DS3231 Using Capacitor as a 2032 Battery Replacement

This is a really great way to avoid buying the LIR2032 batteries. It’s very hard to find them in my little town, they’re in stock at times and I hate delaying a project because of a lack of batteries.

So I had the bright idea to use a 5v 4F capacitor instead!

Does it work? Yes. But…. only for about 2 days. But since this capcitor is only about 80 cents bought in packs of 20 I had to give it a try.

I would say that 95% of my instances of losing my clocks time due to power loss was because I didn’t set the battery in properly or it was during the testing phase/development stage and I was too lazy to put a battery into the RTC. Some where from momentary power loss from a loose or broken wire.

Most of my camera projects include solar power. If I’ve lost power because my 18650 batteries have run dry even with the solar in place… I’ve got bigger problems. This is more about keeping power to the RTC while changing out batteries from the projects.

For example, if I use AA batteries in a project and need to swap them out because they’re getting a little low it should only take about 2 minutes to swap them out. But if there’s no battery in the DS3231 I’ll lose my clocks time. With this capacitor in place it won’t lose the time.

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How to do it:

First let’s prepare our RTC

We’re going to take the split tab in the center of the photo above and bend it backwards. The little anchor pins might pop out and that’s fine!

The split metal part that we just bent outwards is the negative terminal. If you want to double check please plug in our RTC and check to make sure yours is the same as mine. In the photo above the split tongue part is the negative and the part on the left of the photo that grips the 2032 battery into place is the positive. If I plug my RTC into a breadboard for example, the pin CLOSEST to the board is the positive.

The Positive terminal on our capacitor is the one at the left of the photo above. We’re going to bend that pin out flat.

Next, bend the pin back up but do it closer to the center point. I usually go about the distance of the skinny part into the main part with my thumbnail. It used to be bent where the skinny part meets the thick part. I’ve bent it about 4-5mm farther in. You’ll be able to see where to bend it later as you put these two together.

You can see how the positive pin is bent now so that it meets the right spot on the RTC board. I’ve soldered the negative pins together already.

Time to solder the negative pins together. Try placing the capacitor where you want it so that you can see where the two points should meet. If you go too long that’s fine, you can always just push the pins down to make room.

Here’s another view just before I did the soldering. You can see how the two negative pins meet up.

Time to squish them together! The positive pin should go between the outer black plastic and the metal terminal. It will be a little tight at first but go for it. Once it snaps down into place it fits quite nicely. If you really want to, you can drop some solder in there or wrap the whole thing with a bit a tape.

That’s it my friends! Please don’t ever hesitate to ask question on here I love to help people out with their projects.

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