Low Battery + Bad IR Alignment

First of all, a reminder that what I have with me are the old Blinks with the rubber cap on top of them, not the fancy new ones (well, I now have 3 of the fancy new ones but as they are incompatible with the other 12, they do not count).

I noticed that it looks like IR alignment is very important specially when battery is low. I am constantly seeing cases where 2 connected Blinks will, at the same time say that they are connected and not connected (i.e. one is receiving face values, the other is not). I am assuming this is caused by a bad alignment of the IR transceivers on each end. Does this make sense?

If so, I guess that the problem I am seeing mostly affects the old Blinks design and the new ones, with a differently positioned IR transceiver and stronger magnets, are not as susceptible to that. Is that I fair assumption?

As it is now, I have to exchange the batteries of the Blinks I have a considerable time before they actually start complaining about low voltage as, otherwise playing almost anything gets a bit difficult.

OTOH, there is a silver-lining here: Its is an excellent way to show guaranteed delivery of datagrams working as, because of this problem, sometimes a datagram broadcast stops propagating but, then, I just wiggle some Blinks a bit and it continues propagating again (this is why I think the issue is mostly with IR transceiver alignment).

Also, while we are at it, as the new Blinks do not have the IR transceiver completely exposed, I guess they are less susceptible to interference by an external IR source (like, say, direct sunlight), correct?

Thanks in advance.


I’d think this is probably caused by the db loss though the silicone material (there are a total of 4 air/silicone interfaces between the IR LEDs that take their toll).

I have a halogen light that I keep on my desk specifically because it messes things up. :slight_smile:

That is the hope. There was much negotiation over things like the IR opacity of the top TPU material and the texture and material of the the IR lenses (or even their existence- I would have liked to see no lenses for higher IR throughput at the cost of aesthetics!) . Ultimately what we ended up with is a compromise, but hopefully a good one.

Note that direct sunlight is pretty much a deal killer for all consumer IR applications. It is just so damn bright there is really no practical way to get above the noise floor if there is direct sunlight around.

Interesting, but would it more likely result in both ends not being able to receive IR data? What I find puzzling is one end receiving it and the other end not receiving it. Could it simply be that there a different enough power level in the batteries that results in this behavior?

Well, things like this are always a compromise. It would be great if we could live in an ideal world, but we do not. :slight_smile: In any case, I assume the signal reduction due to the lens in the newer Blinks is a huge improvement compared to the silicone cap. At least this is the impression I have (but I only have 3 newer Blinks so my current testing scenario does not match what a game like Hexxagon would require. In any case, I can get 2 older blinks to behave like I described (one end receiving IR, the other not) but, so far, I could not get the newer Blinks to show this behavior (and I am still using the same batteries they came with).

Yeah, I understand that. I used sunlight as an example because with the older Blinks even without direct sunlight (but still in a bright area) I still see issues (that get worse with lower battery levels). The newer Blinks seem to work fine in the same scenario.

The light path between two blinks is symmetric - the same squares of silicon are used for both TX and RX - so I would think that any misalignment would affect both directions equally.

I’d guess any directional differences would come from asymmetries. Different battery levels between the blinks, differences in environment (say, a bright light source behind one of the blinks), stuff like that.

Yes, and the current firmware is tuned for the clear lenses.

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Ah, this is interesting. I have been using the most recent BlinkBIOS (in your repository) with the older Blinks so I guess because of this tuning, things might be even worse on them currently.

Oh well, I am anxiously waiting on my Kickstarter Blinks. :slight_smile:

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