected from overcharging either way.

    • #2298
      Julie
      Participant

      We have some solar panels (6v) that are attached to micro USB ports. We used them to power other micro controllers. It looks like both JST and USB inputs are connected to the same circuitry and I am curious about using our current hardware to power the Mayfly. I was just wondering if there was a specific reason this should not be used.

    • #2299
      Shannon Hicks
      Keymaster

      You say you use these solar panels to power other microcontrollers. Is this a bare solar panel that outputs 6v in full sunlight and 0v in the dark, or is it one of those solarpanel/battery combo things that has a built-in battery so it always outputs a constant even in the dark?

    • #2306
      Julie
      Participant

      Yep! Just a bare solar panel (actually 5V) soldered to a microUSB connector. The yellow LED on the Mayfly comes on in sunlight and goes off inside/in deeper shade and the battery charges.

      Parts used below:
      https://www.adafruit.com/product/1390
      https://www.amazon.com/ALLPOWERS-Encapsulated-Battery-Charger-130x150mm/dp/B00CBT8A14/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

      I’ll go ahead and order some JST connectors just to be safe. Thanks!

    • #2310
      Shannon Hicks
      Keymaster

      You haven’t mentioned what battery you are using. But the problem with using a solar panel on the USB port is that the voltage supplied by the panel in direct sunlight will cause a transistor switch on the Mayfly to essentially “disconnect” the battery from the processor power supply and use the voltage from the panel to supply power to the entire board. But since the solar panel can’t supply an adequate current, then the board will be unstable. That’s why there’s a separate “SOLAR” input on the Mayfly. When you use it as intended, the board is powered by the battery at all times, and the charge regulator on the Mayfly will charge the battery whenever there’s sufficient sunlight. It also works best with a 6v solar panel, so unless you have lots of direct sun, your panel will likely be supplying around 4v, which isn’t going to do much, especially if you’ve got it connected to the USB jack instead.

      So I would highly recommend you use a 6v solar panel, and one that is completely waterproof and rugged if you’re using it outdoors. We use panels made by Voltaic Systems (https://www.voltaicsystems.com/2-watt-panel), and you can get a handy bracket for them (https://www.voltaicsystems.com/small-bracket) and an extension cable (https://www.voltaicsystems.com/extension-with-exposed-leads). Just solder a JST connector onto the extension cable, and you’ve got a rugged and weatherproof way to charge the Mayfly. For batteries, a 2200mAh Lipo is usually sufficient and can be charged in less than an hour of sunlight if your Mayfly sleeps or doesn’t have much current draw.

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