I know it’s been a while since an update, but with good reason. We’ve been working hard in NightShade’s secret laboratories to finalize the design of the energyShield and we didn’t want to spoil the surprise. Some great ideas were proposed during the campaign. The 3.3V output and breakout were unlocked during the campaign and we have implemented this into the final design. Unfortunately we did not reach the goals for the USB or Solar charging. However, these ideas were just too good to pass up, so we decided to go the extra mile. In this re-design the energyShield has transformed from an excellent rechargeable battery for an Arduino into the go-to power supply for any DIY electronic project; whether in the classroom or the middle of nowhere!

The new energyShield:

The new energyShield is designed to efficiently charge from any DC power source between 5-24V, and regulate the current it draws to prevent the source voltage from dropping below a set voltage. This threshold voltage is set with a variable resistor on the energyShield and can be varied over the entire input range. This enables the energyShield to be charged from a solar panel (as shown in Update #11). We didn’t stop there… The new version can also be charged via USB!

As promised, we have also added the 3.3V regulation, so that the energyShield can be used separately from an Arduino to power 3.3V devices. We have also added a jumper to switch the output from the 5V pin to the Vin pin. This is for everyone with a Galileo, PCduino, Yun, or any other Arduino compatible board that requires a 5V, regulated input to the Vin pin.
One of the biggest, physical design changes is that we have put all of the SMT components on the bottom of the board. This was done to allow room for all the components needed for the new functionality.

Now I realize that it isn’t very conducive for a breakout board to have all of the components on the surface that the board sits on. So, if you would like, you can rest the energyShield on the battery, because all of the through-hole components can be installed on the top… or the bottom. This effectively inverts the board. 😉

For the people that love to measure EVERYTHING going on (like me), we even added a voltage divider circuit connected to an analog pin allowing the Arduino to read the voltage input to the shield. The voltage is accurately scaled to 1/5th the original voltage. This allows the Arduino to safely read an input voltage up to the 24V maximum.

In summation, the energyShield can now be charged from an AC adapter, USB, or left in the middle of a field connected to a solar panel. It can be attached to an Arduino as a shield or soldered to your project as a breakout board. And it can power both 5V and 3.3V projects.

The revision of the energyShield pictured here has a couple of bugs that we are currently working out. We just placed a PCB order for the next revision of the energyShield. Hopefully we’ve worked the bugs out of the design and we will be able to move on to production with the latest revision. Cross your fingers!

In other news: 

We just ordered the flashlights. Rather that the run-of-the-mill LED flashlights that I originally showed in the reward pictures, we have obtained custom NightShade LED torch lights featuring a single high power, CREE LED. The LED can be diffused into a nice even circle of light by a lens, or focused so sharply that you project the shape of the LED. One of the coolest features is that it runs on one (1) AA battery. These are, by far, our favorite project flash lights. If you didn’t choose a reward package that includes a flashlight, you are not out of luck. We plan to stock these on our website.

The flashlight on the left is a photo proof from our manufacturer.

This morning I also placed the order for the T-shirts.

This is the manufacturers rendering of how they will appear.

 A little bit of bad news:

Unfortunately when we originally created our schedule, we did not plan to make such extensive revisions to the energyShield. The revisions have put us several weeks behind schedule. We are doing our best to close this gap, but the rewards will most likely be shipping later than anticipated. We will keep you in the loop as we take all of the next steps to get your rewards to you. We apologize for the delay, but let me assure you that it is totally worth the wait.

Thank you all again so much for your support and patience,

Sincerely,

The NightShade Team