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I've been looking for an IC to manage my Solar and USB input to charge my LiPo and power my circuit and I found this IC. It seems to be able to automatically switch between USB and Vin to charge the battery as well as power my circuit.

My question is, do I need another IC to manage the voltage/current fluctuations of the Solar output before I connect it to Vin of this chip?

I know there are other IC's that manage Solar power and charge batteries, but they all lack the USB switching and functionality.

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The IC you reference is intended to use a source that is readily capable of supplying the necessary power required at any time to charge the battery. Solar panels, as you mention, don't always supply the necessary power and typically require a somewhat sophisticated controller to extract the maximum power from them. Look for the term MPPT (maximum power point tracker). The IC you reference doesn't have this capability.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But if I wire then Solar output to an MPPT input and then take the output from an MPPT and wire it to Vin on the IC that'd be suitable wouldn't it? As the MPPT will take the maximum power, therefore supplying a steady supply. \$\endgroup\$ – Explorex Jan 31 at 4:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not exactly. The IC you have chosen expects to have a source that is more than adequate to supply enough power that the load and battery demand. The solar panel and MPPT on the other hand won't always have adequate power available. You can't think of the MPPT output as a steady supply. With this in mind, I would be surprised if just mating these two would work. Also, in the original post, you mention automatic switch over between Vin and USB, but I only see one input to this IC. In order to have automatic switch over, additional circuitry would be required. \$\endgroup\$ – BEE Jan 31 at 17:19

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