Solar power manager module supports 6V-24V input range, battery charging, MPTT function, and outputs 5V/3A

Waveshare Solar Power Manager Module (D) is a compact power module for solar panels with support for 6V to 24V input, MPTT (Maximum Power Point Tracking), and battery charging. It outputs 5V up to 3A via a USB-C port or terminal block and should be suitable for a range of projects.

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the FireBeetle 2 ESP32-C6 IoT development board with DFRobot highlighting support for solar charging of lithium batteries thanks the the CN3165 chip. But with a range of just 4.5 to 6V for solar panel input and a lack of support for MPTT, several readers were unimpressed by the solution. The Waveshare Solar Power Manager Module (D) recently popped up in my news feed, and I thought it might be worth a look.

Solar Power Manager Module D

Waveshare Solar Power Manager Module (D) specifications:

  • Solar panel input
    • 6V to 24V via DC jack or 2-pole screw terminal with input reverse connection protection
    • CN3791 solar power management chip with support for MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) function to maximize the efficiency of the solar panel.
  • USB Input – 5V up to 5A via USB-C port (USB PD support)
  • 5V output – Up to 3A via screw terminal or USB-C port (Note: the USB-C port can be used as either 5V output or input)
  • SW6106 USB power management chip for charging and 5V/3A boost output
  • Battery support
    • 3.7V Li-ion battery (an optional 18650 battery holder is available)
    • Charging
      • Via Solar panel, power adapter, or USB-C port
      • Recharging cutoff voltage – 4.2V +/- 1%
      • Solar panel charging efficiency – About 78%
      • USB charging efficiency – About 93%
    • Over  discharging protection voltage – 3.0V +/- 1%
    • Batteries boost output efficiency – About  90%
    • Quiescent current (Max) – <2mA
  • Misc – 6x LEDs to monitor charge status and levels
  • Safety – Overcharge and over-discharge protection (using XB8886A), reverse, overheat, and over-current protection

Solar panel battery module

The Wiki has a few more technical details including PDF schematics. It looks quite straightforward to use as shown in the diagram with a Raspberry Pi 4 below. Simply connect some batteries to the 4-pin JST connector, connect a solar panel to the DC jack or 2-pin terminal, and the target device to either the USB-C port or 2-pin 5V output terminal. As I understand it, it’s possible to charge the batteries through the USB-C port first if needed.

Raspberry Pi 4 solar panel

Waveshare is selling the Solar Power Manager Module (D) on Aliexpress for $17.99 including shipping, but most people might want to spend 90 cents extra to get a battery holder taking three 18650 batteries. While researching the topic, I also noticed some more basic (and cheaper) solar power modules based on the same CN3791 such as the Taidacent CN3791 solar charger going for $9.58 on Amazon.

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Andreas Elfving
Andreas Elfving
5 months ago

Good idea to have a pd-enabled port for base charging if the battery cells and let the solar panel top-up.
I also really like the screw terminals, for devices not using usb, and screw holes
Overall, seems like a very useful bit of kit.

5 months ago

Agreed, just what you said.

5 months ago

Shame it does not support 3.3V LiFePO4 batteries, as they are much more suitable for constant cycling (such as in this application) than Lithium-Ion.

5 months ago

Lithium-ion are fine as well as long as you slightly maintain a reasonable cut-off voltage and reduce the max charge voltage (typically x10 cycles for each 0.1V). At 3.9V you have virtually unlimited charging cycles.

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