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The battery beak is a vital tool used especially during robotics competitions, and also during driving practice.The battery beak connects directly to the battery and assesses its health- that is, its resistance and remaining charge. The Electronics subteam's primary job at competitions is swapping the batteries, and the battery with the most life is the one we want to use, making the battery beak crucial in effective powering of the robot. They can supply up to an 18 amp load and support batteries up to 15V (ours are 12V).
The battery beak is connected to the the battery directly using the suicide cables- it has the same port as the suicide cables attached to the power distribution panel for battery connection. As with that connection process, the battery beak can only be connected one way. When the battery is done being assessed, the battery beak should be separated from the battery.
There are several qualities of the battery it can assess. Fortunately, the battery beak is simple to use; it has only one button. From the splash screen that appears when powered on, simply press and release the button to begin testing.
Changing Type Settings
The battery beak's functions require knowledge of the battery's chemistry, voltage, and amphour charge. Becuase our batteries are FRC standard, the default settings do not entirely work for us- our batteries are 18aH, not 17aH. However, all of our battery beaks should already have this changed. If one does not (e.g. we get a new one or borrow one from another team), there is a battery type menu for the purpose of changing it. Enter the type menu and keep the chemistry (lead acid) and voltage (12V) the same as default, but advance to "AMPHOUR" by pressing and releasing the button. Hold the button down and enter that sub menu to change the value to 18.
SOC means state of charge, or, in rough terms, the remaining battery life. This percentage caps at 130%. Whichever battery has the highest SOC is used, therefore the value is checked often and the battery are replaced with similar frequency. Seeing a battery with more than 100% may seem strange, but that it actually even better.
Two different current loads are applied, and the RINT value is the change in voltage over the change in current (ΔV/ΔI).
RINT numbers can be difficult to understand, so the battery beak runs calculations that classify the battery as "Good", "Fair", or "Bad". It should go without saying that along with finding the battery with the highest SOC, a "Good" is preferred, and a "Bad" status would be cause for concern. "Bad" may go away if the battery is charged, but if it does not, the battery should be put out of use.
While use of the battery beak should not take very long, it will automatically shut off after one minute has elapsed without the button being pressed. This is useful if you accidentally leave the battery beak attached, as it will not discharge after one minute.
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