Batteries and battery charge circuits

I’m currently powering my robot via cable and mains adaptor. This works fine but. I need to power it by battery so it can roam around a room. I’ve looked at which batteries to get, and I guess I’m going to get something like a NiMH battery. LiPo sound like a good idea, except for the whole exploding/setting on fire thing, the robot will be left alone while charging and if I burn down the office no-one is going to be pleased. So I’m thinking of buying something like this NiMH battery for my robot.

The problem I have is how to charge the battery. The robot needs to “dock” and charge unattended, rather than have someone change it’s batteries manually so standard consumer battery chargers are out. I also need to get charging status somehow so I can get remote status / prevent the robot from moving off until the battery is charged so some sort of SPI/I2C interface will be needed (the docking station will be a Raspberry Pi).

It looks like there are chips out there to do this sort of thing, like the LTC1759 (from here) and more.

Unfortunately I have 0 surface mount skills, or confidence that I could make a circuit out of that that would work so I need some help:

  • Does anyone have any suggestions for boards that already exist that use a chip like this…
  • …or suggestions as to how I could handle the charging?
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One thought on “Batteries and battery charge circuits

  1. I know people who have built rechargers themselves, so you could in theory use regular consumer batteries and then put a recharging component around them in the robot. Docking then causes the charge cycle to start and power to be delivered to the recharging component.

    Your design sounds better though. I’d encourage you to not be afraid of SMT and just give it a go. It’s fiddly, but in a watchmaker-type way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihoX7x0RBz8

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