PiicoDev Real Time Clock (RTC) RV3028 (CE08239)

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Accurate timekeeping, even during a power outage.

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Hi, I recently bought two RTC PiicoDev modules and noticed that one of them holds the time for a couple of hours when disconnected whilst the other one can hardly manage a few minutes. Is it possible to de-solder the capacitor and attach a small cell battery instead?

I look forward to your reply.

Thank you.


Hi all
When I followed the link to find out a bit more about this device I clicked on a couple of links listed at the end of the description. I was connected to a GitHub page which required a sign in. The link to the schematic is one of them. Why is this. Does this mean one needs a GitHub account to sign in to view the schematic and is this scenario going to apply to future PiicoDev modules.
Cheers Bob


Hi Bob,

It looks like the link 404’d - the repo might be private since its a relatively new module. Come Monday it should be fixed :smiley:

Physically the Makerverse RTC and PiicoDev ones look very similar, while not exactly the same schematic here’s a similar one: https://github.com/CoreElectronics/CE-Makerverse-Supercap-Real-Time-Clock-RV3028/blob/main/Documents/schematic-makerverse-supercap-real-time-clock.pdf
(The charging circuit and main IC are the same)

Hey Socrates,

While not the main use case you certainly can, there’s a THT test point on the pack that you could attach a wire to any compatible power source.

It’s interesting that it only lasts a few minutes/hours though, did you have the module resting on anything metal or have you disabled the trickle charge?

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Thank you for the reply.

One was resting on a timber surface and the other on an acrylic rig.

I gather the THT test point is on the back in the middle of the circuit board…correct?

I was thinking more in line of removing the capacitor and soldering a battery in its place.

Can you disable the trickle charge in software?

Many thanks for your help.


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I bought one of these and a Makerverse one.
The Makerverse one holds the time for a few days.when not powered.
The PiicoDev lasts maybe 10 minutes, certainly not an hour. It is not fit for purpose, a recent power outage lasted over an hour.

I have yet to do more testing on it, but a bit of a disappointment given the other PiicoDev products are excellent.


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Hey @James46717 - it sucks to hear that your PiicoDev RTC didn’t work out. The two products use virtually identical application circuits so it sounds like something else is amiss here.
Perhaps @Trent5487676 can weigh in.

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Hi Jim,

That is an interesting issue as Michael pointed out those two modules have more similarities than differences regarding the hardware side of things.

I’ve included download links for the two schematics below, the most major difference between the two that I can spot is that the current limiting resistor is smaller on the Makerverse unit, which should have the opposite effect if this was a power drain due to hardware differences.
PiicoDev version Schematic
Makerverse version schematic

Given both units are specced the same I think the best test will be to add headers to the PiicoDev unit, then swap it with the Makervse unit so they have same software configuration. If both are connected to the same hardware peripherals and running on the same libraries then they should have the same power draw and battery life. If the same code and peripherals gives a different result we’ll know there is a hardware defect with one unit and be able to sort that our as an RMA under warranty.

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I think I might be wrong in what I said. I have been focused on the project development and not looked in depth at why the PiicoDev RTC is losing its time. Now the project is complete and working nicely, time to investigate the RTC.

The RTC is read by a Pi Pico on power up to set the time for the Pico RTC. The Pi Pico has run for days without a problem, it own RTC keeps good time. It is only when the mains power is switched off the RTC loses its time and it only happens after the Pico had been running for a number of days.

I did some bench testing and the PiicoDev RTC keeps its time ok for up to an hour. Didn’t test any longer than that. Now I intend to leave it on for 24 hours, then turn it off and on again and see what the time does. Might have to leave it longer.

Its possible there is a bug in my software when the time loops past midnight.

Anyway, I don’t think the unit is faulty.



Recent testing showed the problem I am experiencing with the PiicoDev RTC relates to the time going past midnight. After running over night the time the Pico displayed was correct, removed power and reconnected it, the time showed 00:00.

I then set the time to 23:55 and waited till it went past midnight, removed and reconnected power and the same thing happened.

Now I intend to leave the device unpowered for a number of hours during the day and see how the RTC holds up. To try and get an understanding of how long the capacitor will last. But it seems the problem is related to the time going past midnight.



Further testing. Added code to my program to read the RTC every 3 minutes and print the result in Thonny. The RTC runs perfectly keeping accurate time, over midnight it still increases ok and any other time.

But … if it started before midnight and then runs past midnight and the power is removed it comes back with 00:00. The print out on Thonny shows it was keeping the correct time immediately prior to power off.
Set a time then run it for a while and power it off it comes back with the correct time as long as it has not gone past midnight.

This seems to me to be something in the way the chip is setup or not as the case maybe. And something related to change of day. ie run past midnight.

More investigation needed I think, now where is that datasheet.
Maybe look a the Makerverse code, it uses the same chip, I think.

PS wonder if anyone else has experienced something similar.


Hi Jim,

It uses the same chip so swapping out the libraries might be worth a shot!
Very interesting bug, would it be possible to grab a copy of your your RTC code so we can replicate something here?

Regardless we’ll investigate :smiley:

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Hi Jim,

Thanks for sharing your results, that is interesting and I agree with Liam. It would be interesting to try with the alternative Makerverse library as it is functionally the same hardware. If there is a bug in one library we’ll work towards getting it patched.

@James46717 nice detective work -This will help us attempt to replicate in-house. @Liam, @Trent5487676 I’ll add this to next week’s tasks.


I think the libraries are solid and they look pretty much the same, small differences. The register values written to the RTC are the same. Extensive examination of the datasheet shows nothing out of place. Still I cannot find anything to explain why I am experiencing what I am.

Possibly it is how I am using the RTC. The Pi Pico device is a very simple single watering circuit I built it to keep water to a few plants while we were away on a cruise ship. It can be set to skip up to 2 days. It had been working nicely before our trip. When we got back it was stuck at the enter time screen. There had been a power failure, unsure when. So I decided to add a RTC.

The Pi Pico reads the RTC on power up and sets its own RTC then uses this time to turn the watering system on and off. A menu option allows setting of the time which then updates the RTC time. It does not access the RTC while running except for when the time is changed through the menu option or a power failure.

It was not until another power failure I realised something was not working correctly with the RTC and I began my investigation. Initially I thought the capacitor was losing its charge somehow, static or something else but that has proved incorrect. I should delete my previous post where I said it only lasted for 10 minutes, I was wrong there, apologies.

I have a solution.
The Pi Pico resets itself at 00:00:00 via machine.reset() and the problem seems to have gone away. Power loss after that returns the correct time. Interesting.

Testing continues.

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