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4/14/2018 Arduino Low Power Project.

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49,636 94 13 | Posted Aug. 12, 2014 in Technology (/technology/) > Arduino (/technology/arduino/) | license

(https://cdn instructables com/FMR/UYBC/HYNYTKPL/FMRUYBCHYNYTKPL LARGE jpg) (https://cdn instructables com/F2M/ITH5/HYNYTKVY/F2MITH5HYNYTKVY LARGE jpg)

By Rustie0125 (/member/Rustie0125/)
More by
the author: (/member/Rustie0125/)

Hi Ladies and Gents

I recently decided that I will investigate the Arduino Sleep Library and see how long I can
get an Arduino to run of a single N size1.5v Battery. Yes ! of a 1.5V battery. if you are
interested here is what you will need.

1) N size battery

2) N size battery Holder

3) 1v- 3.3v Step up convert ( I used sparkfun unit

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10967 (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10967) )

4) Pro Mini 3.3v version ( https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11114

(https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11114) )

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-low-Project-and-code/ 1/11
4/14/2018 Arduino Low Power Project.

the code is written in such a way that when in sleep mode the current drawn is around 4.7
uA and when active around 7mA. but to this we need to do a couple of things to insure
that not extra power is wasted on regulators and leds.

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Step 1: Arduino Pro Mini Modifications

(https://cdn instructables com/FFB/S9B9/HYNYTMTB/FFBS9B9HYNYTMTB LARGE jpg) (https://cdn instructables com/FME/O3MD/HYNYTK0N/FMEO3MDHYNYTK0N LARGE jpg)

Depending on the Version/ Supplier of your Arduino pro mini board there a few mods
needs to be made.

If you bought your pro mini board from spark-fun then you are lucky , there is only one
solder jumper that needs to be removed to disable the on-board power regulator.

Sparkfun board

In the photo you will see there a 3 modes marked, de-solder Mod "1" and you are done ,
this disables the power regulator and drops the current consumption to around 380 uA in
normal operation before the sleep code is uploaded

Other version of the board

In the photo attached you need to remove the on-board power led by de-soldering it .the
LED is marked "3" and cut a trace on the board to disable the power regulator. see other
photo for the trace that needs to be cut.

Once this is done.

You are one step closer ! this is all the hardware modi cations that needs to be done.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-low-Project-and-code/ 2/11
4/14/2018 Arduino Low Power Project.

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Step 2: Wiring Setup

(https://cdn instructables com/F96/HTNZ/HYNYTQW3/F96HTNZHYNYTQW3 LARGE jpg)

The Photo attached illustrate the minimum wiring required to make your Arduino work. my
project made use of a cheap china data radio connected to pin 11 and pin 9 for power but
you can update the code as you desire.

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Step 3: Code
This is the code currently running on my board.


This code wakes up every hour and reads a analog value on pin A3 and transmits the value
over a data link to a remote station. ( you can remove this code and replace with what ever
you want to do upon wake-up.)

the code has comments that explains everything the code does and should be easy to
modify as you require.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-low-Project-and-code/ 3/11
4/14/2018 Arduino Low Power Project.


All battery life predictions that follow is just that predictions and should not be taken as
factual but it should give you a good idea of expected battery life.

N size battery is around 900mah capacity.

At 4.5uA of consumption in sleep mode and 7mA in active mode the maths looks as

Lets say you use the device once a day for 1 sec before going back to sleep

you would expect the battery to last 126000 hours total.

126000 - 30% for ef ciency losses = 88200 hours.

88200 hours at 1.5v before the step up converter. so divide 88200 by 2 because our
device runs at 3.3v

you get 44100 hours effective battery life.

that is 1837 days !!!

NOTE: I know there is better ways of doing this and longer times can be achieved by
running at 1.8v but since most sensors run at either 3.3v or 5v I prefer to stick to 3.3v for
now and using a N size battery makes the project very small size and the project stays

SleepCode.inoDownload (https://cdn.instructables.com/ORIG/FFA/S3YE/HYNYTTTH/FFAS3YEHYNYTTTH.ino)

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Did you make this project? Share it with us!

I Made It!


http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-low-Project-and-code/ 4/11
4/14/2018 Arduino Low Power Project.


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http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-low-Project-and-code/ 5/11
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MikeM189 (/member/MikeM189/) 1 year ago


Very good! You might wanna check this board: https://talk2.wisen.com.au/product-talk2-whisper-n...

It's an Arduino with built-in step-up regulator + sub GHz Radio + Flash memory. The idea is exactly
the same, but all is built-in a little neat board which can get things working in 5 minutes!

giantpair (/member/giantpair/) 1 year ago


http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-low-Project-and-code/ 9/11
4/14/2018 Arduino Low Power Project.

For my Nano 5V it says "4:25: fatal error: VirtualWire.h: No such file or directory"

1 reply F
giantpair (/member/giantpair/) 1 year ago

How come it doesn't compile Nano? Does Mini Pro use different code?

MikeM189 (/member/MikeM189/) 1 year ago


You might be interested on this board: https://talk2.wisen.com.au/product-talk2-whisper-node-avr/

(https://talk2.wisen.com.au/product-talk2-whisper-node-avr/), which is a low-power version of Arduino
with built-in RF, capable of running from a single AA.

mangup024 (/member/mangup024/) 2 years ago


nice work. I have similar project with sensors and I will integrate this code for sleep. Easy and simple
and understandable code.
Can You tell me how to receive struc data on other side ?

X8 Rustie0125 (author) 3 years ago


The sparkfun board has the jumper selection as mentioned in the post and no cutting required. But
yes removing the reg will work the same . Just reminder you will have power the unit externally to
program it

ijourneaux (/member/ijourneaux/) 3 years ago


I have looked at a couple of the mini board designs. Looking closely at the Sparkfun board, I don't see
the mod you referred to. The generic board I have on hand, isn't exactly the same as you have so it is
unclear which trace to cut. Will removing the regulator accomplish the same thing?

ijourneaux (/member/ijourneaux/) 3 years ago


Thanks for the quick reply! I like the ability to use a smaller form factor battery. So as I understand it,
the voltage regulator draws about 0.3mA when asleep. Doesn't the the step-up transformer draw

2 replies F
X Rustie0125 (author) 3 years ago
8 (/member/Rustie0125/)

Hello ,

It's not not only about efficiency but using all available power , the onboard regulators needs an input
of around 5-12v to supply 3.3v plus the onboard regulator also stays on perms malty and even if The
device is sleeping it still draws 300 micro amps , but when disabled this drops to 4-7micro Amps .

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-low-Project-and-code/ 10/11
4/14/2018 Arduino Low Power Project.

The other reason is size by using a 3.3v battery via a a step up . I am able to use the batter from3.3v
all the way down to 1.5 v and still
Get 3.3v out

ijourneaux (/member/ijourneaux/) 3 years ago


I read your instructible with great interest as I have a low power project I am working on. I would like
to understadn why you replaced the on board regulator with the step-up converter. Is the stepup that
much more efficient?

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