I want to make a battery charger discharger with an arduino, to be able to plot graphs. And afaik N mosfets are better in terms of Ron and cheaper and easier to find. I have only N mosfets by the hand, so i decided to use only them, as a design restriction rule.

As a starting point i've opened a simple tutorial of charger, which offers following schematics:

enter image description here

Everything is transparent here: only one transistor, no magic with opening N-mos gate, and a 5V rail is constantly availble to Arduino.

However here are some drawbacks, that I dont know how to solve yet:

  • Major is that I totally stuck, trying to think of discharging circuit. I simply cannot short circuit 5V rail to the ground.
  • Minor is If 5V rail is disconnected from supply and charging is off there is no hope to start arduino from battery
  • Need to choose discharge current, I saw that variable CC-load is possible.

P-mos and changes to schematics could easily solve each. Is there a way to go for a design with N-mosfets only?

PS: Long ago, my math teacher used to say: "If it's impossible - why? If it's possible - how?", while posting an interesting task.

  • \$\begingroup\$ you don't need to short the +5 got ground, only the bottom end or R2 needs to be connected to +5. That's going to be tricky to do with a N-channel-MOSFET because to do that you need a voltage higher than 5V for the MOSFET gate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 3:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jasen So, a P mosfet actually better fits here (as it requires gate pulled below). Thanks for remark. So you vote for it is impossible, or would require some boost converter? \$\endgroup\$
    – xakepp35
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 3:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ a boost converter could do it. but not easier than a P-FET \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 4:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jasen What if I add 12v rail as a power source? \$\endgroup\$
    – xakepp35
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 4:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to measure short term ESR and long term ESR which have different time constants using current sense and active loads electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/376850/… It depends if you choose high or low side sensing and loading for Pch Nch options. Look at Battery Coulomb counter IC designs \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 5:01

1 Answer 1


You don't need to short the +5 got ground, only the bottom end or R2 needs to be connected to +5. That's going to be tricky to do with a N-channel-MOSFET because to do that you need a voltage higher than 5V for the MOSFET gate.

g8ven a 12V (or 10V) supply in addition to the 5V supply it's possible.


simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

The 12V doesn't need to be strong, you could use the +10V from a MAX232 or build your own capacitive booster

a simple voltage booster can be made like this. it don't do a very good job the voltage is higly load dependant, but it's probably enough if you just want to turn a mosfet on or off.


simulate this circuit

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice one, simple and clear. Where does M2's source go? (far away to the bottom line) That's a "blot", I guess? \$\endgroup\$
    – xakepp35
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hovewer, having 2 voltages - this is too much. The 5V doesn't need to be strong - because it is only required for Arduino. And there could be even no 5V, because Arduino will just take it from USB port. Could I get rid of 5V here? If I have full 12V, and charge current could just be controlled by M1? Is that possible - single voltage rail + N-mosfets only? I wonder if maybe there could be a trick, "known only to old-school professionals" :) \$\endgroup\$
    – xakepp35
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ where does M2's source go? to M1's drain. that bottom line is the same as in the question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 6:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ 5V is charging the battery, looks like about 200mA - you could use the USB perhaps. if you connect the battery to 12V in gets hard to measure battery voltage. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 6:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am making 8(eight channel) charger, for 18650, each battery is rated at 3000mAh each, recommended max charge current is 3A (3*4.2 reuquires to reserve at least 12-13 watts per each battery channel for good charging), so i need at least 105 watt power supply. On the 5V line that will be whooping 21 Apms, wires are to be very large, and also its hard to find suitable PSU for such a needs. So I would like to use 12V rail instead, for power supply needs, and build my own charger, where each channel is programmed and logged (Perhaps, with better schematics) \$\endgroup\$
    – xakepp35
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 9:33

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