Bluetooth Wireless Power Management System for Ultracapacitors

March 22, 2019 by Scott McMahan

Ioxus announced a new Bluetooth interface for its uSTART intelligent power management system. uStart is the company's ultracapacitor-based battery support module. According to Ioxus uSTART® improves battery life by reducing the cycling of battery, maintaining a higher vehicle voltage during crank and under a wide range of load conditions.

The company says that using its Smart Power power electronics, the unit supplies nearly all of the cranking current during engine starts, and for short stops, such as during a delivery, the uSTART® provides the energy to the electrical bus to support ancillary devices until a crank is initiated. (See diagram above).

The new Bluetooth interface significantly augments the uSTART's capabilities, saving both time and money for battery and starter checks and maintenance.

"The uSTART Bluetooth app brings wireless capabilities to fleet technicians and drivers," said Jeff Colton, senior vice president of global sales for Ioxus. "The connection saves time and improves safety during roadside events by providing the ability to remotely check battery voltage and uSTART status or use the system's jumpstart capability without needing to access the battery box. The Bluetooth app for uSTART helps complete inspections, maintenance and service quickly and more efficiently."

uStart Bluetooth interface uStart Bluetooth interface (Click on image to enlarge)

Functions enabled using the new Bluetooth interface for uSTART include:

  • Displaying battery voltage and uSTART status to determine if the vehicle needs to be started to charge the batteries.
  • Remotely checks uSTART and battery health without connecting diagnostic tools, saving technician time.
  • Enabling technicians to place uSTART in Run or Maintenance mode without accessing the controls on the device.
  • The ability to jumpstart without the need to push a button on uSTART or connect jumper cables or chargers

uStart systems can be installed by an OEM or retrofitted as a drop-in Group 31 battery replacement in Class 6 package and other delivery trucks and for Class 7 and 8 day-cab trucks and tractors with up to 12-liter engines. Loxus says that with uSTART, fleets can eliminate costly and time-consuming road calls for engine starting issues and can benefit from improved starting reliability and extended battery and starter life.

Therefore, Ioxus says that replacing one or more truck batteries with uSTART provides remarkable benefits to fleet sustainability.

"If just 10% of trucks that could use uSTART did use uSTART, from Class 8 day-cab, to local delivery, to yard-dogs, and airport cargo tractors, millions of pounds of toxic lead and sulfuric acid would be eliminated from the environment," says Colton. "uSTART systems reduce waste and make it easier to adhere to environmental regulations by substantially reducing the number of batteries a truck consumes throughout its service life."

The jump start mode will initiate a charge sequence, collecting energy from the battery. Once the uSTART is charged, the uSTART will provide the energy to turn on the vehicle electronics and provide the power the crank the engine.

The 12V uSTART is designed to work with at least one 12V battery connected in parallel, and the unit needs at least 6V to be able to turn on. Often, when installing the uSTART, one or more batteries can be removed.

Ioxus designed uSTART to last 15 years, and the company says it will reduce the number of battery replacements, as well as increase the life of other electronic components in the system by increasing the voltage during the crank, and ensuring that the system sees proper voltage.