Log Project šŸ¦RoadRunner (Battery Powered Portable PC, in S4M-C #524)

Choidebu

"Banned"
Original poster
Aug 16, 2017
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Hi guys, I haven't done anything after charging the pack, but I've been giving some thought at the direction this project is taking.

This is, after all, a proof-of-concept. Here are the goals I mentioned few pages back..

Goals:
1. Automatic battery backup on AC fail.
2. Auto charging and stop charging on ac, auto shutdown on high temp and battery low (although at 16V the dynamo'll give up first I reckon), proper balancing.
3. Survive 1 hr gaming session on battery.
4. (Extended goal) battery status reporting through win10 builtin usb hid class driver.

1. Done that
2. Done that, with caveat: As I'm still on the fence on the whole 5S - 6S situation, auto shutdown would need to wait as I finalise the config and pick the right BMS.
3. Gonna need testing in coming days. Looks fine as I did got almost 2 hrs video playback on a reclaimed cells' 100Whr pack.
4. On going development.

A little bit on #2:
What we now know; dynamo does not shutdown even on 14V. This opens up possibility for 5S config which I abandoned before.
And in relation to #3, even if we lose 3 cells, in the real deal I'd be using newer >3200mAh 3.6V cells. Doing the math, 3Ah * 3.6V = 10.8Whr per cells; 10.8Whr * 15 cells = 162Whr. Now Flight rules is 100-160Whr pack can be carried on cabin and you can carry maximum of two. So that's another point for 5S config.

My current 'prototype' pack is practically 18x 1500mAh 3.7V cells. Same math as before, 99,9Whr. I'd double that on the real deal, but 60% is a good increase.

Going forward
For a bit I'm gonna take it down a notch and focus on the Arduino side of things. It's going to have pack current, pack voltage, cell voltage measurement and DC input detection and maybe an NTC.
I'm still open for testing ideas, although like I said this gpu isn't the 1650 in the real deal.

New layout
To make this project flight worthy, we need the battery to be removable. At least if TSA stops you and demand you remove the pack from the system. For this, I'm thinking of doing some things:
  1. Swap the wrap-around bezel to a custom 2D/3D bezel like those Josh made before.
  2. Mod/cut/enlarge the front frame gpu cutout so that the pack can slide in from the front. Some part of the bezel would also need to be cut to create an opening or a lid as such.
Now I could keep current configuration and just move the PSU and its fans towards the motherboard - tight but doable - but I've also been exploring other possibility:

6S3P (or, 5S4P)
  • Put PSU at the bottom beside AC inlet,
  • Rearrange the pack, put some cells perpendicularly along the front frame behind the gpu. Can possibly fit 20 cells, would need a bigger cutout pretty much half the length of the case.
  • Restricted to LP gpu no longer than 170mm
5S3P
  • Mod the PSU by directly soldering the C6 inlet to the PCB. By losing the wrap-around this also frees up space to mount the inlet from the outside of the case (contrast this with what I'm doing now). This effectively makes the PSU and the inlet to occupy only 110m from the back of the case, which gives 93mm left on interior width, which is..
  • Perfect to put 15 cells 'standing up', 3x5 : 18.8mm (0.8mm extra) * 5 ranks = 94mm. As the bezel is custom I could very well recess the lid part to accommodate more clearance, e.g acrylic shroud took 2mm, measurement error etc.
  • Frees up room behind the gpu - can put longer LP card there. This means I can get that 182 mm Asus GTX 1650 LP, making the build exclusively Asus ROG.

Custom bezel also means an SD Card slot and USB port(s) for wireless input dongle(s) in the front panel is possible.

I'm honestly disappointed and disheartened by the lack of feedback and discussion I get on this project. Even a 'why would you that' 'you're gonna kill yourself and burn your house down' kinda response is better than nothing.
Now I get the forum has gone quiet in general - that this project might just be more suited to endless-sphere or candlepower or some other battery forum.
Is it the crappy gpu and the cheap parts? I do not have a lot of disposable income to pour into a pc let alone a modding project, no fancy tools etc. I cook for a living abroad and all savings I had went into immigration and raising a daughter. Even the time I found to focus doing this recently is because I'm waiting for visa and not working in a kitchen. Once I'm back working again, 60+ hours a week, that time will be gone.
The worst possible answer is that people here just not into it. I've seen maybe a couple youtubers trying this concept; maybe three bloggers including @lhl. Maybe people just silently nod and say 'best of luck, I give you 2 weeks tops'. Or maybe my write-up just sucks.
I don't like to plug myself and advertise everywhere, but, you know, do I have to? How does this work?
At some point maybe I'll just slap a [STALLED] label on this and let it bit-rot.
 
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nick_w

Caliper Novice
Jun 13, 2017
27
29
sorry I don't comment here very often. definitely a cool project, are you going to power a monitor off this as well?.
I recently extracted some cells from an old laptop

they've been sitting around for a few years but i don't think they were used much, I want to make a battery pack to power peripherals for my camera, I have a few projects planned for it like a wireless remote trigger, focus rail and an led flash, hopefully I'll actually get around to starting and finishing these some time in the next year:p. anyway i look forward to seeing your progress.
 
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Choidebu

"Banned"
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Aug 16, 2017
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Thanks for that @nick_w !

I've done that in the past, didn't need pcie power from the dynamo so I made a molex 4-pin to dc jack cable that goes outside the case.

It powers my diy monitor from a netbook display and ebay lcd controller board. See my second post for some pics. Was pretty cool actually, it turns on and off with the computer just like a laptop would.

But in the future, I reckon usb-c is definitely the way to go for powering this devices.

Nice cells you got there, panasonic NCRs. I thought my old ~9yrs cell was a goner too, but it's still alive, down 30% but considering the popular saying that li-ion will go down 50% in 5 years, that's pretty good actually.

All the best on your projects!
 
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nick_w

Caliper Novice
Jun 13, 2017
27
29
Nice, somehow I missed the start of this thread, looks like the same lcd controller I got for my recycled laptop display. though I haven't found a use for it yet, its an old tn panel.
I dont know much about li-ion batteries and the charging circuitry, I'm hoping my brother can help me out with all that, he has some sort of testing/charging device and knows a lot more about it than I do.
 

Choidebu

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Aug 16, 2017
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Yeah there's only a handful of chinese driver boards, us with older panels are stuck with these bulky M.NT6876 ones.

I dont know much about li-ion batteries and the charging circuitry, I'm hoping my brother can help me out with all that, he has some sort of testing/charging device and knows a lot more about it than I do.

I didn't know squat when I started. Hit me up on DM if you got questions, while I'm no expert I know a little more now.
For lower power requirement I recommend just buying a powerbank case, at least you got charging and monitoring built in already. It's just figuring out the output that you need at that point.
 
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Mystfit

Efficiency Noob
New User
Nov 30, 2019
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This is a great read! I'm also looking into building a Skyreach battery machine myself using a 12000mAh graphene drone battery plugged into an HDPLEX400, though I don't think I'll be able to cram it into the case like you have.
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
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Aug 16, 2017
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This is a great read! I'm also looking into building a Skyreach battery machine myself using a 12000mAh graphene drone battery plugged into an HDPLEX400, though I don't think I'll be able to cram it into the case like you have.
Thanks! Looking forward to hearing the results! Yeah 400W is way too much to cram in. What's this for? VR rig?
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
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Aug 16, 2017
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More update!

Here's some render to better visualize the new direction I'm taking this project:

The white box with two fans is 11 x 5.5 x 4 cm bounding box of the modded EPP + C6 inlet.



That's the new 3x5 battery pack, inserted into enlarged cutout in the frame. Wrap-around Bezel is no more, in its place a two part custom bezel (at least) 8mm thick.



Battery when inserted will protrude from the frame a bit, I'm estimating <4mm (5mm from interior walls including frame thickness)
Hence the pack's "lid" part of the bezel will be recessed that much to accomodate. The pack will still be shielded inside the case just like right now, with 2mm acrylic. This acrylic shroud will stay in the case, pretty much making it sort of like a removable battery compartment.



How the lid will stay on place I'm not yet sure. Magnets (or a dovetail join if I go with wood) like pictured above can secure the right side, but not much material left on the bottom (or along the edges) of the case to lock the lid into place.

Any ideas?

I ran this concept through @Josh | NFC because I was worried about enlarging the cutout leaving two weak strip of metal 3x1x1mm shown here:



His sentiment is the same as mine, as long as the side panel is screwed on it's fine, but it'll probably tear without.

I've got this idea of an L bracket riveted to the flanges, which might solve my lid fixing problem at the same time, but that is one too many scope creep I can handle....

And how about this for a gif:
 
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Choidebu

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Aug 16, 2017
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This popped up on my Youtube recommendation today..


An R5 3600x optimized to 12W idle / 22W load.
Then an RTX 2060 optimized to 13W idle / 97W load.

Total system consumption: 35W idle / 108W load.
.....
I can power that! For about half an hour, haha ??

This is why I leave optimization last (everything is stock even the RGB on the motherboard is on) because wouldn't it be cool to do that last and we suddenly get 30-40% increase in lifetime.
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
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Aug 16, 2017
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Had some quiet time, finally got around to test gaming on battery.

Fingers crossed I get to one hour mark.
League of Legends. It is currently 2 PM and I just found a match.

Pack is 24.4V. Bit high eh.

Just in case anyone wondering, I'm updating this post real time.

[2:33] first game won. Next matching queue... pack still @24.4V. Guess LoL really doesn't take much.

[3:02] Lost one... pack still at 24.4...
Awwww fkin helll.... it was plugged to hdplex... wtf am i doing


[3:10] for real this time. Pack connected, @ 23.3V. Now that's more like it.

[4:02] won one! Pack @ 21V, lowest voltage 3.36V

[4:14] in the middle of the game one went 1.88V. Restarted with hdplex

[4:44] well at least I won that game. DC'd for a bit to swap, but all good.

Well that's pretty much inline of what I had in mind. 2 hrs video playback, 1 hr gaming. That's what we get out of 150Whr 100Whr pack.

Edit: idk why I said 150. It's 100 whr.
 
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Broxin

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jun 16, 2017
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Wow, this is just an incredible awesome project. Keep on going.

You gonna make that exchangable battery pack a reality?
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
Original poster
Aug 16, 2017
1,172
1,160
Wow, this is just an incredible awesome project. Keep on going.

You gonna make that exchangable battery pack a reality?

Thanks for the kind words.

I am ~80% positive to continue towards that path of removable battery pack.

At the moment, however, I felt a bit silly for wanting audience and attention towards my own niche personal project. That I've invested too much and gained too little in documenting it, for something that clearly only a few, like me, are passionate about.

In fact, I think I spent too much time in this forum that I should have, and I am refocusing that energy towards closer life goals. I'm going back to lurking around whenever I want.

So consider this project stalled for now.
If you must know, however..

I am currently experimenting with countersunk riveting two ~1 mm steel to achieve somewhat flush finish on one side, and looking at making my own or custom ordering a teak or mahogany front panels.

At my country I can even find sandalwood - would be interesting if my pc smells better the warmer it gets, ha!

On the side I'm also looking to upgrade to a 3600 since someone finally grabbed my used RX550 so I've got some extra cash.

As you can see it's kinda all over the place now, and I don't mind it, since I don't feel pressed to make a quick choice just to push the project and update this log like before.

I choose to just enjoy my project and who knows, maybe I'll update or maybe I'll forget to take pics and just not post them.

Great year ahead!
 

Mystfit

Efficiency Noob
New User
Nov 30, 2019
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That's
Had some quiet time, finally got around to test gaming on battery.

Fingers crossed I get to one hour mark.
League of Legends. It is currently 2 PM and I just found a match.

Pack is 24.4V. Bit high eh.

Just in case anyone wondering, I'm updating this post real time.

[2:33] first game won. Next matching queue... pack still @24.4V. Guess LoL really doesn't take much.

[3:02] Lost one... pack still at 24.4...
Awwww fkin helll.... it was plugged to hdplex... wtf am i doing


[3:10] for real this time. Pack connected, @ 23.3V. Now that's more like it.

[4:02] won one! Pack @ 21V, lowest voltage 3.36V

[4:14] in the middle of the game one went 1.88V. Restarted with hdplex

[4:44] well at least I won that game. DC'd for a bit to swap, but all good.

Well that's pretty much inline of what I had in mind. 2 hrs video playback, 1 hr gaming. That's what we get out of 150Whr 100Whr pack.

Edit: idk why I said 150. It's 100 whr.

Not bad numbers! I've finished my S4 Mini VR battery build as well using a 22.2V 12000mAh 265Wh battery. I'm aiming for about 230-240W power usage when running VR content and I managed to get 1 hour and 40 minutes (started at 4.15V, stopped at 3.5V). This is with a Ryzen 5 3600 and a RTX 2070.

I like the elegance of your system quite a bit. Sadly I can't put batteries in mine since I stuffed an HDPLEX AC brick at the bottom of my case for when I'm not doing VR.
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
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Aug 16, 2017
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Hence I believe we need to start at the machine first. Interface comes later. Wouldn't it be great if one day someone comes up with a thin clam of just display and keyboard, connected with single usb-c cable to your portable pc? Or maybe to your VR headset and a laser aided keyboard? Or maybe a single cintiq tablet?

Think about it. See the possibilities.

Called it.
 

msystems

Airflow Optimizer
Apr 28, 2017
277
439
This is pretty insane. I haven't been around for a while and just reading up on past projects, It seems like you were successful on this experiment. One more step towards creating Neal Stephenson's gargoyle...
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
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Aug 16, 2017
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So I did a little something.


Made an enclosure for my epp-200-24.
Aluminium extrusion, 100x66x43mm. The PCB ends up overhanging 1mm on each side, so I'll space out the screw-on lid somehow.
Length then would be 105-107mm, not counting the ac inlet protrusion.

Height is at 43mm + 10mm fan + 1mm screw head clearance, so 54mm. Just fits S4M classic width wise, with a good 3-4 mm air intake from the side panel.

Width is 66mm unchanged.


AC side. C6 inlet will be located on the right top corner near the yellow box, rotated 90 deg. I'd be using square inlet this time.


DC side. Botched up drilling the fan hole - the XT60 cutout I made earlier got ripped in the process. It's fine now cos the fan is right next to it - I just screwed the ripped piece to it.

Anyone know if I can somehow solder the bridge, to strengthen it? I'm planning to solder the pcb spacers - screws to the enclosure anyway

XT60 connector used is XT60E male. Male connectors are usually not to be used for supply (coz you can short them easy), but given that XT60E-F, its female counterpart is a unicorn, this will have to do.
Besides, I just think of it kinda like ATX modular PSU - they also use Male molex there, right?

Now what's left to do is to cut some holes in the lids: voltage adjustment hole and power indicator on the dc side, ac inlet and some exhaust vents on the ac side.

After that I'll drill and tap some mounting holes on both my classic and this psu.
 
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