Hi there, pretty new to Arduino battery powered projects and was looking for some advice in which components both screens and battery wise might be best for this project.
The project is to have a tech board game interface, so for 4 players it would have 4 screens, ideally some LED’s for each player and there would be 2 servo motors that are used very rarely and for a short time (~3 sec, max 5ish times in the game). Ideally as this is a board game, although there are plans to have it mounted on a base it would ideally be battery powered (and rechargeable) and slightly portable. So this means there would be potentially 4 arduinos (Arduino Unos), 4 screens (thinking 2x16 LCD screens currently), LED’s (WS1218B RGB, maybe 20ish total?) and 2 servo motors. As ideally you can play the game several times before recharging is needed can anyone suggest the best screens and batteries that are feasible to power this arrangement? As this is also a budgeted project I am aiming for low/not horrifically high costs as well which do constrain the possibilities.
Any advice would be really appreciated as there seems like a lot of power consumption (just 4 screens are looking like ~120mA each, and ~60mA per LED) currently and I’m getting a bit worried about the feasibility of having it battery powered.
Certainly an interesting concept! Unless you want the Unos for looks, I’d probably recommend going with Nanos once you’ve got a prototype up and running and see how you go, but you can probably get away with a single Arduino to run the whole show, particularly if you implement LCD backpacks to handle the display driving.
As for battery life, you’re going to be more worried about average power consumption than peak. WS2812s are very bright, so even though they can draw ~60mA, this is only with all three LEDS (Red, Green, and Blue) at full brightness ie. outputting bright white light. If you need white light it will be much more energy efficient to go with RGBW addressable LEDs, and by not driving them at full brightness you can stretch your battery life enormously.
As for the LCDs, these are a similar case. The biggest power draw is the backlight LED. If you don’t need them on at full brightness all the time you can stretch your battery much further - just the LCD only draws about 1 mA.
If you do want to go with the Uno, I’d recommend checking out these:
As for the WS2812s, I’d suggest checking out these little sticks:
Thanks Oliver! Really appreciate the advice. I’ve decided to go with the 1 Arduino and back packs for the LCD driving as you’ve suggested. I was hoping to use a 2400mAh Lipo battery and I was unsure as to if the MP2636
was sufficient to use or if I would need to run the Adafruit powerboost 1000, as I would prefer to run with a cheaper option. I’m currently unsure what the average current use will be but I assume ~<500mA, however at peak it may be slightly higher and I don’t want any components to suffer any overdraws/anything unsafe.
As a side note I was thinking of using the boost output of 5V to just power the Arduino through one of the Arduino pins. I realise this then doesn’t go through a regulator, do you think it will be ok or is it possible it might fry the board?
Maybe not relevant but I have used commercial power banks to power projects, the ones designed to keep your phone going when its battery goes flat. They have the charge circuit built in and USB connectors.
5000mAH pack from Office Works cost less than $20.
2000mAH less than $10.
Just a thought
EDIT: Does mean connect / reconnect to charge the powerbank.