Solar Panel Keeps Cheap Digital Calipers Powered Up

There’s no doubt that cheap digital calipers are useful, especially when designing 3D-printed parts. Unfortunately, cheap digital calipers are also cheap, and tend to burn through batteries quickly. Sure, you can remove the battery when you’re done using them, but that’s for suckers — winners turn to solar power to keep their calipers always at the ready.

[Johan]’s solar upgrade begins with, unsurprisingly, a solar cell, one that just fits on the back of his digital calipers. Like most of these cheap calipers, this one is powered by a single 1.5 V LR44 button cell, while the polycrystalline solar cell is rated for 5 V, so [Johan] used a red LED as a crude voltage regulator. He also added a stack of fourteen 100 μF SMD capacitors soldered together in parallel. The 1206 devices form a 1,400 μF block that’s smaller than the original button cell so that everything fits in the vacated battery compartment. It’s pretty slick.

Given their agreeable price point, digital calipers are a tempting target for hacking. We’ve seen a ton of them, from accessibility add-ons to WiFi connectivity and even repurposing them for use as DROs. Ever wonder how these things work? We’ve looked at that, too.

This post was originally published on this site