Powering the UltraBorg through the Pi



Yesterday I brought an UltraBorg wanting to build a small robot. I am just a bit confused because on the picture on how to plug it in there's a 9V PP3 battery but later you say a 5v power supply or battery. You also sell a full kit with 4 AA batteries powering it. I would like to power it from the pi (so the USB powers the pi and the pi powers the UltraBorg) or actually via USB (with a cut up cable). Which would be the best option and would it power from the pi via USB?


piborg's picture

If you are trying to use a single power supply connected to the USB on the Raspberry Pi what you need to do is:

  • Make sure no batteries are attached to V+ / GND on the UltraBorg
  • Fit the 5V link jumper on the board (it should have been shipped already fitted)
  • Connect power to the Raspberry Pi itself

The reason we have the extra power connection is that you may need more power than a single supply can provide to run both the servos and the Raspberry Pi. If you find that the Raspberry Pi restarts when trying to move servos you probably need a more powerful supply or a separate supply for the UltraBorg.

Thanks. The only power bank I found to power the pi and the UltraBorg was quite big so as I mentioned above, on your site you have a picture of a PP3 battery. Do they work or are they too high powered?

piborg's picture

Unfortunately no, the Raspberry Pi needs to be powered from a fairly precise 5V power source.
The 9V batteries are far too high voltage and even the 4x AA pack would not be accurate enough either.

What you can do is use something like our BattBorg to create a stable 5V supply from a 9V battery and use that to power both the UltraBorg and the Raspberry Pi.

Sorry, I didn't make that clear enough. Could I power just the UltraBorg off a 9V battery?

piborg's picture

It entirely depends on what is connected to the UltraBorg (servos and sensors).

If you are powering the UltraBorg from a battery then you will need to remove the 5V link jumper to avoid damaging the Raspberry Pi.

The UltraBorg itself can cope with a 9V battery, but it will send this to any attached servos and ultrasonic sensors.
Typically ultrasonic sensors need an approximate 5V supply and will not tolerate the 9V input.
Most servos work somewhere between 4.8V and 6V, they will also be unhappy with 9V as the input.

Put simply if any servos or ultrasonic senors which are attached cannot handle the supplied battery voltage you will damage them and possibly the UltraBorg as well!

I would advise using a 4x AA battery holder with rechargeable AAs in this case, this should be fine for both the sensors and servos.

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