Electron Power Consumption

How much power does the Electron use during sleep, on and transmitting? I could not find a data sheet for the Electron anywhere. I read somewhere that it peaks at about 2A during transmitting but wasn’t sure if that was official.

@kalinchuk, there are no power specs quite yet for the Electron as the design is just being finalized now. However, it will only peak at 2 amps for trans-temporal, inter-planetary transmissions :stuck_out_tongue: Otherwise, I would expect it to be similar to the Photon in sleep modes (same STM32F205) and WAY below 2A in transmit mode. :smile:

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I am not sure if that is serious, or an LOL…
But, if it does peak at 2 amps, then we need a better usb power source than the small ones ?
Or maybe a superCap on the VIN ?

Ok, I think you are really saying “and WAY below 2A in transmit mode”. Thats good news.

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@Jack, I was kidding, which explains the :stuck_out_tongue: emoji!! You can expect the Electron to be very power efficient.

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Any updates or additional information on this now that we’re closer to launch? For example, the Adafruit FONA board requires a separate LIPO battery because it DOES peak to 2A when transmitting…

Thanks!

Any update?

@osmosis311,

I’m not sure about the measurements from the official source but during beta testing, we see spike of < 600mA on the 3G module. Not too sure about the 2G module though.

Any numbers for the deep sleep current? to me 80-160µA is a lot compared to 3,2µA for the “old” Spark Core, would like to get it confirmed if I should not be expecting less than 80µA when in the “sleepiest” mode for the Electron :slight_smile:

A guy tested deep sleep yesterday and reported back it consumed .14 mA and I’m not sure if that was @ 5v or 3.3v.

Deep sleep does not turn off the cellular modem, you have to call function cellular.off() to do that. Then when you reconnect you will loose about 5-6 KB of data during the cellular tower re-connection.

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I am designing an outdoor system that will have the Electron transmitting data 24/7 (never turning the Cellular radio off). The Electron will be powered solely by an SLA battery that is connected to a solar panel & charge controller. I am attempting to determine the battery capacity my system will require.

My questions:

  • How often does the current spike to the “peak” range of 800mA - 1800mA? When do these spikes occur?
  • Does the Electron typically transmit messages in the average range of 180mA - 250mA? Or is this current rated for maintaining a connection to the cellular network?

Due to the inefficiencies of the solar panel and weather its best to just double or triple the system size based on the worst case power usage scenario.

I recently build a solar power system for some offgrid power meter reading sites, and the constant Avg load was 350 mA @ 12v.

The client wanted 4 - 5 days of reserve run time in the battery pack incase of bad weather.

This required a 20Ah battery + 40w Solar Panel + 5 Amp MPPT solar charge controller. There are 30 systems up and running now with zero problems.

Just remember that a solar panel will only produce 70-75% of its rated power when under perfect sun in temps above 50F because as solar cells heat up they produce less power. The solar cells under direct sunlight will be around 150 degrees F.

Good luck.

Since the Electron currently does not have a Sleep mode that allows wake up via PIN change then the only way to keep data usage down is to keep the Electron powered up 24/7 just like your considering.

I saw that the data usage for just keeping the Electron online for a month will use up 250Kb per month, or 25% of the 1MB monthly usage before needing to costing more.

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Thanks for your reply. Your solar solution is much smaller (and cheaper!) than what I was planning :laughing:

The solar system that I am creating will be powering an Electron that will be transmitting data rather frequently. I do not know any exact numbers yet because the sensors that will be feeding data to the Electron are not finalized yet. I would guess that it would be transmitting 200+ times a day (probably could reach 3-4k transmits a day). Did your off-grid power meter reading sights transmit frequently? Or is the transmit power difference negligible?

Thanks again.

The Electron can sleep with a pin change to wake it. In firmware 0.5.0 it can do this without data overhead, depending on how often. To keep it awake and connected is only 50ma. Plus transmitting.

@sbright33 So has this System.sleep and wake from PIN been fixed yet in the development builds for the Electron?

@tkates You shouldn’t need to big of a system unless you need weeks of standby reserve power. The systems we were using was transmitting regularly every hour. The electron uses much less power than this system so the battery size and solar panel needs will be much smaller. You would have to do the math to figure out exactly what you need. Using sleep functions you might be able to get by on a 5Ah single cell LiPo.

I thought the problem was the data overhead when waking. Maybe someone else can chime in.

The problem was that when waking from System.sleep the Particle.publish events would not go through if you slept for more than 10-20 mins.

Just a quick question about this; exactly at which point should I expect up to 800mA from my 3G Electron? Assume it’s in a more remote location and takes a couple of minutes to publish its data, will it potentially use up to 800mA for several minutes? Or just when it actually transmits that data?

Considering that the modem will change transmit power levels depending on the receive signal strength it’s really hard to get an exact current consumption and timeline per connection session since each one is going to be a little different than the last session.

I’m afraid you’re going to have a really hard time getting an accurate estimation on battery lifetimes on your setups considering each one will behave a little differently than the other since each one will be in a different location and placed in different environments.

You could use a USB power meter like this to graph out power consumption over time for your particular devices.