Arduino is a nifty platform for both beginners and more advanced programmers who are looking to build electronics projects. Through easy-to-use hardware and software, these devices can read a range of inputs and turn them into outputs in a matter of minutes.
Just like other popular micro-computers such Raspberry Pis, the full range of Arduino boards and accessories requires a power source to function. But Ardunino boards are more flexible than their counterparts, and rather than stipulating a required input, can accept a wider range of voltage inputs (6 to 20V) and regulate it into a desired level internally.
These boards also have different power input ports to offer even greater versatility. All this choice can cause some confusion however, so it’s worth researching your options to learn which is best suited to your project, kit and preferences.
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If you’re just getting started with Arduino, read five different ways to supply power to your board below.
Arduino boards can function well on power provided through their USB port. This power could be coming from a computer, wall socket adapter or even a portable power bank if this method suits you better.
Some (but not all) Arduino boards are fitted with an AC socket which you can use to provide power and extra voltage if needed. An AC power supply adapter, widely available in retail stores, can then transform direct current from a plug into AC power for the board.
Make sure to check that your AC power adapter fits your board’s specifications, however.
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Alternatively, some Arduino boards come fitted with a battery socket to take power from Lithium-ion Polymer batteries. These batteries provide 3.7V and are rechargeable, making them a longer-term and more environmentally friendly investment than standard batteries.
You could also power your board by supplying voltage to its onboard VIN pin from a regulated power source of your choosing. It’s a little fiddly to do so though – you’ll need to connect the positive wire from your power supply to the VIN pin, and the negative wire to the GND.
Again, it’s important to check your board’s specifications for its accepted voltage range.
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If you’re operating with either the Arduino MKR FOX or WAN130 boards, you could instead provide power by connecting AA or AAA batteries. Just make sure you adhere to the polarity of the connector as noted on your board.
The total input power you require will depend on what and how many shield modules you’re using. Your power adapter or supply should then provide a minimum of that total.
Coding and programming are among the most in-demand job skills in the UK right now. Find the right power supply for your board and see how far Arduino can take you.