I've recently been in contact with Ron Justin, the CEO and Co-Founder of GroupGets.com, an online group buy service. If you're not familar with group buy, don't worry, it's essentially a number of people joining together to buy a certain product in bulk so that they can all benefit from the bulk price instead of paying the small quantities price. The service also doubles as a crowdfunding site similar to Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Ron has been really generous working with me to put some products on their site. I started with the LiPo Battery Breadboard Power Supplies, which are handy little lithium polymer (LiPo) battery breadboard adapters. These supplies make it easy to power my hobby breadboard projects without tying myself down to a bulky desktop power supply. Anyways, we hit our goal! Haha. It was a rather low goal to be honest, only needed 5 units backed, but it's a start! So I'm pretty excited and couldn't be happier. I'm currently offering 4 different products within the LiPo Battery Breadboard Power Supply family. One is the "LiPo Battery Breadboard Power Supply with Charging". It's a handy little device that interfaces a LiPo battery with a breadboard and includes a 3.3V regulator, and micro USB port, and a LiPo battery charger. This is really handy because users can switch between LiPo power, USB power, or the 3.3V regulator. And with the USB connected, users can charge the battery without interrupting power to their projects.
The second product is a bit of a "little brother" to the previous model. I call it the "LiPo Battery Breadboard Power Supply". It includes the LiPo battery interface and the 3.3V regulator, but no battery charger. Less functionality for a lower cost, just in case users already have a ton of LiPo battery chargers on hand already.
Thirdly we have a simply LiPo charger based on the MCP73831T power managment integrated circuit (PMIC). This PMIC is made specifically for charger LiPo and Lithium Ion batteries. It includes automatic charge enable, a simple way to adjust the charge current, and auto-shutoff. It's also the same chip used in the LiPo Battery Breadboard Power Supply with Charging. SparkFun also uses it alot in their boards. I modified their boards a little to breakout the pins of the PMIC. A bit of inspiration from SparkFun. I really like SparkFun's board, but I wanted to breakout the pins of the PMIC. Having access to other pins of the PMIC makes it a little easier to embed the LiPo charger into other projects and also makes it easier to change the charge current.
Finally, we have a simple JST breakout. LiPo batteries use a connector called a JST connector (JST is just the initials of the company that makes them). Unfortunately, this makes it relatively difficult to interface the LiPo battery to a breadboard. The JST connectors are 2.0mm pitch instead of the standard 2.54mm used in breadboards. Additionally, the JST connectors aren't really "header-pin" friendly, so sticking some wire into the connector and plugging it into the breadboard isn't necessarily the answer. (I do this all the time, but I find that the connection isn't quite as reliable and the wires tend to twist and bend a lot which leads to shorts). The JST breakout solves all these problems by breaking out the connector to standard 2.54mm pitch male header pins which plug right into the power rails of the breadboard. A bit of inspiration from Adafruit. I figured it would be a nice way to round out the family even though Adafruit has a more-or-less identical product.
Phew. That was a mouthful.
Anyways, check out the campaign here and please take a look at some of the other group buys on https://groupgets.com/ they have some really neat stuff.