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What is the best way to provide rechargable power for an arduino based portable device? So far I've found the following options:

1: Use removable batteries and include an external charger with my device. Probably the cheapest option, but not very elegant and many users will probably find it annoying having to constantly take out the battiers to charge them.

2: Package this pack inside my device: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11358 . Not exactly cheap, maybe too big for me, and it would look wierd with a USB cable going out of my device and then back in. Likewise the user would have to disconnect this USB cable and then insert an external USB cable for charging. Not pretty.

3: Use a LiPo battery and put this charger inside my device: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10401 . However as I understand it this only charges LiPo batteries and can't be used to power an arduino. There is also this board https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10161 , but I'm not sure if I understand how to wire everything.

What I want is having my device function like a cellphone in terms of charging: it should run on an internal battery and for charging the user should simply have to connect a cable from a charger. My power needs aren't very high; just a small 3x3cm LCD, a bluetooth module, an arduino and some other minor stuff.

Is a "battery management IC" what I'm looking for? It is mentioned in this question: how to implement an integrated rechargable battery in my project? . What kind of wiring do I need to add this to my device?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ We do engineering here. Power requirement of "not very high" is no spec at all. You need to specify what current or power you need at what voltage. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Mar 28 '13 at 12:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you mention what battery pack you'd prefer to use if it could be made to be charged like a cell-phone and run at the same time? \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Mar 28 '13 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Olin: Voltage needs to be between 7 and 9 (thats the range for arduino mini). As for amount of ampere... I'm honestly not sure. These are the parts I'm thinking about using and I haven't found the typical power consumption for them: 1: Arduino Mini - 2: LCD, 48mA? - 3: Bluetooth Module, I think 40mA maximum? So I need something that can power these 3 components plus 10-15mA for various other small parts. \$\endgroup\$ – serviceguy Mar 28 '13 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Andy: I have no idea. Doesn't really matter as long as it can power the components I mentioned above and is not too big. (something in the sizerange of these two: sparkfun.com/products/10472 and sparkfun.com/products/8483 ) \$\endgroup\$ – serviceguy Mar 28 '13 at 17:49
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Consider the Arduino FIO. It's got a built-in Li-Po charger and an xbee socket.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow, that looks great. I would prefer Bluetooth but Xbee should work. So all I need is an Arduino Fio, this Xbee module, this battery, an USB cable to a computer or external charger and I'm all set? I don't need anything else to make my device work and recharge like a cellphone? \$\endgroup\$ – serviceguy Mar 28 '13 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Use of the xbee socket is not required. You could always ignore the xbee socket and use your bluetooth module, or you could get this bluetooth adapter which fits in an xbee socket. If using xbee, use series 1 with arduino unless you have a good reason to use series 2. (Series 1 is much easier to work with) Yep, you would get cellphone-like battery functionality with just those parts. \$\endgroup\$ – Grimtech Mar 28 '13 at 21:24

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