Open Hardware 5V UPS Improves Cheap Powerbank Design

Often we need to power one of our 5V-intensive projects on the go. So done [Burgduino], and, unhappy with the available solutions, designed their own 5V inverter! It takes a cheap power bank design and augments it with a few vital parts for its UPS needs.

You might be tempted to look for a power bank when faced with such a problem, but most of them have a fatal flaw, and you can’t easily tell a faulty from a working one before buying it. This flaw is the lack of load sharing – the ability to continue powering the output when a charger is inserted. Most store-bought powerbanks simply mute the output, which prevents a project from running 24/7 without turning it off, and can have detrimental consequences when something like a Raspberry Pi is involved.

Naturally, [Burgduino] didn’t agree with that. Their inverter is based on the TP5400, a LiIon combo charge and boost chip, used a lot in single powerbanks, but not capable of load sharing. For this, an additional LM66100 chip – an “ideal diode” controller is used. You might scoff that it’s a Texas Instruments part, but it seems to be widely available and only slightly more expensive than the TP5400 itself! The design is open hardware, with PCB files available on EasyEDA and BOM clearly presented for easy LCSC ordering.

We hackers might struggle to keep our portable Pi projects powered up, using supercapacitors and modifying poorly designed Chinese boards. However, once we’ve found a toolkit to suit our needs, battery-powered projects tend to open up new frontiers – you could even go beyond your Pi and upgrade your router with a UPS addon. ! Of course, navigation isn’t always smooth, and sometimes seemingly easy-to-carry devices can surprise you with their design quirks.

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