Raspberry Pi Battery Board V2 & V3

A Better Battery Board

I wanted to create a more generic version of my battery board that could easily be used with either a Model A or a Model B Raspberry Pi without electrical or mechanical modification.  The board would utilize the same electronic components of my V1 board but have a form factor that allowed it to be simply plugged into a stock Raspberry Pi.   After hacking away at some prototyping PCB, this is what I came up with:

BB ver3 e1389649845642 300x226 Raspberry Pi Battery Board V2 & V3     BB ver3a e1389649862505 300x263 Raspberry Pi Battery Board V2 & V3

In the above left picture above the blue rectangle is a slide switch to turn on/off power to the boost circuit.   The little white shrink wrapped package with six holes in it is a charge circuit with a big heat sink attached to it.  The heat sink for the charge circuit was a work around that would allow the charge circuit to charge a battery at 500mA. 

As for the board shape, I had to make cut outs that would allow clearance for the RCA Video jack, USB port and ethernet port.   It would make the board more difficult to produce but made the whole package 2 to 3 mm thinner. This is what the board looks like when mounted to a model B Raspberry Pi (without battery):

BB ver3 mounted 300x174 Raspberry Pi Battery Board V2 & V3

Custom Etched PCBs

I recently had an opportunity to create a custom printed circuit board for an automation project I was helping a relative with.   I watched a few tutorials on You Tube to help guide me through the process of using Cadsoft Eagle to generate a design including this one posted by Jeremy Blum.  I had the boards for the automation project manufactured by Advanced Circuits and was able to get three PCBs made for $99 in about a week.  

While shopping for someone to have my printed circuit boards made I ran across Seeed Studio and Itead Studio who both offer very reasonable board manufacturing costs if you are willing to wait about a month for the final product.  I decided to take the plunge and try Seeed Studio with a battery board design.  I went to work in eagle and had a design in a couple of days.  After $30 and about four weeks of waiting I received five boards in the mail.  Below is a picture of one of the boards populated and one without components installed:

BB ver4 mounted 1024x382 Raspberry Pi Battery Board V2 & V3

If you look at the populated board on the right you can see the rubber foot that I use to support the battery board on top of the Raspberry Pi HDMI port.  On the right side of the board, below the mini USB plug are two LEDs –  one that illuminates when a load is being powered and the other that lights up during active battery charging.  There’s enough area on the top side of the board to mount a battery ~75mm x 55mm x5mm if header pin access is not used (the batteries I can find in this size range are about 3000mAh.  If the header pin pass through is used the available area for the battery shrinks to a width of just under 50mm – the batteries I can find in this size are about 2000 mAh.   

Here’s a video of the battery board in use with the Adafruit PiTFT board:

22 comments on “Raspberry Pi Battery Board V2 & V3
  1. Vincent almanza says:

    Very cool! Are u going to sell it or release the design plans for it anytime soon?

    • sgyoshida says:

      I thought I would wait a month or two and see if others are interested in incorporating something like this into their own projects. If there’s enough interest, I may have a batch of the boards made. Depending on how much interest, I could do kit with either populated or bare PCBs.

      -Steve

      • STrRedWolf says:

        I’m interested! Will it supply enough power for a model B with a pair of Wifi cards?

        • sgyoshida says:

          I’ve never tried it with more than one WiFi card. The three types USB WiFi adapters I’ve used haven’t had a problem. Using two would probably be pushing the 1A limit that the boost circuit could handle though.

  2. Zak says:

    Interested. :)

  3. faisal says:

    amazing, are you going to sell it.
    and if your interested more, I am thinking of starting R&D lab in UAE, and your experience is valuable.

    Thanks

    • sgyoshida says:

      I may put together a kit. Waiting to get an idea how many I could sell.

      • Shiggydiggy says:

        No doubt i think you would make lots of money off this, many people hope to make the RPI Portable, and the extended GPIO pins allow people to still use it for it’s full potential.

        • sgyoshida says:

          Working on another version of the board – hopefully for production at some point. The new board will have a a single push button for on/off control. The slide switch I was using was kind of expensive compared to the other components.

  4. Richard Lavoie says:

    Interested ! That could act like a primitive UPS, is it monitorable ? (I’m a newbie in hardware)

    • sgyoshida says:

      I have powered a Raspberry pi through the charge circuit and it seems to work. Unplugging didn’t reset the Pi. A lot depends on how much current the AC adapter can supply and possibly what the voltage differences are between the 5V coming from the boost circuit and the 5V coming from the AC adapter.

      The board has only two LED indicators. One LED shows if there is a charging current going through the battery, the other shows if there is a load present on the boost circuit.

  5. Andreas says:

    I am interested

  6. Kevin Reilly says:

    Interested++

  7. Evgeniy Raev says:

    still interested

  8. Eric A. Nygren says:

    I very much want 1 to 100s of these battery units. I’d love them even more if they were stackable for very long term use.

    -Eric

    • sgyoshida says:

      I’ve been considering sending the design to one of the PCB manufacturing houses based in China to get a quote. Thing is, I believe the quantities required to get the cost in a reasonable range would be in the thousands. From the response I’ve been getting, I could probably only sell a few hundred or so.

      I haven’t tried running several units in parallel. There might be some issues with the voltage regulation on the boost converter output.

      • Joshua Clanton says:

        I am extremely interested in this project, and want to buy by the bucket full! How may I stay informed on new developments regarding this project, and its availability for purchase?

        • sgyoshida says:

          I have been planning on sending out a new version of the board for a quote but have been tied up with another project. As soon as I have more information I will post it here on my site.

  9. Jaden says:

    Hi there, I am an Engineering student in Australia in my Honours year. For my thesis this battery unit would be perfect! Is there any chance I could get in contact with you to either discuss purchasing one or more details on how it was made? Any information would be fantastic, I have had a look at other possibilities to power the Pi with a screen attached but this is the best for what I am trying to make.

    Cheers, from Jaden.

  10. Joseph Steven Armienti says:

    Interested in buying a few for my projects

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