Power is a critical part in the operation of electrical systems, or in electronics, so do power supplies. Thus selecting the right power supply for your project, or electrical system is an essential part if you need better, and efficient outcomes.
Arduino projects are a great way to learn about electronics and build your own devices! The most common question in the Arduino community, however, is How do I power my Arduino? There are many options when it comes to powering an Arduino and understanding them can be challenging if you’re new to this hobby or technology.
There are numerous ways to power your Arduino. The most common way is a USB connector, and AC adapter that is present on every board. Along with the USB connector, some other possibilities are used to power Arduino. Let us discuss all ways in detail.
Some examples of Power supplies are:
- USB cable
- AC adapter
- Regulated power source
The Arduino board can perfectly operate on the power available on the USB port. It provides a DC voltage of 5V and is sourced from port to PC, wall socket adapter, or power bank. The USB port of Arduino can be connected to a desktop. If the connection is enumerated, the computer identifies the device, and the current supplied to the Arduino is approximately 500mA at 5V. If the link is not listed, 100mA is applied at 5V.
What things do you need to power your Arduino?
- It depends what Arduino board do you have? if you have an Arduino that doesn’t have a USB port, then it would have a barrel jack; it requires a printer cable to transfer your code.
- If your Arduino has a USB port then a normal android cable would be fine for your board.
What precaution do you need to take?
- Make sure you don’t supply more voltage than the recommended one. Otherwise you may damage your microcontroller board.
2. AC socket
An Arduino can be powered by wall outlets in three different configurations. The most obvious is simply plugging a power cord into a standard AC outlet. When used in conjunction with a compatible USB cable, you can also use a typical computer’s USB port as a direct power source for your board; just make sure that you get one with enough amperage capacity for your specific model. The third option is to use what are called bench-top or lab supplies, which are high voltage DC sources commonly found in schools and laboratories.
Batteries are a great source of power to an Arduino. There are different types of batteries used to provide power to an Arduino. Let’s look at some of the common rechargeable battery types:
- Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd)
- Lithium Polymer (LiPo)
Anyone you choose from these is a good choice for your project, but both have benefits and drawbacks. So, let’s go through each battery in detail.
Nickel-Cadmium batteries have a high cycle count and are the cheapest batteries among all three.
These batteries have a low energy density; that’s the reason that they offer less capacity in a cell. On the contrary, NiCd batteries usually deliver a high current, making them the perfect power tool. The notable point of NiCd is it contains heavy toxic material, so it is challenging to recycle nickel-cadmium batteries.
- Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries
These batteries are somehow similar to Nickel Cadmium batteries, but they provide improved incapacity. The major drawback of Nickel Metal Hydride batteries is their high self-discharging rate.
- Li-Po and Li-Ion batteries
Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries contain high energy compared to NiCd and NiMH batteries. The drawback of this battery is that you have to pay more for these batteries and lithium batteries require monitoring by the battery management system.
4. Solar panel
The issue with solar and rechargeable batteries is that they have a limited amount of charge; it could take you days or weeks to build up enough energy for your project. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead. You need a reliable source of electricity that can be accessed when you need it—unlimited sources like light bulbs and extension cords will only drain your battery faster, which leads us to our next option.
What components do you need to power up an Arduino?
- Arduino board
- Solar panel
- Data Cable or Printer Cable
- Jumper Wires
5. Use Coin Cells
Coin cells are inexpensive, small rechargeable batteries that fit perfectly into many projects. Typically they are used as backup power sources for low-power microcontrollers. These types of batteries can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all follow similar chemistry: one lithium cell wrapped inside a metal casing. Anytime you use coin cells in your project, it’s good practice to add additional components that prevent you from damaging or overcharging them. You also want to make sure you have ample warnings about using rechargeable batteries so people know what could happen if they misuse them.
6. Use AA batteries
An Arduino is a great prototyping platform, but if you want it to run for any real length of time, you’ll need some sort of a battery or other external power source. If your project needs something like USB connectivity as well, make sure that you’re providing enough current from your batteries. A fully-charged pair of AAs shouldn’t be able to provide much more than half an amp at 5 volts. Most Arduinos will pull a lot more than that while they are running; many will pull twice as much (or more). If your voltage drops below 4 volts, though, those AA batteries might not be up for powering your board—you might just get frustrated with them and throw them away!
Another way to power your Arduino board is by supplying voltage directly to the VIN pin. You need to connect the positive part of the power supply to the negative aspect of GND. You have to follow the specification of your Arduino board to figure the voltage range that your board can handle. VIN is an input only pin.
8. Screw terminal (only MKR FOX and WAN 1300)
Arduino boards come with a screw terminal that is used for a pair of AA or AAA batteries. At the same time, using the terminal respects the connector’s polarity that is labelled on the Arduino. You have to keep in mind that a 5V regulator cannot supply your choice’s current.
9. Use AAA batteries
If you want a cheap, simple way to power your Arduino project, use a few AAs with a battery holder. This can provide about 8-12 volts, which is great for powering small and simple projects. The nice thing about using batteries is that if you’re just testing out code or connections before attaching something more permanent (like double-sided tape), it’s easy to take apart and tweak things without making any permanent changes. It also means that when it’s time to move on to bigger and better things, your project isn’t permanently glued into place—it can come apart easily and be reassembled at a later date!
What should you be aware of when powering up an Arduino?
- Use different color jumper wires for specific tasks for example: Use black for ground, and red for power.
- Make sure you don’t overdrive current. Always measure current through all your components.
- It is recommended to test your circuits in parts rather than after completing the whole project. In this way you can easily identify the problem within the circuit.
- Before you apply the voltage check out the heat dissipation.
For people’s safety:
- Use proper stands for soldering iron, and other components that may be dangerous for people.
- If your project has some sharp propeller like robowars robots. Don’t forget to add a kill switch.
- Lipo batteries are a great source, but don’t over charge it. It may burn, or burst.
- Be very careful when you are troubleshooting the project or powering up the Arduino. It is recommended that you don’t touch the components without measuring the safety measures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Arduino run on 12V?
Yes, you can run your Arduino at 12V with the help of Vin pin, and GND pin. There is a regulator built-in in the microcontroller board; it will step down the voltage, and pass the recommended voltage to the required pin.
Note: I wouldn’t recommend you to use it because there are a lot of cheap Arduino boards, and clones available in the market that don’t use high quality voltage regulators. So you may end up damaging your Arduino board.
What power supply Can you use with my Arduino board?
AC Socket. Most of the boards in the Arduino family come with an AC socket. It is easy to use, and a much safer option than the others. AC Adaptors provide 7-10V to the Arduino board.
There are many methods of powering your Arduino, but not all of them are practical. The simplest and most economical way is to use a USB cable. Simply plug it into a USB port on your computer and you’re ready to go. However, if you need more power than what USB can provide, there are alternatives that don’t cost much more. For example, a battery pack can store energy so that it’s always available; just make sure you don’t overload your supply!
Some people choose solar panels as their source of power because they require little maintenance and they offer flexibility in placement.