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Oculus Prime - Battery Health and Safety

3 Things to Remember to Maximize Battery Life:

  • When not using the system for more than a few days, always unplug the battery
  • When using the system, keep the battery fully charged as much as possible
  • When the battery is plugged in, always have the host PC Oculus Prime Server Application running with alert messaging enabled


LiPO WARNING

High current LiPo batteries can cause FIRE if damaged. If the battery is to be left plugged in to the system with no responsible human presence nearby, ensure that the system is connected to the internet, with control software running, properly tested and configured to message for help in the event of a problem. Periodically inspect the battery


The Dangers Explained:
Oculus Prime uses a high current, large capacity, 3-cell Lithium-Polymer battery. These types of batteries can be seriously damaged if they are operated outside of their comfort zone; ie., overcharged past their float voltage, discharged below their cutoff voltage, or charged too fast.
In extreme cases the battery can heat up and catch fire (probably in a rampant overcharging situation).
Another (more likely) possibility is that the cells will off-gas internally, causing their liners to ‘puff up.’ Slight puffing can be considered normal for a battery as it ages, but extreme puffing, caused by repeated overcharging or over-discharging, can cause a fire if the liner is punctured (usually by an external force).

IMPORTANT: Even with all power fully off, the battery will be slowly drained if it is plugged into the Power PCB, depleting a fully charged battery to dangerously low levels over a few days. When not using the system, always unplug the battery.

Software Monitoring Features:
The Power PCB firmware, in conjunction with the host PC Oculus Prime Server Application, is designed to monitor and report on the health of the battery and the charging circuit. It has the following features:

  • MOSFET power switch will kill power to the system when the battery is completely drained, before it drops into damaging levels. The Server Application is sent a warning, and has time to shut down gracefully. An ‘inspect battery’ message will be presented to remote connections, on power up.
  • On detecting a weak/misaligned dock connection, the server application will automatically attempt re-docking properly.
  • Detect and report issues with the battery and charging circuitry, and take action if possible: un-dock using the wheels if risk of overcharging, switch off charging if the battery pack is damaged, or switch to ‘safe charging’ conservative voltage mode.
  • Detect an abandoned remote client session un-docked, attempt to auto-dock, send alert message if unable to.
  • Detect no host server software running; switch to safe charging mode if docked, power down at battery 5% if un-docked.
  • Detect low battery, undocked, with no remote connection; attempt to auto-dock, send alert message if unable to.
  • Alerting remote humans: the Server Application is capable of sending emails, and posting RSS items that can trigger free 3rd party web-services to react in many ways, including sending SMS messages or even making phone calls. Similar services also detect and message if the Server Application itself is not responding.

The battery should last for hundreds of charging cycles, if the system is properly used. Information on recommended software configuration is detailed in the OCULUS PRIME SERVER APPLICATION section. Read the section auto-starting the server, and alert messaging setup. Also see the Powering Down section, and the Power PCB Error Codes and Troubleshooting section.

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