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Thread: Battery drain

  1. #31
    Raw Wave
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    , or maybe ( ie, about me having to look up & download data....)

    And this info is very tentative - my anal-ysis may be flawed. (I'm out of anal practice!)

    From the full ATmega328 datasheet (doc8271.pdf; v.8271D–AVR–05/11, ATmega48A/PA/88A/PA/168A/PA/328/P):..
    It looks as if input pins have an impedance of 36k (ie, 140uA @ 5V). [ Ref: eg - p517, Figure 30-346. ATmega328P: I/O Pin Pull-up Resistor Current vs. Input Voltage (VCC = 5 V) or for any other supply voltage ]
    At 5V, input high is above 2.6V ...[ p521, Figure 30-354. ATmega328P: I/O Pin Input Threshold Voltage vs. VCC (VIH, I/O Pin read as ‘1’) ]
    At 5V, input low is below 2.1V ...[ p521, Figure 30-355. ATmega328P: I/O Pin Input Threshold Voltage vs. VCC (VIL, I/O Pin read as ‘0’) ]

    So lets call that a 2V margin or offset from either rail (supply) - ie, low is <2V, and high is >3V (its Vcc or supply voltage of 5V less the 2V margin).
    The point being that a hi or low doesn't have to be +5V or 0V (GND) - it just has to be within 2V of whatever rail.

    FYI - the supply voltage does not matter since this boils down to resistance ratios between 2 rails.
    If that doesn't make sense, just trust me for now, or realise that high & low are simply above & below the mid-rail voltage (eg, 2.5V for a 5V supply; 0.9V for a 1.8V supply) with a bit of gap aka hysteresis in between.
    Else see the how the logic-level thresholds are close enough to half the Vcc/supply voltage in those Input Threshold Voltage graphs. Ha - I love saying it - CPUs are designed logically ( pun).

    Hence a pull up resistor should pull up to around at least 3V or 3/5ths of the rail.

    If the input is like a 36k resistor to ground, that means no greater than a 33k pull up resistor which is just borderline, I'd probably choose a 27k resistor.
    [ FYI - it's a voltage divider. Its "output" voltage will be 5V x 36/(33+36) = 5x36/69 = 5x0.71 = 2.6V which happens to be the minimum voltage for a "guaranteed" high. Using 27k makes it 2.85V and overcomes and resistor tolerance (ie, accuracy, 10%, 5%, 2% etc - a 27k resistor is usually 27k +/-5% etc.) ]

    Oh well, so much for my earlier comment that a 100k resistor should or might be ok....

    The input "drain" with a 27k pull up should be 5V/(27k+36k) = 0.08mA, else 5V/27k = 0.2mA if the pin is effectively at 0V (maybe as an output pin, or because I don't know or understand the circuit technicalities!).

    BTW, of note in the ATmega spec is (pp81-82):
    14.2.6 Unconnected Pins
    If some pins are unused, it is recommended to ensure that these pins have a defined level.
    Even though most of the digital inputs are disabled in the deep sleep modes as described above, floating inputs should be avoided to reduce current consumption in all other modes where the digital inputs are enabled (Reset, Active mode and Idle mode).

    The simplest method to ensure a defined level of an unused pin, is to enable the internal pull-up.
    In this case, the pull-up will be disabled during reset.
    If low power consumption during reset is important, it is recommended to use an external pull-up or pull-down.
    Connecting unused pins directly to VCC or GND is not recommended, since this may cause excessive currents if the pin is accidentally configured as an output.
    ... but maybe that is looked after by the Arduino firmware...?

    Now the question is if there is added circuitry between the Atmega CPU pins and the Aduino's extra pins that impact the above.
    But I'd have to look up the Uno schematic for that. And enough is enough!! (Well, for today at least. It's now 2:40AM Zulu.)
    Last edited by OldSpark; 04-14-2012 at 12:38 PM. Reason: a few highlites (bolds & ulines)

  2. #32
    licensed to kill - FKA kev000
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    tripzero's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    16.40618, 120.61106
    Thanks oldspark, In effort not to derail this thread, I've started a new one here:

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    Yeah, should be fine.
    As long as batteries are charging (eg, typically above ~12.8V), they can't dump into each other.

    The whole "not paralleling" thing is to prevent a faulty battery dragging down the other and hence damaging that too.

    When paralleled for big loads or longer reserve times, that is ok (or rather, it's assumed to be necessary) provided both batteries are in similar condition - ie, no faulty battery or collapsed cells.
    The latter also applies to charging - a bad battery can drag the charger down and the good battery can discharge into the bad battery as well. Safety wise, that can be an issue - more current and hence heat to flame the bad battery. And a bigger charger might keep the voltage up, but the bad battery still absorbs the higher current.

    Also keep in mind excess voltage - that produces gassing which can be good for maintenance, but not for too long. Hence solar panels be regulated. Many say they don't need it for small panels, but I and many others disagree. Any overvoltage causes gassing. The only time a panel does not need a regulator is when its output is less than the battery's float current (ie - fully charged absorbed current; usually at a float voltage of ~13.2-13.4V) and they can vary from mA (maybe 100mA) to 1A or 2A for most car batteries.

    Pretty simple isn't it? (Not?)

    But here comes a bit more complexity...

    Since solar panels (should!) have blocking diodes (typically Schottky diodes for their lower voltage drop of ~0.3V instead of a silicon diode's ~0.6V drop), it should be simple enough to use parallel diodes - one to each battery from the panel.
    Hence batteries can remain isolated (for when not charging - ie, night time or reduced sun) yet still be charged by one solar panel panel.

    One problem may be the regulator which is usually between the panel's diode and the battery, however assuming the regulator has a remote battery voltage sensing wire (as opposed to sensing its output voltage), the diode(s) could be moved to the regulator output - ie, between the reg's output and each battery.

    If the reg does not have a separate/remote sensing wire, then the battery(s) will get ~0.3V less than they should (ie, a Schottky diode's forward voltage drop). That may not be too bad, though they should be properly charged at intervals if their charge voltage isn't above 13.8V or preferably more (13.8V is not enough to reverse the sulfation built up in a non-full battery).

    If the reg does has remote sensing, then a "sensed" battery must be chosen.
    I'd sense the battery that takes the lowest charge current (or has smaller loads) as that will have the smallest voltage drop across its diode. Higher currents increase diode voltage drops and it's better to undercharge one battery than overcharge the other (ie, gassing etc).
    However, if the regulator is set for say 14.2V, then the bigger or loaded battery could be sensed. That's based on a long-term maximum charge voltage of 14.4V for lead-acid batteries. Hence if the high current battery gets 14.2V through its diode, the low current battery might get 14.3V or which is still ok. EG - the sensed battery gets 14.2V with a 0.4V diode drop, hence the regulator is outputting 14.2 + 0.4 = 14.6V. The other battery might have a 0.3V diode drop due to less current thru its diode, hence it gets 14.6 - 0.3V - 14.3V, still 0.1V under the ROT 14.4V maximum.

    Some regulators have adjustable outputs which can be increased to compensate for diode voltage drops (especially if lacking remote sensing), or reduce their output voltage (from 14.4V) to ensure that with the lowest diode voltage drop, the battery's max charging voltage is not exceeded.

    If you think all that is tricky, you can imagine why diode isolators fell out of favor for automotive dual-battery setups. Their diode drops varied from ~0.6V to well above 1V at high currents; 1.4V was not unusual.
    What do you do when your 2 battery charging voltages differ by 0.5V etc? Which battery do you sense?
    [ I tackled many diode-isolator issues in two mp3car threads involving Simbalage (simbalage21?) who was adamant that they were "the only safe" and best form of isolator (and that relays were NOT isolators LOL!). Since then I have confirmed that no emergency services here use them. (Police vehicle's battery isolating relays are controlled by their (Delco?) EMS and regularly connect and isolate. Other emergency vehicles also use relays.) In fact quite a few baulked or laughed at the suggestion. Poor simbalage, taken in by the bullsh claims and half truths favoring wasteful & backward technologies and profits. ]

    I digressed...
    I've detailed the issues that can lead to a worst case situation. You are likely to find that they have little consequence, especially for small solar installations that do not provide huge currents and hence only have small diode voltage-drop variations (I think even less with modern Schottkys).

    For piece of mind, use your voltmeter. (A $10 DMM will do.)
    You should regularly check the OC (Open Circuit) voltage of the batteries. (Allow for surface-charge dissipation after charging.)
    Don't connect unequal (voltage) or "low voltage" batteries unless you know they are merely discharged.
    Ensure that the batteries get appropriate voltages and that the regulator else panels cannot over-charge.
    Now and again perform battery maintenance - ie, an equalisation charge etc. Else connect to the car's alternator for a good blast.
    And beware warm batteries, that's a sign of overcharging. However, siting in the sun or a hot car or engine bay or housing may have an effect (ha ha).

    Speaking of the sun, it has just risen.
    I'm off to bed.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  3. #33
    Maximum Bitrate
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Rochester, NH
    Thanks but I think this thread is done Never was an issue of the system but rather the battery in my car was in fact crap. Did motivate me to squeeze a few more ma reduction out of the system in standby though.

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