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Beacon Battery Usage

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  • Beacon Battery Usage

    We assembled our beacons, tested them, and both worked as advertised. We put them to sleep per instructions and the next day our brand new batteries were completely drained. Anyone else with this problem?

  • #2
    In the guide it recommends that putting them to sleep should only be used during large breaks such as lunch or breaks between rounds at a competition. I don't believe they were designed to be left on overnight.

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    • #3
      We don't have our new beacons in yet but for last year, the moment we received our beacon, we cut the battery clip and put on an Anderson Powerpole connector. So our beacon is powered by one of the competition batteries. When it's not in use we just disconnect the Anderson connector. If the battery is out, we just replace it with another one and put the old one to charge.

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      • #4
        we put it to sleep over night. We thought that would be the best way to save the battery. Last year we wired in a toggle switch to the battery wire and mounted it in the empty hole in back. I guess we'll do that again this year.

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        • #5
          Oh man, just read the spec of the new beacon, they changed it to 9V (from 12V), why? Does anybody know if the board can run off 12V? Some electronics allow a range of supplied voltages. 12V is best because we can use the competition batteries and they are rechargeable. In the NXT Mindstorms days, it was already bad that we had to keep changing the 9V battery of the sensor MUX and the kids already forgot doing it and ended up having no sensors when running matches.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mikets View Post
            Oh man, just read the spec of the new beacon, they changed it to 9V (from 12V), why? Does anybody know if the board can run off 12V? Some electronics allow a range of supplied voltages. 12V is best because we can use the competition batteries and they are rechargeable. In the NXT Mindstorms days, it was already bad that we had to keep changing the 9V battery of the sensor MUX and the kids already forgot doing it and ended up having no sensors when running matches.
            "18V MAX" is on the PCB next to the power connector...

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            • #7
              In the manual it lists that you can run it off of 12V or 9V

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              • #8
                Great, we will continue running it with 12V batteries then.

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                • #9
                  Can confirm that it works running with a tetrix battery at 12 volts.

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                  • #10
                    Is the LED brightness the same between running 9V vs 12V? I presume there's a voltage regulator in there, but figure it's worth asking/checking...

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                    • #11
                      We couldn't notice any difference.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Generally, electronics that accept a range of supply voltage has a regulator on board so the Vcc on board is fixed even though the supply voltage is higher. So I would expect it should make no difference. We don't have our new beacons yet so I can't check but if you have some electronics background, you should be able to look at the chips on the board and identify a voltage regulator on it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mikets View Post
                          Generally, electronics that accept a range of supply voltage has a regulator on board so the Vcc on board is fixed even though the supply voltage is higher. So I would expect it should make no difference. We don't have our new beacons yet so I can't check but if you have some electronics background, you should be able to look at the chips on the board and identify a voltage regulator on it.
                          One issue with using a supply voltage over what is recommended is that the excess voltage gets converted into heat in the regulator.

                          On low power devices this isn't usually a problem, but it's the first thing you should check if you go higher than recommended.
                          Use the "finger test" on all the chips to ensure that the regulator is not getting too hot.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Philbot View Post
                            One issue with using a supply voltage over what is recommended is that the excess voltage gets converted into heat in the regulator.

                            On low power devices this isn't usually a problem, but it's the first thing you should check if you go higher than recommended.
                            Use the "finger test" on all the chips to ensure that the regulator is not getting too hot.
                            Doing a finger test should typically be done with some ESD protection measures taken. Additionally, most typical regulators will have a thermal lockout to prevent damage to their silicon.
                            FTC6460 mentor (software+computer vision+electronics), FPGA enthusiast. In favor of allowing custom electronics on FTC bots.
                            Co-founder of ##ftc live chat for FTC programming--currently you may need to join and wait some time for help--volunteer basis only.

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                            • #15
                              We bought a brand new 9v alkaline battery, hooked it up, put the beacon to sleep and the next morning the battery was down to 7.5v.
                              We found an old transformer from some piece of electronic equipment. The output said 12v DC. We hooked it up to both beacons and they work fine.

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