Review: Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 1


Gene Seymour of Manzanita Micro stopped by for some AWEsome BBQ last night…  and left me this little trinket to play with.  This is the Manzanita MK3 BMS, mounted to 4 Headway cells in a nice little display box.  This particular one is the MK3x4SMT version, a lower cost version of their previous MK3x4 unit, with these features:

· Real time voltage monitoring of 4 lithium cells

· Real time temperature sensing of up to 4 external temp sensors

· Additional temperature sensor included on BMS module’s heat sink

· Small size is less than 1 inch thick and 5 inches long by 3.5 inches wide

· Quick automatic cell equalization and balancing with high and low voltage on board indicators and outputs to the charger

· All BMS modules connect together using readily available RJ cable

· BMS easily connects to a PC using the DT and USB Cable (Dongle Terminator and USB Cable sold separately)

· Includes free Windows based scanner and command software

· Easy user adjustable min and max voltage parameters allow flexibility for various types of lithium cells from 1.75 to 5.5 volts per cell

· Each BMS board can bypass up to 3 amps equating to fast charging and equalization of unbalanced cells

· Dual RJ reg bus ports for easy connection to the charger or other BMS units

· Self regulating thermal protection and feedback to Manzanita Micro Chargers

· Built-in active variable speed fan control output on each BMS unit

· Flat heat sink is totally isolated from the cells and is already threaded for easy mounting to whatever will hold the unit or even to a larger heat sink

I’m going to be messing with this for the next few days, and it should be interesting.  It’s the first BMS I’ve actually had my hands on in any sort of working form, and so it will be interesting how straightforward it actually is to run.  I’ve said for a while now, the BMS market is the very bleeding edge right now, and there’s a lot of stuff out there that doesn’t work well, or doesn’t last.  I’ve seen little or no support from more than a few suppliers, and so it’s a feeling of “you pays your money, you’re on your own…” more often than not.

Right off, my immediate reaction is that the information and support for this puppy is in a class all it’s own.  The operation manual is remarkably coherent, and you get the guy’s name, address and phone number…  I can honestly say I have never, in all my years reading tech manuals, never seen that done.  On that score alone, it starts me off with a nice warm feeling about this thing.

The other part of my perspective is, and this is apart from just plain liking Gene (but mostly his lovely wife Jen…), Manzanita is less into building badass bikes for guys like me, and more into building the nastiest, biggest, baddest-ass full sized vehicles out there…  Gene, after a few beers, started the stories about the projects they’ve worked on and it’s mind-boggling how much current these cars (and trucks) are throwing around.  My thinking is, in a world of under-capable BMS’s for bikes, these guys are probably going to give us a pretty robust product.  At $220 for the 8-cell MK3, it’s looking like this may be the first of a new generation of BMS that actually hold up, and you can afford.

Stay tuned for more details…  off to play with software!

Read more:
Review: Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 1
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 2- Intro and Documentation
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 3- The Display
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 4- The Board
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 5- the SOC Head
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 6- Component Matrix
Manzanita MK3 BMS- Conclusions

Manzanita Micro site here.

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