Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting
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Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by StormEffect on Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:08 pm

Hi Guys! Apologies if this is the wrong board for this question.

I just finished building a Solar LiPoly + Mintyboost system, but I'm wondering if there might be an issue with the Solar LiPoly component.

First, a rundown of my parts:

iPhone 4S
Version 3.0 Mintyboost
USB / DC / Solar Lithium Ion/Polymer charger - v1.0
LiPoly battery (the 3.7V, 1300mAh one recommended by Adafruit for this project)

I was able to successfully solder and assemble both projects.

If I hook up two AA batteries to my MintyBoost, the system charges my iPhone 4S immediately with a verifiable increase in charge percentage oh the phone, so I think the MintyBoost is working properly. Initially, I was able to plug in my battery to the BATT port into Solar LiPoly project board, and plug the Mintyboost into the LOAD port and the phone would charge without a problem! I only had it do this for a couple minutes before I decided to detach the LOAD (MintyBoost) and attach a USB cable to the USB charging slot, because I wanted to charge the battery up.

So here comes the problem, after about 2 minutes of charging (red PWR GOOD light active, orange CHRG light active), the green DONE light illuminated. Unless my LiPoly battery came to me fully charged, I don't think this should happen!? I decided to let my iPhone charge a little bit more in case the battery really was full. So I detached the USB cable and reattached the MintyBoost. The phone charged for about 20 minutes, and then I once again detached the MintyBoost and reattached the USB cable. This time the CHRG light illuminated for about 10 seconds and then the DONE light came on RIGHT after. At this point, if I try to charge my phone again (without the USB connected), it will charge for about 5 seconds and then stop charging, as if I'm just getting a quick jolt of power from the battery before it falls below acceptable voltage and shuts itself down. I get no status lights on the LiPoly board.

Additionally, now if I plug in the USB charging cable to the Solar LiPoly project board, usually all three status LEDs will light up, even without any LOAD or BATT attached! I can plug in the battery, and there is no change. I'm assuming the problem here is that the battery just isn't charging because the Solar LiPoly project board always has the DONE light illuminated. If I plug all three components in (Mintyboost, Battery, and USBS charger) the phone goes into charge state and will charge a little bit, my Multimeter reported 200 mA going to the mintyboost. If I unplug the battery, I only get about 20 mA going to the MintyBoost, so the phone will claim it is charge mode (correct voltage), but it will not actually increase the charge (I'll see charge percentage decrease at a normal rate).

What do you guys think? Am I missing something obvious? Is the battery dead, or possibly the Solar Li-Poly board?

Thanks!
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:18 am

Disconnect everything and measure the voltage across the battery leads.
Connect the battery and USB to the charger and let it charge for a couple hours and measure the battery voltage again.
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by StormEffect on Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:42 am

Hi!
Everything disconnected, the battery is at 2.910V.
After charging for 2 hours using the USB connection, the battery is at 2.927V.

Should I let it charge for a few more hours maybe?
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:57 am

In general, it is beter to charge a cell fully before using it. But in theory, the battery's internal protection circuit should have prevented it from going below 3.0v. I suspect you have a bad battery.

Contact support@adafruit.com with a link to this thread and ask for a replacement.
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by StormEffect on Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:12 pm

Thanks for the quick reply.

After testing the battery at 2.927V, I hooked it up again for an additional 2 hours. Now I'm reading 3.394V!!

While the battery was charging, I noticed the DONE light would frequently turn on and off. Does this still indicate a bad battery or possibly a bad board? When the board is plugged into only USB (with no other attachments), I still get all 3 status lights active.
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:31 pm

I'd have to take a closer look at the spec sheet. Done and Charging lights on at the same time may be an error indication. It may be detecting that the battery voltage is below what it expects.
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by StormEffect on Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:17 pm

I managed to get the battery up to 3.5V, but I'm beginning to think you are right that the problem is the battery itself and not the charger board. I found an oldish 3.7V Lithium Ion battery from my old RAZR phone and connected it to the BATT port on the Solar board, once I did, the green light went away and it appeared to be charging normally! I tried reconnecting to the suspect LiPoly battery and it stayed that way for a few seconds and then went to DONE. It seems that connecting to a "known good" battery flushed the weirdness out of the charger board.
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:11 am

If you contact support@adafruit.com with a link to this thread we'll replace the bad one for you.
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by StormEffect on Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:47 pm

I wanted to followup.

I got my new battery in (free of charge straight from adafruit, THANKS!), it tests as 3.93V as of right now. I've connected it to my charger, so far all 3 lights are still active (PWR, CHRG, DONE). I'll test the battery voltage again in a couple hours to see how it changes. I'm wondering if this means the battery is fully charged or if my charger is not working properly. I may end up just purchasing a new charger kit to see if it works differently.
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:39 am

Can you post a clear photo of the front of the charger board?
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by StormEffect on Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:55 pm

Here is the front of the board with battery and USB power. I also took one without battery connected. There is 1 picture of the back, I think my soldering on the capacitor is pretty good.


Image

Image

Image
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Re: Solar LiPoly + MintyBoost Troubleshooting

by adafruit_support_bill on Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:54 am

Contact suport@adafruit.com with a link to this thread and ask for a replacement charger.

On this charger, both lights should only come on if there is a temperature error during a charge. And that should only happen if you have installed a thermistor in place of the fixed resistor on-board.
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