Users of BMSOne can find it hard to remove the special Solo battery connector from a dead battery, this is a guide on how to do it, with a focus on simplicity.
No desoldering vacuum station, preheater, or reflow oven required. 🙂
Safety First :
People are afraid of the dreaded thermal runaway, where the Lithium-Polymer/ion battery spew gasses & fire when shorted/damaged.
Basic physics tells us that the energy to do that, must be available, or else, there will not be smoke/fire hence:
Drain the battery – method 1:
Connecting a small 12v ,5-10W bulb to a bad battery (no reason to open it like I did in the photo below)
DO NOT think a 50W bulb will drain it better, it will make the voltage drop faster(and battery will switch off) – in the end , slower discharge is better.
In this case, I stuck the wires into the +/- connector. Switched on the battery, and let it sit on a concrete floor until it dies.
Drain the battery – method 2:
You may as well hover the Solo till it can’t fly no more, then let it be on until the battery dies completely
The BMS will fail to keep the FET’s on at somewhere around 5.7v or so, When the pack voltage falls that low, it will switch off, .. feel free to let it recover for a while then switch it on again..
When the battery is empty:
Solo Battery tool tells me that this battery is drained, no cell is even near 3.0v even an hour after it switched off I have seen the voltage drop far enough to it to switch off more than once. A properly drained battery, where all cells are low, do not have the energy to cause any fireworks, let me prove it to you.:
Opening the battery shell:
(will describe the process later – many have already done it.. if YOU did a video on it, feel free to let me embed it here.)
Extracting the connector:
I used an electronic hotplate, set to 300°C You can use a cooking plate just fine. The plate should not be red hot, let the PCB sit there for a few minutes, then start pushing the PCB down (so that the pins get a better thermal connection, and get pushed thru in the end.)
This BMS is very flexible and universal, you can fly any 4-cell battery chemistry/capacity that the Solo can handle in terms of voltage & weight, anything that produces 10-20v(I did not actually research/test Solo’s upper voltage limit)
The PCB is less than 50x40x9mm (balancing connector is the highest component) The weight is only 7.6g
There are three mounting holes that should enable nice mounting inside the GPS bay (I did not test it, just measured it.)
Important information: The BMSOne comes configured for Li-Ion cells, (down to 2.5v/cell) – watch the cell/voltage pack reading unless you are sure you did configure it properly for Li-Po
The device can provide remaining capacity information based on a known full-capacity and mAh spent (mode 1), and also provide a remaining capacity estimate based on voltage under load. (mode 0) Out-of-the box, it will provide voltage and cell voltages, which is the most important information, along with a Li-ION voltage based SoC.
It can be fully configured using a FTDI cable (or any USB<>Serial cable with RX,TX and DTR signal- DTR is only used to enter the bootloader, and only useful for flashing, although it is possible to flash it without DTR too)
A few people asked whatever BMSOne is “plug’n’play”. Yes, it is kind of that, the simplest job is done right out of the box, once you connect a battery thru it, you will see the battery, and cell voltage, which is the most important information. That is the configuration it is delivered in. To have a nice, linear, SoC based on voltage or current used, some configuration is required, there is no “one setup fits all” configuration, if there were, it would be a default.
When you connect to it and power it up, you will see: BMSOne v1.00 Set the capacity of the battery in mAh using the command: SM10000 it will respond: Set capacity: 10000 Now, you have defined a 10Ah full capacity.
You can type: S0 //Select voltage-based SoC (State Of Charge) S1 //Select capacity-based SoC SW //write configuration to flash – until you do this, all your changes/calibration are temporary and can be reverted by rebooting the device. SR //read config from flash (it happens on every boot) SS //Show config
Displaying Configuration: Voltage table: 104, 110, 113, 116, 119, 122, 126, 129, 132, 135, 138, 142, 145, 148, 168, Capacity table: 0, 4, 12, 20, 29, 37, 45, 53, 62, 70, 78, 86, 95, 99, 100, SoC by Voltage Cell voltages(mV):3727,3731,3739,3744 Pack voltage(mV):14941 Current (mA):-152 Full capacity: (mAh)10000 Remaining capacity by Voltage: (mAh)9900 Remaining capacity by Current: (mAh)10000
SD //Show internal data
You can also perform AD calibration. When calibrating voltages/current sensor, it is important NOT to provide power from the FTDI connector. (otherwise, the precision will suffer.) On the solder side of the PCB, there is a solder jumper “JP1” – to ensure a correct calibration, you can remove its solder blob – OR, simply disconnect the +5v pin from the FTDI connector.
With a battery hooked up, you can measure its cells, then provide a command like this: the numbers are voltages in millivolts. let’s say you measured 3.256v, 3.231v , 3.255v and 3263v then enter: SC3256,3231,3255,3263 // calibrate cell voltage in millivolts for 4 cells. If you can’t measure with 3 digits, – let’s say you can measure with lower precision “3.21v” then enter “3210”
SI10220 //Calibrate current sensor, value in mA “SI10220” = 10.220A Again; with a known current flowing through the device, enter the current. It is better to calibrate while sensing 10A than the mA range.
State-of-Charge by Voltage. This mode is beautifully simple and reliable, as you can use any number of battery packs, with same cells, and have perfectly fine SoC estimation (see battery percentage drop) Advantage of this mode is that it works by voltage under load, so you can have one BMSOne, any number of packs, and any state of charge on those, and still, it will “just work”
We all remember how fast the remaining capacity drops on a Solo battery at the end, 15 to 1% can be done within one minute.
The first graph is made using these packs’ first flight. It estimates energy as consumed a bit fast in the beginning, then just a little faster after 19/20 minutes.
Then the voltage/capacity table is corrected.. and watch the second graph, beautiful linear estimation, no surprises there even as the battery gets to 2.5v/cell.
Another aspect of SoC by voltage, is that it is most accurate when at normal cruise/hover, during a fast climb, the voltage will drop, and while climbing, you will see a lower estimate, and during a fast descend, you will see a higher estimate.
21minute flight example:
(I flew in bad wind conditions, now I see that the flight had the 4.0.3 PID issue that surely affected the flight time in a bad way) 4S3P Samsung INR18650-30Q (12 cells) 620grams with BMSOne. GoPro Gimbal with Gopro 4 Black. AUW 1950g Cells bought from Banggood (please observe that this is not a referral link, I get no kickback, nor can I guarantee the authenticity of a later batch).
FLIR ONE, a nice product, with extremely limiting battery and bad software. (Luckily, third-party software is much better)
You may say the battery has two reasons to be there: 1: Limit useful time: pushing users to a more expensive product. 2: Obsolescence by design: become useless as the battery age and force an upgrade.
Goals: 1: remove the need for battery and charging. 2: replace the MicroUSB with USB-C
Tools: You will need one security T5 (Torx5 with a hole in the middle)
Using a Dremel multi-tool, I expanded the slot it the black connector retainer and the main body. Using adapter (2): after de-soldering it’s female MicroUSB – I glued the USB-C connector inside the black retainer using epoxy.
Assemble, throw away battery.
There is no more need for charging or switching on the device. Also, it does not run out of juice after 5 minutes anymore 🙂
It’s working as expected. (The balancing connector header had 2mm pitch on PCB (my bad), therefore, this test version got a wire.)
All Calibration/setup/programming and firmware updates are done over the FTDI header.
Please do not think much about the poor flight time I got during early tests, the cells had a bit too high internal resistance and produced heat/dropped voltage too much. Better cells could be used.
11 January 2020:
Preliminary documentation for configuration over Serial port (serial port is used for configuration and firmware updates): Example commands in bold.
SC3256,3231,3255,3263 // calibrate cell voltage in millivolts for 4 cells. Users can also omit any cell to if one-by-one calibration is desired for some reason, like SC,,3300, – this may be useful if calibrating by a single, precise voltage standard source.
SI10220 //Calibrate current sensor in mA “SI10220” = 10.220A
GV //get firmware version SW //write valibration/linearization tables to flash
5 January 2020: designed some initial PCB’s – now with individual cell measuring and current sensing.
(I hope to start selling them as a product before March 2020)
15 December 2019:
Currently handled I2C requests (all that Solo is requesting:)
0x08 TEMPERATURE 0x10 FULL_CHARGE_CAPACITY 0x1C SERIAL_NUMBER 0x0F REMAINING CAPACITY 0x23 MANUFACTURER_DATA 0x28 CELL_VOLTAGE 0x2A CURRENT
This is an early version of a BMS for any 0-5v/cell chemistry 4-cell pack for ArduPilot.
Right now, it is more correct to call it an BMS emulator, than a BMS. A final product would measure individual voltages and the actual current. I started this way because it does not require a custom PCB and a minimum of discrete components.
This early version does handle all the communications, and makes the autopilot set the actual capacity (9Ah), reports voltage, and calculated individual cell voltages.
It does also calculate and report remaining capacity by doing a 15-point linearization and then interpolating a “voltage_to_capacity_table”. This method is good enough once one knows the battery characteristics and fly at about the same current later.
I did not wait for the 4S3P Li-Ion pack to charge fully. (Samsung 3Ah 18650-30Q cells) The outdoor temperature was about -5°C, batteries. Flight time was 17 minutes. With GoPro4Black + the brushless 3DR Gopro gimbal. The battery pack was 677gram. Included in that weight is 22gram that is the BMS microcontroller PCB, Solo battery connector and wires/connectors to battery.
The predicted SoC percentage (blue) is clearly not perfect (yet) it was good at the end, not at the beginning, but that is not a problem, as it is easy to change by modifying the table.
Notice that it can still climb at as low as 10.5v , not exceeding 70% of throttle.
Post-flight thermal image: (somewhat affected by some kapton tape on the battery pack.)
TODO / Future:
Given enough interest, I plan to make a fully standalone BMS that can be user-customized to any chemistry, (min/max voltages) and so on. With balancing, real current sensing, fuel gauge etc.
This laser driver board seems to be common for many <20W LED lasers used for cutting/engraving.
Whenever powered on, it defaults to full power due to a rather strong internal pull-up.
Most CNC machines have a laser TTL PWM output that goes into high-impedance mode on boot. In that case, any connection to, or reboot of the microcontroller will make the laser output full power for about 2 seconds while the user may not be prepared for that.
The solution is to remove D3, which provides power to the pull-up, then the laser will not be “default on” anymore.
There are many photos showing of damage around lifting points due to misaligned, or missing jack pads.
Tire shops are very sloppy about it. And to make your average garage jack lift it correctly, requires fine placement.
My jackpad, is made using 3cm high quality , industrial rubber sheet from Dunlop.
Then I add an Thermoplastic polyurethane part, that makes sure it can only fit one way,(the correct way) to the jack pad.
Finally, some strong neodymium magnets will hold it in place, while you place the garage jack under.
Simple, easy, convinient.
Once you get familiar with it, and where the jackpoints are, you don’t really need to look under the vehicle. Just move it around till it snaps into the spot.
Now the garage jack can be placed roughly beneath, and will still lift the car exactly as supposed, not touching anything else.
The massive natural rubber will most likely last longer than the Tesla, the magnets/mount, however, could be destroyed. So it needed a clever, collapsible design:
Update: As of Arducopter 4.0.0 for Solo, the motor slew rate is available, and this mod is NOT required if you are happy to use slew rate.( which gives a little less responsive copter, lust like the original 3DR fix.)
3DR Solo Cube (Pixhawk 2.0) outputs 3.3v PWM, the IO buffers run off 3.3v on both sides, while they are perfectly capable of delivering 5v. Using 5v is safer when using 3DR Solo firmware with PWM slew rate, and required for ArduCopter code on Solo.
The simple solution is to purchase “Green cube” (usually sold out) or modify Pixhawk 2.1
The alternative solution, is to modify Solo’s Pixhawk 2.0 Cube.
This does require some soldering skills, and can be done by any semi-decent repair shop if you cannot do it yourself.
(The width of the buffer chip is 4.5mm)
The two first images show two different PCB layouts of the Pixhawk 2.0 cube, so everybody should recognize, and stick to one 🙂
Open the cube, and locate the rightmost buffer ic. (TXS0108E marked YF08E)
Desolder the buffer (here seen on another PCB layout):
Cut the trace that feeds the upper left pad:
Re-solder the buffer:
Attach a thin wire to the pin. (provide 5v to the buffer’s VccB)
The other end of wires are routed to the clearly labelled 5v pad in the upper right corner of the Pixhawk2.0 :
Finally, clean and cover wire using conformal coating, to prevent vibrations to damage it: (UV inspection below)
Congratulations, output 1…8 output is now 5v.
Final note: the UV inspection picture picture shows another buffer, not used for PWM, the photos are taken on different occasions, and while batch processing many, not only one, so the time is not 30minutes between desolder and resoldering one device as timestamp may suggest.
Should you use a professional to do this job, it should take <15 minutes.
Modified files for uploading using Solex (Just copy into /Solex/download/package) – The only modification is to make Solex ignore the fact that the modified cube still runs the old 3DR fork of ArduCopter.
Once you upgrade to the 3.5.2 I provided here, you can continue to upgrade to newer versions using SSH /Solex and/or OpenSolo as if you had the greeen cube.
firmware upgrades for all (and no incompatible versions)
Buy boxed version ($35 +worldwide Shipping $4)
In stock, shipping next day, as usual.
3DR Solo battery packs have lots of information that the average user will never see, they are also very nicely calibrated for voltage (cells and pack) as well as current.
Some of the information, like capacity, cell voltages, cycles, past low voltage condition, cell voltage difference, and manufacture date may be very useful.
Health data is very useful as well.
Below: two devices, one as delivered, the other with an XT60 connector for charging.
It’s easy to solder on XT60, charger cables, or other connectors right on the main connector. The XT60 is there just for illustration purposes, it’s easy to solder on most of the typical connectors (XT60, EC3) directly, the rest can be soldered on with wires.
“Hard” edition means it comes in a nice case designed by Purplemon on Thingiverse:https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2841916
The device is not doing any calculations on it’s own, data is read from the battery, and presented.
Values and information details:
Pack Voltage Charge level in % Remaining capacity Internal temperature. Charging current. (Negative value indicate discharging current)
Cell voltages for cell 1…4 – should be self-explaining, any healthy pack will have very similar voltages after a flight. Design capacity is what the pack was designed to be. Actual capacity is shows the actual capacity as the pack ages. Relative charge level is based on actual capacity of the pack. Absolute charge level is based on design capacity of the pack.
Manufacturing date in Y-M-D format. Made by BMTPOW The device name is MA03, serial number follows (not the same as the barcode on the pack) TTF: Time To Full, if not charging, will display “-1” Cycles: how many times have this pack been used. This is increased when discharged_capacity_since_last_increase > design_capacity.
The status word is bitmapped at least two bits we know are used, one indicating charging/discharging, the other tell if the factory calibration data is OK.
Should factory calibration data ever be corrupted, then you can never know if a reported voltage/current (used for capacity calculation !) is correct, and it’s dangerous to fly with such a pack. A very clear warning will be displayed.
Firmware >=1.5 say “Initialized” when BMS is calibrated&configured properly, or “NOT” initialized” if not.
There is also a warning for internal resistance deviation. There is a “Cell Change” warning, I do not know what can cause it, or what exactly it means – both warnings above are for illustration purposes, I have no packs with such condition.
Status is expected to be 128(charging) or 192(discharging) , 16608 is a fully charged battery. (Thanks to Bob that found that).
Since firmware 1.5, status understanding is much better, and most data is presented as text.
Health is 18 for all good packs (I do not have one that is bad) , but there are 16bit of data that can indicate quite a lot…
I’ll update this page based on user reports.
Lowest voltage record. – Displays eight last low voltage records, some values are initialized as 3.5v, but it is the lowest values that indicate if the battery has ever been close to deep-discharge.
If the battery pack is connected, but not charging – after 180seconds, the DONE message will show, two minutes later the battery will switch off. (Shutdown feature is inhibited at any time by pressing battery button to toggle screen.)
This dataset is being outputted to FTDI interface at 115200baud, one at 1hz. The device will not go to sleep once you used the battery button to select an screen.
This allows for nice graphing of charging/discharging, and full monitoring using DataExplorer with the plugin I’ve made: Solo_Batt_Tool
Of course, you are free to do whatever logging you wish, the format is basically semicolon delimited, and temperature, cell voltages are multiplied with 100/1000 so you don’t need to parse thru commas.
Plug into battery , switch on battery. or: Plug into battery , and provide charging current. You can use any standard charger, select Li-Po 4cell program with no balancing (the battery have internal balancing circuit)
There is an custom bootloader on the device, so when I figure out more about the battery, it’s possibly to upgrade it using a standard FTDI cable and the avrdude tool (for Linux,Mac,Windows).
FTDI cable, with an extra pin header.
Insert pin header into FTDI cable, the protruding, short pins will fit into the SoloBatt_OLED’s six pins on the edge of the PCB. You will need to cut away or puncture a little bit of shrink-wrap to access the edge.
The upper & lower of the six pins on PCB are marked BLK (black) and GRN(green) – make sure that matches the orientation of the FTDI cable. (reversing does no damage)
Observe that there are two files in the firmware package:
“VG” is for displays with pin order: “VCC, GND, SCL, SDA” “GV” is for displays with pin order: “GND, VCC, SCK, SDA”
To write the new firmware you will need the avrdude application.
On Linux, it’s installed by: “sudo apt install avrdude”
/dev/ttyUSB0 is most likely correct, the number will be higher if you have more than one USB serial device
If you are using windows, replace /dev/ttyUSBx with COMx , also, in windows, you’ll need some FTDI drivers.
Please note that the programming protocol is Arduino compatible just enough to make it work with avrdude, but it’s not really Arduino.
Longer auto-off delay (was 2min , now 4min)
Longer time per screen 3s->6s
Serial output using FTDI cable at 115200 baud
Warning if the battery has detected uneven internal resistance.
Warning named “change cell” (not sure when that is supposed to kick in)
Low voltage records.
Three digits in cell voltages.
Fahrenheit & Celsius temperature.
Serial logging for Dataexplorer plugin (and any other data collection).
Shorter splash screen timeout.
Cosmetic fix for long status numbers on OLED display.
manual page flip. lets user skip forward to a certain page, and stops automatic rotation. (connect a momentary switch between pin8 and pin9 – or – if you are using a microcontroller , just pull pin9 low.)
Found out more about battery status, and presenting it as text. , among others, you may see “Fully Charged”, “Fully Discharged”, “Charging”, “Discharging”, “Initialized” “NOT initialized”, “Term.Disch.Alarm” and “Terminate Charge”
The old status “Calibrated” is now replaced by “Initialized” – which means not only that the voltage/current sensors are calibrated, but also that the BMS is configured for proper operating limits and parameters. A “NOT initialized” battery means improperly set/default BMS configuration.
Sony ILCE-QX1 has great specifications at low weight, which makes it good for UAV photogrammetry use. It can be configured using WiFi , then retain the configuration. (so it’s not necessary to even enable wifi for each operation.
About the modification:
The pop-up flash assembly is removed, an microcontroller replaces the flash assembly, it’s interfacing the motherboard indirectly, via FPC. The flash cover is slightly cut to make space for the servo (PWM input) and logic level output that indicates shutter operation.
Can reliably do manual-focus shoot every 700ms. (no drops)
The camera will continue to function normally as before when the PWM interface is not supplied with power, except for the flash.
The modification requires micro-soldering; most narrow are three points within 1mm distance. Naturally, it voids camera warranty. (so test camera well before getting it modified.)
Features of the modification:
Camera will not shut down when inactive..
3-wire servo connector (PWM input)
1-wire logic output (high on shutter) -allows precise GPS positioning of each photo, and confirmation to the AP that photo is taken.
Command “Shoot” (just trigger a photo, for preset/manual focus)