The MT3608 is a popular boost converter, able to easily step up DC voltages in useful ranges, at an incredibly low cost. Modules can be sourced from eBay for less than $2, built on a PCB, ready to go. One drawback of these modules, particularly when working with batteries, is the idle current draw, on the order of 1 to 1.5mA. Fear not, however — there is a workaround, courtesy of [Aka Kasyan]. (Video, embedded below.)
The trick is to modify the behavior of the converter when no load is connected. The enable pin of the boost converter is held low through a pull-down resistor, keeping the boost converter switched off. In this state, the output voltage is equal to the input voltage. A current sense resistor is then installed in the output path. When a load is connected, this causes a voltage drop across the current sense resistor. This is then used to switch a transistor, which then connects the enable pin to the positive rail, switching the converter on, leading to the full boosted output voltage being reached.
[Aya] reports that this drastically cuts the idle current draw, which is particularly useful for battery powered projects. It’s important to note that the current sense resistor must be appropriately sized for the given load, however. If you’re a little hazy on the background, fear not — we’ve discussed the nature of boost converters before. Video after the break.
[Thanks to Baldpower for the tip!]