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I want to make a toy car that follows a black line on the ground by using two sensor on the left and right sides of the car both pointing down. The sensor converts the light into a voltage that I will use to make the car turn left or right. I know that I can use batteries, but I am still very curious to find out if I could use my iPhone to power an Arduino because I also want to make a case with different sensors in it, and it would be thinner if I didn't have to put a 9V battery in the case.

  • Mobile phones generally use lithium batteries. Have you considered using a thin battery, rather than a thin battery wrapped in a phone in a way that makes it difficult to get the power out of that battery? Adafruit lithium batteries; Sparkfun batteries; etc. – David Cary Jan 28 '16 at 4:15
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If the phone has an accessible battery you could conceivably use the battery terminals to power a device such as Arduino. However, I think current smartphone batteries have complex monitoring circuits so this wont work.

If it doesn't, you'd be looking at using the USB/charger port on the phone.If your phone supports USB On-The-Go, I know that it allows phones to act as USB hosts, and according to USB-OTG specifications, the host must be able to supply at least 8mA of current between 4.4V and 5.25V.

If that's enough for you it could work.

  • Would I need some sort of adapter that connects from the iPhone's lightning port to the Arduino? I have an LED case on my phone that draws power from the phone, so I wanted to do the same thing with an Arduino. I might be asking this in the wrong thread. Sorry if I am. – user10707 Jun 19 '15 at 1:22
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Try to look at the pinout of the lightning port and create your own breakout. Then you can try taking power from the iPhone. Apple's Lighting port pinout

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For those coming here from Google.

The short answer is:

Yes you technically can, but it wont be dirt cheap or very pretty depending on your wallet and tastes/requirements.

Longer answer:

I was researching the same thing. The problem is that Lightning connector is fairly complicated, and before it will start giving you power it requires software authentication by a chip that is built into the cable. That said you can use the USB camera connection kit or you can buy one of the IK Multimedia mini usb cables:

http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/cat-view.php?C=spareparts

I have had success trying to tap into their cable for iRig Pro cause I happen to have one, and it gives out solid 3.3V on one of the pins which is good enough for my Arduino Mini Pro. But I would vouch that their full blown mini usb cable should be supplying regular 5V.

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