Phoenix Broadband RunTimes May 2012

Volume 2, Number 4

November 2012


PBT on the move

PBT is moving to a new home! We have recently agreed to terms on a fantastic 10,000 square foot building in Hatfield PA. Our new home will allow us to combine our existing multiple locations into one and provide plenty of room to grow.

PBT to open Denver office

In This Issue:

- PBT on the move

- PBT to open Denver office

- Integrated power monitoring

- Ohmic measurements; what
  benefit do they really provide?



Did you know that an impedance measurement made at a low frequency can be 12-15% higher than a battery’s published internal resistance? This is because impedance also factors in the capacitance of a battery (or cell) which is also good to know because capacitance also changes as a battery ages. For more information on this or other technical related issues see our web site at: www.phoenixbroadband.com
or call Phoenix Broadband technical support.


Learn More:

Visit our web site

White papers and presentations

Free battery book offer


Upcoming Events:

We hope we’ll see you at the:  

OSP Expo
November 13-15
Denver, CO
Booth #335



Contact Info:

Phone: (215) 997-6007
Email: sales@phoenixbroadband.com
Web: http://www.phoenixbroadband.com


To better serve a growing number of partners in the Western US, PBT is opening a new sales office in Denver, Colorado!  Heading up the new office is Robert Vachris, the newest member of the PBT team.  Robert has more than a decade of experience in the remote monitoring field in both a sales and engineering capacity with Asentria Corp, Peripheral Telecom and Applied Innovation.  Due to his experience with Peripheral Telecom, Rob is very knowledgeable about the PowerAgent line of products.  Robert can be reached at rvachris@phoenixbroadband.com, or by calling 720-259-7484.


Integrated power monitoring solution

Historically the telco (wire line or wireless) industry has made remote monitoring a priority. Today’s operators are continuing to add connectivity, intelligence and automation for critical power infrastructure devices including batteries. It has been difficult to integrate old and new technology

into the same monitoring platform. It has been even harder to integrate outside plant and inside plant power equipment in the same platform. Some vendors have solutions to monitor all of their own power products but do not provide solutions for products outside their own brand. Newer products provide an SNMP interface, which leaves operators with a mix of equipment (generators and transfer switches) which offer a serial or contact closure or SNMP monitoring interface. Operators have had to have multiple tools to monitor all of the critical power infrastructure equipment adding complexity and cost.

Outside plant cabinets for all battery and facilities monitoring
PBT has built an impressive enterprise-class set of power and facilities monitoring tools designed to provide a comprehensive solution for all types of critical power infrastructure, including the following inside and outside plant equipment and features:

  • Comprehensive tool for remote monitoring of inside plant DC power and UPS batteries

  • Protocol converter (serial to SNMP) for monitoring legacy generators, transfer switches, rectifiers, UPSs and controllers

  • Advanced inside plant battery monitoring performance and prediction solutions

  • Facilities monitoring solutions include environment, power and building monitoring

  • Easy integration with SNMP management platforms, (successful integrations with major SNMP managers such as Altilium, Firmsuite Spectrum, Openview, Q-View, Seldon Systems, IGlass and others

  • Our own Altilium Software provides for rapid (configuration-based) integration of third party products. No software programmer or coding is necessary to add new SNMP devices.

  • Altilium, designed specifically for PBT products, offers a web-based solution that provides efficient polling, storage, and analysis of data from various elements in the critical path. Altilium also offers global or regional provisioning, daily reports, flexible notification and the ability for operators to use scripting tools to develop their own advanced features.

Ohmic measurements; what benefit do they really provide?

There have been a lot of heated discussions in the battery industry over the years about the value of ohmic measurements. Some claim that ohmic measurements are not always valuable because they can vary by 10-20% from measurement to measurement and that their relationship with actual cell capacity is questionable. Others claim the technology is invaluable in finding bad cells. Sure sounds confusing, but in actuality these arguments start, in most cases, by comparing apples to oranges and rarely get to the heart of the matter. However, it is easy enough to see where things went astray and to get back on track.

First, ohmic measurements are designed to measure a battery’s internal resistance or reactance and are made by measuring the impedance, conductance or internal resistance of a battery cell. All three are similar in nature and all are valid for determining relative ohmic changes inside the battery. The reality is that as a battery (or cell) ages, its internal resistance increases. An ideal battery with no internal resistance would deliver infinite power, but a real battery’s (or cell’s) current producing capacity is non-infinite due to limitations of the electro-chemical process. This current-producing limitation can be expressed as though there was a resistor inside the battery (or cell) and that resistance will increase over time. We have had many conversations with proponents and detractors and the one thing no one can argue is that an increase in a battery’s internal resistance will affect the battery’s ability to deliver power. That’s good because common sense tells us the same thing.

The difficulty in obtaining consistent ohmic properties stems from manually made measurements which are typically made once or twice per year, at most. Those manual readings vary from measurement to measurement, depending on the meter, technician, where the probes were placed, and how hard the probes were pushed when making the measurement. Two data points per year which vary 10-15% make it pretty difficult to plot a meaningful trend line. Today, monitoring systems provide very consistent measurements because they are fixed to the battery (or cell) and there are hundreds or thousands of these measurements made per year. Now the trend line becomes very clear.

Also, establishing an accurate baseline from which to compare each new measurement is extremely important. If a baseline (or reference number) is off by 20% or more, bad cells might go undetected or a good cell could be labeled as bad. Fortunately, baselines are easily determined and monitoring vendors can be invaluable in this effort.

Can consistent and continuous measurements find bad cells? Absolutely, and we would also recommend that ohmic measurements be considered along with others such as voltages, float currents and more to get a holistic picture of the battery’s health. Is there a correlation between ohmic measurement and battery capacity? There is a correlation but it is not a one to one correlation. If the baseline is established accurately and measurements are made and trended properly, any battery displaying a 50% or more increase in resistance/reactance should surely be tested and has likely failed


Phoenix Broadband Technologies
(215) 997-6007