Enormous battery comsumption?
  • Hi folks,

    I received my twine last week. As I wanted to use it with the vibrating sensor to signal the end of the washing machine run, I have to play a bit until the update.
    Now it only lay on the table with a simple flip-over rule set up, the batteries are signaling low-battery after only 4 days! That is much to heavy! I think the problem is, that my WiFi-network is powered down during the night. So the twine is trying to connect all the time and this drains the power.
    A rule for setting the twine to sleep-mode for a period of time would solve this.

    Regards, Marc
  • 33 Comments sorted by
  • I already change batteries 3 times in less than 10 days. The last set lasted only one night.
  • Three sets of batteries in three weeks here. Not too thrilled about that. I'm using a temperature rule and a magnetic switch rule. These rules don't generate a lot of messages for me, less than a dozen a day I think. I don't spend a lot of time in the online console so I wouldn't expect it to keep refreshing at the higher rate. I'll be using rechargeables for now but hope that there's a software update that can solve this.
  • I just got my Twine and went through batteries in less than a week with no Rules and light use. This won't work for me.

    I put new batteries in and set it on my desk to observe, and the bright white LED seems to come on now and then. I suspect this is related to the problem.. no idea what it's doing when the LED cycles. System reset?

    To be practical, the Twine needs some kind of super-low "drop off WiFi and wait for inputs" state. I'm fine with it dissociating from WiFi until it has something to say.
  • 9 days and the same problem. not caused by WiFi either. what happened to the 6 month battery life simulation....
  • I received mine 3 days ago and got the warning email today. It's basically been dormant for most of that time :-s
  • ha just hooked mine up today, got the twine 2 days ago and was having issues connecting with my imac. anyways got it working today and ya, low battery warning.....has anyone replaced the batteries yet....could be shitty batch of batteries they shipped with??
  • Ryan -

    I posted somewhere earlier that I had problems first setting up that I traced to the batteries that were shipped with Twine. Replaced them and no problem.
  • thought it might be that, thanks Don, will be swapping right now.
  • I swapped batteries with brand new ones and went 2 days before getting the low battery email again
  • Same here. The batteries that came with it were low right off the bat. They lasted a 3 weeks. The fresh batteries I put in a few days ago are down to 2.84V and dropping. I remember the 6 month battery life goal. Too bad they dropped it to 30 days.

    Does having the web page open and refreshing cause the Twine to use more power? I had a script that pinged it every 30 seconds. I wonder if that drained it too.
  • My batteries lasted 2.5 hours, that's got to be a record surely.
  • I set up my Twine on Wednesday. It was reading 2.98v on the batteries.
    Today (Sunday) I got a low battery warning and it's reading 2.66v

    The Twine is set up 1 floor down from the Wi-Fi AP, and is face-up with no external sensors attached. It's a modern house, so the signal isn't having to go through a lot of thick stone etc.

    At this rate I'm expecting my Twine to die within another 3 days. 7 days for a set of batteries is, obviously, not acceptable.

    I'm sure this is just a simple software bug- the Twine must not be going to sleep properly- when I go to the web control panel I generally get a reading from the unit within a couple of seconds. It does claim to be reducing the update rate after a while, but I'm betting it never manages to actually do that.
  • I see a similar pattern. My twine is just monitoring temperature and sends a report to the web page every 45 seconds, and I'm just finishing the second set of batteries in 4 weeks. I've never seen it drop into a longer sleep, so I'm not sure what normal activity should be.
  • P.S. The fact that not everyone is getting this issue means that there may be a common theme. What AP is everyone using? I'm using an Apple Airport Extreme (dual-band, 4th gen) that is running both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz bands at the same time.
    I'm using WPA2 Personal security on the 2.4GHz band that the Twine is connected to.

    I'm going to try deleting my rules (I just had some test rules watching the temperature) and see if the rate of drain changes.
  • Niall -

    Netgear with DD-WRT software, WPA2. Battery consumption ok.

    Regards - Don
  • I got a low battery warning at 2.87V, seems the threshold is set a bit high. I measured the batteries with a meter at 1.44V each. At first after setup it was dropping off to once an hour or so update but then the update rate went to every few minutes. Using Apple Airport Extreme, just monitoring temp send email if >72F, I was getting about 1 email a day. The batteries were low in less than a week.
  • I'm using a Fritzbox. Wpa2 and both 2,4 and 5 GHz Bandwidth. Distance between Twine and Router: 5m and a wall.
  • I'm figuring it needs to be plugged into AC permanently to be of any real use. The batteries are just for backup if I lose AC power. Although I lose AC power on more than just the circuit the Twine is no, then I won't have Internet access anyhow so it doesn't much matter....
  • Pretty unacceptable based on the test results the provided and promoted with glee. Did I really expect 6 months...not really. Did I expect and deserve more than 2 weeks? Absolutley
  • Same problem here. Batteries went down to 2.69V after 2 days and started getting emails EVERY hour for 2 days then it stopped emailing me 4 days ago and the voltage is still at 2.69V. My environment is Apple Time Capsule with a single 2.4Ghz network that is on 24/7.
  • I'm getting the same battery issues, but no email warning that the batteries are low... I get one or two days of use with regular batteries, and less than four hours with dollar store batteries... I'm not really sure what I could use this device for if it eats its batteries every two days...
  • I've been running on rechargeable batteries for a bit now and have noticed a big difference in the battery life when using the magnetic switch vs no external sensors.
    While connected to the magnetic switch on rechargeable batteries I would typically get 1-2 days before the twine was completely unresponsive. Less than 24 hours would pass between the low battery alert and the unresponsiveness. The switch would only be opened about once a day by me to make sure it was still working. The temperature rule was also in effect this whole time and would be triggered a couple times a day.
    Now I've been running the twine on another fully charged set of rechargeables and without any external sensor. This time the batteries lasted about a week with about 72 hours between the low battery alert and unresponsiveness.
    During both of these test runs I saw a lot of LED activity when it seems that nothing was happening. My WiFi was working fine, the temperature was stable, and the switch wasn't moving. On my next battery change I may just delete all 2 of the rules that I have stored and see if twine lasts any longer. This seems a bit silly though.
  • Mine ran for a couple of weeks on the original batteries before reporting low batteries. It was inside, with only a single rule for monitoring temp. The sensor cable was plugged in, but no sensor was attached to it, it was basically just sitting on my desk while I figured out what I wanted to do with it.

    Then I replaced the batteries, plugged in the mag switch, added an open/close rule, and updated the rules a few times as I waffled between wanting to receive the notifications via email or text (I settled on using Boxcar, turns out that this is nice for getting near-instant push notifications without eating up your monthly SMS allotment). I installed the Twine in my mailbox, so I could get alerts when the box was opened. The batteries lasted a day.

    Yesterday I replaced the batteries again, and deleted the temp rule. The batteries are now down to 2.85v about 26 hours later. I suspect that temp monitoring may be the culprit in my case. I'll grant that I don't know how temp monitoring works under the covers, but if it's having to check the temp on an interval, compare that to the rule, and then decide whether not to report the change, I have to imagine that consumes more power than simply not bothering to check the temp outside of whatever schedule it's talking on by default.
  • Steve H. has a good idea here...

    >To be practical, the Twine needs some kind of super-low "drop off WiFi and wait
    >for inputs" state.
    >I'm fine with it dissociating from WiFi until it has something to say.

  • Is supermechanical active in this forum even?
  • Agreed, having several tiers of power states - that are dictated by both rules and inputs -- seems critical for a device like this. Of course, I don't know how much of that is dictated strictly by software, and what kind of flexibility the hardware allows as it is.
  • Hello? Supermechanical? are you reading this? a reply that you are addressing the problem would be appreciated. Are you guys still in business?
  • They dont really read this forum. This is the community. They are active on http://help.supermechanical.com/

    I think the idea is specifics to the company go there, and we take the answers back and share with the community.

    I gave up on batteries and just use AC USB and found the twine much more reliable.
  • Mine blew through a set of Energizer Lithium Ultras in two weeks...15 inches from my router.
  • Unless they get the battery life out beyond 3 months, I'm at a loss to see any use for the Twine that can't be done better and much less expensively with the Raspberry Pi.

    Do they have the vibration sensor working yet or is it still just the dumb which way is up?
  • Today on the help board they told me they've said they're a couple of weeks away from a vibration sensor, "and increases in battery life will follow."
  • I had an old Blackberry charger connected, suppose that will leave the batteries only for backup or what..?

  • That seems to be working for me.  I've had it plugged in using a charger for many days with no loss of voltage; then we had a 30-minute power outage and the voltage went down a couple of hundredths.  Power came back and it stopped going down.  So the batteries do seem to work fine as back-ups assuming you can keep it plugged in to a power source.

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