About a year ago I wrote of my on-going experiments to determine how coin cells behave. This was motivated by what I consider outrageous claims made by a number of MCU vendors that their processors can run for several decades from a single CR2032 cell. Some vendors take their MCU’s sleep currents and divide those into the battery’s 225 mAh capacity to get these figures. Of course, no battery vendor I’ve found specifies a shelf life longer than a decade (at least one was unable to define “shelf life”) so it’s folly, or worse, to suggest to engineers that their systems can run for far longer than the components they’re based on last.
Conservative design means recognizing that ten years is the max life one can expect from a coin cell. In practice, even that will not be achievable.
There’s also a war raging about which MCUs have the lowest sleep currents. Sleep current is, to a first approximation, irrelevant, as I showed last year.
But how do coin cells really behave in these low-power applications? I’ve been discharging CR2032s with complex loads applied for short periods of time and have acquired millions of data points.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.