MintyBoost Starter Project
I chose to build the MintyBoost for my starter project. Building this starter project was fun because it was an entirely new field for me and I had to learn about all of the components to understand how to build the MintyBoost and how it works. I also had to learn how to read schematics the hard way when I burned a hole in circuit board. I had to find a new place to fit one of my resistors. The burned hole also kept the electric current from reaching one of the data lines on the USB port, which would tell newer model phones, such as my iPhone, so I had to look at the schematics again to find out where I had to fit a wire to reestablish the connection. The double A batteries only provide 3 volts and 5 volts are needed to charge a phone, so that is why the inductor and the IC chip are essential to the function of the project. The IC chip tells the inductor to charge and discharge until it is filled with 5 volts, then the inductor dumps the energy into the load.
Solar Li-Po Charger Main Project
What I liked most about this project was applying the circuit board from my MintyBoost to it because it felt like I was upgrading my my MintyBoost from regular double A batteries to a lithium ion battery and a mono-crystalline solar panel. As mentioned in the video, the small chip in the middle of the circuit board uses a less efficient method very similar to Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). The tiny chip tracks the power going to the lithium ion battery in order to draw out the maximum power from the mono-crystalline solar panel.