NanoCell V2.1 battery-powered ESP32-C3 IoT board runs ESPHome for Home Assistant integration

The NanoCell V2.1 is a development board built around the Espressif ESP32-C3 SoC (system-on-a-chip) preloaded with ESPHome firmware for low-power applications and improved Lithium battery management. The development board is a white printed circuit board with gold-plated contacts and a battery fuel-gauge IC, designed by Frapais’ lab in Greece.

nanocell v2 stack - ESP32-C3 boards with ESPHome firmware

As the name suggests, the NanoCell V2.1 is the latest in a series of iterations of ESP32-C3-based devices targeted at low-power applications. Compared to earlier versions, it offers a better user experience and improved power efficiency.

It features a buck-boost converter that reduces standby current consumption to 66uA (excluding the current consumed by the ESP32 module). The battery management system (BMS) integrated circuit supports accurate capacity measurement and protects connected Lithium batteries from overcharging and other harmful scenarios. Also, two LEDs on the board serve as power and charging indicators to relay the board’s status.

nanocell v2 usb

It is based on the same ESP32 microcontroller as the Spark Analyzer, but is designed to serve as a platform for building battery-powered IoT and smart home devices. Other ESP32-based power management/monitoring boards we have previously covered include the ESP32-S3 PowerFeather board, Olimex ESP32-C3-DevKit-Lipo, and ThingPulse ePulse Feather C6.

NanoCell V2.1 specifications:

  • Microcontroller – ESP32-C3 RISC-V microcontroller @ 160MHz, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 (LE)
  • Battery Management
    • battery capacity measurement IC
    • Li-ion/Li-po battery charging & protection ICs
    • Accurate battery capacity measurement IC (MAX17048), accessible via I2C on pins 2 and 3.
  • USB – USB Type-C for charging and uploading firmware
  • Buttons – Reset and Boot
  • LEDs – Charging and USB power LED indicators
  • Breadboard-compatible pin headers break out all the pins of ESP32-C3, USB, battery, and VCC voltage.

The NanoCell V2.1 is designed to work seamlessly with Home Assistant and ESPHome automation systems. A setup guide is available in the NanoCell-C3 GitHub repository.

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The NanoCell V2.1 is priced at $14.49 on Tindie and $14.90 on Elecrow (bulk discounts available). It is completely open-source, and hardware schematics and initialization firmware can be found in the earlier-mentioned GitHub repository.

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