If Your Sensor Reports Improper Battery Placement

If your sensor reports Improper Battery Placement

Monnit sensors will report the error Improper Battery Placement if the sensor’s battery is not inserted correctly or if there is a hardware issue creating a short in the sensor’s circuitry. There are a few things to consider and check if you see this error.

What might cause the Improper Battery Placement error

The conditions listed below can result in this error:

  1. The sensor’s battery is not fully inserted leading to a low voltage detection.
  2. The sensor has a hardware issue causing a low voltage detection.
  3. The sensor has been exposed to liquid ingress.
  4. The sensor has been exposed to high heat.
  5. The battery is not performing as expected.

Check for damage or liquid ingress

You will first want to do a quick visual survey of the sensor for damage or signs of liquid ingress as this is a common cause for this error. It is worth noting that if you have a sensor that is exposed to liquid, you may need to simply purchase a replacement. Liquid ingress (and in some cases damage) may not be repairable.

Battery not fully inserted

Especially with Coincell sensors, it can be common to see a few consecutive Improper Battery Placement readings when inserting/reseating a battery. While this can be normal behavior, it is not common to continue to see this error when a battery has been fully inserted.

Coincell sensors
This error generally occurs with the coincell form factor. If a coincell battery is not completely inserted, the battery is unable to make full contact with the battery cage and results in a low voltage supply. If you see this with a coincell sensor, remove the battery for 60 seconds and insert it securely. If the error persists, reset the sensor to the default configurations using the Default button in the sensor Settings, and replace the battery in the sensor with a new known-good battery. If the error persists at that point, you may be looking at a hardware issue.
Note: resetting the sensor to default settings will set the heartbeat to 120 minutes.

AA sensors (including MoWi)
The AA do not generally experience issues with the battery not being inserted fully as a result of the type of battery cage that is used, but you will still want to open the enclosure and examine and reseat the batteries. If the error persists, reset the sensor to the default configurations using the Default button in the sensor Settings, and replace the battery in the sensor with a new known-good battery. If the error persists at that point, you may be looking at a hardware issue.
Note: resetting the sensor to default settings will set the heartbeat to 120 minutes.

Industrial sensors
The Industrial form factor also does not generally experience issues with the battery not being inserted fully. Since these sensors are sealed, Monnit does not recommend opening the Industrial sensor enclosures. If you have this issue with an Industrial sensor, do not open the sensor as it may void the sensor’s warranty. Instead, examine the enclosure for signs of damage, liquid ingress, or corrosion. You may want to look closely at the enclosure for hairline fractures which can occur if the sensor is mounted and the screws have been screwed tightly enough to damage the enclosure. You will also want to look for signs of corrosion and rust. If no damage or signs of liquid is detected and the error persists, reset the sensor to the default configurations using the Default button in the sensor Settings, and replace the battery in the sensor with a new known-good battery. If the error persists, you may be looking at a hardware issue or liquid ingress inside the enclosure.
Note: resetting the sensor to default settings will set the heartbeat to 120 minutes.

Liquid ingress

Liquid ingress is likely the most common cause for a persistent Improper Battery Placement error. If the error persists after resetting the sensor and inserting known good batteries, this is the likely cause of the error. It is wort noting that sensors that are exposed to liquid ingress are often not repairable.

A common scenario: when sensors are installed to operate inside refrigeration or freezer units, they are often exposed to condensation. This occurs when the cold dry air in the refrigerator or freezer combines with warmer more humid air from the outside. When this occurs, condensation forms and can often damage sensor components exposed to the humidity. For this reason (among other reasons), it is not recommended to operate coincell sensors inside refrigeration or freezer units. AA sensor enclosures are also not protected against moisture, so they can also be exposed to condensation.

Liquid ingress in Coincell sensors:
Liquid ingress in coincell sensors is common if the sensor is used in an environment without stable temperature and humidity. Coincell sensors are designed to operate in normal living conditions in which they are not exposed to drastic fluctuations in temperature and humidity. While humidity itself does not damage the sensor, issues with condensation often occur when temperature fluctuation or meeting of humid air and dry air occurs. As a result, coincell sensors are not designed to operate inside fridges or freezers. Optimal battery operation with coincell batteries is between 50°F - 80°F (20°C - 26°C) in 40-60% humidity.

Liquid ingress in AA sensors (including MoWi):
While AA sensors have an enclosure that protects the sensor hardware from condensation more so than coincell sensors, the AA enclosures are not rated to protect against liquid ingress. Therefore these sensors tend to perform more reliably in variable humidity (and temperature as a result of the AA batteries vs. coincell batteries), they are still at risk of exposure to condensation and temperature fluctuation. Therefore while you can expect better reliability when using AA sensors in environments where they are exposed to condensation or liquid, they are still at slight risk to experiencing issues.

Liquid ingress in Industrial sensors:
Industrial sensors are IP and NEMA rated to be resistant to liquid ingress and dust. Therefore, liquid ingress is not generally a concern when operating Industrial sensors in refrigeration units, freezers, or other environments exposed to the elements. Therefore if you have an Industrial sensor that shows Improper Battery Placement, it is generally a result of a compromised enclosure. Industrial sensors are covered by a 1 year warranty, and if they do experience a hardware issue or liquid ingress, a repair is generally covered under warranty (unless it is determined that the sensor was exposed to conditions outside of the NEMA and IP rating and specifications).

Exposure to heat

Exposure to heat outside of the specifications can also cause this issue. The temperature specifications for each form factor is listed below.
Note: these specifications may vary between sensor type.

Coincell: Operating temperature range (board circuitry and coin cell) -7°C to +60°C (20°F to +140°F) **
Optimal battery temperature range (coin cell) +10°C to +50°C (+50°F to +122°F)

AA: Operating temperature range (board circuitry and batteries) -18°C to 55°C (0°F to 130°F) using alkaline
-40°C to 85°C (-40°F to 185°F) using lithium **
Optimal battery temperature range (AA) +10°C to +50°C (+50°F to +122°F)

MoWi: Using Alkaline Batteries: -18°C to +55°C (0°F to +130°F)
Using Lithium Batteries: -40°C to +85°C (-40°F to +185°F)

Industrial: Operating temperature range (board circuitry and battery) -40°C to +85°C (-40°F to +185°F)

Battery performance

The Improper Battery Placement error can occasionally be a result of battery performance. If the issue is caused by an issue with a battery, replacing with a known-good battery is often a quick resolution.

Conclusion

If you have a sensor that reports Improper Battery Placement, and resetting the sensor and replacing the battery (where applicable) does not resolve the issue, feel free to contact Monnit Support.