Update (2013-09-03): The Tindie fundraiser is on!

William from FriedCircuits.us kindly sent me a preview of his next board: a more generic current and voltage tester with the same form factor as his very successful USB breakout.

FriedCircuits VA Tester

FriedCircuits VA Tester

As was the case for the USB tester, the main use of this board is to enable easy current and voltage readings on the line using a multimeter. Traces on the breakout are designed with withstand up to 3 amps, and the large holes in the middle can be used with banana plugs. In case you don’t want to measure current, a jumper is provided in the kit to bridge the current breakout points easily.

Things get interesting, though, once you realise that you can still connect the OLED backpack to this new board. The INA219 chip used on that backpack can measure up to 26V, and will be able to measure up to 3.2A in its current configuration – consistent with what the traces can support. The only shortcoming of the “tester + backpack” configuration, is that the backpack does not have its own voltage regulator, so you will need to power it from USB if you want to use it. Fortunately, the new tester board is designed so that it cannot power the OLED backpack, so there is no danger of damaging it. Moreover, if you want to use the backpack to do logging, it will not be an issue as you will need the USB connection anyway.

Assembled VA Tester

Assembled VA Tester

I had a few exchanges with William over the last few days, and he has a few smart updates in store before the final design, so stay tuned and visit FriedCircuits’ Tindie page regularly! One of the very smart moves was to slightly move the power testing headers, so that there is no risk of shorting power to ground with a jumper.

The fundraiser actually started on the 3rd of September, you can find it here.

All in all, once it is released, this tool will be a nice addition to your toolbox for any project where you need to measure power – I use the USB tester very often, and I’m quite sure it will be the case for this tool as well!

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