Powering your TinyPi

*** this guide will be improved very soon with pictures ***

So you have your TinyPi all built up. But how do you power it?

Well the easy answer is to use a USB Power bank. Simply pop the USB into the pi, and you will see the screen spring into life. There are of course downsides to this method. Firstly the power switch at the bottom will have no function. So you will have to pull the USB out whenever you want to turn your TinyPi off. Secondly the USB Cable will be getting in the way!! nobody wants cables in the way!!

You may have noticed while building your TinyPi, that there are 2 unused pads, labelled BAT- and BAT+. Now i’m sure it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to realise that these are where you connect the battery!! Now a word of warning on these pads, there is no protection on these at all. If you connect things backwards, the magic smoke may be released from your freshly soldered Pi, and you may end up with a very expensive desk ornament.

So connection is simple enough. The BAT+ terminal is the positive battery terminal. BAT- is for the negative battery terminal. While you can connect the battery directly to the board, i don’t recommend it, as this will make your life more difficult when it comes to charging, plus if you accidentally leave your TinyPi switched on, you could destroy the battery It is therefore a good idea to use a charge/protect board between your TinyPi and the battery.

The case files are designed round the  super common TP4056 charge/protect board. These have 6 ‘holes’ in the board to allow you to solder onto. Try to avoid the boards with just 4 ‘holes’ as these are not protected, only charging.

Here is how I connect the TP4056 board…

  • +  (by the usb socket) – this is for input, leave this unconnected
  • –  (by the usb socket) – this is for input, leave this unconnected
  • B+ – this is where you connect the positive lead from the battery
  • B- – this is where you connect the negative lead from the battery
  • OUT+ – this is where you connect to BAT+ on TinyPi
  • OUT- – this is where you connect to BAT- on TinyPi

Now the protection board is designed to disconnect the battery from the system when the voltage is too low. When the battery is removed altogether, this triggers the protection, so before we can test our wiring, we will need to connect the charger for a second. You should get the red ‘charging’ LED illuminated, if you get any flashing or flickering of any of the LED’s disconnect the charger and check your wiring. Once your wires are good and you getting a steady charging light, you can try throwing the power switch down at the bottom of your TinyPi

If all was well, your screen should have lit up, and if you have an SD card in there ready, the pi should be booting… Ready to play….

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