ESP32

In looking to keep occupied with the current pandemic going on I’ve taken my Microelectronics projects to a new level and have over the past few weeks kicked out a series of soil moisture sensors which are powered by battery (18650) with a small solar panel keeping them topped up.

As the battery charges/discharges the voltage changes and moves outside of the acceptable ranges for the little ESP32 MCU, here a load drop out voltage regulator like the Microchip MCP1700 comes into play by ensuring that the controller is fed the right voltage all the time. In researching this project I’ve come across a fair few articles which mention the regulator is only ‘stable’ or ‘the supply is smoothed out’ with a set of capacitors in line. Just to test that out I hooked my multimeter up to the MCP1700 without the capacitors and lone behold the wrong voltage is being kicked out. Put the capacitors in line and everything works as expected.

Without capacitors

Image 1 of 2

Without the capacitors in line the voltage hangs around 2.6-2.8V

The article I followed when putting my final projects together is at these links:

There does appear to be a discrepancy (1uF vs 100nF) between the capacity of the capacitors in the datasheet and the article (and indeed I’m having occasional issues with controllers resetting due to what appears to be a power problem) but for now things are working well enough.