mBot Ranger battery options for UK users


#1

Enjoying my mBot Ranger so far, but I’m finding it eats batteries very quickly. I’m using 6x1.5V alkaline cells (branded “Maplin”) and they power the Ranger for about 10 minutes. I’ve searched here and found a few suggestions for different batteries, but it’s unclear whether they are for mBot, mBot Ranger etc. and many of the threads are over 12 months old. I have some questions:

  1. After about 10 mins of use, the mBot Ranger stops moving, beeps, and pauses for a moment. It can then be persuaded to move again, but the cycle repeats. I assume from other posts that this behaviour relates to the Ranger being unable to draw enough current to drive its motors (though the board itself is still powered fine)? And the only fix is to replace the batteries? (I have already updated to latest firmware).

  2. I can see that rechargeable batteries are the way to go. There seem to be two simple options:

2a) Use 6x 1.5V AA NiMH cells in the existing holder. I can buy a charger and 12x 2000mAh batteries for around £25 in the UK (Dec-2016). Has anyone tried this? How do they perform?

2b) Buy a LiPo battery. I see recommendations for a 7.4V 2200mAh battery such as the one supplied by DFRobot (ref RB-Dfr-160, £20), which comes with a DC2.1 barrel plug compatible with the mBot Ranger. But the accompanying charger (ref RB-Dfr-607, £16) comes with a US plug (I guess I could use a travel adapter, £4). With shipping (£5) this solution comes in around £45 (Dec-2016) - more if I want two batteries. Are there any better options for a UK buyer? Do LiPos deliver significantly better performance than the NiMH option?

  1. With LiPo batteries, I believe they are very sensitive to being run down to zero capacity. Is there protection in the Me Auriga board used in the mBot Ranger, or elsewhere, to stop the LiPo battery being destroyed?

Thanks in advance for your help with my questions. I think mBot Ranger has great potential, and I’m keen to get the best from it.


#2

Hi, did you ever decide on alternative batteries, LiPo or NiMh? I’m having the same issue with my Ranger munching batteries. Thanks


#3

Hi HarryBot,

I am using 6 rechargeable GP Ni-MHbatteries (1300mAh) for my Ranger and that works just fine. I can use my Ranger for a couple of hours before I have to recharge my batteries. Maybe other batteries work just as well, I don’t know. I haven’t tried other ones.

Greetings,

PinkyPepper (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtVRNnOm-70dMkJt9vUSGWA)


#4

Hi PinkyPepper,

Thanks for the swift reply. The Ranger certainly does munch alkaline batteries. The first I knew that the batteries were failing was when my Android phone would not connect via Bluetooh. It would say ‘connecting’ but would then fail the synchronisation and fail to determine what type of robot it was connecting to.

I then foxed myself completely when it decided to connect again, but I realised this was because I happened to have the USB cable connected to my laptop which was boosting the voltage to allow the Ranger to connect.

Other than when things stop working properly, is there any visible indication when the batteries are dying?


#5

Hi HarryBot,

I haven’t noticed any visible indication when the batteries are dying. I just recharge them when things stop working properly, mainly when the motors lose power.

Btw, I am using Wifi (2.4 Ghz), so I’m not familiar with the effect of failing batteries on the Bluetooth connection.

Greetings,

PinkyPepper


#6

I know this is an old thread, but this is one of the biggest challenges. I used Eneloop re-chargeable batteries and include the Panasonic intelligent charger (BQ-CC55). The batteries last FOREVER!

Batteries: Eneloop, 1.2V min.1900 mAh (HR6) AA


#7

After browsing US websites, I found this battery on ebay UK.

12V DC Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack for CCTV Camera 6800mAh Lithium-ion UK

Has correct plug and UK charger.
Ranger now much quicker and no issues with bluetooth connection anymore. Due to problem below not been able to test how long it will last.

My issue is currently that the ranger moves autonomously and out of control. (also on 6x1.5V batteries) reset/restore firmware/restore factory settings all futile. Anyone any ideas?


#8

12V DC Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack for CCTV Camera 6800mAh Lithium-ion UK

Sorted out irresponsive problem. Ranger got stuck in ‘avoid obstacle’ mode.

Battery working well for me. Removed AA battery tray, using self-adhaesive velcro to keep 12V battery in place.