Dear BRCK design team,
We are running a project within my company, where it was elected to use the BRCK device in order to establish 3G communications with a number of installed systems in rural areas of South Africa.
Since the beginning of the project we have been experiencing power issues where the BRCK shuts down for no apparent reason.
Later on we realized that the battery was running flat and consequently the BRCK was turning OFF.
So it became obvious that although the battery was charging properly when the BRCK was OFF, for some reason it was NOT charging while the BRCK was operational.
Originally we thought that the power supply was not providing enough power (Amps) to sustain the BRCK’s operational power consumption while charging the battery at the same time.
Unfortunately a power supply was not included with any of the BRCKs we had purchased (S/N 001020034xx).
We have done multiple tests, we started with a USB power supply 5V/1A without any luck.
Later we used a USB supply of 5V/2A, no luck either.
Afterwards we tried with dual power supply (5V/12V), which we converted to USB output of 5V/2.1A.
It did not work either.
Based on the info provided at the forum (https://forums.brck.com/t/brck-charging-and-power-issues/554)
“Get a charger that has an output voltage between 7.5V to 18V (15V, 12V and 9V are common value) and a current rating of 2A or more.”
We tried to use the power supply’s second output 12V to charge a BRCK, without any success.
The same issue was repeated again and again.
(This is a screen shot from the BRCK’s dashboard)
The BRCK used is a brand new one, S/N 001020034xx.
The protocol used, in order to condition the internal battery:
1) After un-boxing the device, fully charge until BLUE light with the device OFF
2) Disconnect the charger, configure the device, insert sim card, and keep powered on until battery is empty
3) Fully recharge with the device while OFF until led goes BLUE
4) Disconnect the charger and discharge once more
So after two cycles of FULL charge-discharge:
On the graph above, the steep slope is the end of the second discharge step.
The rest of the graph is the device connected to 5V/2A
As you can see the device failed to fully recharge the battery over 24 hours.
While reading through the forum (https://forums.brck.com/t/an-update-on-brck-charging-issues/1325)
I read the following:
“The reason for this is the charging circuit stops charging the battery when
the battery reaches 45C. Charging the battery while it is too hot would damage
it and so the electronics are simply trying to protect the battery.”
Consequently we run the following tests:
(Current ambient temperature in South Africa it can get higher of course but it is usually about 30 degrees)
(Temp getting higher while charging with 5V/2A USB charger)
(Inside the BRCK currently the temperature is 55 degrees!! Charging at 5V/2A the Green led stopped pulsing -> IT IS NOT charging any more)
(Switched OFF the BRCK and the charge process is obviously down even though power is still connected)
(With the BRCK still OFF, it cooled down at 40 degrees and the charging continued)
It looks like the main issue is the fact that the BRCK has a sealed thick plastic enclosure and the heat is building up inside.
I assume this is a major issue for a lot of people in Africa since the ambient temperature is getting really hot during the summer.
Of course the solution of putting the device in the fridge is not an option for us since there will be none to do that where we are planing to use it and of course there is no fridge available there.
We would be grateful for any suggestions or ideas from the design team.