Power to the Makers: snapVCC

Most of us learned in our high school science classes that a well-designed experiment reduces complexity and eliminates variables. That’s as true for experiments with electronics as it is for chemistry or biology. For those experimenting and learning about electronics design, the snapVCC offers a simple, high-quality power-supply that reduces complexity and eliminates variables. We love making life easier for experimenters and designers and the snapVCC does just that.

The snapVCC provides 500 mA of portable, convenient power for your breadboard or any circuit that runs on 3.3 or 5 V power. With a form factor so small it can perch atop a 9 V battery, the snapVCC is portable enough for experimentation anywhere and everywhere. But while it is small, it produces low noise, well-regulated power by using a buck voltage step-down converter. Unlike a linear regulator, buck converters are highly efficient, meaning you’ll waste less precious current warming up the air around your power supply. (That’s why you’ll often see a buck converter in a laptop’s power supply circuitry.)

The snapVCC includes a low-drain power indicator LED, so you know at a glance if your 9 V battery is good, while a P-MOSFET provides protection against accidentally reversing polarity. Switching between 3.3 V and 5 V is done by simply moving a jumper onto different pins. The snapVCC even includes a set of jumper cables so all you need is a 9 V battery and it’s ready to plug into your breadboard.

In keeping with Crowd Supply’s values, the snapVCC is an Open Hardware project, so all of its design files can be found in its GitHub repo.

The snapVCC is the brainchild of Mahesh Venkitachalam, an electronics hacker and hardware maker based in Bangalore, India. His blog, electronut.in is a great resource for anyone working on electronics and projects combining hardware and software. He needed a super-convenient, reliable, simple way to power his projects, which often used a nine-volt battery as a power supply. Out of that necessity, the snapVCC was born.

Once the campaign met its funding goal, Mahesh visited Shenzhen to work with Seeed Studio to make sure there weren't any hiccups in the production of the first batch.

The campaign concluded successfully on Crowd Supply a few weeks ago, having raised 168% of its funding goal. Today, colorful snapVCC’s are being ordered from Crowd Supply and are shipping out to labs and shops across the world. We can’t wait to see what you'll build with the snapVCC, and we hope it will spark your next great idea.