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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 11-15-2011, 01:58 PM   #1
Davethebluessinger
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Default GT Power XDrive 6

Hi Folks,
I just bought one of these chargers from Giant Cod in the UK.
http://www.rc-mushroom.com/product_i...ducts_id=20528
I want to balance charge 3S and 2S packs with it 4 at a time.
The balance ports on the charger (4 individual channels) seem to be JST XH type.
Can I plug my 3S and 2S leads in to the 6S connectors?
I know that this will mean not connecting to 3 or 4 of the pins in the charger.
I also realise that this will mean removing one of the locating tags on top of the male balance plug on the leads.
Looking down on top of the plug (locating tags uppermost) which side of the socket will I have to position the plug - to the left or the right?
(I guess I'm really asking which lead is the "common".)

Thanks in advance!

Dave

EFlight Mini Pulse XT, Durafly Dynamic S, Scratch Built 52" Pushycat, HK 330 Edge Profile, HK Mini Spirit, Thunder Tiger EHawk 1500.
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Old 11-15-2011, 04:05 PM   #2
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You can charge them in series but I would make a series adapter for the balancing plugs instead of what you are suggesting.
Make an adapter and plug it into the 5S port.
Research serial charging.
Here is a good place to start -
http://sites.google.com/site/tjinguy...erial-charging
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:14 PM   #3
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Build Review SOLVED!!!

Thanks WoodCrafter but the whole point of buying the 4 channel charger was that each Lipo could be monitored seperately.

Any how I found a diagram!!!

How to connect a 2 - 5S JST XH to to 6S JST XH Port....

http://990224014867868413-a-18027447...attredirects=0

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Old 11-15-2011, 07:33 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Davethebluessinger;844207]Thanks Woodcutter but the whole point of buying the 4 channel charger was that each Lipo could be monitored seperately.

I guess I misunderstood your original question.
It seemed like you wanted to plug in your 2 batteries into 1 - 6S port.

With serial charging you can monitor each cell but not each battery separately.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:26 PM   #5
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Default

Thanks WoodCrafter, my description of the issue was probably lacking!
Thanks for taking the time to offer your advice.
I have a Turnigy accucel 6 so I might still need your link!

Cheers
Dave

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Old 11-20-2011, 06:51 PM   #6
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Default Charger setup and first multiple charge

Just finished soldering up all of my balance leads and Lipo connector leads.
I don't intend to use this charger at the field - I'll use my Accucell 6 for that so I thought I'd mount the whole lot on a piece of ply so I can pick up the charger and batteries and move everything off the bench without a mess of spaghetti!
I'm using an old PC PSU as the 12V supply, it's rated at 14A on the 12V rail so sould be fine for 1C charge rates. I'll keep my eye open for a 500W version which should easily give a 25A supply.
So far I've charged four 2200mAh simultaneously and the supply didn't even get tepid.
It's so great not to have to keep changing the batteries every hour or so! Can't comment on durability as it's a new unit but it's simple to use and great value!


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Old 11-20-2011, 07:09 PM   #7
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Good idea with the plywood.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:44 PM   #8
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Default

Well I said I'd review the charger when I'd actually had a chance to use it so here goes!
Basically it's just the same as having 4 Turnigy Accucell 6 chargers in one box!
Nice, easy to navigate interface for each output. Charging mixed Lipos and NIMH is a breeze! I've fitted JST XH 3S balance leads to each channel, when I want to charge 2S I simply ensure that the 2S male plug on the Lipo is located offset to the right in the 3S Female on the charger (viewed with the locaton tags uppermost). The female plug has enough give in it to allow the misaligned tag to fit.
Up to now I'd have to say that it's a 9 out of 10 for this charger, if it was mains compatible straight out of the box I'd give it a 10!
If you need a multi-charger then look no further than this little beauty!

http://www.rc-mushroom.com/product_i...ducts_id=20528

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:41 AM   #9
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Unhappy GT Power Xdrive 6

Hi Everyone,

I just bought GT Power Xdrive 6, quad charger from value hobby. And I tried charging 4 lipos, with individual balance boards, and charge leads at 1C.

It charged from 11.6 volts to 12. 59 volts on all almost within 45 mins, but for the last 0.1 volt, it kept on charging at 0.1 A or so, until I got really annoyed at 114 minutes.

Please see attached images.

Is this normal?

Please reply asap, I need to decide if I wanna keep it or return it.

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Thanks,

Apprentice15e


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Old 12-28-2011, 03:48 AM   #10
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It was most likely balancing the cells.
If it was taking almost 2 hours maybe you have a dieing battery.
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:38 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by TheWoodCrafter View Post
It was most likely balancing the cells.
If it was taking almost 2 hours maybe you have a dieing battery.
Well, I have had only 10-15 flights on each of these batteries and have always used e-flite charger that came with apprentice to charge them at slow 3.0 amp, which is less than 1C.

Also, the individual cell voltages were 4.19, 4.2, and 4.19. It was trying real hard to make all of those 4.2 volts.

When I put it from Lipo Balance to Lipo charge, it finished charging in seconds - obviously, in charge mode it does not care.

As far as I remember, after charging with e-flite charger, I had a couple of times checked the individual cell voltages using multimeter, and they were in this range only. They were not each exactly 4.2 volts.

Also, I have rarely allowed batteries to go below 11.6 volts! Cause I always fly 10 mins with a timer.

Thanks for the input though. I was thinking of programming the charger to 50 min cut off time. Then it would be done, instead of trying to balance last 0.2 volts for hours.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:51 AM   #12
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I would say that the charger is not balancing very well.
Some chargers don't do well balancing.
Try a friends charger if you can.
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by TheWoodCrafter View Post
I would say that the charger is not balancing very well.
Some chargers don't do well balancing.
Try a friends charger if you can.
I am waiting for Dave - the thread starter to respond. I am actually finding it pretty boring to go out and search another one. Though I have found iCharger to be an interesting one.
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Old 12-28-2011, 06:05 AM   #14
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I use an iCharger 306B.
Has been a very good charger so far.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:27 AM   #15
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I bought one from Headsup RC and I love it, the best investment I've made so far. I was spending so much time charging/balancing batts, it was making me ill. As far as balancing, I use fast charge and have had no issues once the packs were cycled several times.

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Old 12-28-2011, 12:09 PM   #16
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Hi Apprentice 15 and all of you on this thread - Seasons Greetings.

I've used my charger to balance charge 4 2S lipos at both 1 and 2c.
Also 4 different branded 3S Lipos at 1C and have never had any issues.

I understand that you take good care of your lipos but I suppose it might be a rogue cell? I had a problem with one 3S lipo using my accucell 6 charger - it would try to balance this particular battery for an eternity because 1 cell was .01V down!

If you identified the "suspect" lipo that was taking the time to balance, have you tried that same lipo on an alternative channel?

Have you tried a different lipo on the "suspect" channel of your charger?

If the problem occurs with the same lipo on different channels it points to the battery, if however the charger struggles with different lipos on the "suspect" channel you may have a faulty charger.

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Davethebluessinger View Post
Hi Apprentice 15 and all of you on this thread - Seasons Greetings.

I've used my charger to balance charge 4 2S lipos at both 1 and 2c.
Also 4 different branded 3S Lipos at 1C and have never had any issues.

I understand that you take good care of your lipos but I suppose it might be a rogue cell? I had a problem with one 3S lipo using my accucell 6 charger - it would try to balance this particular battery for an eternity because 1 cell was .01V down!

If you identified the "suspect" lipo that was taking the time to balance, have you tried that same lipo on an alternative channel?

Have you tried a different lipo on the "suspect" channel of your charger?

If the problem occurs with the same lipo on different channels it points to the battery, if however the charger struggles with different lipos on the "suspect" channel you may have a faulty charger.
Thanks, Dave! Season's greetings to you as well.

As you can see from the screenshot above, I have connected total of three lipos at the same time - two 3300mah Gforce(again from value hobby), and one 3200 mah e-flite battery. Can all three be suspect channels or suspect batteries?

I have a charger that came with Apprentice from E-flite. It is supposed to be balance charger.

http://www.e-fliterc.com/Products/De...rodID=EFLC3010

This is the one I have been using for charging all my batteries. I have one 3000 mah, two 3200 mah, and 2 3300 mAh batteries. As you can see that max amp of this charger is 3.0, and still it would charge all the batteries with balancing in about 45-55 minutes. So far, my batteries have never gone below 11.6 volts.


Now, back to channel and lipo thing. The lipo with 3000 mAh, attached to the top most channel got charged in balancing mode within 46 mins, but last three were taking holy shi*t long.

May be I should discharge all the batteries to 11.6 volts, and charge 3000mAh (the one that got charged without hassle), on the other channels.

And charge so-called problematic lipos on E-flite charger, let it charge. And see how much time it takes.

Man, I hate to do this monkey-business. I have better things to do.

I just need to decided if I wanna keep this or return it.

The funny thing is this is a generic charger sold by all the hobby sellers - just under different names. e.g. Hobby Partz quad charger - their the ratings are pretty good.


Thanks,
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:22 AM   #18
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Exclamation Update

I did a bit of testing to see if my LiPos are screwed, as suggested by TheWoodCrafter.

Let's define:
  • Battery A = 3000 mAh Gforce battery, which got balanced charged in the first go using the GT POwer CHarger
  • Battery B = 3500 mAh Gforce battery, which did never got balanced-charged.
  • Battery C = 500mAh Geforce battery, never charged using GT Power charger.
Here's what I did:
  • I discharged Battery A & B, using GT Power discharge mode, at slow 0.4 A, which is what it allowed.
  • Battery A got discharged to about 12 V, but with B, it was taking a lot more time, so I got bored, and connected 20 W halogen bulb, which draws 1.6 Amps. Brought B too down to 12 volts.
  • Connected A, to bottom most channel, and let it charge. In about 7-9 minutes, it got balanced charged! Previously, I had charged the same battery in the top most channel of GT Power. This means, that the bottom most channel works fine.
  • I charged Battery B, using E-flite balancing charger. Took about 18 mins to charge it. The charger beeped, and showed solid green light to announce that the battery was fully charged.
  • Then I connected that fully charged battery B to GT Power Charger, and let it charge. If everything was good then, GT Power should have screamed it is full, but it did not. In fact, the individual cell voltages were 4.19V, 4.20V,4.17 V.
  • This means that E-flite charger did not do a very good job of "balance charging" the battery.
  • After 10 mins, GT Power was still struggling with completing the balance charging the Battery B.
  • I , then, put the battery B, in Lipo Charge mode, and it got done in one minute! Since, GT Power was not in infinite loop to make sure that each voltages were 4.2 volts.
  • While battery B was being charged, I put Battery C(500mAh, Gforce), for Lipo Balance charge. It got done in 49 mins at 1C i.e. 0.5 A, with each cell voltage being 4.2 volts. This was second channel from top.
All this leads me to believe that three of my lipos are not in the best condition. Therefore, I will charge them in balance mode, but set the timer to 50 mins, since by then they will charged.


In the end, I think I am going to keep the GT Power Charger.


As a side note, I bought 4 Dean's connector charger leads, and 4 individual JST-XH boards from Value hobby.


Please let me know your thoughts.
Thanks,
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:23 PM   #19
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Hi Apprentice, I must commend you on your thorough and logical testing routine.
I suspect the GT charger may be a better unit than the eflite.

I personally only use 3S and 2S cells with Deans connectors fitted.
I made up 4 leads of different lengths with banana jacks at one end and male Deans at the other so when they're routed they all finished where I wanted them (see pics of my Ply board setup). I did the same thing with some cheap HK 3S Extension leads which I plugged into the balance ports on the side of the unit and again bought them around so each one paired up with the appropriate charging lead for its channel. I fixed all the leads to the board with cable ties allowing a couple of inches play at the end for ease of connection to the batteries.
If I want to charge 3S I plug the balance connectors together as God intended, If I want to charge 2S I ensure that the locating slots on the 3S JST-XH Females (charger end) are uppermost then connect the 2S males to them with the tab on the right engaged correctly and the tab on the left deliberately misaligned. I find that there's no problem because theres enough "give" in the female plugs to allow the misaligned male tab to slide in.
A bit risky? No because If you connect the 2S male into the 3S female aligned to the left by mistake theres no problem as the balancer can only see cells 2 and 3 of what it thinks is a 3S cell as the pin for cell one has nothing connected to it - so the charger will not commence charging as it sees a "break" and warns you accordingly!

Now if only it would stop blowing a gale and pouring with rain I have 4 planes to maiden! My only RC stick time in the last 4 weeks has been with my indoor flyingwings airbug hovercraft and it only "flys" 3mm off the deck!

Happy New Year to all on WF and may God grant us a whole lot of decent flying weather in 2012!

Dave

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Old 02-04-2012, 05:21 PM   #20
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Thumbs up Update-2

The other day I was flying in the snow and one of my 3300mAh got discharged in 7 minutes instead of regular 12 minutes, which is the time I get in normal (above 32 F) temperatures. So, someone suggested that I should cycle the batteries.

I cycled the battery using Xdrive charger (which is btw is very painful, cause it was not discharging at more than 0.6A :-( ).

Now, this particular LiPo, which never used to get balanced charged, now easily gets balanced charged!

The moral of the story, as TheWoodCrafter and Dave said, if the charger is not charging as per your expectations, it may not be the charger but the battery itself may not be in the good shape.

In the end, I am quite satisfied with the charger.

A lot of the times, I charge in LiPo Charge mode, as opposed to LiPo "balance charge" mode. And I end up having batteries charged in 26 minutes(of course, this will depend upon the starting state of the battery) with individual cells at like 4.17, 4.18, 4.20 v. And I am OK with.

Hope this update will help other who may have similar problems or have observed similar things.

The Apprentice

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Old 02-10-2012, 11:39 PM   #21
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A question about this charger. I charge mainly 3s 1300ma cells in 'Balance charge' mode. The batteries finished charge voltage reads 12.4 v. ? If I place the battery on my old single battery charger it will continue the batt's up to 12.6v ? Seems to do this on all four stations. Any opinions. Several batteries ore only 4 months old. None are puffed and all will fully charge on my 2 yr. old charger. This one: http://www.bphobbies.com/view.asp?id...8&pid=F3683943
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