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Battery Monitoring Blog

This blog focuses on battery monitoring best practices and performance improvements.

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Recent blog posts

With BatteryDAQ cloud, scan a 2D barcode on Sentry unit or battery rack, your smartphone may show real-time battery data and graph: bank voltage, current, temperature, individual battery voltage and internal resistance etc. (SOH%, SOC% and Runtime minutes for Telecom models).

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Posted by on in Technologies

With BatteryDAQ cloud data service (FREE, if < 100 sites), you can watch your solar power remotely from anywhere with internet. This screenshot shows battery history querying for a telecom site in Arizona desert with solar panel and diesel generator. Nice batteries. 3 years of cycling now. All data can be archived in your computer if you leave Battery Analyzer software running continuously. Once a while, you may pull out data for an in-depth analysis. Don’t like our simple graph design? Just right click, dump data to Excel and plot your own beauty.

battery history data

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Posted by on in Technologies

Sentry-NB8 has been chosen for many telecom carriers worldwide including recent order of 100 units from South Africa.

This unit has been tailored to cell towers or micro sites with 8 batteries, 2 strings of 4x12V. Separate harness goes to each string for quick and clean installation. Unit automatically accepts 1 or 2 current transducers so no surprise when come to a site for retrofitting.

It is more than a data collector for voltage, current, temperature and internal resistance. It faithfully processes the data and even with machine learning to achieve high accuracy estimation for SOH (state-of-health), SOC (state-of-charge), total runtime and remaining runtime, plus thermal risk level. Ethernet port provides remote web access to battery data and Modbus-TCP integration. Plug and play, compatible with MyBattery Platform to manage unlimited number of sites. (Really, 100,000+ sites on your big screen.)

Two dry contacts for urgent and service alarms. No more extra ports or functions. It is simple.

Sentry-NB8

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Automate NERC Reporting and Save Time and Money!

North American utility workers are buzzing with chatter these days.  They are all becoming aware of the "North American Electric Reliability Corporation", or "NERC" for short.  Standards have been established, inspections are being made, violations are being sited, and...fines are being paid.

Fines. Operations personnel hate fines.  CFO's hate fines.  I suppose no one likes fines...except those who impose them.

The truth is, change always presents some level of difficulty.  In the case of NERC standards, the changes make sense and should be adapted as a best demonstrated practice. (Click here to read more ...)

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Here's a Question about Continuous Battery Monitoring

If you are still manually testing your batteries, I have a question - Why?

Really. I want to know why anyone who has done any level of decent research in the last 3-5 years would continue to perform manual tests on their backup battery power.

Let's discuss the top objections I've come across (In no particular order). I will give a little hint to my responses; they all are covered if you have done any type of decent research in the past 3-5 years. (Click here to read more)

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BatteryDAQ Introduces First Explosion-Proof Battery Monitoring System

The thing is, when you manufacture products for global markets, it is necessary to listen to your Customers, as their requirements change.  On each occasion, the manufacturer must then decide if it can create a solution to meet the changing requirements.  Even further, when a country or continent changes requirements, the manufacturer would be wise to anticipate whether those requirements will be adopted by other countries, as well.

Specific to battery monitoring systems (BMS), while performing an installation in one country, BatteryDAQ technicians were informed that the purchasing company, located on a completely different continent, suddenly mandated that in order for the BMS to be located inside the battery room, it had to be housed in an explosion-proof casing.  It was indeed surprising, since the topic never came up during the purchasing process, and at the time, no such system existed...anywhere.  This was explained to the Customer.  However, they stood firm and the systems were placed outside the battery room, adding time and expense. (Click here to read more)

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Posted by on in Technologies

When come to substation for BMS installation, the most frequent frustration is to correct the numbering.

We have to go with standard. Wrong direction, wrong data.

Don't worry, Sentry-6002NEMA has protection built in so the wrong direction won't burn the board but you have to re-label all batteries as correct numbering and re-wire all cables. That may take you full day for a 60x2V string. So do check it before you start a installation!!! (Click to read more)

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Posted by on in General
BatteryDAQ Launches Online Store

July 26, 2016 – BatteryDAQ Monitoring Solutions launched an online store today.  Why is that significant?  Let’s go through some of the reasons.
•    Customer-centric approach
•    Immediate quotes
•    Fast delivery
•    Starter Kits - Plug and play design
•    Confidence & Control (Click to read more)

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Posted by on in General
Now you see it...NO YOU DON'T!

Let’s get right to it.  The BatteryDAQ Sentry line of continuous State-of-Health (SOH) battery monitoring systems is unparalleled in:

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Success is Never Final - Battery Monitoring and Credit Cards

"ATTENTION TO DETAIL DRIVES EVERYTHING WE DO."


It is a catchy phrase, sure enough.  But, like every set of words strung together, the phrase can quickly slip into nothingness as quickly as it is uttered.  Attention to detail drives everything we do.  Believe it or not, the key word in that concept is "we".  In many cases, an individual can be driven by attention to detail.  Everyone knows someone who is meticulous in their focus. Individual greatness, while always notable, has been witnessed by the masses numerous times.  It is admired, and in some cases, emulated..at least for a while. (Click to read more)

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Remote Site Continuous Battery Monitoring meets "Back to the Future" day.

Great Scott!!  October 21, 2015 is the date that Marty McFly travels to the future to chase down Biff Tannin.  You see, Biff has traveled to/fro the future and has gotten his hands on an almanac that allows him to predict every recorded sporting event since 1989.  Of course, riches follow.  Power and corruption soon follow.  That Biff.

It is a cool thing that we can compare the technological predictions made in the movie to what has actually occurred in real life.  Such an impressive list would include:

  • Hover Boards - Not yet on the market, but they do exist.
  • Google Glass
  • Video conference calls
  • Tablet computers
  • Self Tying shoes - On their way.
  • Finger Print Recognition

I've heard from a third cousin's husband's friend that another technology prediction put forth by the movie, unfortunately ended up on the editing floor.  But, it would have been spot on.  What was it?  Remote site continuous battery monitoring!

So, OK, maybe it's not as suave as hover boards, but remote site battery monitoring is quite the accomplishment.  And, make no mistake, it is here...and affordable.

In order to time travel, Doc Brown needed three things:  88 miles per hour, the Flux Capacitor, and (say it with me)...(Click here to read more)

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Battery Monitoring and the 2015 OSP Expo...Our Booth was Busy!

It's funny how changes in thinking, the economy, technology, or values can seemingly happen without a great deal of fan fare.  Often times, we stop and ask ourselves, "How did I get here!?".  Perhaps, this phenomenon occurs because, as a society, we have a tendency to swallow up the next trend, without ever noticing how it affects society as a whole.  It is only when we look at our past, that we are able to connect the dots, to understand how we evolved.

 

For instance, can you identify the object in this picture?

b2ap3_thumbnail_250-meg-hard-drive-1979.jpg

 (Click here for the answer)

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For The Times, They Are a-Changin'...for Battery Monitoring

Pop quiz: Are traffic lights needed? 

If you answered with an emphatic “Yes!”, or didn’t answer because the question was such a no-brainer, please keep reading.
If you are still thinking about an answer, or replied “No.”, you won’t find much value with the rest of this post.  Thanks.

Today marks the 101st anniversary of the very first installed traffic light in Cleveland, OH.  Wow, that means there was a time when cities were free-for-alls when it came to driving.  Today, that is a frightening, nonsensical proposition.  If traffic lights were not installed, every outing would be a coin toss.

Of course, it is an easy connection to know that the introduction of traffic lights was mandated by the immense growth of automobiles. As traffic increased and the zigzag of roads created intersections, something had to be done.  (Click here to read more)

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Something for Everyone | Battery Monitors Should Fit All Battery Configurations



The term “one size fits all” does not apply to continuous battery monitoring.  When you think about it, the concept stems from a manufacturer’s desire to optimize production and minimize inventories.  “One size fits all” was a brilliant marketing ploy to make it seem easy to choose one product to serve multiple needs. I suppose it can be made to work OK for apparel, such as hats, shirts, socks, and stretchy pants, but for any other market does it have any customer benefit? 

Battery backup power comes in all shapes and sizes.  There are vast and significant differences between a utility substation and a data center, between a remote telecom site and railway.  Mix the industries any way you like, the differences remain significant.  Heck, even within a market like cell sites, or within a specific carrier, battery cabinets, battery voltages, number of batteries, and number of strings can widely vary...within the same shelter! And, these differences are not limited only to the battery number and configuration.  Environment, space, importance, and accessibility all play a part in implementing a continuous battery monitoring solution that is specifically designed for the application requirements. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_size_label1.jpg

So, why isn’t there a continuous battery monitoring solution that fits each of these markets?  Well, you know I’m going to tell that BatteryDAQ provides systems for every environment and configuration, right?  But first, I’ll directly answer the question. (Click here to read more)

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BatteryDAQ Sentry Monitors – the Cure for what Ails Remote Telecom Battery Monitoring

So, what’s the problem with Remote battery monitoring?  Well, today, the answer is “not a thing!”  However, historically there were several very real obstacles to implementing continuous battery monitoring at remote telecom sites. 

Here is the punch line for this blog: BatteryDAQ Sentry monitors render all of those obstacles obsolete!  That is correct, all of the reasons for not deploying 24/7 comprehensive battery monitoring at remote telecom sites are no longer valid.

Not convinced?  As Bruno Mars sings, “Don’t believe me, just watch!” (Click here to see photo and read more)

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Will Tesla's Powerwall improve power options?  Depends who you ask.

Somebody has to lay the track. Before real change can happen, someone, or many people, must do the dirty work. Take the side by side image of the British Underground as exhibit A.  I wonder what the word on the street was regarding that original project?

Expensive proposition to build put a train underground, in major cities, I'm sure.  A railroad across the country? That will be expensive!  Solar panels? Expensive.  Wind turbines?  Expensive.  Electric cars? Expensive.  Battery backup for residential and commercial properties?  Expensive.

Continuous battery monitoring? Exp…now wait just a minute!  Not anymore!  If you haven’t priced out BatteryDAQ monitoring systems, you should.  And, when you do, get ready to smile.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, last week, Tesla’s well publicized CEO, Elon Musk, announced the roll out of the Powerwall for residential use and the Powerpack for commercial applications.  The Powerwall will be shipped first and has a bit more detail released.  In fact, just enough detail for the pundits to weigh in.
As you would imagine, with such an announcement, there are people who rally to both sides of the issue, proclaiming glee, or doom, depending on where their allegiance lies.

Here are some specifics about the Powerwall product (http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall): (Click here to read more)

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"It's Nice to Know" | The Core Value of Continuous Battery Monitoring

April 14, 1912 – The best ship, the best captain, the best crew, indulgent passengers, calm seas, no moon, full speed, discounted warnings of ice, and a false sense of security.

"Iceberg, right ahead!”

Too late.  Titanic sank, on its maiden voyage, 103 years ago this month.  The lessons from that fateful night were immediately carved into history, never to be dimmed by time.  Yet, those same lessons are repeatedly unheeded, even today.

Technology keeps improving and allows data and consumables to be delivered, stored, accessed, and analyzed with seeming ease.  At least, that is what the average consumer believes.  From appliances to smart phones, our lives are becoming more dependent on energy and data.

In 2015, we have the best devices, the best minds, the best inventions, indulgent consumers, unlimited plans, increased speed, discounted warnings of infrastructure concerns, and a false sense of security.

See what I did there? (Click here to read more)

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Thermal Runaway in VRLA Batteries | Render it Harmless through Monitoring

 

Thermal runaway is the disaster no one saw coming until it is too late.  It sounds like a horror movie, and it could well be, if batteries are not properly maintained.

Every article on the subject will point out something like “If the design of the battery, coupled with the installation location, allows for proper dissipation of increased battery temperatures, thermal runaway is unlikely”.

If, just isn’t a strong enough word, is it?  There are plenty of corny sayings that grandparents used to proclaim about “ifs and buts”, to make anyone realize things like possible battery explosions shouldn’t be left to chance.

So, what is “Thermal Runaway” besides a cool name for trouble with a capital “T”?  Well, thermal runaway is a failure mode of a battery when it is on a constant voltage charge at an elevated temperature, which leads to its destruction through internal heat generation, due to high charging current.

The result?  Here is a picture.  (Click here to continue reading)

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Building a Better Mouse Trap | The Revolution in Continuous Battery Monitoring has Arrived

Allow me to boast.  As I write this blog, on a plane heading to Florida, a BatteryDAQ Sentry 0212S15 continuous battery monitoring system is in the overhead compartment above me...in my carry-on bag…business clothes included.  The complete battery monitoring system for 30x12V batteries, wiring and all, weighs in at an impressive 8.5 pounds and fits into an 18” x 24” box.

Tomorrow, I am meeting with a decision maker, and I will hand her the package that contains everything needed for installation.  No other comprehensive battery monitoring system manufacturer could even contemplate such a show and tell.

In this case, size matters. As the need for battery backup continues to explode, space is at a premium, whether it be on a rack, or inside a cabinet. 

The continuous battery monitoring revolution has arrived, and BatteryDAQ is leading the charge.

But wait, I’m not done boasting yet.

For a continuous battery monitoring provider to survive and thrive in the coming years, it must meet certain design and functionality criteria.  Among the most critical elements that any battery monitoring solution must possess are: (Click here to read more)

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Posted by on in General
The True Cost of Batteries

It is an established practice for design engineers to follow a process for selecting the best battery for a project or application, by submitting the choices through a balanced approach that compared technical requirements and goals, to cost and ongoing maintenance requirements.

The established process includes several factors:
•    Application and duty cycle outlooks
•    System interface and communication issues
•    Geographic location and ease of visitation
•    Environmental conditions
•    Initial price
•    Installation cost
•    Ongoing maintenance cost
•    Replacement schedule and cost (Click here to read more)

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