The Arduino Uno has undergone many revisions, and hence the Arduino power supply circuit has evolved to an almost foolproof design. In this project, we will learn about the four different ways in which we can power up the Arduino Uno. While making any Arduino projects, it is necessary to know these techniques, since there are instances when flexibility with regards to the power supply is required.
Things required to power up the Arduino Uno
We are going to need the following apparatus to learn how to switch on the Arduino Uno.
- An Arduino Uno board (Rev 3)
- Standard A-B USB cable
- AC to DC Adapter (7-12V)
- Batteries (9V) with a battery connector
- Jumper wires (Female to Male)
- Quick and portable solution: Battery shield
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What is the procedure to power up the Arduino Uno?
Modern Arduino Uno boards allow the board to have more than one source of power to be connected simultaneously. An intelligent switching circuitry ensures that the highest available voltage is selected and sent to the onboard voltage regulator and eventually powers up the board. We have covered the core Arduino Uno power supply schematic in detail here.
We can power up the Arduino using power supplied from the computer via a USB cable and/or by using external power sources.
1. Using USB cable
The USB port of the Arduino Uno can be connected to a desktop/laptop. If the connection is enumerated, i.e. the computer recognizes the device, the current supplied to the board is 500mA at 5V. If the connection is not enumerated, 100mA is supplied at 5V.
2. Using an AC to DC adapter plugged into the barrel connector
The barrel connector can be supplied with an input of 7-12V. This is regulated to 5V by the onboard voltage regulator, and the board is powered on.
3. Using 5V input
It is possible to power up the Arduino using the 5V and GND pins, provided that the input given is steady and regulated 5V. The 5V pin bypasses the voltage regulator and all the safety measures present on the Arduino Uno, so if the input exceeds 5V (5.5 is the maximum upper limit), the board can be damaged. It is generally advised to avoid powering up the Arduino Uno using this method.
4. Using batteries greater than 5V
Connect a 9V battery with the positive terminal connected to the Vin pin and the negative terminal connected to the GND pin. The Vin port allows an input between 7 and 12 Volts, but we recommend to use a 9V battery. Depending on your application you can input 12V too but make sure the current values stay around 500mA.
5. Bonus method: Using a battery shield
This method is suggested by a reader in the comments section below and I think it’s worth adding to the main post.
There’s this nifty little Arduino Uno shield that holds two batteries. You can just plug it into the sockets of your Arduino Uno and you’re set. The battery/power pack shield can be charged using a simple micro USB cable. It outputs a steady 5V that you can use to power up your Arduino. You can use either the USB B cable or a simple jumper cable to get the 5V supply.
Moreover, depending on how long your batteries last, you can make your project wireless and portable. Surely that’s a great feature. You can get the battery shield on Amazon over here. Ali express might have some cheaper options that you might want to check out too.
Precautions to be undertaken before switching on the Arduino Uno
- If the barrel connector and an AC-DC adapter are being used to power up the Arduino, make sure that the output of the adapter is between 7-12V. Although the rated input can exceed to as much as 20V, it is safe to stay within the recommended range to protect the voltage regulator from excessive heating. Also, see to it that the GND and Vin pins are not shorted.
- But if you are using the 5V and GND pins to power up the Arduino, it is imperative that the 5V input is stable and steady.
- If the Vin/5V and GND pins are being used to power up the Arduino, double-check the polarity because if the GND and 5V/Vin pins are mixed up, it can potentially damage the Arduino board.
If the Arduino Uno fails to be recognized by the host computer, it’s possible that it won’t draw enough current. To fix this, try to use a USB 2.0 port if you were using a USB 3.0 port. In addition to that, you can also try changing the USB cable. However, if none of these work, you can manually install the Arduino Uno.
This article is a part of our free Arduino Course for beginners. An excellent progression from powering up your Arduino is to connect an LCD with the Arduino and display your first HelloWorld.c program. Or you can just interface a DC motor or a temperature and humidity sensor with the Arduino. Check out our Arduino IDE and Arduino programming guides too.
If you face any issues in switching on your Arduino Uno, let us know in the comments and we will try to troubleshoot your issues.