Power supply for Arduino and Co.
Nothing works in microelectronics without power - logical, right? Therefore, it is all the more important that you deal with the different possibilities for the power supply of your beloved single-board computers. Therefore, we would like to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of power supply for your next project in the following.
To simplify the terminology, we will use the term "power supply" in the following, representing the power supply of the electronic components within a circuit.
For this purpose, let's first take a look at which aspects are particularly relevant for you when selecting the right power supply.
What is important when selecting the right power supply?
Before we turn to the advantages and disadvantages of the individual power sources, we need to check which types of power supply are suitable for our single-board computer in the first place. Usually, microcontrollers have a USB interface and/or an additional 2.1mm connector. If this additional connector is not available, this limits the choice to power supply with a conventional USB cable.
Single board computers like the Arduino UNO have a VIN pin, which can also be used to supply the controller with power.
Power supply with a USB cable
The power supply via a USB cable is recommended only conditionally: with a connection to the computer a continuous power supply is guaranteed here, however, the cable length also limits your project spatially at the same time. The remedy here is the power supply with a powerbank. However, since most craft projects are limited to the area of the home desk, the power supply with a USB cable is perfectly sufficient for many applications.
Power supply with a power bank
If you want to run your project in your own home, powering it with a power bank is a good option. You are only limited by the proximity to the nearest power outlet.
Power supply with batteries or rechargeable batteries
Power supply with commercially available block batteries or rechargeable battery packs is particularly popular. The connection to the microcontroller is established via a battery terminal or via a battery compartment. At the microcontroller the above mentioned 2.1mm connector is used. The power supply with a battery compartment/battery terminal is always recommended if no other continuous power supply can be guaranteed.
Using existing energy - with a solar cell
If you are looking for a suitable power supply for your home hobby project, you will not necessarily come across a solar cell. But solar cells have their justification, because they offer an enormous advantage compared to other energy sources: They allow a flexible use, independent of local conditions - only depending on the sun.