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Options for Powering the BBC micro:bit

microbit Powering your BBC micro:bit

This Kitronik University Resource is a part of the BBC microbit partnership and explains the various options available for powering the BBC microbit.

Powering your BBC microbit logo_870

Powering the BBC microbit:

Learn how to:

  • Power the BBC microbit.

JST Connector:

The most obvious common and convenient of powering the BBC microbit would be the on-board JST connector. A simple 2xAAA battery holder with JST connector can be used, ours has an M3 mounting hole in the centre which makes it perfect for use with our MI:pro protector case as seen in the image below. With this option the BBC microbit is powered and protected whilst still allowing access to the edge connector.

Powering your BBC microbit _back_870

Micro USB:

The on-board micro USB connector whilst very commonly available is not a very portable solution, but could be of great use for projects where the BBC microbit stays in the same location.

GPIO Pins:

There are some other options available for powering your BBC microbit, including the clearly marked 3V and 0V GPIO pins on the edge connector of the board.

Powering your BBC micro:bit _pins_870

Direct connection:

There are two pads on the back of the BBC microbit which can be powered with a direct connection. The 3V pin is the one closest to the edge connector as indicated in the image below.

Powering your BBC micro:bit _connections_870

Powering your BBC micro:bit _connections_back_870

MI:power board for the BBC microbit:

The MI:power board for the BBC microbit brings real portability to your projects. The stylish, lightweight PCB is designed to fit snugly against the BBC microbit and features a built in buzzer, on/off switch and 3V coin cell holder, making it an ideal option for powering the BBC microbit.

Powering your BBC micro:bit -animated-800

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3 thoughts on “Options for Powering the BBC micro:bit”

  • Nigel Tolley December 4, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Just so people know, the Microbit pulls about 10mA when running a basic script that scrolls the LEDs with a text message. (I just used the Blockly website thing and the built in text scroll function)

    I just ran one for an impressive 72 hours on a (parallel pair of) 18650's at 4.2V with a voltage drop board. I powered it through the two GPIO power passthroughs. Absolutely no issues, and it'll probably run for another week or 10 days before needing charged.

    Video:
    https://twitter.com/makebromyard/status/805499516648648708

    Reply
    • Mark Donnison December 6, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Thanks for the info Nigel and for the video link!

      Reply
  • Art MG January 10, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Great overview of options, and I love the MI:power. I guess you could hack up your own with a 3V button cell, non-conductive tape and wires. Of course you'd have to be careful to avoid shorting anything out with all that metal surface, and it does risk leaving sticky residue - maybe masking tape? Anyhow, I just ordered one as it's a much more stylish solution :)

    I also found this great research about micro:bit power consumption and voltage ranges - enjoy:
    http://www.reuk.co.uk/wordpress/microbit-power-consumption/

    Reply
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