BattLab-One Replaces Your Battery, Lets You Run "What-If" Current Analysis

By subbing in for the battery, the BattLab-One captures detailed current draw data — and companion software offers analysis tools.

Bluebird Labs has launched a device which could prove invaluable for those working on battery-based projects: the BattLab-One current profile logger and battery life estimator.

"In my experience building battery powered devices over the past few years, I have realized the process of measuring and estimating battery life can be very labor-intensive," explains Bluebird Labs' Doug Peters of the reason behind the BattLab-One's creation. "The process is tedious, with multiple test equipment arrangements to capture current profiles for different firmware states, manual data logging, and spreadsheets for data input and calculations to get to an estimate of battery life for my device under test (DUT)."

"I needed a better way, which led me to build the BattLab-One (Battery Laboratory). My goal was to deliver a design tool that quickly and effortlessly provided an estimate of battery life for my projects, enabling me to spend more time on design and less time on measuring and calculating battery life."

The MSP430-based BattLab-One is designed to replace a battery in a device in test, providing voltages ranging from 1.2V to 4.5V at up to 450mA while logging current consumption data to create a profile of the design's requirements. A trigger input allows the capturing of devices in different modes, such as while running at different configurations or with different firmware, while the data captured by the board are designed to provide "what-if" optimization analysis to boost battery life.

The BattLab-One is available on Tindie priced at $99 in a metal enclosure and $79 without; both include a Python-based software tool for configuration, data capture, analysis, and plotting. The source code and board schematics, mean while, are available on GitHub.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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