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Topic: Can I use arduino with changing voltage power source? (Read 289 times) previous topic - next topic



I have a project with an Arduino Pro Mini, and I want to power it from my motorcycle's power line.
The problem is, that since the bike has a generator which's output voltage is changing with the RPM, the power line doesn't give a constant voltage. Is it problem for the Arduino to handle this power source?

If it's a problem, how do I make this changing voltage into constant voltage?


Oct 26, 2019, 09:55 pm Last Edit: Oct 26, 2019, 09:56 pm by Grumpy_Mike
Is it problem for the Arduino to handle this power source?
What is the range of voltages you get when revving the engine?

The maximum voltage an Arduino's on board regulator will take is 12V.

Even so the current is limited to a hundred or so mA because of the thermal dissipation on the regulator chip.

how do I make this changing voltage into constant voltage?
You use a buck DC to DC converter to step down the voltage efficiently and set it to 5V and attach it to the 5V, and ground pins.


I am sure yet about the range of voltage, but I think the voltage is always between 12V and 17V. I am gonna try a buck converter, thanks for fast response :)


Yes! Please note the arduino board can operate on an external supply from 6 to 20 volts however If the supply is less than 7V,  the 5V pin will start to supply less than five volts and the board may become unstable. If using more than 12V, the voltage regulator may overheat and damage the board, this is very much dependent to what load is connected to the 5V supply. The recommended range is 7 to 12 volts. Consider a SEPIC converter, it is just a little more and you will like the results.  Please be aware there is also the possibility of Load Dump which you need to protect against.  The initial value I worked with many years ago was 80V with lots and lots of amps available. This is not a steady state condition, just a bad transient.   put the transient protection in front of the converter.  Some will not need it and may be reverse battery protected. There is a nice article at:
Good Luck and Have Fun,
This response is to help you get started in solving your problem, not solve it for you.
Good Luck & Have Fun!


Oct 28, 2019, 11:36 pm Last Edit: Oct 28, 2019, 11:38 pm by SteveMann
If the motorcycle battery voltage is only over 14V for a short period (a few seconds over a minute), you can use this all day.  The on-board regulator is rated to 20V, but there is no heat sink on it.  I run some Uno's all day on 12V wall warts with no issue.

Unless the motorcycle has no battery, then you do need some kind of protection.
I am usually so far out of the box that most people don't know what I am talking about.

Please do not ask for help by PM. I will not respond.
If you need help, post a question on the appropriate forum.


Oct 29, 2019, 09:29 am Last Edit: Oct 29, 2019, 09:30 am by TomGeorge
Do you have a DMM?

Does your motorcycle have a battery?
17V sounds way to high to charge a battery.

Tom.... :)
Everything runs on smoke, let the smoke out, it stops running....


Vehicle supplies can have voltage spikes and drop-outs, best to clean it up first by filtering, or using a DC-DC converter which also allows voltage conversion.
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