Power category

PowerPlant, A Personal Power Assistant

Imagine you won’t need electricity mains wherever you are outside! PowerPlant by Nuuq is trying to solve this issue by providing its charging mains-alike power bank. PowerPlant is light enough to be convenient to carry, suitable for you backpack and is TSA approved. Also, it is powerful enough to charge loads of device with its 95 Watts power output.

Check this video to know more about PowerPlant:

Power on the go!

Fortunately, PowerPlant includes a universal plug input, a replaceable battery, plus an inner temperature protection. In addition, it will provide you with easy read via its LCD plus fast charging. Furthermore, it has many competitive advantages compared to similar products.

To summarize, below are the full specifications of PowerPlant:

  • Universal plug for 2 & 3 pin plugs (ideal for USA, UK, Europe and Australia)
  • Output 19v/1.58A 5v 2.4A
  • Output: AC 100 – 240v/95W (max)
  • Modified Sine Wave Inverter
  • Replaceable 20100mAh lithium-Ion battery
  • 2 x 2.4A 5v fastcharge USB ports
  • 1 x USB-C
  • 1 x 19 Volt fast charge charging port
  • LCD display with battery charge, temperature, AC, DC and In/Out display
  • IP4 Splash-proof water resistance

PowerPlant is now live on a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Amazingly, it has achieved 500% of its goal and still has 11 days to go. Finally, PowePlant is available for $150, you can check the campaign for more details.

5V to Dual 12V Step Up DC-DC Converter Using LM2588-ADJ

Lots of op-amp based circuits require dual (symmetrical) power supply. This tiny circuit is a simple solution which provides +/-12V DC 300mA from single 5AV DC   input. The board is based on LM2588-ADJ IC from Texas instruments. Step up from 5V to dual 12V is the best part of the circuit since 5V is easily available.

The LM2588-adj regulator IC specifically designed for fly back, step-up (boost) and forward converter applications, this regulator are cost effective and simple to use due to minimum number of external components.  The power switch is a 5A NPN device that can stand-off 65V. Protecting the power switch are current and thermal limiting circuits, and an adjustable frequency that can be programmed up to 200Khz. other feature include soft start mode to reduce in rush current during start up, and current mode control for improved rejection of input voltage and output load transient and cycle-by-cycle current limiting.

5V to Dual 12V Step Up DC-DC Converter Using LM2588-ADJ – [Link]

New Batteries with 3 & 15 Times Energy Density

With the rapid growth of battery-based devices and tools, efficient energy storage systems are becoming more and more important. Of course there are many researches running around the world working on novel battery technologies. Two new cell technologies are working to deliver energy density of 3 and 15 times of conventional lithium cells.

The first is a group of scientists from Rice University, they solved the dendrite problem of commercial lithium-ion batteries providing a three times capacity rechargeable lithium metal battery. Dendrites are whiskers of lithium that grow inside batteries, and they can cause fires like those in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. They are considered a major issue for next-generation lithium batteries.

Lithium metal coats the hybrid graphene and carbon nanotube anode in a battery created at Rice University. The lithium metal coats the three-dimensional structure of the anode and avoids forming dendrites. Courtesy of the Tour Group.
Lithium metal coats the hybrid graphene and carbon nanotube anode in a battery created at Rice University. The lithium metal coats the three-dimensional structure of the anode and avoids forming dendrites. Courtesy of the Tour Group.

The main idea of the research is to coat high conductive hybrid graphene and carbon nanotubes with metallic lithium. These low density and high surface area nanotubes have space for lithium particles to slip in and out as the battery charges and discharges.

“Lithium-ion batteries have changed the world, no doubt, but they’re about as good as they’re going to get. Your cellphone’s battery won’t last any longer until new technology comes along.”  – James Tour, leader of the research team

A prototype of a battery with 3.351 Ah/g capacity, retains 80% of the original capacity after 500 charge cycles.

In Japan, and especially at the NIMS (National Institute for Materials Science), another research is working to create a Lithium-air battery that has the highest theoretical energy density because it uses oxygen in air. Its capacity reaches 15 times of the conventional Lithium batteries.

The electrode material has an enormous surface area thanks to ​​carbon nanotubes. Researchers achieved 30 mAh/cm² capacity in the lab, which will be amazing if realized in a commercial product. Work is ongoing to produce real practical samples with high energy density and a system to filter impurities from the air.

Source: Elektor

Adjustable constant current source

Dilshan Jayakody has published a new build:

The current source introduced in this article is capable to handle current up to 6A with maximum input voltage of 50V. This is an operational amplifier based adjustable current source and it uses LM358 in a general voltage follower configuration. To handle large currents we use four 0.1Ω 20W resistors as “load resistor”, and those load resistors are drive through pair of 55N06 N-channel MOSFET transistors.
The power supply unit of this project is build around 9V x 2 (2A) step-down transformer and it is design to get regulated 12V DC voltage. In our design this 12V power source is used to drive LM358 Op-Amp and 12V cooling fan.

Adjustable constant current source – [Link]

6V Lead Acid Battery Charger using BQ24450

6V Lead acid (SLA) battery charger project is based on BQ24450 IC from Texas instruments. This charger project takes all the guesswork out of charging and maintaining your battery, no matter what season it is. Whether you have a Bike, Robot,  RC Car,  Truck, Boat,  RV, Emergency Light, or any other vehicle with a 6v battery, simply hook this charger maintainer up to the battery. The bq24450 contains all the necessary circuitry to optimally control the charging of lead-acid batteries. The IC controls the charging current as well as the charging voltage to safely and efficiently charge the battery, maximizing battery capacity and life. The IC is configured as a simple constant-voltage float charge controller. The built-in precision voltage reference is especially temperature-compensated to track the characteristics of lead-acid cells, and maintains optimum charging voltage over an extended temperature range without using any external components. The low current consumption of the IC allows for accurate temperature monitoring by minimizing self-heating effects.  In addition to the voltage- and current-regulating amplifiers, the IC features comparators that monitor the charging voltage and current. These comparators feed into an internal state machine that sequences the charge cycle.

6V Lead Acid Battery Charger using BQ24450 – [Link]

What Is Household Ground?

Image source: RimstarOrg Youtube channel
Image source: RimstarOrg Youtube channel

RimstarOrg published an interesting video on his Youtube channel to demonstrate why In north America you can find 3 holes in the electricity socket; which are hot, neutral and ground.

Image source: RimstarOrg Youtube channel
Image source: RimstarOrg Youtube channel

The hot wire goes to a breaker-panel and then to electricity grid and finally to a transformer somewhere. While the neutral line is connected with a bar in the breaker-panel and goes directly to the electricity grid and then to the transformer. Mostly, these wires’ colors are respectively black, white.

Breaker-panel — Image source: RimstarOrg Youtube channel
Breaker-panel — Image source: RimstarOrg Youtube channel

To understand why having a ground in household appliances is important, the video explained a use-case; a microwave-oven with 3 wires electricity plug where the electricity flows between the hot and the neutral, while the ground is connected to the external case. However, if the hot wire isolation gets damaged and attached to the case, the grounded case will make a low resistance path for the electricity. This will protect you from an electric shock because the electricity in this low resistance path will be very high forcing the breaker switches off.

Image source: RimstarOrg Youtube channel
Image source: RimstarOrg Youtube channel

Having a ground in the electrical system can play a role in the places where lightning can occur by forming a discharging path for charged cases in your house.
To understand more about household ground and other different meanings and applications of earth and ground watch the complete video below:


Source: Adafruit Blog

ESPurna-H, A Compact Open Source Hardware Wireless Power Wall Switch

Controlling your AC loads using wireless power switch is not a new concept. Several commercial products from several vendors can be found on the market such as Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Socket Plug, SAMSUNG’s SmartThings Power Outlet and Sonoff Pow WiFi Switch from ITEAD.

Using ESP8266 makes the building of a customized WiFi power switch more affordable especially if you start with Sonoff Pow WiFi Switch design and you use a special Arduino C firmware called ESPurna developed by Xose (tinkerman) which is an open source firmware for ESP8266 based wireless switches such as Sonoff POW and many others.

After Xose has built the software ــ ESPurna, he decided to build his own smart switch board to meet his special needs. ESPurna-H electronic design is very similar to Sonoff POW’s one; it uses ESP12 module as a controller and as WiFi transceiver.


AC power monitoring is done using HLW8012 IC which is also present in Sonoff POW. This IC monitors both voltage and current of the AC power, and output RMS voltage, current and active power encoded as a 50% duty cycle square wave where the frequency is proportional to the magnitude. I should mention that ESPurna supports interfacing with HLW8012. In addition AC load is enabled/disabled by using a 10A relay.

ESPurna-H uses HLK-PM01 AC-DC step-down power supply module. The 100-240 VAC input range so the board can be used anywhere in the world and the good performance made Xeos select this module.

HLK-PM01 Inside (Image Source ــ lygte-info.dk )
HLK-PM01 Inside (Image Source ــ lygte-info.dk )
HLK-PM01 Inside (Image Source ــ lygte-info.dk )
HLK-PM01 Inside (Image Source ــ lygte-info.dk )

ESPurna-H has another option to enable/disable the relay using a capacitive touch switch using TTP223 module.

Xose designed the board with Eagle CAD and released the schematics, PCB layout and other hardware design files on Github.

Source: cnx-software

Body Heat Provides Wearables With Eternal Power

The first watch to make use of the body’s natural heat to uphold battery charge in wearables is now even being crowdfunded on Indiegogo. Who else but researchers from Texas A&M University (a hot place) came up with the solution.

In today’s wearables battery life is a bottleneck, as increasing amounts of technology gets packed into lightweight designs comfortable enough for everyday wear. That’s why Texas A&M professor Choongho Yu and his PhD student, Suk Lae Kim, designed a thermally-chargeable solid-state supercapacitor.

Despite having no apparent links with the researchers, a smartwatch which uses the same thermoelectric concept has arrived on Indiegogo seeking crowdfunding. The MATRIX PowerWatch claims to be the world’s first smartwatch that you never have to charge.

Thermoelectric technology converting heat to electric power is based on the Seebeck effect discovered in 1821. In the absence of an applied voltage gradient, an electric current can still be generated if there is a temperature gradient. A thermoelectric material must have a low thermal conductivity and high electrical conductivity to function efficiently.

PowerWatch runs off your body heat and when you take it off, your data is stored in memory and it goes to sleep. When you put it back on, the watch resumes where you left it. It’s got a power meter that tells you how much electricity your body heat is producing.

The standard Indiegogo pricing is $139, the crowdfunding page is here. On January 14, 2017 the product  was 937% funded.

Source: Elektor

Flow battery can run for 10 years with zero maintenance

by Jan Buiting @ elektormagazine.com:

Harvard University researchers have developed a low-cost flow battery that stores energy in organic molecules dissolved in neutral pH water. In their report (see below) they claim that the new battery can run for a decade or more without maintenance.

Flow battery can run for 10 years with zero maintenance – [Link]