After using the Ladybug Lite Blue in my nutrient baths, I’ve decided to change the hardware design from just using a coin cell battery to using a DC power source when available and switching to a coin cell battery when not available.  At some point I envision designing an outdoor version that switches between solar power and battery so I am excited to explore using multiple power sources.

The Goal

The goal of this post is to add switching between a DC and battery power source to the Ladybug Lite Blue Schematic and board layout.

Note: I will be using the acronym LBL to refer to the Ladybug Lite Blue hardware.

Thanks to Those that went Before

Thank you (as always) to  Chris Gammell of Contextual Electronics!  I came up with a design to switch between the two power sources using an op amp and a p-channel mosfet.  I showed my design to Chris who without hesitation – and I might add a lot of respect/kindness! – steered me to a much better design using Schottky diodes – which I discuss below.  In fact, Chris pointed out he had covered this a month or so ago in our Contextual Electronics course!  Shame on me for needing Chris’s nudge when he had already provided the “better” solution.  There is so much Chris is teaching us that I need to go back and figure out what else I have missed.

Thank you Afrotechmods for your excellent video on the Schottky diode.

Open Source

Kicad v4.01 files and LTSpice simulation that is discussed below can be downloaded from this github location.

The Solution

  • use a commonly available power source for DC power: USB and CR2032 3V coin cell battery.
  • use Schottky diodes along with DC power being at a higher voltage than battery to use DC power when plugged in.  


The LTSpice simulation is simple.  I defined a DC and battery power source.  The DC power source pulses 3.3 volts on and off.  This allows the voltage graph to show the voltage at the load when DC power is on as well as off.

Features of the Design

  • When both power sources are available, current flows through D1 (i2) and through D2 (i1).
  • The voltage rises to 3.3V – the maximum DC voltage, which is .3V more than the maximum battery voltage of 3V.
  • Diode D1 is getting a reverse current.  At this point, power is being driven by the DC source.

Benefits of Schottky Diodes

Features of a Schottky diode that makes it a good fit for this scenario include:
  • A diode’s forward voltage drop is ~ .7V.  The Schottky diode has ~ .2V forward voltage drop (this depends on variables like the amount of current).
  • Switching from allowing current to flow to not allowing current to flow happens instantly.

Schematic and Board Layout

The Kicad v4.01 schematic and board layout are available at this github location.




A short one.   Thank you for reading this far.  Please find many things to smile about.