Photon Battery Shield

Sparkfun Photon Battery Shield

Refer to this excellent Sparkfun article on how to get the Photon Battery Shield working: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/photon-battery-shield-hookup-guide

‘Shields’ are basically a convention for describing companion circuit boards that work with microcontrollers, and have been made popular with the introduction of ‘DIY’ microcontroller platforms such as the Arduino.

This Photon Battery Shield is particularly suitable for our studio. It allows the connection of a LiPo (Lithium Polymer) battery to our Photon which makes mobile sensing and expressions easy. Plugging in a micro USB cable to the Photon will also recharge the LiPo battery which makes for a relatively compact solution for wearables.

As usual, this provides just a ‘ground-zero’ approach to working with battery power electronics. Come talk to me if your group has specific needs – designing your own PCBs, for example, can be a way to reduce the footprint of your wearable project, for example.

In the various recipes, you’ll find that the Battery Shield has been omitted from the circuit. This is done to reduce the clutter of each circuit diagram and not complicate the recipes. If you intend to use this Battery Shield, you should generally have the shield plugged into the breadboard, and then have the Photon sitting on the shield. You should also practice soldering 2 rows of header pins/sockets to the ‘wings’ of this shield – this allows much easier connecting of prototyping wire to the breadboard.

A COUPLE OF CRITICAL NOTES REGARDING LIPO BATTERY SAFETY:

LiPo batteries, if mishandled, are inherently dangerous.

  • Do not puncture, overheat, over-deplete.
  • Due to the configuration of the charge controller used, you MUST use a minimum capacity of 500mAH for your LiPo battery. Our equipment list suggests a 1,200mAH battery.
  • If your project is going to require a lot more electrical power (i.e. to drive lots of motors), you will need to explore alternative power sources to run those components. The LiPo battery is ideal for powering the microcontroller, sensors and low-power transducers (small amount of LEDs, tiny motors etc).

Again, check with me as you work on your project.