I am learning how to create a soft latch power switch, using an N channel mosfet.

Currently, I have this:


simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

The idea is (so far) that I can turn it on with the switch, the Arduino immediately brings the power control high (ensuring the FET stays on), and brings that same pin low after 1.5s (simulating a timed shutdown).

However; when the power control goes low, I still see about 1.8v in the power control line (I'm presuming its floating?), which leaves this particular FET partially open.

If I disconnect the power control line from the MCU, I get the behaviour I expect. I can touch the power control to +ve and the FET will switch on. If I lift the control line from +ve, the FET closes the gate, due to the pull down resistor.

I'm struggling to understand why the FET works in isolation, but does not work when connected to the MCU output pin. The pinMode is OUTPUT.

FET (3055VL): https://www.onsemi.com/pub/Collateral/MTP3055VL-D.PDF

Here's the test code I'm using. It simply flashes a build in LED 10 times then does a power off.

int ledPIN = 17;
int controlPin = 11;
int lDelay = 150;

bool shouldBeUp = true;

void setup()
  pinMode(ledPIN, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(controlPin, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(controlPin, HIGH);

void loop()
  if (shouldBeUp) {
    for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++)
      digitalWrite(ledPIN, LOW); // on
      digitalWrite(ledPIN, HIGH); // off
      delay(lDelay / 2);

    // Leave the LED low
    digitalWrite(ledPIN, LOW);
    digitalWrite(controlPin, LOW);
    shouldBeUp = false;

Any help is appreciated! Thank you :)

1 Answer 1


Your problem is that the GPIO pin is referenced to ground - and the MOSFET is isolating that ground.

You need instead to switch the power not the ground - and for that, you use a P-channel MOSFET.


simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

To hold the power on you now set the GPIO LOW instead of HIGH.

If you need to switch a higher voltage than the operating voltage of the MCU you will need to add another N-channel MOSFET to pull down the P-channel's gate.

  • Thanks for this. I have a p-channel on the way to try this out. Does that mean a circuit such as described here (youtube.com/watch?v=0IjJH3ksqfs) see 1:27m, would also not work, since the PWR_CTRL would have the same problem?
    – scornflake
    Jan 14, 2019 at 1:21
  • That circuit is what I mean when I refer to adding an n fet for switching a higher voltage.
    – Majenko
    Jan 14, 2019 at 1:48

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