Is it OK to leave the shutter switched on for weeks on end? I'm hoping the charger will handle the (presumably) small load for driver circuit in addition to topping up the battery. Scott
I got those straps too, though I cut them and put a new crimp on the ends so there's no risk of crossing the straps, say when the dome rotates abruptly while the shutter is down - I've had this happen , particularly when the voltage goes low. So I did both new battery w/ outdoor gear @ 18ah but also the strap mods . I do think that there is enough strain on the top terminals given their angle they will fatigue - more support here is still something to work out... heat shrink , maybe strong adhesive tape or a stronger right angle connector so the strap terminals always pull straight rather than against the neck of the terminal, they're just not that thick of metal to be concern free at the forces involved.
Between the 2 mods - the terminal mods to get the shutter to connect more solidly to the charger terminals is probably the most valuable - but I also know the dakota bms can be fickle, both from my own experiences and some crawling of forums of others using it with the dakota charger - so if anyone else either wants to be extra sure or has problems after the fact, I'd change out the battery - outdoor gear is purported to have a more solid bms ontop of larger capacity/more endurance. Its pretty annoying taking this contraption apart and it's pretty easy with a flex scraper to get the dakota battery changed out for another $80-150 with an alternate battery if you're already taking it off for the strap mod.
To do the cutting the strap you'll want some big wire cutters and a hydraulic clamp - I got one from amazon for 50 bucks - cool tool, made crimping these very large terminals pretty easy.
I'm currently working on putting an additional monitor for voltage/amp draw from the charger to help diagnose terminal connection issues that require jogging the dome... this was more useful in the past but I have the hardware already and it's likely to help in the future rather than trying to make sense out of it via webcam inspection of terminals w/ lag and jogging left and right. There's converts out there for SAE connections common in these chargers to other terminals to fit some monitors in the loop.
For those interested, here's my upgraded beefier braided straps and stronger magnets. Never had a dead battery for months now (with the Dakota charger).
I am still having problems with mine, @Steven Green - I see you were still iterating on hardware - how's it going with you? What was the voltage meter you used again to indicate you're charging? I think I will do a cooper loop modification per @bgwynne .
My last endeavors for stable shutter charging have been , even with the newer beaver setup, to use the noco genius but I also have had the dakota for a long time now too. Dakota recommends you don't keep their charger on 24/7 but they actually say not to use anyone elses bms / charger so wtf. It's the only one that can wake up the dakota battery onboard bms too. Anyway I just got in a new 18ah outdoor gear battery that has the same dimensions and weight as the dakota. At least with 3x the capacity it will die less. I got it reading that some people do have problems with the bms even with the dakota charger and at times I'm pretty sure the battery is the one being the problem when I by hand verify everything is connected. But I also think there's times when there's just not a solid connection due to the straps and wear and tear or something.
I fixed my issue by using much stronger magnets and thick braided copper (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DYX0N9C/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) to dangle them from. Similar to here: https://www.nexdome.com/forum/modifications/shutter-charger-connection-modification.
I also switched to using the Dakota charger (https://dakotalithium.com/product/dakota-lithium-12v-battery-charger/) - not sure if that was necessary.
I had an issue with my shutter motor discharging as well–I didn't nail the dome park accurately enough and the batt went dead enough that I got the dreaded COMMS DOWN message and had to go out there and re-establish charging.
Before I get to my main question, is the ONLY reason why I would see COMMS DOWN be due to battery condition?
I tried to call NexDome but in spite of couple requests they never answered my question about how long it would take to recharge the shutter battery from empty, I'm assuming 4-6 hours with the NoCo charger they supplied; seem reasonable?
While I was out there I neglected to flip the power switch on the shutter so even though the battery was fully charged now, I still had no control. So I had to go out there and flip the shutter power switch off/on and then it shows up in software.
So my question (finally) is: can anybody recommend a way that I might be able to remotely automate the act of cycling the off/on switch on the shutter motor?
Home automation stuff? Would have to be wireless of course. I have an electric bus on my digital loggers power management box that is available and remotely controllable.
Any info would be appreciated.
Actually, when you mentioned the heat sink a few days ago I fixed one on mine too. There was residue left from the old one (no sign of that though). Seems to be behaving itself for the last couple of days. Will be interesting to see if it makes through a few hot days, it can get above 100 deg F in there.
That's interesting, mine is missing too.
One more thing, the BMS shutdown may be related to the Beaver board overheating. NexDome sent me a photo of the heat sink on the backside of the board, and it looks like mine is missing. The first photo shows the heat sink form NexDome and the second shows no heat sink on my board.
I installed a new 10AH Dakota Lithium battery and have had it on a charger since then, It has stayed at 13.3V while the motor switch was turned on. I'm disconnecting the charger and will check tomorrow for voltage drain beyond 0.1-0.2V. Will report back.
As far as the battery BMS tripping, it doesn't matter if the shutter motor switch is on or off. Any drain of the battery would have to be internal to the shutter motor. I checked for obvious shorts and didn't see anything unusual. I did include a photo of the board wiring, just in case there is something not wired correctly.
Another thing worth trying... if there is a constant drain (there will be anyway - I place to leave the shutter on) and it's "confusing" the charger into giving up - I will try remotely switching the charger on and off for a few hours at a time.
Scott, I don't think it's the charger. I've tried the new charger, the green charger that came with my 2nd shutter motor and now a BatteryTender with a Li-ion specific charger profile. I thought I read somewhere on the forum that someone didn't care for the Dakota Lithium chargers. However, it's only $29 plus free shipping, so it may be worth a shot and can always be used elsewhere.
Scott, that does not bode well. I'm putting my email together for the designer of the Beaver board and firmware, and will let him know the power drain is happening to someone else. Can I conclude that the battery charger is connected while this happens!
I'll keep you informed.
Yes, I have the new shutter kit.
Scott, let me ask, do you have the new shutter kit with the blue lighted charger? If so I've noticed, I'm on my 3rd charger of different brands, that my battery fails (actually the BMS shuts the battery down) and I have to reset them.
I'm wondering if anyone else with the new Beaver design shutter/rotator is having the same issue. I've noticed that once the battery is reset and the charger is engaged, the voltage increases from 10.3v to 11.7v, then slowly decreases to BMS shutdown. I've seen this will an attached voltmeter while the shutter is left on and off and with the voltmeter not attached to the battery.
Oh well. Experiment failed. Charger indicated "FULL" for a week, then this morning it's "OFF" with the actual charge reading 8.8V with a voltmeter. Dome and shutter haven't moved and still have contact with charger.
Totally agree with David. I check the shutter battery voltage to see that you have a fully charged before opening. I had a partially charged battery a while back from the flexible charger contacts going intermittent and had a stuck open shutter one morning. Depending on how they connected would see high resistance on one or both of the straps. Have since replaced them with copper braid straps.