I am designing a board which communicate wirelessly with a smart phone. When I send a specific command, I want it to sound an alarm to the user, making it able to be found when lost. My board runs on a coin cell 3V battery, which has a current drain which should not go above 15mA. The sound unit should not exceed 10mm in diameter. I struggle to find any speakers or buzzers which can operate within these conditions, so my question is:

What methods and/or components can be used with 3V, max 15mA circuit to notify a user using an audio signal around 70dB SPL?

  • \$\begingroup\$ How many dB SPL do you need? \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 9:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka I guess about 70dB \$\endgroup\$
    – chwi
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 11:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ An ordinary piezo disk should meet your electrical requirement while being fairly loud at suitable frequencies. Current demand will only be while voltage is changing, so be sure to have sufficient supply caps and to measure the time average. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisStratton I thought that these disc needed around 30V? Do you have any examples? \$\endgroup\$
    – chwi
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 13:47
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Wilhelmsen No, piezo disks do not necessarily need 30 Volts. If you check for a "piezo bender" on your favorite electronic parts site, such as digikey.com, you will find them at a variety of ratings, such as this one from Murata which is rated for 10 Volts. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 15:14

2 Answers 2


PUI has the AI-3035, a piezoelectric buzzer rated for 2-5 Volt operation, nominal 3 Volts, and with a maximum current requirement of 9 mA.


The dimensions are 30 mm diameter, 20.5 mm height excluding leads. The Digikey pricing is $3.55 each, but you can find them on eBay sometimes for as little as $1 including international shipping.

PUI also has a piezo buzzer rated for a nominal 1.5 Volts, ~5 mA, the AI-1201B, but no datasheet seems to be available for it, so it isn't definite whether it can withstand the 3 Volt supply mentioned in the question.


The closest you can get to the solution are magnetic buzzers used in pagers and cell phones. They run from 1V up, but they use to need more than 20mA. Look the options in this page: http://goo.gl/aIh5cn Piezos won't work without a tranformer, they need high voltages. For the magnetic buzzer solution, shall you find one that is 30mA, for example, you may charge a capacitor to help it beeping. It will demand some tinkering, a transistor eventually.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The claim that Piezo's wont work without a transformer is rather debatable - it really depends on the poster's precise power needs, and what frequency they are willing to use. One shouldn't assume a piezo won't work without actually trying it, and the electrical power required can be much less. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 15:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.