Powerdock problems seem to make it worse than useless.



  • Ok so I have had time to play around with this power dock and I have come to the conclusion it is no use whatsoever. The problems I have found so far are:

    1. When plugging in power with the switch on and a flat battery does not start the Omega and only charges the battery.
    2. There seems no way to monitor the battery charge which is not visual. Making it useless for remote applications.
    3. When the battery is fully charged (all leds lit) an intermittent pulse happens on the 5V rail causing anything connected to them to bounced regularly.
    4. If you then disconnect the power with the battery fully charged it just turns off as if there was no battery there at all.
      4a. Oh and if then reconnect the power, you have to toggled the power switch off and on to get the Omega to boot.
    5. The battery charging circuit draw significantly more power than the expansion dock meaning you have to have a 2+ A 5V at the very least. There is no slow charging for lower current sources.

    So all in all. Pretty disappointing. I have had a positive experience with the UPS PiCo for another project, and I thought the dock would emulate at least a little of that fuctionality. Turns out this is not the case and so I have to say I am a bit sad.

    I will have to rework my project now with an external battery powering solution and just use a normal extension dock.

    Thanks.



  • Make sure the battery you are using is properly wired for +/-. Sometimes they can be wired incorrectly. It is weird you are having those issues, I know mine has been flawless so far, with an up-time of 10 days so far. I have used it on battery power twice when moving it between rooms and such, pulling the plug multiple times.

    It could also be a flawed dock. Open a trouble ticket with Onion to have it addressed.



  • @Brad-Buskey said in Powerdock problems seem to make it worse than useless.:

    Make sure the battery you are using is properly wired for +/-. Sometimes they can be wired incorrectly. It is weird you are having those issues, I know mine has been flawless so far, with an up-time of 10 days so far. I have used it on battery power twice when moving it between rooms and such, pulling the plug multiple times.

    Are you running any particular loads on your Omega? I mean is it connected up to anything ?

    All I can say is lucky you. But since I began using it I have found these little foibles. The first odd one was using the same connections from the expansion dock and just transferring the whole thing to a power dock and now when I play a sound using the 5V amp it just spikes the power and switches off regardless if it was plugged in or not. In the extension dock not a problem.

    It could also be a flawed dock. Open a trouble ticket with Onion to have it addressed.

    Perhaps. But I would like proper confirmation that these are not just design flaws before through the hassle. Of great importance to me is remote monitoring so if I cannot read the charge of the battery or if the power is plugged in and working or not then it is not that much use to me. I am better off building my own i2c lipo battery charger circuit and using an extension dock which is what I think I will do. Not for any particular spiteful reason but if I managed to make a nice little design then I can use it else where and not just with this project.



  • @T-NT said in Powerdock problems seem to make it worse than useless.:

    @Brad-Buskey said in Powerdock problems seem to make it worse than useless.:

    Make sure the battery you are using is properly wired for +/-. Sometimes they can be wired incorrectly. It is weird you are having those issues, I know mine has been flawless so far, with an up-time of 10 days so far. I have used it on battery power twice when moving it between rooms and such, pulling the plug multiple times.

    Are you running any particular loads on your Omega? I mean is it connected up to anything ?

    It is running a webcam that is always in as well as running a cron job to kick off a script every 20 minutes to gather the weather info and write it to a web page.

    I am also running a script that is pulling info and creating images for a webpage that gathers the RX/TX of the device.

    Something happening that is keeping you from opening a ticket and getting it replaced? Flaws can and do happen.



  • @Brad-Buskey said in Powerdock problems seem to make it worse than useless.:

    It is running a webcam that is always in as well as running a cron job to kick off a script every 20 minutes to gather the weather info and write it to a web page.

    I am also running a script that is pulling info and creating images for a webpage that gathers the RX/TX of the device.

    Hmmm well conceivably that is less current draw than 1/2 inch LED 7 Segment display a USB soundcard and a 5V stereo amplifier. But the fact remains if I use the extension dock and the same power adaptor it all just works. If I turn the brightness way up on the LED display and the volume way up on the sound card I will see a slight dimming in the LED display but it does not just turn off so.

    Something happening that is keeping you from opening a ticket and getting it replaced? Flaws can and do happen.

    Nothing at all. I raised one this morning. However if there are design flaws like not being able to monitor power status remotely then it is kinda useless for me. I need to know when the power is disconnected and approximately how much longer it can run. If for nothing else to save on the state of the sd card so I can shut down properly without corruptions.



  • Without schematics or detailed documentation or examining the board to re-create them it is hard to know for sure.

    These types of circuits are not easy to get right, and some possible design choices could end up imposing a limitation in the amount of power available to 5v accessories, regardless of what the actual external power supply can source.

    I'd be a little surprised if there is much in the way of state-of-charge detection - doing that right (in phones, etc) is fairly tricky, requiring either a specialized IC or a decent ADC and a sophisticated software model. Part of the problem is that what you want to know is not just the present battery level, but how it is going to respond under load the next time the wifi demands a bolus of current - a demand which is on the order of twice the steady state consumption. Given that the circuit knows essentially nothing about the characteristics of the connected battery, that seems unlikely to be well supported. As a guess, there might be detection for the presence of a charger and a battery, at the outside possibly reporting of the current mode of the charge controller.



  • @Chris-Stratton said in Powerdock problems seem to make it worse than useless.:

    Without schematics or detailed documentation or examining the board to re-create them it is hard to know for sure.

    These types of circuits are not easy to get right, and some possible design choices could end up imposing a limitation in the amount of power available to 5v accessories, regardless of what the actual external power supply can source.

    I'd be a little surprised if there is much in the way of state-of-charge detection - doing that right (in phones, etc) is fairly tricky, requiring either a specialized IC or a decent ADC and a sophisticated software model. Part of the problem is that what you want to know is not just the present battery level, but how it is going to respond under load the next time the wifi demands a bolus of current - a demand which is on the order of twice the steady state consumption. Given that the circuit knows essentially nothing about the characteristics of the connected battery, that seems unlikely to be well supported. As a guess, there might be detection for the presence of a charger and a battery, at the outside possibly reporting of the current mode of the charge controller.

    I was looking at this chip with some interest. Seems it ticks a lot of the boxes I need for an adaptive battery charger which will talk with any microcontroller using i2c.

    I especially like that is can accept multiple power sources. I might not need it for this application but can think of a few others where it would be handy.

    I will chew on it. For all I know someone may have already built what I am looking for anyway.

    Thanks.



  • @T-NT

    Just to put a pin in this I think I have found what will do nicely. Not as smart as I wanted but still lets me know when then battery is low and can be hooked into with a GPIO pin.

    It is from Adafruit and is called the Powerboost 1000C



  • If you look at the topology of the Adafruit design, the power to run 5v loads has to come from first being regulated down to a plausible battery voltage, and then boosted back up. That particular board is made with components that try to support a lot of current through that path, and warns that the upstream supply needs to be quite capable to match what the board can do.

    But that kind of regulate and re-boots topology, if done with lower rated components, could easily explain the kind of issues seen here, in that it can impose a bottleneck on how much power can get from the USB input jack to the USB output one. We still don't know what is on the powerdock and how it is configured, but it's not hard to imagine limitations there.