I am working on robot, and I want it completely automated. Everything I can tackle, except for when it comes with power. (Pretty big problem, I know.) I want to know how I can make a charger circuit that can charge (a) battery(s), have a light or something when it's done charging (all I need is a way to check with my microcontroller, Arduino, of coarse!), and then also be able to supply power to my device while charging so it can still perform tasks like organizing data, etc, or waiting to get a signal to "dispatch" itself. I know a fair amount of electronics, but I'm no expert or anything like that.
Basic Power Requirements (Voltage, etc.):
I need around 8-12 V output from the battery, lets say up to 750 mA to 1 A at a time, and have about 2-3 hours without a charge.
How should I get started: (I know this is a broad question but it still can be answered with recommendations and previous experience.)
- Should I do lots of low-voltage batteries or fewer higher voltage batteries? I would think that lots of low-voltage ones would provide more instantaneous current, but how would you put them in series with charging?
- How should I handle safely charging? Should I have power bypass the batteries while plugged in to prevent tons of current being drawn through them?
- Is there an affordable (I'm on a tight budget) breakout board or similar that would satisfy my needs? I cannot find anything on Google.
- How would I go about efficiently handling step up/down voltages without loosing lots of power but still using the most out of the battery as possible?
What's the best approach for my needs and can be very cheap? What types of chips are there for my needs? I have seen a few ICs that manage voltage and current, but how would I match that up with a battery?