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PiSugar Battery for Raspberry Pi zero

A battery designed for Pi zero

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Raspberry Pi zero is very small, but it's not cute with a power bank which maybe five times bigger. PiSugar is a battery project designed for Pi zero. It's super easy to use, no need for soldering, no conflict with other piHats. It perfectly matches the size of Pi zero.

The Problem

Many software engineers are able to developing products base on raspberry pi, but few of them are good at soldering. Pi zero is very small, it's a good choice when you plan to create a portable prototype. But when it comes with a power bank connected, it's not longer that cute. So we are thinking if there is a portable, solderless solution to supply power for pi zero, it will be very friendly for raspberry pi beginners!

A Pi zero project to control a nikon DSLR, the power bank is much bigger than pi zero. Also the usb cables takes a lot of space.

How It Works

PiSugar battery module use small spring pins to power pi zero from its backside. The 5V power is transited via two bottom pads of pi zero. Therefore it's no need to have a USB cable. Attach the battery board to the back of pi zero is the only thing you need to do.

Power from the bottom side is what we think the best way. It doesn't use gpio pins so you can extend other piHats as usual.

The Li-on battery and the board have the same dimension, so it will mask the screw wholes. Also placing the battery directly on the board is not good for radiating. Therefore we use a magnet to attract the battery to the board, it keeps enough distance between the battery and the board. In another hand, when you need to use the screw wholes, you can easy move away the battery.

Slightly move away the battery to install via screw wholes, the battery won't drop because of the magnet.

SPEC

  • same size as pi zero
  • super easy to install
  • compatible with other piHats
  • micro USB charging
  • on-board switch
  • magnetic design

Installation

PiSugar has a on-board switch, you can light up your pi zero anywhere with one click. Double click to turn off. Also you can use it when it is charging.

PiSugar Cases

As our goal to make Raspberry Pi more friendly to beginners. We also develop 3D print case models for pi and battery. Also we are continuously creating caps for different piHats! It's now open-source. You can download STL files and print your own pi case.

Basic Case: https://github.com/PiSugar/PiSugar/tree/master/model

PiHat Caps: https://github.com/PiSugar/pisugar-case-pihat-cap

Use Cases

1.3inch LCD cap
1.3inch LCD cap
mmdvm cap
mmdvm cap
2.13inch e-paper cap
2.13inch e-paper cap
oled cap
oled cap
use camera cap and LCD cap at the same time

DIY a camera!

2-mic cap (with Respeaker 2-mic hat)

4G NB-iot cap

Transparent Cap (experimental)

pisugar_case_pin_cap.STL

cap with gpio opening

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 512.09 kB - 04/06/2019 at 13:31

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pisugar_case_button.STL

Button for the battery switch

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 15.90 kB - 04/06/2019 at 13:27

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pisugar_nobatt_shell.STL

If you don't have a PiSugar battery, you can use this shell which leaves no space for battery.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 315.32 kB - 04/06/2019 at 13:27

Download

pisugar_case_common_cap.STL

Common cap for both top and bottom.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 501.06 kB - 04/06/2019 at 13:27

Download

pisugar_case_shell_xl.STL

A complete case contains a shell, two caps and a button.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 496.47 kB - 04/06/2019 at 13:27

Download

  • 1 × Raspberry Pi zero w
  • 1 × PiSugar battery module
  • 1 × PiSugar 3D-printed case

  • Mysterious Red Wire...

    Jdaie7 days ago 0 comments

    The red wire from pin 7 acts as an antenna to amplify radio signals from the pi. I was using the pi zero to control my 27MHz Land Rover! 

    base on: https://github.com/bskari/pi-rc

    I made this since I had watched a video on youtube. It's fun project creating a auto-driving toy car. I wish my land rover will drive by itself in the future...

  • Some questions about the design

    Jdaie7 days ago 0 comments

    Main purpose of the design?

    I think the main purpose is to make things smaller and more like a complete product. So we choose to supply power from the back, not occupying the GPIO pins. In one hand, it saves lot of space. In the other hand, I don't need to do soldering. If we choose a piHat solution, I still need to solder a GPIO header if I just have a zero (without h).

    Friends asks me what I am doing with these circuit broads. I think it is interesting but hard to explain what it is. In fact, I would like to share these funny creations but people with little knowledge about hardware won't understand. Therefore, I think the better way to share this to turn it into a "useful" product, like a game boy, a smart calendar, a digital camera, etc... You can say hey, it's smart calendar, if you like, you can program it into a robot cat! So that's why we are developing different caps so that you can make a product by yourself in one miniute. 

    Graceful Shutdown?

    Choosing the backside solution means it's much harder to send data to pi zero. But graceful shutdown is still important for some pi project. Data transition means we still cannot give up GPIO pins. Although pi zero seems to have SPI bottom pads, they are to small to use. Also taking the USB data pads means we need to have a USB hub, which might not be necessary. Therefore we are still looking for a good approach to reach GPIO. I believe there will be a best way to balance the size and data.

    Why not Qi?

    I think Qi wireless charging is very useful if you want to stick the pi out of your window glass. The pi can be charge through the glass. No need to drill holes. However for general charging, there is little difference between wireless charging and using usb cable. So I think you can use a Qi tag in some specific scenarios. But it's not necessary in most of the time. 

    How about solar panel?

    The idea about running a pi completely off grid makes me excited. However we need a pretty big solar panel to supply sufficient power to the pi. It's almost impossible to compress it a small dimension like pi zero.(or maybe in some day it will be possible) Therefore, like Qi, I think you can have a external solar charge in some specific applications.

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Discussions

etomberg26 wrote 3 days ago point

Looking forward to buying a few. Wondering how well it will work with a Joy Bonnet.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Beauregard Slim wrote 5 days ago point

Is this an about-to-be-released commercial product?  The lack of a shutdown function is going to lead to data loss, particularly with the "beginners" you are targeting.  People will hate you. 

Love the 3D designs, though. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

˙˙˙ɹǝʌo ǝɯ dılɟ ʎǝɥ wrote 6 days ago point

Would be really useful to have a version that would take an 18650 battery; I have lots of those I got for free; the flat batteries are expensive.  Also soft shutdown option would be nice but maybe you can do it in software.  And it would be really clever to have a capacitor on the board to maintain power if the battery was disconnected, and if another wasn't connected within a couple minutes, soft shutdown. That way you could swap in another battery without having to shut down.

  Are you sure? yes | no

prosto wrote 04/10/2019 at 14:01 point

I need pizero completly offgrid for one year

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jdaie wrote 7 days ago point

Battery won't last that long. Perhaps you should consider about solar solution?

  Are you sure? yes | no

mrwho wrote 5 days ago point

That'd be about 160mAh (WiFi active) for 8760h = 1.401.600mA = Nnnope.

I tried it, even my 8 16680 Cells with 2800mAh won't hold longer that 3-4 days.

Add solar, at least 6W or bigger.

  Are you sure? yes | no

adamc wrote 04/09/2019 at 20:57 point

Looks really neat, but is there a way to stop corrupting the SD card every time power is turned off. That is the number one problem i have with portable zeros?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jdaie wrote 04/10/2019 at 08:43 point

The current version is just power connection between the pisugar and the zero. Therefore the button is cutting off the power. We are looking for a better way to transport battery data as well, such as i2c. If pi zero can receive the data we can do graceful shutdown. We are working on this. In fact there are other ways to control a portable zero.  For example you can setup a BLE service on zero, and control it using mobile phones. No needs for paring and wifi. You can send different commands to zero, including shutdown. I think it's also a good way to protect SD card.

  Are you sure? yes | no

rootexpression wrote 04/09/2019 at 18:36 point

Whats with the red wire on pin 7 I see in one of the photos in the gallery?  Looks like it is connected to something there next to the processor.Also curious if it handles shutdown in a graceful way when the battery is low to prevent uSD card corruption.This is a very cool project.  I'd really like to have a few (or a few dozen) of these in my hands.  Will they be available?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jdaie wrote 04/10/2019 at 09:02 point

Haha, the red wire is just for amplifing radio signal, I was using that pi to control a RC toy car... actually we are now working on the next version, including the shutdown problem you mentioned, let zero know the battery level and decide when to shutdown. The current version will soon be available on Amazon : D

  Are you sure? yes | no

Code wrote 7 days ago point

Let me know when it goes for sale, looking forward to it!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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