iCELL Battery Monitor over Bluetooth Low Energy

Hi Everyone,

I'm working on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE, Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth 4.0)  technology since summer 2013 and after few hundred hours code work my first BLE product(iCELL) ready to show and I'm happy to share here with the community.

May be you know, Some Android devices and all iPhones(since 4S) including this low power transceivers.
I think BLE will be most important interaction method for near devices at the future. Currently you can find thousands different BLE device on the market and hundred thousands coming. 

iCELL hardware is a small electronic hardware with 8 cell battery reading capability and you can easily connect it to balance port of your LiPO to read battery voltage and cell conditions from your iPhone or iPad. (details here)

BLE has some limitations. The range around 30-100 meters. Data speed ~200 byte per seconds max. Not useful for drone data telemetry but possible to make your multirotor settings before flight or checking some important variables when your platform passes above you.
Main advantage is iPhone/iPad/Android. Everyone has one of them. Software update is easy. Screen is tough sensitive. Resolving all display problems on a single platform. 
The second big advantage is "Low Energy". BLE devices can works 1 year with a coin cell.

Now I'm working on a weather station for house usage, a camera trigger for timelapse, a camera slider and lost plane beacon. All of them working over BLE.  

Please share your opinion about iCELL idea. is it useful? or useless? 
and If you have any new idea for BLE technology please feel free. I will glad to work over it. 


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  • Hello Naish,

    Thank you for your comments. We made a long discussion about free or 0.99$ app at the office. Basically we have 2 common reason to doing this;
    1- Keep away the standard iPhone users. As you know few hundred million people have iPhone and they are downloading what is free. Then they have rights to write comments into the application page. If we keep it free, we will receive few hundred "this application not working on my iphone" like comments. Because %99 of people not have any idea what is LiPo and RC.

    2- iCELL data protocol is open because of BLE  and I guess HK will make a copy/clone in few months. We don't want to share our app with their hardware freely.

    Our target price was 80$ for iCELL but we are keeping it cheap now and handling all research,production and marketing/hidden costs from our other projects for better impact on the market. 
    The technology is not cheap or free now but I hope the prices (chips/others) will be drop in few months. 

  • I just received today my 2 icell BLT battery meters. I'm really impressed they work great! really cool idea. The only thing that made me a bit upset is when I went to download the iPhone app, I discovered that wasn't fee. Yes a 0.99cents is not much, but is disappointing to see it after you spent more than $100 to get 2 units.

    I can really see a great market for them as soon the price is going to drop a bit, as I will like to embed them into to all my battery packs. With this price will cost me more than $1k.  

  • @Jiro and @Jani ;
    The BLE side current consumption is only ~20uA. The BLE circuit working a year with a coin cell withou any problem in full power mode.

    By the way, The voltage divider current consumption depends the voltage. For example 3th cell input drains 120uA, 8th cell drains 330uA. 
    The total current consumption around 400uA for 3 cell batteries.
    This is very low for plug and fly applications. We will design another circuit for battery manufacturers with ultra low current dividers.

  • Nice idea! Few question came in my mind.

    I also like to know the current consumption ?

    Does it have any effect to battery balance? I'm quessing the current from balancer pins is very small like micro amps, but is it equal between pins?



  • Thanks.

    Another question is power consumption of iCELL. How much power is consumed by this device?

    Actually, I assume different application;)

  • Yes, of course you need an another iCELL to read another battery.

  • Very interesting.

    I have a question on your "Multiple Battery Monitoring" feature.

    Do we need multiple "iCELL" for each batteries?

  • Hi Romain,
    Unfortunately you right about this :/
    They copied our OpenLRS and Strobon (LED strobe lights) in last year. But this will be harder than them. Need a lot of programming skill and some certificates. iOS developer certificate is 100$,  C Compiler of BLE chip is 1.000$. Need an apple computer and windows in same time to developing codes. Very poor code support and no samples around. 
    This is out of range of most of copiers. 
    If They do that in 2 months, I will respect to their effort :D

  • I like Flytron for their ability to produce little device like this or OpenLRS.

    Sadly this should be copied by HK in two month...

  • Yes, BLE data packs only few microseconds long. 
    This technology designed for near device communication. This is why the packages very small. 

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