I am currently wondering for a college project, if it'd be possible or not to use a power bank to build a line following robot and power both the pi 3b+, the waveform motor driver hat with 2 dc motors(BO Motor 150RPM) and a 5-channel line following sensor (Sun Flower Line Tracking Infrared).

The power banks I have have the following specs:

  • 5V and 2.4A
  • 5V and 2.0A

Both offer 4000mAh capacity.

My questions are:

  • Will a power bank have enough energy to run the robot?
  • If you can, how long would it approximately run on one power bank, before you need to recharge it/replace it?
  • Is there something else that I might need to know?
  • 1
    think about this: are all DC motors in the world the same? – jsotola Mar 19 '19 at 3:27

I once built an RC card controlled by a Raspberry Pi. What I did, and might do the trick for you, is to use the power bank to power the Raspberry Pi, and use additional batteries to power the car itself. If you're repurposing a car toy, it should already have a place to store the batteries.

There are a couple of things you need to consider when working with DC motors: you need to be careful when interfacing with them since you can damage your Raspberry Pi when using something that draws high currents. For this you'll probably need to research H-bridges. The kind of circuit you use to drive your motors will also determine how fast you drain the batteries. For example, if you were to use mechanical relays instead of solid-state relays, you would lose energy at a greater rate.

Furthermore, as with any electronics (but especially power electronics project), power supplies are tricky. For your motors, you'll want to do multiple different tests to determine which kind of supply works best. That is, you want a power supply that doesn't drain too quickly, and that can provide a steady current for almost as long as it still has charge.

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