The first thing you'll learn when making robots is that they use a lot of power. So making sure you have your power supply all worked out is super important. We've tried to make the power supply as easy and safe as possible, so you don't have to worry about damaging your electronics or robot. To do that we made some important design decisions.
It's really important to read and understand how to power your Crickit!
- You MUST provide about 4-5 Volts DC power to the Crickit to power the servos, motors, solenoids, NeoPixels, etc.
- You CANNOT provide this power by plugging the Crickit, micro:bit, Feather, Raspberry Pi or Circuit Playground into USB. Computer USB ports cannot provide the 2 Amp + required to drive robotics, LEDs, speakers...
- Power to the Crickit is provided via the 2.1mm DC Jack only!
- The Cricket has two LEDs to let you know how the power supply is doing. If you see the green LED next to the smiley face, you're good to go. If you see the red LED next to the warning triangle, the voltage is too high, too low or too much current is being drawn.
- The Crickit power will also power the Circuit Playground Express, micro:bit, Raspberry Pi or Feather so you don't need separate power for your microcontroller board (however, if you want to plug it into USB for programming, that's totally OK too!)
Here's our recommended ways to power the Crickit:
These get wall power and give you a nice clean 5V DC power option. 5V 2A works for most project with a motor or two...
And a 5V 4A supply will give you lots of power so you can drive 4 or more servos, motors, etc. Use this if you notice you're running out of power with a 5V 2A adapter
On the go? Portable power is possible! Use AA battery packs.
The number of batteries you need depends on whether you are using Alkaline or NiMH rechargeables.
We recommend NiMH rechargeables. For one, they have less waste, but they also perform better than alkalines in high-current draw robotics. So if you can, please use NiMH!
NiMH batteries have a 1.3V max voltage, so 4 of them is 4 x 1.3 = 5.2 Volts. Perfect!
Alkaline batteries have a 1.5V max voltage, so 4 of them is 4 x 1.5 = 6 Volts. That's too high! Instead we recommend 3 in series for 3 x 1.5V = 4.5 VDC
If you're making a custom battery pack you may want to pick up a 2.1mm DC jack adapter, so you can connect battery pack wires
- LiPoly Batteries - 1 battery is 3.7V, too low. 2 batteries is 7.2V, too high! You could possibly use a 7.2V pack and then a UBEC to step down to 5V but its not recommended
- Lead Acid Batteries - These are heavy and you'll need a custom charging solution. You can probably get away with a 2 x 2V cell pack, or a 3 x 2V cell pack and then add some 1N4001 diodes to drop the voltage, but it's for advanced hacking!
- USB Power Packs - In theory you can use a USB to 2.1mm DC power adapter, but power packs sometimes dislike the kinds of current draw that motors have (high current peaks for short amounts of time) So experimentation is key!