I have NodeMCU v3 with ESP8266 and I am running small project where I am measuring the input from IR phototransistor via ADC pin (A0) and everything is working flawlessly.
But now I want to transfer it to battery source (powerbank -> microUSB) and I want to be able to tell the remaining battery capacity, but all tutorials I found were going through switching ADC(A0) to internal, thus disabling it. Is there any other way I can either measure the battery OR input from phototransistor?

  • 3
    you can just stop exploring now; the power bank will spit out 5.0v until it's dead. – dandavis Oct 26 '19 at 8:43

As @dandavis rightly says in the comments, you can't measure the battery voltage from a power bank. This is because the power bank typically includes a step-up converter to turn the batter voltage (3.2 to 4V) into a stable 5V. That 5V will alwaye be 5V (or thereabouts) until the battery runs out and the power bank shuts itself off.

To measure the battery state you will have to directly interface with the batteries (disassemble the power bank) and tap into the battery terminals themselves.

Some power banks also have LEDs in them to display the power remaining. It could be possible to interface directly with these as well.

One thing to note, though, is that using a power bank for an ESP8266 board is pretty silly. You are taking nominal 3.6V, stepping it up to 5V, then linearly dropping it back down to 3.3V again. Both stages involve power wastage - the 5V to 3.3V most of all (a linear regulator turns the waste voltage into heat).

You would be better removing the batteries from the power bank and wiring them directly to the power input - or better still, feed them through a high efficiency switching regulator to get a stable 3.3V and feed that directly into the 3.3V pin. be sure to include some way of monitoring the battery voltage and shutting off the power when it gets too low. Since your ADC input is already in use the simplest way is to add an external ADC chip to your design.

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