Battery Questions and Answers

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NB: Some of the described behaviour depends on the kernel, the relevant code was pushed on 02 Aug to andy-tracking


Contents

Hardware capabilities

What batteries can be used with gta01 and gta02?

Original OM gta01, gta02, Nokia BL-5C, BL-6C and compatibles.

Do other BL-5/6C compatible batteries fit?

If the battery is thicker than BL-6C, you won't be able to close the back cover.

What is the difference between all those types?

Capacity

gta01, gta02 1200 mAh
BL-5C old (newer/new) 850 (970/1050) mAh
BL-6C 1150 mAh

Temperature control

gta01, BL-5C, BL-6C thermistor
gta02 bq27000

Special features

gta02 - accurate and sophisticated reporting of capacity, time_to_full, time_to_empty, temperature and battery current during both charge and discharge thanks to bq27000 (aka Coloumb Counter)

What are hardware capabilities of gta01 and gta02 with regard to battery management?

gta01: charging all battery types, measuring temperature with battery-integrated thermistor (currently charging and measuring temperature for non-gta01 batteries doesn't work due to the kernel driver issues but it's software limitation), measuring battery output voltage, very inaccurate and noisy measuring of battery current

gta02: charging all battery types, measuring battery output voltage, communicating with bq27000

Can nokia phones use/charge gta01/gta02 batteries?

gta01 and gta02 batteries will fit wherever BL-6C fits but they can't be charged in nokia phones unless you isolate the middle pin from the battery and connect a resistor of ~50k (actual measured value on a cold (25C) battery is 75k, on a slightly warm battery - 82k) from it to the ground (to fake a thermistor presence).

Please note this is an insecure charging, Li-ion cells become unstable and often will burn violently when overcharged. An built-in thermistor is a indispensable safety device. Do not fake it to make your phone charge your Li-ion cell.

Can third-party chargers charge gta01/gta02 batteries?

The "good" ones will most probably require the same trick needed for nokia phones. More cheaper ones are more likely to ignore thermistor absence.

I have several compatible batteries. What are the storage requirements for them?

Keep in a dry cool place charged to no more than 75%.

That bq27000 chip seems to be pretty cool, how can i read and understand its raw registers?

DocScrutinizer to the rescue! Here's his magic script to do that: [1].

Safety issues

Do OM devices control temperature to stop charging if the battery gets too hot?

No (probably gta01 does, need to check).

Isn't it dangerous?

No, since all batteries (not raw cells!) have an integrated protection circuits.

Can i use that fancy 2800 mAh BL-5C-compatible battery i saw on ebay?

Unless you want an explosion in your pocket i wouldn't recommend using any battery that is not produced by a reputable vendor and widely tested. And even reputable vendors make mistakes, nokia once had to recall 46 million batteries manufactured by Matsushita ([2]).

You say that BL-5C is compatible with my gta02. Does that mean i can use that BL-5C-compatible bat i bought for a buck from a bum?

You bet, go ahead.

Charging

My battery charges to 100% but then charging stops and the battery keeps discharging, wtf?

LiIon batteries don't like to be kept fully charged, so the charger stops as soon as charging current becomes less than threshold. If you have GSM on it will discharge the battery.

But why doesn't it ever stop charging on my device?

The GSM modem is connected directly to the battery terminals so if it's active, charger will think it's still charging the battery and won't turn off unless GSM becomes inactive. The default threshold is about 16mA, the latest Qi increases the threshold to ~32mA.

Does it mean if i leave my phone plugged it will eventually fully discharge the battery?

On gta02 the charger will restart the charge automatically once the battery voltage reaches ~4V which corresponds to ~76%. Not sure about gta01, requires more investigation. :-/

Ok, how to make sure my battery is fully charged before a long trip?

Replug the charger, it will trigger charging no matter what the current capacity is.

My power/aux LED indicates charging/discharging/whatever, what does that mean (aka why it's still blue even after i unplugged the charger)?

Ask FSO guys about it, some of them think that the user shouldn't really know what's happening and therefore they do some special mangling of "status" sysfs node before presenting it to the user. If you want to make a decent bugreport please add clear steps to reproduce and /sys/class/power_supply/battery/uevent contents for all relevant states.

Using compatible batteries with gta02

So, how do i use "dumb" batteries with my freerunner?

First you need to unbind bq27000 driver:

echo bq27000-battery.0 > /sys/bus/platform/drivers/bq27000-battery/unbind

Then you load the dumb battery driver:

modprobe gta01_battery

If you need to use bq27000 driver again, do:

rmmod gta01_battery
echo bq27000-battery.0 > /sys/bus/platform/drivers/bq27000-battery/bind

If you use Enlightment you might need to restart it after that.

Is capacity reported for dumb batteries accurate?

During discharge it should be pretty (+-10%) accurate, during charge the capacity reported is ~20% more than real.

Why does /sys/class/power_supply/battery/charge_full says i have a 850 mAh battery no matter what i use?

It's a workaround to make popular battery gadgets work with this driver.

This Q&A were prepared by

Paul Fertser

Joerg Reisenweber

Personal tools

NB: Some of the described behaviour depends on the kernel, the relevant code was pushed on 02 Aug to andy-tracking


Hardware capabilities

What batteries can be used with gta01 and gta02?

Original OM gta01, gta02, Nokia BL-5C, BL-6C and compatibles.

Do other BL-5/6C compatible batteries fit?

If the battery is thicker than BL-6C, you won't be able to close the back cover.

What is the difference between all those types?

Capacity

gta01, gta02 1200 mAh
BL-5C old (newer/new) 850 (970/1050) mAh
BL-6C 1150 mAh

Temperature control

gta01, BL-5C, BL-6C thermistor
gta02 bq27000

Special features

gta02 - accurate and sophisticated reporting of capacity, time_to_full, time_to_empty, temperature and battery current during both charge and discharge thanks to bq27000 (aka Coloumb Counter)

What are hardware capabilities of gta01 and gta02 with regard to battery management?

gta01: charging all battery types, measuring temperature with battery-integrated thermistor (currently charging and measuring temperature for non-gta01 batteries doesn't work due to the kernel driver issues but it's software limitation), measuring battery output voltage, very inaccurate and noisy measuring of battery current

gta02: charging all battery types, measuring battery output voltage, communicating with bq27000

Can nokia phones use/charge gta01/gta02 batteries?

gta01 and gta02 batteries will fit wherever BL-6C fits but they can't be charged in nokia phones unless you isolate the middle pin from the battery and connect a resistor of ~50k (actual measured value on a cold (25C) battery is 75k, on a slightly warm battery - 82k) from it to the ground (to fake a thermistor presence).

Please note this is an insecure charging, Li-ion cells become unstable and often will burn violently when overcharged. An built-in thermistor is a indispensable safety device. Do not fake it to make your phone charge your Li-ion cell.

Can third-party chargers charge gta01/gta02 batteries?

The "good" ones will most probably require the same trick needed for nokia phones. More cheaper ones are more likely to ignore thermistor absence.

I have several compatible batteries. What are the storage requirements for them?

Keep in a dry cool place charged to no more than 75%.

That bq27000 chip seems to be pretty cool, how can i read and understand its raw registers?

DocScrutinizer to the rescue! Here's his magic script to do that: [1].

Safety issues

Do OM devices control temperature to stop charging if the battery gets too hot?

No (probably gta01 does, need to check).

Isn't it dangerous?

No, since all batteries (not raw cells!) have an integrated protection circuits.

Can i use that fancy 2800 mAh BL-5C-compatible battery i saw on ebay?

Unless you want an explosion in your pocket i wouldn't recommend using any battery that is not produced by a reputable vendor and widely tested. And even reputable vendors make mistakes, nokia once had to recall 46 million batteries manufactured by Matsushita ([2]).

You say that BL-5C is compatible with my gta02. Does that mean i can use that BL-5C-compatible bat i bought for a buck from a bum?

You bet, go ahead.

Charging

My battery charges to 100% but then charging stops and the battery keeps discharging, wtf?

LiIon batteries don't like to be kept fully charged, so the charger stops as soon as charging current becomes less than threshold. If you have GSM on it will discharge the battery.

But why doesn't it ever stop charging on my device?

The GSM modem is connected directly to the battery terminals so if it's active, charger will think it's still charging the battery and won't turn off unless GSM becomes inactive. The default threshold is about 16mA, the latest Qi increases the threshold to ~32mA.

Does it mean if i leave my phone plugged it will eventually fully discharge the battery?

On gta02 the charger will restart the charge automatically once the battery voltage reaches ~4V which corresponds to ~76%. Not sure about gta01, requires more investigation. :-/

Ok, how to make sure my battery is fully charged before a long trip?

Replug the charger, it will trigger charging no matter what the current capacity is.

My power/aux LED indicates charging/discharging/whatever, what does that mean (aka why it's still blue even after i unplugged the charger)?

Ask FSO guys about it, some of them think that the user shouldn't really know what's happening and therefore they do some special mangling of "status" sysfs node before presenting it to the user. If you want to make a decent bugreport please add clear steps to reproduce and /sys/class/power_supply/battery/uevent contents for all relevant states.

Using compatible batteries with gta02

So, how do i use "dumb" batteries with my freerunner?

First you need to unbind bq27000 driver:

echo bq27000-battery.0 > /sys/bus/platform/drivers/bq27000-battery/unbind

Then you load the dumb battery driver:

modprobe gta01_battery

If you need to use bq27000 driver again, do:

rmmod gta01_battery
echo bq27000-battery.0 > /sys/bus/platform/drivers/bq27000-battery/bind

If you use Enlightment you might need to restart it after that.

Is capacity reported for dumb batteries accurate?

During discharge it should be pretty (+-10%) accurate, during charge the capacity reported is ~20% more than real.

Why does /sys/class/power_supply/battery/charge_full says i have a 850 mAh battery no matter what i use?

It's a workaround to make popular battery gadgets work with this driver.

This Q&A were prepared by

Paul Fertser

Joerg Reisenweber