Chiara battery maintenance

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Specifications

The Chiara uses a 12V 5000 mAH rechargeable NiMH battery. The [battery and [charger] are both available from batteryspace.com.

Charging

Set the Smart Charger to 1.8A and plug it in to the Chiara's charging plug (in the back panel), or, if the battery has been removed from the robot, plug it directly into the battery's charging cable. In either case, you will need to use the small adapter cable that comes with the charger in order to make this connection. On the Chiara, the power switch must be to the right in order to charge the battery. You can unplug the external power adapter cable if you don't wish to power the robot while charging the battery.

After a few seconds, the LED on the charger should glow red, indicating that the charger has detected the battery and begun to charge it. When the battery is fully charged, the LED will switch to green. You can then disconnect the charger and begin using the battery.

The charger will bring the battery to a somewhat overcharged state; a freshly charged battery will typically read around 13.5 volts, but this will drop quickly once the battery is in use.

Running the Battery Down

Do not let the battery run down. If you run the robot on battery power, put it back on the charger as soon as you're done using it. If the robot is left on for an extended period, the battery will run down and the computer will eventually crash. However, the other electronics, including the servos and LEDs, will continue to draw power and drain the battery further.

Once the battery voltage drops below a certain point, the charger will no longer be able to detect the battery, and you won't be able to charge it back up. If you plug in the charger and the red LED doesn't light up in a few seconds, use a voltmeter to measure the battery voltage. The exact threshold is unknown at present, but if the battery is below 7 volts the charger will definitely not see it.

The good news is that this model battery seems to have the ability to recover on its own from being run down. If you let the battery sit for a few days, it should recover enough for the charger to be able to see it.