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DCDC-USB Mini Box PSU - UPS mode success?

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  • DCDC-USB Mini Box PSU - UPS mode success?

    Anyone used the DCDC-USB Mini-Box PSU in "UPS" mode?

    The manual's pretty vague on what it's supposed to do, I'd expected UPS mode to simply pay attention to the Vin level and shutdown (soft via the power switch, then hard) as the battery becomes fully discharged. Going by the descriptions of the configuration software's half-dozen "UPS Mode: *" settings, it seems the intent is to both monitor the Ignition signal level and Vin battery level, and shutdown if Vin drops below a defined minimum voltage (Vin_good), or Vignition goes low. For my purpose, I just want the PSU to keep on truckin' until the battery goes flat then cut power, and only power back up when the battery goes on charge.

    Problem is the device I have (software reports version 2.0) doesn't shutdown when Vin drops below the Vin_good threshold - only Vignition has an effect.

    Anyone using this device in UPS mode?

    (I pinged [email protected] but no response...)

    Ben

  • #2
    Good info - you included the "v2.0".

    It could be software (now v2.1) - see DCDC-USB Mini Box PSU problem

    I assume you have the UPS handshaking required (ie, DCDC says battery low please shut down - PC starts shutdown - Then it is shutdown so DCDC shuts down - Or DCDC may do a drop-dead shutdown; ie, "sorry dude, battery too low - I'm config'd to drop now" ["But I'm not ready you AC-DC wanabe!"... "Stiff! Complain to Admin!"])

    Comment


    • #3
      I've asked Vveljk for the updated firmware, the change log doesn't mention anything pertinent to UPS mode though I'm willing to take a punt.

      I assume you have the UPS handshaking required ...
      Handshaking? Ain't no such thing on the DCDC-USB PSU - other than the PSW output, which I'm not using. This setup is connected to a sheevaplug that has been modified to run on 6.5-30 V DC (using a switching 5V regulator), plus some other 12V stuff (router, switch, NAS). I plan to look into monitoring the PSU from the computer via the USB interface and shutting down cleanly, but that requires that I figure out how to talk to the PSU via the USB port (minibox link to what they call Linux drivers but that appears to be a third-party SVN repository devoid of actual code...). In the meantime I plan on just running as long as the battery's good and hope the power comes back, finally forcibly powering off if the battery tanks out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Bah - automotive mode doesn't work for me either.

        I've just done a test with the PSU set to Automotive mode (mode 1), timing mode 2 (OFFDelay 5s, HardOff Never), powered by a simulated battery (another variable power supply, starting out at 13.5 V). Ignition is connected to a switched +12V.

        The timing scheme seems to work properly: when the Ignition drops, the PSU waits 5s then flashes it's STATE LED, and stays that way (doesn't power off, as HardOff is never). However, lowering the "battery" input voltage to under 11.2 V, which the manual notes should cause the PSU to cut off, does nothing. Even dropping down to under 9V doesn't shut it off.

        Sooo, it really looks like none of the Automotive and UPS mode low-voltage battery protection stuff works.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've asked Vveljk for the updated firmware, the change log doesn't mention anything pertinent to UPS mode though I'm willing to take a punt.

          I assume you have the UPS handshaking required ...
          Handshaking? Ain't no such thing on the DCDC-USB PSU - other than the PSW output, which I'm not using. This setup is connected to a sheevaplug that has been modified to run on 6.5-30 V DC (using a switching 5V regulator), plus some other 12V stuff (router, switch, NAS). I plan to look into monitoring the PSU from the computer via the USB interface and shutting down cleanly, but that requires that I figure out how to talk to the PSU via the USB port (minibox link to what they call Linux drivers but that appears to be a third-party SVN repository devoid of actual code...). In the meantime I plan on just running as long as the battery's good and hope the power comes back, finally forcibly powering off if the battery tanks out.

          Comment


          • #6
            And that's with v2.1 loaded?

            Rule: Update firmware to avoid wild goose chasing. (For MS - try reboot, then search patches, then search linux or mac.) (LOL)

            Comment


            • #7
              Interesting - my 9:18 reply was posted well before yours....
              The Zulus must be confused - we just went to summertime.

              If there is no handshaking, then it isn't "UPS" IMO.

              For UPS mode, the PSU must at least send a "power-loss imminent" at some configurable (pre-) delay else pre-shutdown voltage.
              I wonder how they define it?

              But, until you have V2.1 or later....

              Comment


              • #8
                No, still 2.0. I've asked Vveljk if he/she could kindly forward the 2.1 firmware. Changelog doesn't look encouraging though - no mention of anything related.

                I'm not too bummed about these features-that-aren't, I originally purchased the PSU as just a plain dumb PSU, and was expecting to have to roll-my-own monitoring either via the sheevaplug or a separate microcontroller. I was excited to see the alleged UPS and Automotive low-voltage cutout, but clearly that doesn't work as at v2.0. When/if I get to try 2.1 I'll see if that fixes things, otherwise it's back to plan A...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ok, tried the 2.1 firmware (thanks Vveljk!) - no change.

                  I repeated the test with the PSU set to Automotive mode (mode 1), timing mode 2 (OFFDelay 5s, HardOff Never), powered by a simulated battery (another variable power supply, starting out at 13.5 V). Ignition is connected to a switched +12V. Disconnecting Ignition causes the STATE LED to begin flashing (3 flashes every ~5 seconds) after a delay (of ~60s, not the 5s OFFDelay), but the PSU doesn't shutoff even if I drop the input voltage to below 9V.

                  UPS mode (mode 3) behaves the same though with different delays for OFFDelay and HardOff, and 2 flashes per ~5s in between the two states.


                  No matter what mode I have the PSU in, nor what settings, the "Deep-discharge shutdown" feature just doesn't work.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello Ben,


                    those ~60 seconds is because BOOT cancel time (this means when DCDC starts and send turn ON signal to board it waits 60 seconds before it goes to next step - you can define this time also to 0 seconds - in this case you will wait only those 5 seconds).

                    Regarding Voltages, the is truth that I didn't check it, since I thought that it will work for sure.
                    Now I have everything allready mounted in my car and have no more energy to put it out again (I allready put it ou in back in like 50 or more times ).

                    Can you please write me all the parameters that can be configured and maybe we can solve this with some common sense logic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Below are all the settings extracted from the configuration software at http://mini-box.com/DCDC-USB.

                      The description of the "UPS Mode" settings, and also "Min. VIN voltage while running", suggest that the PSU should shutdown when Vin drops below the given thresholds. In reality these settings seem to have no effect in any mode.

                      (Incidentally, I've contacted mini-box, no reply; pity - the hardware seems very well designed and well made, just thwarted by the firmware which would seem to be the easiest part to fix - wish we had access to the code...)

                      Rgds,
                      Ben

                      Code:
                      Voltage 0     Set Output Voltage 0. Changes will take effect after a power cycle.
                      Voltage 1     Set Output Voltage 1. Changes will take effect after a power cycle.
                      Voltage 2     Set Output Voltage 2. Changes will take effect after a power cycle.
                      Voltage 3     Set Output Voltage 3. Changes will take effect after a power cycle.
                      Voltage 4     Set Output Voltage 4. Changes will take effect after a power cycle.
                      Voltage 5     Set Output Voltage 5. Changes will take effect after a power cycle.
                      Voltage 6     Set Output Voltage 6. Changes will take effect after a power cycle.
                      Voltage 7     Set Output Voltage 7. Changes will take effect after a power cycle.
                      
                      Ignition HIGH limit         Above this voltage IGN is considered ON
                      Ignition LOW limit          Below this voltage IGN is considered OFF
                      Ignition Debounce           Ignition filter de-bouncing
                                    
                      Automotive Mode: Ignition Cancel Time   After DCDC-USB "boots" in AUTOMOTIVE mode IGN is cancelled for this time
                      Automotive Mode: Thump timeout            THUMP timeout, switching off the audio amplifier during motherboard startup/shutdown
                                    
                      Delay before PSU startup    Initial startup delay to avoid re-cranking problems
                      Min. VIN voltage at startup Input voltage STARTUP ZONE treshold 
                      Min. VIN voltage while running            Input voltage RUNNING ZONE treshold 
                      Max. allowed VIN voltage    Input voltage, HIGH SHUTDOWN treshold [35V]
                      Max. limit for Voltage      MAX voltage treshold
                      Min. limit for Voltage      MIN voltage treshold
                      Delay before output V       Delay
                      PSW "push-down" time        How long the PSW button is pressed down
                      
                      Emergency timeout           Delay
                      Config flags                Config flags
                      
                                    
                      Off-delay TIME 0            Time between IGN OFF to PSW OFF impulse in Time Configuration 0 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Hard-off TIME 0             Time Between PSW OFF to Output OFF,Hardware OFF in Time Configuration 0 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Off-delay TIME 1            Time between IGN OFF to PSW OFF impulse in Time Configuration 1 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Hard-off TIME 1             Time Between PSW OFF to Output OFF,Hardware OFF in Time Configuration 1 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Off-delay TIME 2            Time between IGN OFF to PSW OFF impulse in Time Configuration 2 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Hard-off TIME 2             Time Between PSW OFF to Output OFF,Hardware OFF in Time Configuration 2 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Off-delay TIME 3            Time between IGN OFF to PSW OFF impulse in Time Configuration 3 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Hard-off TIME 3             Time Between PSW OFF to Output OFF,Hardware OFF in Time Configuration 3 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Off-delay TIME 4            Time between IGN OFF to PSW OFF impulse in Time Configuration 4 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Hard-off TIME 4             Time Between PSW OFF to Output OFF,Hardware OFF in Time Configuration 4 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Off-delay TIME 5            Time between IGN OFF to PSW OFF impulse in Time Configuration 5 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Hard-off TIME 5             Time Between PSW OFF to Output OFF,Hardware OFF in Time Configuration 5 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Off-delay TIME 6            Time between IGN OFF to PSW OFF impulse in Time Configuration 6 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Hard-off TIME 6             Time Between PSW OFF to Output OFF,Hardware OFF in Time Configuration 6 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Off-delay TIME 7            Time between IGN OFF to PSW OFF impulse in Time Configuration 7 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      Hard-off TIME 7             Time Between PSW OFF to Output OFF,Hardware OFF in Time Configuration 7 (max. 17:59:59 or Never)
                      
                      UPS Mode: Shutdown Time     After OFF impulse is sent wait "UPS Mode: Shutdown Time" till Output OFF,Hardware OFF
                      UPS Mode: Ignition OFF time If IGN is OFF for "UPS Mode: Ignition OFF time" time the PSU will send OFF impulse
                      
                      UPS Mode: Ignition ON       PSU will be ON if IGN>"UPS Mode: Ignition ON" (and VIN>"UPS Mode: VIn Good")
                      UPS Mode: Ignition OFF      PSU will be OFF if IGN<"UPS Mode: Ignition OFF" for "UPS Mode: Ignition OFF time" seconds
                      UPS Mode: VIn Good          PSU will be ON if VIN>"UPS Mode: VIn Good" (and IGN>"UPS Mode: Ignition ON")

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Please write down also your parameter values to see how you configured it.

                        mini-box.com is not responding to any mails, but I might get connection with the father of this product and this way we can solve most of the problems.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Please write down also your parameter values to see how you configured it.
                          I'm using the "factory default parameters", reset via the config software.

                          Using the default settings, I expected the following:

                          PSU will be ON if IGN>11.7V and VIN>12.9V
                          PSU will be OFF if IGN<11.2V for 60 seconds

                          (note that OFF means: pulse PSW, then wait another 60s and power off)

                          so if I keep IGN above 11.7V, say 15V, the PSU should power off if Vin drops below 12.9V. I have observed it does not power off even if Vin drops down to 4.8V, below the "Min. VIN voltage while running" setting (5.45).

                          As it is, if you have this unit in your car, you might find yourself with a flat battery, or indeed a damaged battery through over-discharge.

                          I got a response from mini-box, and have replied with more detailed test observations, am awaiting their reply.

                          Rgds,
                          Ben

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My opinion is that you misunderstood parameters.


                            PSU will be ON if IGN>11.7V and VIN>12.9V - means that this conditions must be confirmed in order that device will start working (not that it will be ON as long as this conditions are confirmed).

                            PSU will be OFF if IGN<11.2V for 60 seconds - means that PSU will send power button signal when this condition is confirmed and wait for 60 seconds before PSU will completely remove output voltage. (if you have battery application I would expect that Vin and Vign is connected to the same battery).

                            You said:
                            so if I keep IGN above 11.7V, say 15V, the PSU should power off if Vin drops below 12.9V. I have observed it does not power off even if Vin drops down to 4.8V, below the "Min. VIN voltage while running" setting (5.45).

                            Better try to have Vin above 12.9V and drop IGN below your 11.7V and PSU should first send Power button signal and after 60 seconds it will remove Vout.
                            And I think that this logic is the right one, because in this case your computer can still shut down properly, otherwise (with your logic) computer would always end with brutal shut down.

                            Let me know if my thinking was right


                            BR,
                            Vladimir

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You got it, Vladimir.

                              My opinion is that you misunderstood parameters.
                              Laci from minibox got back to me with more or less the same comment, that "PSU will be ON" means "the PSU will be turned ON", not "the PSU will be in the ON state".

                              I was expecting to use the IGN signal as a separate "shutdown now" signal, independent of battery state (my application, an embedded Linux machine, can handle being "brutally" powered off :-). As you've noted, it would appear that in UPS Mode the IGN signal is intended to be connected to the battery to be monitored, indeed it's more of a "battery sense" rather than Ignition state sense.

                              I retested, with the IGN signal connected to the simulated battery / variable PSU, alongside Vin. The DCDC-USB did indeed shutdown (PSW after 60s, power OFF after another 60s) when the "battery" dropped below ~11.2V. Power was turned back on when the "battery" voltage was raised back up above ~13V.

                              So after all that, it was a simple documentation issue - one word ("turned") probably would've sorted me out :-)

                              (I'm still puzzled as to how, if at all, the low-voltage cutout is meant to work in Automotive mode, and also what "Min. VIN voltage while running" is meant to do, but the above is fine for my immediate purposes...)


                              Thanks for the input!

                              Rgds,
                              Ben

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