From 3.3v to 5v

I’m pretty new to electronics. My first purchase with particle was a photon maker kit, which came with a PIR sensor that requires 5v of power. The photon can only output 3.3v. Is there a way I can increase the voltage the photon? The materials that came with the maker kit are as follows:

Photon with Headers (1)
USB Micro B Cable (1)
Flex antenna (1)
Mini Breadboard (1)
Proto-board (1)
Deluxe Jumper Wire Pack (1)
Male to Female Jumper Wires (10)
Battery holder - 4xAA (1)
Headers (7)
Ceramic Capacitors (10 each)
Electrolytic Capacitor 100uF (5)
LEDs (10)
Diode (6)
IR LED (1)
Resistors (30)
Photoresistors (2)
10K Rotary Potentiometer (1)
Temperature Sensor (1)
Temperature Sensor - Sealed (1)
Piezo Buzzer (1)
Mini Pushbuttons (3)
SPDT Switch (2)
SPDT Relay (1)
NPN Transistor (1)
PIR sensor (1)
Pancake Vibration Motor (1)
Micro Servo (1)
Serial OLED Screen,0.96"(1)


If you power the photon over USB, the Vin pin will give you 5V.


Indeed, and the output of that PIR sensor is 3v, isn’t it?

Better to check it anyway…

Hi @JohnWick, if the PIR output is not 3v3 (when you power up with 5v) then you might need a voltage divider like the one we talk about here.

EDIT: no need to do this if you follow what ScruffR says in the post below


Good luck!

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On the Photon all pins but A3 and A6/DAC are 5V tolerant when used for digitalRead(), hence no need for a voltage divider on any of these as long you are not applying the internal pull-resistors (INPUT_PULLUP or INPUT_PULLDOWN) and not using analogRead().


that’s very good info I wasn’t aware, thanks ScruffR!


Did you get this to work. I am having similar issues with a HC-SR04 Range Sensor. It works fine when connected to vin and the photon is connected to USB. When I run it off the lipo and solar the sensor goes dead.