Making your projects portable, without the need for mains power, can be quite difficult. There's the option to use AA batteries, or a rechargeable USB 5V battery, but that involves getting at your project's innards to replace or recharge the batteries. Enter the Qduino Mini - a tiny Arduino-compatible board, with a built in battery charger and battery status indicator.

The Qduino Mini looks similar to other embedded boards such as the Arduino Pro Mini, but has a built in socket to connect to LiPo batteries, and an internal switch to change between charging and consuming. The Qduino Mini is completely open source, and is Arduino compatible, allowing you to easily transition your projects to the Qduino Mini with a minimal amount of fuss. All the schematics, code and design files will be released when the first unit ships.

Some project ideas already developed
Some project ideas already developed

A battery isn't built onto the board, allowing you to use whatever battery you need for your project. Charging an external battery is simple - simply plug in USB power. No need to switch sources, the Qduino Mini will do this automatically for you. There's no need to open up your project to mess around with power. You can even program your board at the same time as you are charging.

The Qduino Mini even has you covered when it comes to checking battery level. In addition to the charge status LED, a simple library has also been developed so you can read the battery status at any time. This allows you to notify yourself if the battery is running low.

Being a small board (1" x 1.5"), it's great for embedding into whatever project you want. It's also really light (only 5 grams), so you can use it in weight-sensitive projects, such as weather balloons and drones. The batteries it uses are also really thing and light, resulting in a really compact and light portable solution.

The Qduino Mini has the following specs:

  • ATmega32U4 Processor - Arduino Leonardo Compatible
  • 32KB Flash Storage
  • 2.5KB SRAM
  • 3.3V @ 8MHz
  • 20 Digital I/O // 14 Dedicated
  • 12 Analog Channels // 6 Dedicated
  • 7 Digital I/O also PWM channels
  • SPI, I2C, UART available
  • LED Indicators for: ON, Charge Status, TX, RX, D13
  • TPS78233 3.3V 150mA Regulator
  • MCP73832 LiPo Battery Charger
  • MAX17048 LiPo Battery Fuel Gauge

The Qduino Mini is a great project for those looking at creating a portable, embedded project. It's live now on Kickstarter, and you can grab one for only $25. The campaign has already hit its target, so you can definitely get one. SparkFun, who will do the final production, has also backed it. Oh, and did we mention it's the creation of a 14 year old genius?