Power – On/Off


Initially I wanted a simple on and off switch integrated into the circuitry of each device in order to cut power and preserve power when not in use. This is logical and is seen in almost all of our wireless or portable appliances.

Whilst discussing this with Ali Napier at djcadMAKE, he suggested powering down the microcontroller using code to put it into ‘SLEEP’ mode. This was intriguing and also meant looking into ways in which we can wake it up using the interactions possible with the device. I set out to do some research about ‘SLEEP’ mode and found some interesting facts. I would be able to interrupt sleep using the sensor or button pad as mentioned before, and also I can control how long until the device would sleep for. I looked at the code, it was real simple to integrate and there was a library for it! This was exciting and I went ahead and created my circuit boards with the ‘Sleep mode integration’ checkbox low on my todo list.

Fast-forwarding to the present as I reached this checkbox, powering down the arduino into sleep mode wouldn’t save near enough power as I had hoped. It was likely I’d still have to charge the batteries very frequently due to them dying (mostly because of the general power consumption of each component).  This means I need to reconsider using a simple switch.

I’ve bought some surface mount switches ( I wanted discreet) and some through hole switches for which Im still waiting to arrive. These can be connected to the + pole of the batteries and will offer a simple solution to my powering down issue. The downside of adding this switch directly to the battery (before it reaches the charging component) is that I cant charge the device whilst it is turned off due to the PCB design.  This is a simple fix for post-graduation development and on the next iteration of the PCB design.


Onwards and upwards (or powering downwards?)….


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