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Batteries & Chargers Discuss Li-P, Li-Ion, NiMh, Nicad battery technology and the chargers that juice 'em up!

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Old 10-26-2011, 04:35 PM   #1
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Default Multi port chargers~which one?

I am just getting back into RC.
I want a decent multi port charger (at least I think so) so I don't have to wait to charge up multiple batteries for mainly LiPos maybe up to 4-6 cells.
I am finding that Hobby King seems to have some problems since I last ordered so I am looking for chargers elsewhere at the moment.
I understand that the multi ports are all independent circuits which is fine.
Would I be better of just to buy 2 of 3 single battery charger/balancers or go ahead and buy a multi port.
And what are you using today? Recommendations?
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:37 PM   #2
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Parallel charging works well too - if your single charger is up to the task. If you are charging large packs it takes a great deal of power.

Here is one the Para board.

http://epbuddy.com/index.php?main_pa...2uo4ve32epq156

This works with LiPo not other cell types.

So you can plug up to 6 roughly equally discharged packs of the same cell count and charge them all at once! Pretty brilliant actually.

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Old 10-26-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by KeninAZ View Post
I am just getting back into RC.
I want a decent multi port charger (at least I think so) so I don't have to wait to charge up multiple batteries for mainly LiPos maybe up to 4-6 cells.
I am finding that Hobby King seems to have some problems since I last ordered so I am looking for chargers elsewhere at the moment.
I understand that the multi ports are all independent circuits which is fine.
Would I be better of just to buy 2 of 3 single battery charger/balancers or go ahead and buy a multi port.
And what are you using today? Recommendations?
The various Cellpro lines do allow parallel charging of either the LiPo or A123 packs (And virtually any other battery chemistry available). But those battery packs must be of the same chemistry, and cell count.

If you're just charging a 4 cell or less battery, another option is the Cellpro 4S. This charger is reasonable in price, so several could be purchased, one for each pack.

I've also seen other battery chargers that can handle multiple batteries. These units typicallh have individual metering on each battery pack, with a separate LCD meter display. All should work well.

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Old 10-26-2011, 04:53 PM   #4
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Thanks, the Paraboard looks interesting. I think I may have seen one at the local hobby shop and just did not look at it closely.
The only problem I see that it's based on all batteries being at the same level of discharge before you start.
I will go take a look at the CellPro 4S too.
As stated, I see a number of 4 port balancer/chargers on the market now and the price is close to buying as many individual chargers. My only thoughts there were that if you developed a problem with one of the independent circuits you could not just replace that one charger section of course.
Maybe just buying 2-3 individual charger/balancers is the way to go for me.
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by KeninAZ View Post
Thanks, the Paraboard looks interesting. I think I may have seen one at the local hobby shop and just did not look at it closely.
The only problem I see that it's based on all batteries being at the same level of discharge before you start.
But that is not a big issue - they are saying within about 30% of discharge state is good.

For me - I time my flights on each plane and wind up with resting voltage of 3.7-3.8v/cell. This is plenty close to the same amount. The cool thing is you can hook up 2 3s 2200's and 4 3s 1300's and when they all get plugged in together with the board - they all start to normalize.

Then add the charge.

The real issue is the charge rate. So with the above example you are looking at a 3s charge at 9.6 amps. It will take a 150w charger to manage that.
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:10 PM   #6
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I am looking for a good multicharger as well. What kind of chargers is everyone using? I don't know much about parallel charging, how do you go about this? Are there any good reviews on chargers? I see alot of people recommending one charger or another, but no explanation why.

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Old 10-26-2011, 05:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rcers View Post
But that is not a big issue - they are saying within about 30% of discharge state is good.

For me - I time my flights on each plane and wind up with resting voltage of 3.7-3.8v/cell. This is plenty close to the same amount. The cool thing is you can hook up 2 3s 2200's and 4 3s 1300's and when they all get plugged in together with the board - they all start to normalize.

Then add the charge.

The real issue is the charge rate. So with the above example you are looking at a 3s charge at 9.6 amps. It will take a 150w charger to manage that.

Yes that's true and for a charger with that kind of power you are looking at a pretty good outlay. I have a good power supply that will do 25 amps so at least that's not an issue for me.
I am thinking that perhaps the 3 individual chargers idea is going to work for me. I can parallel as many as I want with the limits of my PS of course. And I don't have one expensive charger should something go wrong if you know what I mean.
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:26 PM   #8
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Here is a good thread on the ParaBoard....

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1302613
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:28 PM   #9
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I have two FMA PL-8's, connected in the "expansion mode," which means one charger sets the other charger at the same time, and I use paraboards with each: this means I can charge 3s batts, 6 at a time, on one, and 2s batts, 6 at a time, on the other, with the functional equivalent of a "multi-port" charger.

The new PL-6 has the same ability.

I also have a Thunderpower 820CD, which also uses the paraboards.

IF YOU BUY A TRUE MULTI-PORT charger, be sure you have a BACKUP! If it fails, you are sol.

The FMA quasi-multiport arrangement means I have a backup at all times.

So, keep in mind you will (1) likely move to parallel charging and larger bats over time, both of which require MORE AMPERAGE and (2) you can start with a 12 volt power supply and go to 24 when you need it!

Sum: buy "more" charger than you need, now, and if you can't afford it, buy "just enough" power supply, now, expecting to move up in the future-keep in mind that EVEN THE HIGH OUTPUT CHARGERS run just fine on small power supplies, you just can't reach full capacity.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by KeninAZ View Post
Yes that's true and for a charger with that kind of power you are looking at a pretty good outlay. I have a good power supply that will do 25 amps so at least that's not an issue for me.
I am thinking that perhaps the 3 individual chargers idea is going to work for me. I can parallel as many as I want with the limits of my PS of course. And I don't have one expensive charger should something go wrong if you know what I mean.
Another option for a lot more $$$$ is the Cellpro 10S, that will put out 250 watts into your LiPo or A123 pack. It can charge one or two LiPos, with one to five cells each, or it can charge a big LiPo pack in series.

http://www.fmadirect.com/new_applica...0s_charger.htm

As with other types of similar chargers, this unit can be customized to your particular types of batteries. I've got the Cellpro Powerlab 8, and have dedicated three charge rates for 5 Amps, 10 amps and 20 Amps for my various A123 packs. After about 5 months flying with it, so far, no problems what ever.

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Old 10-27-2011, 12:12 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
Another option for a lot more $$$$ is the Cellpro 10S, that will put out 250 watts into your LiPo or A123 pack. It can charge one or two LiPos, with one to five cells each, or it can charge a big LiPo pack in series.

http://www.fmadirect.com/new_applica...0s_charger.htm

As with other types of similar chargers, this unit can be customized to your particular types of batteries. I've got the Cellpro Powerlab 8, and have dedicated three charge rates for 5 Amps, 10 amps and 20 Amps for my various A123 packs. After about 5 months flying with it, so far, no problems what ever.
Hi:

While I greatly appreciate kyleservicetech's support of the FMA product lines, I wanted to point out that the link he provided in his reply is out of date. To see the full line of Revolectrix/FMA Direct chargers and battery workstations, I recommend starting at the following link on the Revolectrix web site. From there, you can check out all the specs, features, etc on the products' individual tabbed pages (click on each charger image), and from there, you can link to the REVO USA or REVO Intl stores to check on current pricing, register for an account, etc.

http://www.revolectrix.com/cat.chargers.htm

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Old 10-27-2011, 12:14 AM   #12
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Been there and done that already and looked at the full line.
Thanks though.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:49 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by KeninAZ View Post
Yes that's true and for a charger with that kind of power you are looking at a pretty good outlay. I have a good power supply that will do 25 amps so at least that's not an issue for me.
I am thinking that perhaps the 3 individual chargers idea is going to work for me. I can parallel as many as I want with the limits of my PS of course. And I don't have one expensive charger should something go wrong if you know what I mean.
You have many many options today for good chargers.

I would not buy 3 cheap ones but 1 good one.

Better chargers are usually higher output, giving you paralleling options and a faster rate so you don't have to buy as many batteries.
Better chargers have the ability to measure internal resistance. I think important in monitor your batteries health.
And better chargers balance better. With some having adjustable set points.

Cheap, disposable chargers can't do all of these things.

Besides I hate buying disposable tools because when I have to replace them buying a second time adds up to costing more than if I bought smart the first time.

And I don't think you can get 3 cheapos for the price of a good one, can you?
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:50 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tim Marks View Post
Hi:

While I greatly appreciate kyleservicetech's support of the FMA product lines, I wanted to point out that the link he provided in his reply is out of date. To see the full line of Revolectrix/FMA Direct chargers and battery workstations, I recommend starting at the following link on the Revolectrix web site. From there, you can check out all the specs, features, etc on the products' individual tabbed pages (click on each charger image), and from there, you can link to the REVO USA or REVO Intl stores to check on current pricing, register for an account, etc.

http://www.revolectrix.com/cat.chargers.htm

Tim Marks
Hi Tim
No problem, I was just pointing to the Cellpro 10 series.

Take a look at posting #3 of this thread.

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Old 10-27-2011, 12:52 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by TheWoodCrafter View Post
You have many many options today for good chargers.

I would not buy 3 cheap ones but 1 good one.

Better chargers are usually higher output, giving you paralleling options and a faster rate so you don't have to buy as many batteries.
Better chargers have the ability to measure internal resistance. I think important in monitor your batteries health.
And better chargers balance better. With some having adjustable set points.

Cheap, disposable chargers can't do all of these things.

Besides I hate buying disposable tools because when I have to replace them buying a second time adds up to costing more than if I bought smart the first time.

And I don't think you can get 3 cheapos for the price of a good one, can you?

I didn't say cheap. I think you missed the point. I want to be able to charge 3 batteries at once quickly, or balance charge for that matter when I want to.
I had an Accucel 6 in the past, not priced bad at all and it worked just fine.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:55 AM   #16
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Maybe cheap was the wrong word.
Inexpensive, lower output, smaller chargers I think maybe is what you were referring to.

I still think my points fit.

Those types of chargers don't measure IR and are LOW power.
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:04 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by TheWoodCrafter View Post
You have many many options today for good chargers.

I would not buy 3 cheap ones but 1 good one.

And I don't think you can get 3 cheapos for the price of a good one, can you?
My background is troubleshooting, repairing, testing and writing failure reports on high dollar computerized circuit breaker controls for 38KV, 800 Amp three phase circuit breakers. The breakers were rated to clear up to 16,000 Ampere three phase faults. Those controls can go over $10,000 each.

Had a request from a fellow club member to take a look at an expensive (No I won't disclose brand name) charger for a 2S2P A123 4600 Mah pack.

That charger looked to be originally designed for a 2S LiPo 500 mah pack, and the vendor modified the 4600 Mah A123 pack to work with it. That charger took a measured 12 hours to recharge that 4600 Mah battery.

I measured temperatures inside that charger with a Fluke 87V digital multimeter with a thermocouple temperature probe. One of the 5 watt power resistors was running at a measured 435 degrees F. A regulator was running at 245 degrees F. Those temperatures were both over the maximum rated temps as published by the parts supplier. Put this charger on a discharged A123 pack on a 100 degree day with a hot sun, and it's close to melting solder inside the unit.

That regulator had a small heat sink on it, and was supported only by the regulators lead wires. Those lead wires are brittle, bend them back and forth 15 degrees by dropping it, and those wires break off.

Sad part of all of this was it was mfg in the USA.

(I did look inside my Cellpro Powerlab 8 charger. Looked like who ever designed it used to design Sherman tanks. )

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Old 10-27-2011, 01:50 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post

Sad part of all of this was it was mfg in the USA.

I didn't know any chargers were made in the USA.
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:14 AM   #19
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Please don't turn this into one of your threads....
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:39 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by spad View Post
Please don't turn this into one of your threads....

Now that is an inflammatory, uncalled for remark.

The peanut gallery has spoken.
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:57 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by TheWoodCrafter View Post
I didn't know any chargers were made in the USA.
It had a label on it "Made in the USA"

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Old 10-27-2011, 03:25 AM   #22
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Yep, the children here have drifted from my question, that's for sure.
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