Feeds

Boffin dreams up smart battery gizmo for Raspberry Pi fiddlers

Kickstarter drive aims to bring backup juice to the masses

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Raspberry Pi-packing makers who are devising mobile projects or seeking to set up stationary Pi-based devices that operate beyond the reach of the mains will get a big jolt of help next May if a new doohickey wins sufficient backing on crowd-funding site Kickstarter.

MoPi is a T-shaped board that drops onto the tiny computer’s GPIO pins to provide smart input from DC power sources.

Driving a Pi on battery power is nothing new, of course, but the MoPi, designed by Sheffield University computer science boffin Hamish Cunningham, provides solutions to the most common problems encountered when constructors run Pis away from the mains.

MoPi

MoPi allows two parallel energy sources to be connected to the Pi so dying batteries can be swapped while other cells continue to power the Pi. In conjunction with software it will detect an ailing battery feed and shut the Pi down in good time to prevent a sudden loss of power from potentially corrupting the computer’s SD storage.

If the computer is running off the mains too, the MoPi allows the batteries to operate as an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).

The MoPi board includes pass-through GPIO ports so it’ll be easy to solder on a second set of GPIO pins if you have other devices you need to hook up to your Pi too.

Other refinements include a pair of LEDs to give a visual indication when the voltage on either or both has fallen to a critically low level. A third LED indicates the state of the combined power being fed to the Pi. The on-board electronics are managed by a programmed microcontroller, which also drives the board’s 5V switch mode voltage stabiliser.

At the moment, the microcontroller knows how to deal with alkaline and NiMH rechargeable batteries, but Hamish is working to add support for Lithium Ion rechargeables too. He also wants to allow it to feed 3.3V to the Pi, which is capable of running at that voltage.

Kickstarter pledges of £18 or more will get you a MoPi when it ships. Pledge at least £130 and you can also get one of the two education-oriented outdoor experimentation kits Hamish and Co. will also be supplying. More info on Kickstarter. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.