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Solar for Insteon open/close door switch (2843-222)


frank

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Looking for ANY ideas on how to charge a 1.2v rechargeable battery in the 2843-222 as I can’t seem to get more than a month off a standard battery. Does anyone know how much Energy is used by the device under normal use in mAh? The less than 1 month was without the device ever opening or closing. Battery was consumed with only the HeartBeat sent each day. If someone knows how much power is used normally, hopefully someone can suggest a solar cell to use or even what voltage and current would also be useful. The solar cell would probably need to supply the working current as well as enough to also charge the battery. I am trying to use a Duracell rechargeable 2650 mAh battery. The 2843-222 is enclosed in a water tight box.

Frank

 

 

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Is the battery a Ni-Cad or NiMH type? The voltage starts out so low at 1.25v per cell? maybe the device is complaining about low voltage when the surface charge wears down to it's 1.20 v/cell nominally, and it isn't really dead yet? You may have to go back to the original chemistry cell.

 

I have Lithium 9V batteries that came around 11 volts and my MSes don't like them complaining of low battery voltage all the time.

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These are NiMH that I am trying to charge from solar at same time it is actively powering the open/close sensor. I have had Very poor battery life with the batteries supplied by Insteon is the reason to go with solar. Do you know what the battery drain of the sensor is normally?


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18 minutes ago, frank said:

These are NiMH that I am trying to charge from solar at same time it is actively powering the open/close sensor. I have had Very poor battery life with the batteries supplied by Insteon is the reason to go with solar. Do you know what the battery drain of the sensor is normally?


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I don't have or use any.
If the sensors came with a LiON battery the NiMH may not ever work due to lower voltage.

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Here is the current demand for a triggerlinc.  I would expect it to be similar for the door open/close.

 

As was pointed out you will not have good luck with a 1.2V cell.

As I decreased the voltage to the device that can cause it to go into a state where it stays awake for 11 seconds ( while failing to communicate).  That will drain the battery much faster.

 

triggerlinc current.JPG

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Thanks ELA, Great info. Based on info you show here, what would be your guess of size of solar panel (volts and current) needed to charge, say a 1.5 volt rechargeable battery, while also powering the device?

I have a project where I can’t run power to the sensor and find I can not keep a battery alive for more than about 6 weeks before it stops sending the heartbeat. I’ve tried different alkaline and NiMh batteries with same results so need to find some way of using solar. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Frank

 

 

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5 hours ago, frank said:

Thanks ELA, Great info. Based on info you show here, what would be your guess of size of solar panel (volts and current) needed to charge, say a 1.5 volt rechargeable battery, while also powering the device?

I have a project where I can’t run power to the sensor and find I can not keep a battery alive for more than about 6 weeks before it stops sending the heartbeat. I’ve tried different alkaline and NiMh batteries with same results so need to find some way of using solar. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Frank

 

 

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Unless you have the PV cells outside in direct sunlight you won;t get more than about 5-10% of their rating from indoor lighting. The panel size may become unwieldy for looks indoors.

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If you're willing to go to the trouble of trying to wire in a solar charger, couldn't you just create a supersized battery?  Take six batteries and wire them in parallel and wouldn't it last six times as long?  You'd still have to change batteries, but not nearly as often.

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ELA, The only monitor I have is the heartbeat once per day. Other than that transmission, the switch(sensor) has not been activated. The sensor has also been water proofed along with being in a water proof enclosure. Being as it’s outside it is difficult to put any kind of instrumentation on it.

Please advise if you have a suggestion on how to monitor this device beyond the heartbeat.

Frank

 

 

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I looked up the number of your device and it is a triggerlinc ( the old name) which they appear to have changed the name.  I was thinking you might have been talking about the hidden door sensor.

  There is some problem with your device or setup that you should investigate.

Do you have a program that lets you know if you ever miss a heartbeat ( I had said watchdog, which is another name for heartbeat).

You say the sensor is never activated?      Did you test activating it to see if you receive the activation's?   Check it in the level 3 viewer to see how reliable it is.

Do you have a program that runs when the switch is activated?   Is there any chance the device is activating too often and you did not know it?

It is in a waterproof box ( plastic?) and also waterproofed??.   (Can you explain in more detail)?  What activates the device?   Do you have wires to a remote sw. connected to the device?

Something appears to be going wrong with your setup or the device itself.

I have 3 of these devices and the batteries last a very long time. Always greater than 1-2 years.   They last so long I have not tracked when I replaced the batteries ( but I do with 9V MS sensors since they get changed at a 1-2 yr max interval).

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Hello ELA, yes, I have a program which monitors the heartbeat and notifies if not sent. Also have a program that notifies me when device is triggered. It is very reliable as tested when I manually activate the switch which is activated by a float switch connected to the external contacts of the sensor.

The sensor itself was sealed in a clear nail polish and then placed in a plastic waterproof box. This box is sitting on top of my swimming pool skimmer as the float detects the water level of the pool. I had similar short lifespan of the battery even before the steps taken to waterproof it so I’m convinced the process I used to make it water tight did not make the situation worse.

Thanks for your time in corresponding with me on this perplexing issue.

ELA, remember, I am using a 1.2v rechargeable NiMH battery which I inserted in place of a 1.5v Alkaline from the factory. The 1.2v appears to operate the device just fine, but I wonder if the

.3v is the difference between many months versus weeks of keeping the sensor alive?

 

 

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Hello Frank,

Interesting problem.   Have you checked your logs to be sure you are not getting unexpected activations.... since it is a float sw.

How warm do you think the battery is getting?   High temp. can reduce  battery life.

I would not use a 1.2V battery.

Beyond that it may be difficult to troubleshoot without measuring the current drain.

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  • 8 months later...

If you are still interested in a SOLAR solution for your outside 2843, here is what I am doing to keep from replacing the batteries. In the past I used a lot of SOLAR/Battery operated garden lights and as I switched them out for different ones, I saved the SOLAR cells. I probably have at least 6 or 7 or more around here some where.

So, there are 2 types of SOLAR garden lights that I have a 3.2 volt version SOLAR cell and a 1.2 volt SOLAR cell. I attached the two types with the "no-load" voltages in the sun at 9AM. The 3.2 volts cell was producing between 3.6 volts and 4.1 volts. The 1.2 volt cell was producing between 1.9 volts and 2.4 volts. As far as charging current, I have not gotten to that test yet, but I believe that using the 3.2 volt cell with a 10k ohm voltage divider circuit should supply enough to keep the battery charged for a sensor that gets a lot of use. I will probably add a blocking diode to the circuit to keep any current from going back into the SOLAR cell when it is dark. I will try to test this in the next few weeks and monitor voltage and current. I may start with the smaller SOLAR cell as the gates do not get much use, and the smaller cell should keep the battery topped off.

For me it will be an easy mount as I will put them on top of the 4x6 gate/fence posts. Plenty of sun there.

I believe that the inexpensive SOLAR garden lights were between $3 and $5 at Dollar General.

SOLAR large cell output.jpg

Solar Small cell output.jpg

SOLAR front and back of large cells.jpg

SOLAR 10K pot.jpg

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Sounds interesting. Please keep me updated. I would also like to see the schematic of how you will tap into the solar charging circuit and how you will implement the 10k pot. Most solar lights use a voltage multiplier circuit to increase the voltage from the battery after the photo cell determines it is dark enough to turn on the LED. Do you tap into the circuit before or after the multiplier circuit?


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I have always wondered about running a cell phone charger or a small plug adapter and hard wired to the device. Did this a couple of times with a baby swing and some outdoor animatronics. Just had to find the right voltage and amps. Anyone ever try it?

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I am leaning toward the smaller low voltage version, for the first test,  which produces between 1.9 and 2.4 volts. This would be an easier circuit to work with. There are two parts to these devices. The battery charging side and the voltage boosting side, which is not needed for the 1.5 volt 2843 (rechargeable) battery.

The IC determines if it should be charging or powering the LED based on the output of the SOLAR cells. On the lower voltage unit I am looking at, if the SOLAR cells are providing power the chip it sets the CE pin low which grounds the SOLAR cells and it starts charging the battery. When the cells are no longer providing power the IC no longer sets the CE pin low which opens the SOLAR cell side of the circuit and activates the LED side of the circuit. I will be removing the LED and seeing if it will still charge the battery or if I need to put a resistor in place of the LED. I believe that just removing the LED will not have an effect on the operation.  I have a few extra 2843's so I will see if I can get one wired up this weekend. 

Best I can figure, the regular 1.5Volt AA battery is about 2500mAh. The batteries that come in the SOLAR lights are 1.2Volts 100mAh  (1mm longer than a regular AAA battery). I will see how it works in the 2843 before I wire in the SOLAR. The SOLAR cells will put out enough voltage, but not sure if they will meet the battery current needs. I am thinking if it is a new battery, it should be able to keep it topped off during the spring, summer and fall, but not to confident about winter. This may be better handled by the larger SOLAR cell units. We will see.

I have not been able to ID the chips being used in the larger units yet. These units use a 3.2Volt 300 mAh battery.

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22 hours ago, frank said:

Sounds interesting. Please keep me updated. I would also like to see the schematic of how you will tap into the solar charging circuit and how you will implement the 10k pot. Most solar lights use a voltage multiplier circuit to increase the voltage from the battery after the photo cell determines it is dark enough to turn on the LED. Do you tap into the circuit before or after the multiplier circuit?


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Unfortunately, they do not make a 1.5VDC voltage regulator so there is a need for the voltage divider circuit. The 10k pot would connect to the SOLAR (+) and (-) battery connections (output from SOLAR cells) and the center tap would be the power lead to the 2843. Along with the circuit ground.

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The 1.5 volt regulator (adjustable), is between the SOLAR panel, its rechargeable battery and the 2843. So the panel and its battery (either the small 2 volt battery version or the larger 3.2 volt version) will only put out 1.2 or 1.5 volts to the 2843's 1.2 volt rechargeable battery. There will be 2 batteries in this circuit. The one in the SOLAR cell unit and one in the 2843. Based on how long the 2843 operates on a regular battery, I believe that there will be plenty of power for it. I need to find my Arduino and data logger to get a better idea as to how the project is doing. To start I will just take voltage measurements.

Duracell AA Rechargable batteries.jpg

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