I am currently upgrading my existing Electron-based counters with newer Boron-based ones. As I do, I will rework / recycle as much as I can from the older units to reduce waste. These units have been operating on solar power for anywhere from 1 to 4 years.
How can I tell if it is time to replace a Single Cell LiPo Battery? I use this one:
I don’t want to replace and have to dispose of a battery if it still has ~70% of its capacity as Parks are very cost conscious (as they should be).
Any advice on a piece of test kit that I could use to make this determination. Field or desktop use is fine. Ideally, I would like to know - this 2000mAH battery is now a 15000mAH battery. With solar, I don’t think that charge / recharge cycles is the right metric. Here is what I have looked at so far:
Could do this job and much more - but expensive ($500):
I also tried these little testers but they are more about RC sports and don’t support single cell LiPO ($15):
I even looked at this one but the “no case” look caused me to be a bit suspicious ($50):
@chipmc, I am using this coulomb counter that I connected to a Photon to publish current use of a device under test during normal operation (mostly sleeping). The reason for not using a load simulator is that the DUT uses less than 400uAh when sleeping which most electronic loads can’t simulate. At that rate, LiPo self leakage starts playing a role.
What I am looking for here, and I am sorry if I was not clear, is some way to remove a battery from a device I am refurbishing / recycling and determine if the LiPO battery is still fit for use. I am assuming, that after 2-3 years outdoors some of my batteries need to be retired / disposed of. I would assume that the right piece of test equipment might be able to exercise the battery at sufficient load to give an idea of battery “health”.
@chipmc , the quick way is to measure the Internal Resistance (IR) of the cell. Be sure to take the measurements at/near the same temperature and SOC for comparison.
I believe (from memory) you’re Park Counters are pretty low power, so typical load testing for the LiPo might not be a fair test for the used cell. Thus, it would take a week or two to simulate the load the cell actually sees.
Is your charge termination voltage 4.1 or 4.2V ?
I wouldn’t be scared of a Li-Po that spent most of it’s 3-4 year life at 3.8 - 4.1V w/ such a small load.
It would be neat to compare the change in Self-Discharge, but your Solar Application negates that as being a major concern.
So, if I took a new cell, charged it to 75% and measured the internal resistance at room temperature, this would be a benchmark to compare to my “veteran” cells? Sounds easy.
My cutoff voltage is 4.208V, here is my Solar Power configuration:
conf.powerSourceMaxCurrent(900) // Set maximum current the power source can provide (applies only when powered through VIN)
.powerSourceMinVoltage(5080) // Set minimum voltage the power source can provide (applies only when powered through VIN)
.batteryChargeCurrent(1024) // Set battery charge current
.batteryChargeVoltage(4208) // Set battery termination voltage
.feature(SystemPowerFeature::USE_VIN_SETTINGS_WITH_USB_HOST); // For the cases where the device is powered through VIN
// but the USB cable is connected to a USB host, this feature flag
// enforces the voltage/current limits specified in the configuration
// (where by default the device would be thinking that it's powered by the USB Host)
My devices do draw a small amount of power and are most often fully - or near fully - charged. Ofcourse, this last week stressed some of them with little sun and cold weather that can prevent charging.