I'm designing a small battery powered device and I want to use an SSD1327-based OLED display. Unlike the SSD1306, this one doesn't appear to have an integrated boost circuit to power the panel, which wants 8V-18V.

My intention is to power my device with 2 NiMH AAA cells (or 1.5V alkaline) so I will need to boost the ~2.4V up to 3.3V for my controller and ~13V for the OLED panel.

The panel only draws a very small amount of current: ~600uA, and I'm lead to believe that this wouldn't be enough load on a traditional boost converter from an efficiency point of view.

so, my question:

Given ~2.4V from 2xNiMH AAAs, should I:


1 boost converter @ 3.3V
1 boost converter @ ~12V
both powered directly from the battery.


1 boost converter @ 3.3V (battery powered)
1 boost converter @ ~12V powered from 3.3V


1 boost converter @ ~12V (battery powered)
1 linear regulator @ 3.3V powered from ~12V

As far as efficiency requirements go - I'm building a toy, so I only really want lifetime measurable in a handful of hours, not days or weeks.


1 Answer 1


Option two is best because you can generate the OLED bias voltage with a charge pump tripler or quadrupler. Using a controller or processor that can be powered directly by the battery would be even better, even if it means quintupling V batt.

  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks, so you're saying not to even bother with a booster for the 3.3v? I'm planning to use a SAMD21 MCU which runs as low as 1.62V which 2AAAs can easily provide. I've only come across voltage doubler ICs, so what would a 'quintupler' look like? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 18, 2019 at 10:44

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