Hot topics asked and answered - 2019 Week 7

This year we set ourselves the target of more online posts, this will be in the following formats:

  • Hot topics asked and answered
  • How-To videos
  • Video Live Feed AMA (ask me anything) you-tube sessions

Price increase

Over the last year our production costs have increased beyond minor increments. We only adjust our prices occasionally, typically yearly hence this adjustment being driven by our manufacturing and support expenses. Being a hardware electronics business we are directly tied to the USD economy even though we are located in Australia. Over the last 12 months we have been watching the Australian dollar (AUD) verse US dollar (USD) slide from $0.80 to $0.70. This 15% currency rate change is not something that we can control nor ignore indefinitely. What we would like to point out is those that purchase in USD will not see the change as we are now the same price we were some time back. However for all the other currencies like Australia that have slide against the USD we agree it hurts.

We typically offer a grace period to the old pricing to give you advanced notice. Being so close to Valentine's day and a global event it seemed like a good idea as there are far too many people attempting to run batteries without a bms. In hindsight maybe a "BEAT THE PRICE RISE" campaign might have been a better choice. Let’s hope that the AUD to USD currency will strengthen however our research has informed us that it is unlikely over the next 12 months.

 

Will a Group Buy help lower the cost?

The answer is yes and no. Volumes do drive the cost down. However, the volume rates of 1 or 2 per day when compared to the complexity of coordinating a group buying 50 systems to 50 customers who also need individual help will not make  much difference. We already fabricate in batches to increase the numbers and do them less frequently.

Within that the DIY storage community there is a small number that have the misconception that its a huge market, hopefully it will in time. Have a look on the SLS (secondlifestorage.com) project registry, there are some amazing projects (~400 systems) listed that people have added over the last year. We feel very lucky to have been chosen by some of you, others have picked a different vendor or no BMS at all. To be a sustainable business we are working on initiatives outside DIY to help grow the volumes and develop a less complex solution to allow a greater adoption with less effort that is all very promising.

 

Do we have a lower cost solution coming?

Yes, many have asked if we could develop a less complicated Watchmon without all the distributed cell monitors, this is the new Watchmon PLUS product line. It incorporates the existing Watchmon supervisor plus onboard cell monitoring. We have multiple running on the test bench and have also installed a few at alpha test sites. There will be 2 variants available a 6..10 cell series model WM7 and  10 to 15 cell series model WM5. Both are in their final stages to get ready with stock being prepared for beta customer testing soon. More details can be found on our website www.batrium.com/pages/watchmon5

 

When will Watchmon PLUS it be available?

We hoped that this would be out in late Jan 2019, however the revised custom heatsink fabrication has pushed this back to April 2019. We are also working on a interim heatsink for further alpha site validation.

From the preliminary testing at alpha sites we have concluded that a larger heatsink is required to sustain the balancing function continuously. This will allow the system to autonomously handle the preliminary balancing till every cell achieves the same SoC%. The newly designed heatsink has had samples fabricated and testing carried out to verify that it will be big enough. These custom heatsinks are now in the process of being fabricated and we are eagerly awaiting delivery.

 

Can WatchmonPlus work on a large 50kWh battery pack of used cells

This question is more about how long do you want to wait for the system to autonomously handle the preliminary balancing of every cell to be the same SoC%. In summary, it all depends on your patience, higher balancing rates will process in less time.

Typically, the daily balancing requirement is between 100mAh and 1000mAh depending on the cell age, chemistry and configuration. Balancing power beyond this level is useful to have in reserve for the initial balance and any reconfiguration event or minor fault.

Soon we will have multiple product lines to handle the 3 power levels for balancing (small, medium, large) to cater from 6Ah/day to 94Ah/day.

Have a read of our product comparison

www.batrium.com/pages/watchmon-comparison456


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