Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Maintenance, accessories, operation. Anything to do with making your erg work.
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jackarabit
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Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by jackarabit » December 16th, 2015, 8:33 pm

Can external backup battery packs such as the RAVPower be subbed for the Apple standard wallwart? The local YMCA gym director is apparently unable to deal with the PM5's appetite for D cells. I find it more productive to circumvent his stupidity than to enlighten him. I could suggest the permanent addition of wallwart power to his new ergs but I anticipate an objection to trailing USB cables. The world will slow to a stop before this snotnose figures it out. And these kiddies are all supposed to be so techy-nerdy, innovative and resourceful right? There are exceptions! If I can plug and play with one of these unobtrusive juice bars, I'll borrow one from my wife and give it a try.
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Carl Watts
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by Carl Watts » December 16th, 2015, 10:05 pm

Just those USB wall chargers that are designed for charging cellphones should work. Just get the right cable or one that is at least long enough to go from the wall to your Erg and you should be fine. They put out 5V with more than enough current. Would probably steer clear of the cheapest and most nasty versions as the switchmode technology they use to get that compact light unit can be nasty if not designed properly. Get a name branded unit or they can spit out electrical interference all over the place.

Not sure if I see the point on adding an external battery pack, its still going to need charging or replacing and you still have that USB cable anyway. May as well take the cable to a wall outlet and put a cellphone charger on it.

The chargers usually have the standard USB female socket on them so you can use up to a 5 metre long USB cable (get a decent quality one) to go from that to the PM5 and its job done.

Just Google "5v usb wall adapter"
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by Moo » December 17th, 2015, 7:32 am

I thought that the generator was meant to power the PM5 (or is this just on model D/Es ?) the batteries should last ages as they are only really for powering the monitor whilst not rowing.

My PM5 became faulty whereby the it wasn't using the power from the generator .. Concept2 swapped it under warranty. The function can be tested by removing the batteries and rowing, if the monitor doesn't light up and start then something is goosed :-)

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jackarabit
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by jackarabit » December 17th, 2015, 12:22 pm

I found the bulletin on the faulty generator, Moo. I printed a hard copy for the gym manager. Thanks for the nudge! Jack
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George Wright
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by George Wright » December 25th, 2015, 11:53 pm

Sounds like you're proposing feeding power from an AC wall outlet, through an AC-DC converter to 5v DC, then to the PM5 through the USB type B connector on the back of the PM5? Does Concept2 have any warranty concerns about this?

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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by Citroen » December 26th, 2015, 5:29 am

George Wright wrote:Sounds like you're proposing feeding power from an AC wall outlet, through an AC-DC converter to 5v DC, then to the PM5 through the USB type B connector on the back of the PM5? Does Concept2 have any warranty concerns about this?
Why would they? USB has a set of well documented standards (http://www.usb.org/home), the PM5 is a standard USB device, powering it from a stock standard USB wall wart is never going to be a problem.

The only risk is with Chinese fake USB chargers which have been known to explode or put mains voltage on the low voltage circuit.

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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by jackarabit » December 26th, 2015, 12:37 pm

By way of clarification, Carl, the nearest power points or receptacles to the gym rowers are inside a kiosk-like cabinet surrounding a structural column. The cabinet doors are unlocked and I could trail a USB cable from the AC converter thru a computer grommet in the countertop or out the doors to one of the ergs but I'm not going to do so. I would prefer to use the battery backup charger for the simple reason that a small black device size of a cigaratte pack is unobtrusive and can be placed on the floor under the rower thus bringing the USB cord inside the footprint of the rower and eliminating a tripping hazard. This is to be a solution strictly for my own and my wife's use. It's a stealth op; I don't want to create personal liability for tripping hazards any more than I would for bricking a monitor with an incompauble power source.
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by jackarabit » January 8th, 2016, 10:37 am

Have the short answer to my original question. Rechargeable backup batt pack for blabslab charging and a USB-B cable (as supplied with rower by C2, or rip one off your printer) performs well to power the PM5, particularly in public gym context where power points for a cell wallwart may not be available. Batts on two YMCA model Ds were both low this morning. Wife's machine read 76% on internal batts but did not record workout to USB stick. Mine said low batt, no power for light etc. and would not leave initial startup screen. On backup batt., internal batt. status came up 62% charge but PM operated flawlessly and no glitches recording workouts. Did have to reset date. I'm certain someone out there will find this particular lashup desirable. You're welcome.
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by Citroen » January 8th, 2016, 12:48 pm

Try a different USB stick. The 32GB one I've got (Toshiba/Kingston) claims (in the data passed on the USB interface) that it uses 200mA. That crashed my old Raspberry Pi model B the other day when I plugged it in due to the excessive power draw.

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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by jackarabit » January 8th, 2016, 12:51 pm

Have the short answer to my original question. Rechargeable backup batt pack for blabslab charging and a USB-D cable (as supplied with rower by C2, or rip one off your printer) performs well to power the PM5, particularly in public gym context where power points for a cell wallwart may not be available. Batts on two YMCA model Ds were both low this morning. Wife's machine read 76% on internal batts but did not record workout to USB stick. Mine said low batt, no power for light etc. and would not leave initial startup screen. On backup batt., internal batt. status came up 62% charge but PM operated flawlessly and no glitches recording workouts. Did have to reset date. I'm certain someone out there will find this particular lashup desirable. You're welcome.
Last edited by jackarabit on January 8th, 2016, 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by ChrisPBacon » January 8th, 2016, 1:48 pm

I have had to replace batteries in my PM5 twice in the ~14 months of owning it. Both times the left battery (when looking at the batteries with the panel off) was the only one low.

I am testing them using a ZTS pulse load battery tester.

If this happens a third time, I plan to contact C2 and ask what's up.
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by Carl Watts » January 8th, 2016, 4:41 pm

If its anything like the PM3's I see the main problem is poor quality batteries that are used in ALL monitors.

I can essentially run a business repairing monitors because people use rubbish batteries in them that eventually leak.

Your wise to use only top quality alkaline batteries like Energizer or Duracel for the bigger "D" size or if your really onto it you will use only Lithium "AA" cells in the PM2 monitors. A set of these will probably keep your PM2 going for 2 to 3 years !!!!! yes they are expensive, but so is a new monitor.

You simply cannot use the cheap batteries, its a false economy in the long run.

You can use rechargable Ni-MH batteries, however these have traditionally had high self discharge characteristics which means the batteries will be flat in like 6 months if you use the monitor or not. Varta came out with low self discharge "AA" batteries and these work quite well if you have a proper charger for them and still have charge after 2 years.
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jackarabit
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by jackarabit » January 8th, 2016, 11:36 pm

Have the short answer to my original question. Rechargeable backup batt pack for blabslab charging and a USB-B cable (as supplied with rower by C2, or rip one off your printer) performs well to power the PM5, particularly in public gym context where power points for a cell wallwart may not be available. Batts on two YMCA model Ds were both low this morning. Wife's machine read 76% on internal batts but did not record workout to USB stick. Mine said low batt, no power for light etc. and would not leave initial startup screen. On backup batt., internal batt. status came up 62% charge but PM operated flawlessly and no glitches recording workouts. Did have to reset date. I'm certain someone out there will find this particular lashup desirable. You're welcome.
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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by Citroen » January 9th, 2016, 5:30 am

It appears Jack has a problem between his keyboard and his chair (PEBKAC). Something is looping.

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Re: Battery alternatives for power hungry PM5s?

Post by George Wright » January 11th, 2016, 11:28 am

I just received and set up my brand new Model D last Friday (January 8th). During my checks, I noticed that Concept2 shipped it with two Energizer batteries in the PM5 - the PM readout said they were at 100%. I think that this is an indication of the care and pride that Concept2 puts into their products.

My intention is to keep an eye on the PM5 battery power readout and replace the batteries BEFORE I start receiving any problem indications. Energizer or Duracel brand. No chicom, mumbai, or taiwan brand replacements for my $900 investment.

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