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  1. #1
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    Troubleshooting light system build

    I'm hoping to get some ideas as to why my light system project isn't working. There must be something I overlooked.

    This is the light - VisionX Solstice Solo wide-beam. I have this mounted as an exterior area light on my campervan and it works fine. As you can see it is rated from 9-48V input. I thought I would give it dual purpose by rigging it up as a bike light too:

    2" SOLSTICE SOLO SINGLE 10-WATT LED POD 35 WIDE BEAM



    I bought the battery pack recommended to me by Batteryspace.com to be able to ride for a couple hours. Voltage reads 17.0v at full charge:

    Li-ion 18650 Battery: 14.8V 2.6Ah (38.5Wh, Flat) with PCB, UN Approved



    So I wired everything up. When I plug in the light, it flashes as soon as the contacts touch but nothing else. The light works fine when plugged into my 12v source on the van and I tested it with an 8-cell AA battery pack (showing 10.8v); both work fine.

    There is something that I'm missing and I'm hoping someone may be able to point it out. There is something about this battery pack that the light doesn't like and I can't figure it out.

    Thank you for any help!
    Ventana El Rey
    Felt F35
    Schwinn High Plains

    Project - Surly Ogre

  2. #2
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    The overcurrent protection in the battery is tripping because it is too low for your light.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    The overcurrent protection in the battery is tripping because it is too low for your light.
    Where is that information jumping out at you from? Is it the "Max. Discharging Rate" spec. listed for the battery along with the 4.2amp polyswitch?

    The current draw for the light is supposed to be 0.83amps @ 12v. I guess I'm not understanding how it could be tripping the overcurrent protection (if it is the Max Discharge Rate figure)???

    Please forgive my ignorance. This is my first build and I was going by the numbers I have listed.
    Ventana El Rey
    Felt F35
    Schwinn High Plains

    Project - Surly Ogre

  4. #4
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    The battery has been fully charged ... Right ?
    Per your links, if voltage drops below 11Vdc, protection also kicks in.

    The PCB link, within your link - Protection Circuit Module (PCB) for 14.8V Li-Ion Battery Pack (4 cells with 8A +/-1A limit ) with Fuel Gauge Socket

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    The battery has been fully charged ... Right ?
    Per your links, if voltage drops below 11Vdc, protection also kicks in.

    The PCB link, within your link - Protection Circuit Module (PCB) for 14.8V Li-Ion Battery Pack (4 cells with 8A +/-1A limit ) with Fuel Gauge Socket
    Battery is fully charged and is reading 17.00Vdc on my meter.

    Is this the detail that is tripping the unit (in bold) if the light is trying to pull 0.83amps?:

    Electric performance:

    Overcharge protection voltage for single cell: 4.35V
    Overdischarge protection voltage for single cell: 2.40V
    Overcurrent detection protection: 7.5 ~~ 10.5A
    Supply current: Max 30uA
    Short circuit protection
    Protection circuitry resistance: <=50mohms
    Ventana El Rey
    Felt F35
    Schwinn High Plains

    Project - Surly Ogre

  6. #6
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    The driver in your light doesn't draw a continuous amount of power. It is drawn in a series of higher current pulses. This may be what is causing the problem. It is possible the battery is bad or not operating to specifications. Do you have any other device you can try to power with it for a test?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanq View Post
    The light works fine when plugged into my 12v source on the van and I tested it with an 8-cell AA battery pack (showing 10.8v); both work fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    The driver in your light doesn't draw a continuous amount of power. It is drawn in a series of higher current pulses. This may be what is causing the problem. It is possible the battery is bad or not operating to specifications. Do you have any other device you can try to power with it for a test?
    I think you might have nailed it, Van !!!




    Zang,
    Your voltage reading doesn't mean much, if it drops excessively when under a load.

    What's that battery pack show when under load ???

  8. #8
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    Update ?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Update ?
    I sent an email to the battery company stating my problem and got a response. They contend that the battery should work provided it is charged and the initial surge current of the light is not greater than the 4.2A PCB. I cannot find that spec listed anywhere for the light.

    I have sent an email to Vision-X asking if and what is the initial surge current for these lights.

    I'm running out of ideas of what it can be and having a little difficulty testing the battery pack without tripping the safety.

    Additional update:

    I just had and tested another thought. We're wondering if there is a surge tripping the 4.2A PCB. I took my other battery pack (an 8-cell AA holder) that has an inline fuse holder and loaded a 3A automotive fuse in it. If there was a surge tripping a 4.2A PCB, it should certainly blow a 3A fuse, right? It did not blow; the light operated normally. Is it safe to assume that the PCB and any type of surge (if present) is not the issue?
    Last edited by zanq; 01-02-2013 at 03:18 PM.
    Ventana El Rey
    Felt F35
    Schwinn High Plains

    Project - Surly Ogre

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    The driver in your light doesn't draw a continuous amount of power. It is drawn in a series of higher current pulses. This may be what is causing the problem. It is possible the battery is bad or not operating to specifications. Do you have any other device you can try to power with it for a test?
    I plugged it into my portable fish finder and it powered on normally. It is an Eagle Cuda 242 that can accept 10-17v input and draws 170mA (backlighting off) or 240mA (backlighting on). So worst case is that this battery pack can go with the depth finder for when I need to be very lightweight (e.g. canoe camping/fishing) but I'm still annoyed that it can't handle the light.

    Vision-X makes a battery pack for the light but it's $120. I'm trying to obtain some specs on it.
    Ventana El Rey
    Felt F35
    Schwinn High Plains

    Project - Surly Ogre

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanq View Post
    I just had and tested another thought. We're wondering if there is a surge tripping the 4.2A PCB. I took my other battery pack (an 8-cell AA holder) that has an inline fuse holder and loaded a 3A automotive fuse in it. If there was a surge tripping a 4.2A PCB, it should certainly blow a 3A fuse, right? It did not blow; the light operated normally. Is it safe to assume that the PCB and any type of surge (if present) is not the issue?
    A fuse takes time to blow (has to heat up and melt). Solid state devices work instantaneously.

  12. #12
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    Zanq, looking at the spec of the light and battery I would have thought that it would all work fine.
    However as Vanc says, the Poly Switch(or whatever they used) in the battery pack will be very fast acting unlike a fuse and also unlike a fuse you can't check to see if it has burnt out as it will reset its self so you'll never know if it intervened or not.

    If you have a DC laptop power supply that fits within the voltage range of the light and has enough current then perhaps try and run the light with it but connect a meter between the two and find out what this light actually draws. Both on the turn on surge and once setled down and running.

    Can't think of anything else.

  13. #13
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    I've debugged similar problems in the past. The problem is most likely the over current protection circuit built into the protection PCB. It's not likely the polyswitch since they have reaction times more like a fuse.

    If the info about your battery pack is coming from batteryspace, then take that with a grain of salt. Most of the info I've gotten from them hasn't matched my actual test results.

    There are a couple of ways to prove if that's the issue. When you connect the battery pack to the light and the light flashes, can you measure the voltage of the battery pack while it's still connected right after the light flashes. If it's very low, then the protection circuit has tripped.

    Second thing you can do, is add a tantalum capacitor in the 30-40 uf range to the battery pack. For testing, you can solder it to the battery pack leads. But it needs to be more than just touched or held to the battery leads. It needs to be connected such that the pack can be charged with the capacitor connected and then plugged into the light without the capacitor disconnecting. The capacitor will hold enough energy to handle the in-rush current of the light. If that fixes the problem, then you can make it a permanent fix by taking the plastic shrink wrap off the battery pack and soldering the capacitor to output terminals of the protection PCB and then re-shrink wrapping the battery pack. Just be aware that a tantalum capacitor has a positive and negative lead, don't hook it up to the battery backwards.

    Something like this
    TAP336K020SCS AVX Corporation | 478-1895-ND | DigiKey

  14. #14
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    Hook an amp meter up between the battery and light, and .... Load test the battery.
    While doing this ... Also, check the voltage under load.
    Your fish finder draws very little current, and thus you didn't really check the system's in use potential.

  15. #15
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    I would have thought that it would all work fine.

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