solar minty lives !!

by ransomhall on Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:51 pm

Got my solar LiPo charger, Minty, and 6V 2W panel today and was able to get everything soldered in time for some late afternoon sun testing. Worked like a charm. The only small gripe I have is the barrel jack on the charger is pretty wimpy and did not mate well with the provided plug (an odd size too). I replaced the barrel jack with a JST, mostly because they are what I use for almost all of my gadgets and batteries. My vote would be to design the board with a couple of power adapter thru-hole options and let customers solder on their preference. All in all a great combination of components! My goal is to keep a FEZ Panda2 http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/256/ running on sunlight alone!
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by adafruit on Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:10 pm

neat! take some pix!
we think the next version will have a 2.1mm DC jack - we thought a smaller jack would be nice but they ended up not being as great as expected
there's also a DC in 2-pin 0,1" header. Just remember to solder a schottky in series with your panel!
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by ransomhall on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:03 pm

Tried posting pictures inline... funky!

Anyways, less than 5 minutes after I finished soldering, the minty magic was charging my DroidX...

Image
Last edited by ransomhall on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by adafruit on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:08 pm

nice work!
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by ransomhall on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:18 pm

Managed to crank out a (very) rough prototype this evening. With a scrap piece of plexiglass I mounted the Panda and components to the back of the solar panel. The battery is hiding under the Panda. This weekend, weather permitting, I'm going to profile the power and see if I can run this board completely "green".

Image

@adafruit - you certainly are fast with the replies!
Last edited by ransomhall on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by ransomhall on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:31 pm

The new lipo charger doing its thing on a beautiful summer day...

Image
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by gwolverine on Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:32 pm

Cool pics!! Where are you ordering your JSTs from?
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by adafruit on Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:53 pm

we have JST 2-pin cables in the shop, check under Cables/Wires on the left
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by ransomhall on Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:18 pm

I used to get them from SparkFun, but their female housing (white one in pic) is wimpy and connections end up being loose/flaky, even with limited use. The housing that came on this charger is much more robust (light tan colored in pic). Once I run out, I'll be looking for these. JSTs are great if you need to switch out connections regularly while tinkering/prototyping, but the best connector is, of course, solder!
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by justn on Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:11 pm

Do I need to buy a minty boost along with the new solar charger in order to charge via USB?
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by gwolverine on Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:33 pm

HammaSlamma,


What is the FEZ Panda circuit for??
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by mambo99 on Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:04 pm

HammaSlamma,

Awesome setup and great pics - I'm thinking about doing the same for my iPhone 4. Any suggestions?

Cheers,
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by adafruit on Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:54 pm

HammaSlamma wrote:I used to get them from SparkFun, but their female housing (white one in pic) is wimpy and connections end up being loose/flaky, even with limited use. The housing that came on this charger is much more robust (light tan colored in pic). Once I run out, I'll be looking for these. JSTs are great if you need to switch out connections regularly while tinkering/prototyping, but the best connector is, of course, solder!


we use genuine JST cables and connectors, we found the knockoffs were not so great. little more expensive tho :/
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by gwolverine on Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:21 pm

Just ordered some ;)
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Re: solar minty lives !!

by scottinnh on Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:32 am

justn wrote:Do I need to buy a minty boost along with the new solar charger in order to charge via USB?



The Lipo charger's mini-USB port is for input, to allow charging the LiPo battery. It does not output.

So yes, you need the minty if you want to charge some device which requires standard 5v power. The outputs on the LiPo charger board will output whatever power it sees from the battery or the solar panel (neither of which could provide a stable 5v on their own, which is why the Adafruit tutorial pipes the lipo charger board's "out" through the minty.

(Actually this gets me thinking, here is a good excuse to breadboard a minty, because you don't need the compact space of the mintyboost PCB).
Last edited by scottinnh on Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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