Safe to continuously power the LTE Beacon

I’ve got a high power application for the LTE beacons, via the default battery we’re seeing around ~3 days battery life but need to get it to ~14 days to be safe.

If we connect an always on powerbank, is this acceptable? Alternatively I was thinking of wiring in a higher capacity battery.

I’m not an electrical engineer, so from my limited experiences and reading of Arduino forums this is OK as long as the Beacon has the correct charging circuitry.

In my personal opinion keeping devices constantly connected to a charger is not a good idea. I kept my laptop always connected to a charger and batteries bulged, twice. Now I always disconnect my devices from a charger when I’m not around.

Some of the power banks them turn themselves off when they detect that current is too low which usually happens when beacon’s internal battery gets fully charged and device enters sleep cycle.

Beacon was designed as a device with integrated battery and its parameters are hard coded into firmware and device is tested with that particular battery type. Changing it might lead to some unexpected behaviors like: wrong battery level readouts, shutting device off when there is plenty of energy left, device rebooting during some operations, etc. Also installing a new battery will require disassembling the device which might damage it in the process.

If it helps any. I have taken one of the LTE beacons apart and disconnected the battery then used the USB-C connection to a MS surface pro power brick without any problems. The developer pack has two beacons: one to take apart and use for development (like: what’s it made of and how does it work?) and then use the other for testing and deployment of your prototype that you’ve built on the first one that’s now in bits.
Try to split your app to get the cloud section to do any heavy lifting and use code on the LTE to just get stuff from itself and elsewhere to feed the (make it greedy) cloud code. Also try to send stuff little but often.

Battery acts as a energy reservoir for modem. Modem draws energy in short but high current spikes. Removing battery requires charger to handle those pulses and it is not rated for that. So even if power supply can provide enough current there might be a voltage drop that may reset device or make it work unstable.

Sending frequently little amounts of data is not the best strategy. Each time you synchronize beacon with the Cloud it needs time to start up modem, register to cellular network and open connection to the server. This is the longest part of synchronization process and it consumes a lot of energy. Actual sending is quite fast. So it is better to batch data and send it less often. API encourages this pattern by having a cloud.enqueue() and sync.setSyncPeriod() functions.

That’s very useful to know. This suggests that the LTE beacon is less suitable for real-time IOT streaming data. I’ve yet to use the modem as I’m in the UK and it doesn’t’ connect to the NB-IOT that’s in use here.

Thank you for sharing this information, i am confused between Arduino and Beacon which is best.

If you want to test modem you can try to switch it to GSM with modem.setTech(lte.Tech.GSM_LTE) (its undocumented and might be changed or removed in the future). Power consumption and lag will be higher but it would allow you to work on your use case.