Boron not charging while sleeping (Solar)

I have a 6V 2W panel connected to VBUS for charging a Tenergy Li-Ion (2-cell 18650) 3.7V 5200mAh battery pack. I have seen some of the other posts about issues with the Power Manager software in v1.4.x DeviceOS and followed the recommendation to implement in the setup() function detachInterrupt(LOW_BAT_UC) followed by delay(2000). This fixes charging issues while the Boron is awake and actively running but as soon as it goes back to sleep, it reverts to “flickering” the PMIC charging light and it is effectively not charging the battery pack. We use the following call to put the Boron to sleep:
System.sleep(PIN_PARTICLE_WAKE, RISING, sleepTime);

Typical sleep time is 30 minutes and the Boron is awake for 20-30seconds.

How can I get the Boron to charge while sleeping using solar connected to VBUS?

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@Tim-D, I’ve performed some recent testing with variable power supply (Current and Voltage), and with 6V Panels. Tests were performed using the Vusb pin.

It appears that the Boron DPDM is going crazy during Sleep.
After Calling enableDPDM(); during setup, the Boron will obey both Current and Voltage limits per the user’s settings for a Solar Panel, while it’s awake (as expected). The Boron will automatically manage the current to maintain the Voltage Setpoint (Solar Panel).

But as soon as a Sleep event starts, one DPM mode (either VINDPM or IINDPM) is immediately failing and charging stops.
This is just my guess, as we have no way to read the PMIC status register REG08[3] from a Sleeping Boron to help determine what’s going wrong with DPDM during sleep w/ 1.3+ firmware.

This isn’t limited to Solar Powered Borons.

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@oddwires1 - I’m curious if there’s a workaround inclusive to Slee Mode?

The only workaround I’ve found so far is to revert back to DeviceOS 1.1.1. This DeviceOS works as expected charging both while awake and while sleeping…

DeviceOS 1.2.1 doesn’t work at all (SOS+10 red blinks).
DeviceOS 1.3.1 functionality is same as 1.4.x - OK while running but does not charge when sleeping.

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Revert back to 1.1.1, and then be F*****d dead in the water for the separate and distinct reason that the cellular is broken and won’t reconnect prior to 1.3.0

I don’t have the energy to describe how much wasted time, effort, and frustration has resulted on my end because Particle has destroyed the Boron’s ability to be used in any real environment i.e. solar charging a LiPo battery.

Yesterday I had to drive 6 hours because the following code caused a REPEATED CRASH on Boron setup (i.e., had to physically put in safe mode in order to flash new code without the following):

detachInterrupt(LOW_BAT_UC);
delay(3500);
PMIC pmic;
pmic.begin();
pmic.disableBuck();
pmic.disableCharging();

This whole thing is an absolute disaster and any reasonable person in my shoes has NO IDEA how to make the Boron work in an actual deployment environment. The recent history of power issues, firmware updates destroying the charging, and the inexplicable crash/failure upon calling PMIC calls is simply too complex and difficult to adequately summarize.

I am now at a loss and wondering of all the Borons I bought are a complete waste of resources, whether I should switch to a completely different platform where I can manage to charge a LiPo battery and not have an endless comedy of errors of repeatable failures and crashes.

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Hi Paul,

Sounds like were are both in the same sinking boat right now. I suspect that the detachInterrupt code snippet that was proposed in other threads to correct the solar charging issues while the Boron is running is not required under 1.1.1 as we never needed it for the Electron and charging has always been just fine. I have not confirmed this yet but will look into testing this.

I haven’t got a lot of time on 1.1.1 yet and what you are saying about connectivity issues under that version are what I am currently worried about most. Does it not reconnect at all for you (one and done)? Our system seems to be cycling OK with the exception that I have seen on 2 occasions now where the unit goes into flashing green continuously without recovery. This will be a big problem in the field obviously…

Our other concern is power consumption during sleep. We are currently seeing an avg 11mA current draw during sleep which is not very good. The Electrons we have deployed could run for over a week on battery alone but with the Borons I think we will be lucky to get 2 days.

Tim

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Any new info on this? Workarounds? I can confirm across several devices that I’m having the same issue. Small solar panels to power Borons that are asleep ~92% of their programming.

It goes from constant ~60mA current being drawn from the solar (on a mostly sunny day) to flickering about 2pps. Happy to do any testing/probing that might help the issue along.

Devices have a very long battery life with sleep, but only getting 1/12th of their solar charging time during the day means they keep up on sunny days, but loose power and never quite recover from cloudy days.

I have a product line in serious jeopardy in the meantime…

No real news. No workarounds have been provided from Particle other than instruction to wait for 1.5.x to be released.

Some news here related to this issue although I haven’t wrapped my head around exactly how to use the “fix” yet for our solar applications.

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