Flex In Battery Mode While Connected To AC Power


#1

For those who have Flex units operating while plugged-into AC power and are current experiencing colder than normal temperatures, you might find the following information of interest.

My Flex is mounted outdoors and is always plugged-into AC power. So, the battery status indicator box in the Canary app is normally green and at 100% charge. However, the status indicator box recently turned red, indicating that the battery was not charging, followed by a short line (see image). During this same timeframe, the outside temperature had dropped well below freezing, but I did not recognize this as being related to the battery status change.

Initiating the “Watch Live” results in the following sequence of messages; “Waking up your Canary Flex from battery mode”, followed by, “Establishing your connection”, then, “Loading live stream”, then the live stream appears as normal.

Initially, based on the battery status indicator, it appeared that I had lost the AC power connection, but this connection was operating properly. Having submitted a Ticket with Canary Team, my problem was resolved by the following information provided to by Sarah K. from Canary Customer Experience.

“I see that you normally have the Canary connected to power, which will reflect in your application when temperatures are above 32°F. Due to the chemical nature of the lithium ion battery, when the temperature drops below 32°F the battery cannot be charged because it will cause damage to it. When the temperature drops below this point, the Canary will stop charging but remain connected to the AC to continue powering the Canary. It will show as on battery in the app, but I can see on the system that the device is recognising the cable and has not disconnected from the AC. It will use the AC power, but it will not charge the battery at the same time, so the battery will remain at the same level. The charging behaviour and messages that you are seeing are normal as these steps are set to prevent your Canary from being damaged due to charging. While charging is not safe for the battery below 32°F, it is safe to operate the devices between -4 to 113°F.”


Canary flex battery not charging
#2

Thanks for this posting. I have been having issues with one on my outdoor flexes now for weeks. Several contacts with support with no resolve.

Problem is that units are now going offline. With no end in site with cold temps this basically makes the units worthless. What you see in specs is the units functioning temps not so clear was that the batteries wont charge below 32.


#3

Just found this article about battery charging. Didn’t know any of this until I started wondering about the Li-ion battery recharge problems. Maybe the better solution would be to have a rechargeable battery pack mounted inside the building, out of the cold weather? Looks like most rechargeable battery electronics is useless in severe cold.

http://batteryuniversity.com/index.php/learn/article/charging_at_high_and_low_temperatures

I guess this would apply to those cheap (and not so cheap) solar charged LED outdoor lights too. No wonder they don’t last more than a couple of years.


#4

Very useful and informative article. Thanks for providing clear information for this discussion.

What is concerning to me is that Canary flex purports to be a solution for homeowners to provide outdoor security for their residences. Until recently I like most took the operational temperature range in their spec’s of the units to be acceptable for my area. To now learn that the units become non functional during extended winter periods diminishes the ability to use these devices for the intended purpose.

I would assume that the engineers involved in designing these devices well understood the science that you posted and that I would have been more transparent for the marketing materials to have stated that the units may become non functional during cold temperatures in many northern regions.

Buyer beware…


#5

Hello everyone,

First I would like to thank you all for bringing attention to this, and i’d like to provide some additional clarification.

As most of you all have found, this limitation of charging a lithium ion battery in below freezing temperatures is not unique to our product, but a limitation of the technology itself. Currently when a Canary Flex is in this type of situation you will see a red error icon on the battery indicator within the app, and will also see that your Flex has switched over to operating on battery instead of being plugged in. This will result in the Flex using PIR (Passive infrared) for motion detection instead of CV (computer vision) which is used when plugged in. The Canary Flex is designed to do this in order to conserve battery while it is not charging.

While this is the way that the device currently operates, we are investigating a solution which will help improve the performance of the Flex when it encounters this situation. Our plan is to implement a software update which will allow the Flex to disable charging when temperatures drop below freezing, but still allow the Flex to use CV for motion detection.

I hope this helps provide some insight into this issue, and as always please don’t hesitate to post any additional questions or feedback.


Flex, Low temperature poor or no performance - heater?
#6

Can the Flex be programmed to just operate on A.C. power and not use the battery in colder weather? It seems like this issue would go away for those of us who operate a Flex on A.C. power all the time. I have the same frustrations with my Ring video doorbell that is wired to the doorbell circuit in my house. It always has power but it goes dead in cold weather since it seems to always operate off battery and uses the power only to recharge, not to run the camera.


#7

I agree with another reply to your note, suggesting the option of operating the Flex on AC power while protecting the battery by disabling recharging.

I would also like to add a request that there be an addition to the battery status indicator or a separate power indicator that would show when the Flex is connected to AC power. Perhaps the same icon that appears on most other devices when connected to AC power.

When I first encountered the subject problem, I spent several message exchanges with Canary Support that focused on whether or not my flex was properly connected to AC power. Since I was traveling at the time, I was unable to physically check connections. It was not until a more knowledgeable person at Canary Support verified the power connection status of my Flex from their system access that the real problem was explained.


#8

@86nine51S & @Dave1

Thanks for the questions and feedback!

The fix we are planning to implement should do exactly what both of you described. When the Canary Flex encounters the situation described above, it will just rely on the power from the AC adapter and would not rely on the battery. We are hoping to get this released as soon as possible, but I do not have a definitive timeline on when this will happen.

Dave, I would additionally like to thank you for providing feedback on your experience with our support team as well as your suggestion for an improvement to the application. I am the Customer Experience manager here at Canary and will investigate your case to see how we can improve our support. I have also passed along your app suggestion to our product team.

Please let me know if either of you have any additional questions or feedback I would be able to address.


#9

Thank you all for your efforts to clarify the situation regarding the functionality of the flex devices in cold temperature situations.
I also appreciate Sean’s comments about this situation and the commitment to develop a solution to this serious problem moving forward.
That said now the big but…
I must tell you I am a very frustrated customer. As I have stated in a previous post I have been a generally satisfied user of a Canary all in one for a couple years under the prior service plan. I recommended the purchase of the device to several of my friends due to my satisfaction with the product.
I like many others was very upset by what I perceived to be a breach of the understanding of what I had purchased with the unilateral decision by Canary to change the terms of service with the new paid subscription plans. I viewed it like many others purely as bait and switch.
I also was very upset by the changes in the support procedures at the company. I have submitted tickets that have had no response. I have asked to have chat logs forwarded to me and have never received them. I have found the support folks to be polite and well meaning but have also found the new systems to be cumbersome and lacking the ability to provide clear resolution of issues including the issue at hand. I found out the real issue by others posting here. Frankly that is not acceptable to me as a consumer.
Now I am further disturbed to learn that the flex’s that are purported to be an outdoor security solution are seriously impacted by the fact that the batteries are designed to not charge under 32 degrees temperature. I do find it disingenuous to have stated by a Canary official that this is an inherent flaw of all other products as if that should excuse the lack of clarity about your products basic functionality. I am not an engineer and don’t feel it is my job as a consumer to understand the intricacies of battery functionality. When I reviewed the options for purchasing this device it was based on your marketing that led me to believe this was an ideal and superior product for outdoor security. I read the spec’s that indicated the device had a functional capability of -4 to 113 degrees. To now learn that the device is designed to not charge at 32 degrees which is a common temperature in the northeast and wide areas of the northern hemisphere is less than comforting.
Apple like many other companies are learning the importance of clarity and transparency with their consumer base. Canary is now in the same situation from my perspective. Several recent missteps have had serious impact on your reputation in consumers eyes. This is a serious problem and needs a serious effort towards providing a quick and effective resolution.


#10

We’re in the deep freeze also. My flex is working about 75% of the time and when it does, it takes about 5 minuets for live view to appear (load) either at home or away. By then, whatever I wanted to check is gone or has resolved itself. Kind of defeats the purpose. My flex seems to only work while NOT plugged in during the cold weather. Same issue with my inside unit, while it doesn’t take as long to (load) to view a live stream, it still takes too long. The above issues are on my phone, desktop live view and tablet. Doesn’t matter


#11

My outdoor flexs dropped offline again this morning likely once again due to cold and not charging.

Bought these to keep tabs on the property while traveling. As you stated this defect defeats the purpose of the intended use.

The more I am thinking about this it seems that the design makes no sense. Its one thing if someone uses the flex in battery mode and your run into this issue that is now being more clearly discussed here about shutting down the charging to protect the battery under 32 degrees.

But for those of us who use it in plugged in mode why would you design it to be limited by the battery charging capability? Once you make the decision to use it in this fashion its unlikely you would be relying on battery power as your router would likely also be down in power outage situations.

The marketing states that you can use it in battery or AC mode.

Seems to me if engineers understood the inherent battery issues you would design the AC power stream in plugged in mode to be independent of the battery charging upfront. Not as an afterthought as appears to be the case now. Canary team needs to get on a fix for this now not as a “we will get it done when we have the time effort”. I am reading all these other suggestions for improvement on other tread and I would think basic functionality of the device would trump nice new idea lists.


#12

Here are the current marketing statements for the flex on Amazon today.

“Build to withstand the toughest outdoor elements with full functionality from -4° F to 113° F”

“Wire-free or Plugged-in: Extended-life rechargeable battery to power wire-free use or plug in for endless power.”


#13

My Canary Flex is currently plugged in to a power source yet it doesn’t appear that the battery is charging (according to the Canary App). I’ve tried disconnecting and reconnecting the power cord, but it doesn’t seem to change the status. (The battery does not appear to be draining since it’s plugged in, but it doesn’t show that it’s charging either.) Additionally, every time I try to pull up Live View, it wakes up the device from battery mode before taking an extremely long time to load up the Live View (which eventually does load). Anyone else experiencing such issues? These problems began last week during the system-wide issue that was affecting all Canary devices.


#14

is it located outside?


#15

Yes. It is located outside. And it’s definitely been below freezing. I’m thinking the lithium ion battery does not charge if the temperature falls below 32°F. If that’s the case, will charging resume once it gets warmer?


#16

There is another recent thread on this titled “Flex in battery mode while connected to AC power”. If you go to latest posts its near the top of the posts listed.


#17

It will start charging again but its a serious design flaw. After a while below 32 it will go offline completely.


#18

Thanks! I read the other thread. I agree that this is a frustrating situation, and I hope that the Canary engineers will get a solution that will allow the Flex to work in sub-freezing temps.


#19

I have gone ahead and merged your topic with the other topic on this issue to keep replies and further updates all contained together.


#20

I am very concerned as the Canary folks don’t seem interested in escalating this given the serious issues here. As I posted earlier their marketing is less than accurate regarding the devices capability.

Currently they advertise that it performs with “full functionality” between -4 to 113 F. They now have acknowledged that they have designed it stop charging at 32 degrees and that it also goes into a different video mode at lower temperatures. It will also completely disconnect after a period of time at less than 32 degrees as my flex’s have several times. That is not “full functionality” by any definition.

They also advertise that it will have “endless power” when you choose to have it plugged in. But the design has the battery charging limitation controlling the AC power stream to the device.

We now know neither of these statements are true based on the design limitations.

As I stated earlier Apple has learned the hard lesson about not being honest and transparent about their recent decisions regarding their battery issues and the way that they utilized design to address a flaw with their product. Not being upfront with your consumers is unforgivable in my opinion.

I see very strong parallels in this instance. Canary needs to stand up, acknowledge the problem with the way this has been marketed and deliver a solution. You can’t sell me something that does not deliver on what you promise in your marketing and sit silent.