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I found the following schematic for a rudimentary mini UPS:

enter image description here

(Original source website)

and in the description on the original website (link above) it says:

D2 → Prevents backfeeding of 5v wall transformer when power unplugged and battery supplying circuit.

D1 → Acts as a Switch. When plugged in, VA ≈ 5.17v, VB=3.7v. D1 is reverse biased and battery will not energize circuit (But will Charge). When unplugged, power will flow through D1. VA ≈ 3.4v which is high enough for power boost. VC always ≈ 5.2v.

I am wondering if this would work as an UPS. The charging circuit is a 5.2v to 3.7v buck converter and the powerboost is a 3.7v to 5.2v boost converter.The push button is unnecessary.

Another thing I don't understand is the term "reversed biased diode", is that just a normal diode like 1N4007, or is another type of special diode?

Any advice would be useful, thanks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A diode is reverse biased when the cathode is more positive than the anode, so the diode cannot pass any current. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes this could work depending on the buck converter. It would have to be able to handle an output higher than the input (which some regulators cannot). Depending on the dropout voltage you might be able to fix that with a 3rd diode somewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – Drew
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 23:35

1 Answer 1

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I would take everything you find on that "original source" with huge grain of salt. It is full of misleading terminology (like calling boost converter a "transformer"), misconceptions (what the heck is "buck beak transformer" in power banks?) and really bad drawings.

For example "When the charger is plugged in, this is pretty much a pass through from the output of the transformer" is total BS. The whole point of having charging IC there is to have CC/CV control of the battery charge.

The Adafruit charger referenced from there is also an example of bad design, which is not what I used to see from Adafruit. The MCP73833 used in charger is not a BMS. It is not designed for permanent load attachment, the way that board does. And, it is most certainly not a "5.2v to 3.7v buck converter" as you state in your question (unless you replaced the recommended Adafruit charger with some other device of your choice, which is really bad idea).

Having said all of the above, the funny thing is that by the sheer dumb luck the addition of that D1 diode actually makes the whole mess a good workable solution.

To answer your question about "reverse biased diode" (not "reversed"), it is not a special kind of diode. It is normal diode with voltage applied in reverse, i.e. cathode connected to higher voltage than anode. In this case it becomes reverse-biased and does not conduct electricity anymore.

Both diodes in your circuit work this way. D1 is reverse biased when voltage from wall adapter is greater than charging voltage. D2 is reverse biased when wall adapter is unplugged from the wall but still connected to circuit (although I don't think it really happens this way, with modern switching adapters).

So, the combination of:

  • charger output is only activated when external power is connected, and
  • at that moment the external voltage is higher than charger or battery, and
  • the addition of D1, which becomes revers-biased so that load does not affect charging profile, and
  • the use of badly designed Adafruit charger which has load output permanently connected to battery

unexpectedly results in simple UPS circuit.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your effort in answering. I was only planing on using the design, not all of the parts (like the charger), I have something else in mind that I tested and worked properly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 11:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then you have to be really careful in your experiments. For example, you cannot replace a charger with buck converter, unless you set it up for trickle charging and your battery chemistry allows it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Maple
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 11:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes I know. I use a battery charger that cuts the power when charging current reaches a certain value. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, you are not using lithium batteries then \$\endgroup\$
    – Maple
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 16:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ "buck beak transformer" sounds like a gratuitous Harry Potter reference. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 15:27

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