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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.

Github: https://github.com/PiSugar
Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R7Z2334

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 Battery Module is now available on amazon.

Purchase links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R7Z2334

https://www.amazon.es/dp/B07RLZ8Q3M

https://www.amazon.it/dp/B07RFVDG3P

https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B07RHX3P9Z

https://www.amazon.de/dp/B07RHWYMTJ

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RDNT8CY

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

Download

pisugar_case_button.STL

Button for the battery switch

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

Download

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

  • Joy Bonnet Cap

    Jdaie07/12/2019 at 10:53 0 comments

    Joy Bonnet Cap! 

    Download printable model here: https://github.com/PiSugar/pisugar-case-pihat-cap/tree/master/jot_bonnet_cap

  • new design under testing

    Jdaie07/02/2019 at 07:15 0 comments

    Today we begin testing a new design of PiSugar.

    There will be i2c power level detection (for soft shutdown), RTC, UPS, a gpio button.

    It turns out that the power IC we use has i2C but has nothing to do with power level detection....sigh....so we are about to change another model.

    Sugarpin samples also arrived. Still need some modifications. Anyway it's probably the tiniest structure we had ever made. BTW it's gold plated !

  • SugarPin first look

    Jdaie06/23/2019 at 02:22 0 comments

    We have designed a special pogopin to connect pi zero and pisugar. We call it "SugarPin". With this tiny little thing we can get access to the pi from the bottom of GPIO pins (or just GPIO pin holes). It's now possible to make new pisugar compatible with all models of raspberry pi.

    Today we just got the first look:

  • Open source mini app code

    Jdaie06/18/2019 at 03:41 0 comments

    We just open source the code of PiSugar wechat miniapp! 

    This is a client developed according to the server-side of sugar-wifi-conf. 

    You can modify the layout and make your own pi remote controller now.

    Please see:  https://github.com/PiSugar/sugar-wifi-conf/tree/master/sugar-wifi-miniapp

  • mini digital mirror

    Jdaie06/01/2019 at 06:22 0 comments

    A mini digital mirror made with pi zero, pisugar and adafuit scroll phat.

    Cases: basic case + transparent cap ( with PMMA mirror ) + holder. Model files had been updated on github.

    I had been waiting for this phat for so long to get this work done. Finally!


  • New Circuit Under Testing

    Jdaie05/31/2019 at 03:06 0 comments

    In the last few weeks we had been testing circuits for a newer version. Problems like battery-level detection and graceful shutdown will be solved.

    To achieve these goals, we still need i2C port on gpio. Therefore we are redesigning a micro pogopin to fit pi zeros with and without gpio headers. 

    New dual chip design will avoid voltage drop when switching from USB charge to battery power, which will cause a pi reboot.

    Even they look a bit weird right now, they are our hopes of next generation product : )

  • Manual Card Update

    Jdaie05/06/2019 at 06:44 0 comments

    Since we start oversea shipping, I think it's nesessary to have a manual card in global language. I like ikea style instruction because it can be understanded by everyone and I have lot of fun in the design. Just can't wait to share it with you.

  • Now Available on Amazon

    Jdaie05/04/2019 at 01:48 0 comments

    Hi everyone, PiSugar is now available on Amazon. We are now ready for oversea shipping!

    Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R7Z2334

  • Control a Pi with Bluetooth Low Energy

    Jdaie04/19/2019 at 10:06 0 comments

    Sometimes connecting a pi zero to a wifi is troublesome. Since there are many ways to do it, but you just don't get a card reader, monitor, keyboard or a laptop along with you.

    I think this project, PiSugar aims to make a pi easier to play with, therefore we were trying to find a efficient way to control a pi. Bluetooth low energy (BLE) is a good way you cannot miss. 

    Here are some features of BLE:

    • supported by Raspberry Pi 3/zero w
    • supported by most of the smart phones
    • no need for pairing
    • no conflict with traditional bluetooth
    • low energy cost
    • won't loss connection when switching wifi (if you config wifi through wifi with a wrong password, you are setting your pi free )

    At the very beginning I was making this just to solve the wifi problem. However, I think it can be more than that. It's actually a complete channel to transport data. If you can custom the characteristics, then you can make your own wireless pi controller. For example, you can safely shutdown the pi, get cpu load, temperature, etc. If you are building a pi car, you can control it through BLE, too.

    Miniapp to control the pi via BLE, you can customize what to display, what command to send on the pi

    Base on these, we had developed a BLE sevice on pi. From the service you can:

    • get wifi name, ip address, pi model
    • config wifi
    • get other custom info. e.g. CPU tempreture, CPU load, or whatever you can get by shell
    • remote control the pi to execute shell script and get response, such as shutdown, reboot, running a script, etc.

    I choose Wechat miniapp to make the client app since Wechat is very common used in China and it's really fast to build a miniapp. People don't have to download native apps. They open miniapp directly in Wechat. Also, miniapp can access to bluetooth. I'm not sure whether Google instant app can access bluetooth. But even if it can, maybe it's just for Android? So I'm still considering whether I should build native ios / android app.

    Link: https://github.com/PiSugar/sugar-wifi-conf

  • Mysterious Red Wire...

    Jdaie04/12/2019 at 06:02 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...

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Discussions

simon wrote 04/21/2019 at 21:43 point

is the pisugar on taobao (https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=590775024604) already available for international orders?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jdaie wrote 04/23/2019 at 01:08 point

Hi simon, it's our own taobao store but it's ready for international shipping. I will let you know as soon as it is available.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jdaie wrote 05/04/2019 at 01:52 point

Hi, simon. It's now available on amazon(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R7Z2334) for international orders.

  Are you sure? yes | no

george.izard wrote 04/20/2019 at 15:17 point

This is perfect for a project I've been planning. Where can I buy one? Or even, where can I sign up for a mailing list to lmk when its available?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jdaie wrote 04/23/2019 at 01:11 point

Follow this project and I will update the progress here. Thanks for waiting!

  Are you sure? yes | no

etomberg26 wrote 04/15/2019 at 18:54 point

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jdaie wrote 04/19/2019 at 10:19 point

Good idea!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Beauregard Slim wrote 04/13/2019 at 18:12 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

Jdaie wrote 04/19/2019 at 10:23 point

Yeah it's actually a released product and we are still working on a newer version solving existing problems.

  Are you sure? yes | no

˙˙˙ɹǝʌo ǝɯ dılɟ ʎǝɥ wrote 04/12/2019 at 22:39 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

Jdaie wrote 04/19/2019 at 10:18 point

We will consider 18650 as an option in future version. However, a capacitor to keep the pi up when switching battery will be a really big guy...

  Are you sure? yes | no

˙˙˙ɹǝʌo ǝɯ dılɟ ʎǝɥ wrote 04/19/2019 at 14:36 point

What would be the spec for the capacitor?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jdaie wrote 04/20/2019 at 01:23 point

A capacitor 11mm diameter, 4.5mm height can last only 28ms.  

  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 04/12/2019 at 03:39 point

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

mrwho wrote 04/13/2019 at 21:16 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 04/12/2019 at 04:58 point

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

  Are you sure? yes | no

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