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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 01-24-2012, 12:29 AM   #1
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Default Charging multiple Lipo's

I need to charge four 2200 mAh 3s 25c lipo batteries and would like to charge them all at the same time. I've tried to read up about chargers, watts, charging current, parallel and balance boards and much more and am now completely confused.
Would someone who knows about these things please tell me what equipment I will need and how I should connect it up, maybe even point me in the direction of a good charger and store here in the UK that could supply me with what I need.
Thanks
Martin.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:28 AM   #2
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You can serial or parallel charge multiple packs at the same time.
Parallel charging is by far the fastest, easiest and safest way to charge.

You will need harnesses to charge in parallel, one for the main power leads and one for the balancing leading.

A great product for this is a parallel board.
http://epbuddy.com/index.php?main_pa...q9mu4p92v90sj7

In parallel charging you add together the mAH of the packs.
So 4 - 2200mAh pack will be 8800mAh or 8.8Ah.
A 1C rate is 8.8AMPS.
2C is 17.6AMPS.
You usually need a more powerful charger for parallel charging.
And those will need to be powered by 24V.
Here are some good chargers.
http://epbuddy.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=17_1

Not sure where you would get any of this in the UK but you can order it throught Hobby King.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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Thanks for that information, after an evenings research I had managed to get as far as the 8.8mAh and 17amps, but hadn't realised the implication of this was a 1000w charger and a 24v power supply!
I'm going to invest in good quality gear and it's better having extra capacity rather than less, I'll start saving up now.
Regards
Martin
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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hi martin,would you please let us know what you decide on and how it works for you? i also want to upgrade my 2 cellpros 4's that i run at the same time.

i haven't research anything yet ,,but the hitec 4 battery charger looked more like what i'd want on the table next to me while i watch tv and type on forums after a day of flying packs down...lol....

thanks,stu

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Old 04-03-2012, 11:45 PM   #5
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Hey Stu,
sorry for the delay in replying, eventually plumped for a Graupner Ultramat 18 and a Graupner PSU to fire it up, quality Germanic engineering I have to say, actually I had some bad reports about the reliability of some of the alternatives.
Hope this helps
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:47 PM   #6
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I'm in the same boat.... 1100w PSU's are expensive though!!
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:53 PM   #7
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Not if you build one from two used computer server power supplies!
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:13 PM   #8
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Yep, two DPS600PB power supplies, used but perfect, cost me the equivalent of $20... A couple of hours to solder on the connectors and isolate the PCB of the second PSU from ground (there are build threads to show how).. and I have a 1128W 24v PSU. Been using it for a couple of months now and it's never missed a beat. I'm using it to Power my icharger 3010b which I'd also highly recommend.

IMHO it's not even worth considering buying a purpose made Hobby PSU. The converted server PSU's are better in every way and about 10th of the cost.
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:01 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
Yep, two DPS600PB power supplies, used but perfect, cost me the equivalent of $20... A couple of hours to solder on the connectors and isolate the PCB of the second PSU from ground (there are build threads to show how).. and I have a 1128W 24v PSU. Been using it for a couple of months now and it's never missed a beat. I'm using it to Power my icharger 3010b which I'd also highly recommend.

IMHO it's not even worth considering buying a purpose made Hobby PSU. The converted server PSU's are better in every way and about 10th of the cost.
I've got the Cellpro Powerlab 8 charger. This unit is being used to charge a 6S4P A123 battery pack at 28 Amps, using a gasoline engine/automotive alternator and 12 volt battery as the supply. The '8 charger pulls about 50 Amps out of the supply.

Take a look:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66066

This same charger can go up to two lead acid batteries in series, but in my case, that is much more complicated.

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Old 04-21-2012, 12:10 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by martyp57 View Post
I need to charge four 2200 mAh 3s 25c lipo batteries and would like to charge them all at the same time. I've tried to read up about chargers, watts, charging current, parallel and balance boards and much more and am now completely confused.
Would someone who knows about these things please tell me what equipment I will need and how I should connect it up, maybe even point me in the direction of a good charger and store here in the UK that could supply me with what I need.
Thanks
Martin.
One should decide which format to use first, then decide the charger and connections.

These rules should dictate which format used for charging.

Parallel packs need to contain the same number of (series) cells. This is an option for you since all 4 of your packs are 3s. Many also like to add that they shall be in a similar state of charge. Many times this part can be ignored though.

Series charging requires that all packs shall require the same capacity and rarely is this an option for multiple packs unless they are used together in series as well. I doubt this is an option for you unless you use pairs of packs in series or even use pairs in parallel.

If you can't use either parallel or series then you are left to using a 4 port charger because you desire to do them all at one time.

I'm guessing that you want to parallel charge and in that case look for high current as opposed to looking for high power as a priority. Your voltage is probably always going to be less than 13 and to do all four 2.2 pack in a hurry you will want to select a charger with high current.

Depending upon how fast you want to charge select a charger with 10,20,30 or 40 amps max current.
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by nidly View Post
One should decide which format to use first, then decide the charger and connections.

These rules should dictate which format used for charging.

Parallel packs need to contain the same number of (series) cells. This is an option for you since all 4 of your packs are 3s. Many also like to add that they shall be in a similar state of charge. Many times this part can be ignored though.

Series charging requires that all packs shall require the same capacity and rarely is this an option for multiple packs unless they are used together in series as well. I doubt this is an option for you unless you use pairs of packs in series or even use pairs in parallel.

If you can't use either parallel or series then you are left to using a 4 port charger because you desire to do them all at one time.

I'm guessing that you want to parallel charge and in that case look for high current as opposed to looking for high power as a priority. Your voltage is probably always going to be less than 13 and to do all four 2.2 pack in a hurry you will want to select a charger with high current.

Depending upon how fast you want to charge select a charger with 10,20,30 or 40 amps max current.
All very good points. IMHO, I'd stay away from series charging though. If you have one battery discharged to 30% capacity, and another that is fully charged, connecting them in series for charging is going to overvolt the fully charged battery.

Most higher quality chargers have the balance option, but that would have to be connected to both battery packs to be effective.

Parallel charging, provided all batteries have the same exact number of cells eliminates some of these issues. But when you've got say 4 packs in parallel, that also indicates you need to come up with some wiring to allow balancing all four packs at the same time. That wiring could get really messy.

As nidly points out, a good quality four port charger seems a very good way to go.

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Old 04-21-2012, 12:40 AM   #12
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Yea, that's the point of the series charging rule that all packs must require the same capacity. SOMETIMES it is an option though and sometimes it can even be faster than parallel charging. If one's charger is maxxed out on current , but only using half of it's power then series charging can really speed things up.
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:16 AM   #13
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Providing you balance charge then you wont over charge any cells when series charging multiple packs.. If one battery started with much more charge than the other it will slow the charge process down because it will enter balance mode as soon as the first cell hits 4.2v, but it wont charge any cell to more than 4.2v.

It's parallel charging where you need to have all the calls at near enough the same voltage.

The worst thing about series charging for me is it's really REALLY easy to connect up the balance plugs in reverse which causes a short and burns up the plugs and balance board, and maybe your charger too.
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:22 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
I've got the Cellpro Powerlab 8 charger. This unit is being used to charge a 6S4P A123 battery pack at 28 Amps, using a gasoline engine/automotive alternator and 12 volt battery as the supply. The '8 charger pulls about 50 Amps out of the supply.
That's a great field charging solution but I believe the OP was looking for a mains PSU

The advantage of the 24v PSU is that you don't need to pull such high amps. The icharger needs more than 12V supply if you want to get the full 1000w out of it. I think it will do about 600W on a 12v supply.
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:28 AM   #15
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I would agree with your last statement about it being pretty easy to mix the plugs up on a series board.

I am of the opposite view on your first two statements though. I would sure rather hook 2 packs in parallel that were differing states of charges then to try to charge 2 packs in series that were in differing states of charges.

In the parallel example it will give a immediate sudden rush of current from higher pack to lower , but quickly gets under control. A worst case would probably be a full large pack hooked to a small discharged pack and I'm not recommending that.

In the series example it would take a long time depending upon the charger/balancer config and current capability , but many times users don't balance at every charge. Some must not ever balance , I've got the packs afterward and see the results.

In any event, I sure do prefer parallel over series charging simply because the opportunity to series charge multiple packs (at least in my case) very rarely presents itself. Only when packs are used in series do I consider series charging them , but then it is really just one big higher voltage pack anyways and they are already hooked together. I'm even a prime candidate for series charging because I tend to use lower voltage packs , have many of similar packs and my chargers are all maxxed out for current.
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:15 AM   #16
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Nidly,

My statement was based on the assumption that you were balance charging the packs. However you do need to be careful if connecting packs in parallel with different charge conditions because the batteries would try to balance their voltage 'instantly' putting unlimited amps through the charge board and burning up the batteries, the board, the whole enchilada!
In series however you could connect a fully discharged battery and a fully charged battery and providing you connected the balance leads all would be fine. The charger would just see it as a single battery with some cells much lower then the others and balance them out as per normal (but it would take a long time).

The situation does change if you are non-balance charging but personally I always balance charge if doing multiple packs in order to avoid any possibility of over charging.
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Old 04-21-2012, 05:26 PM   #17
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FMA PowerLab 6 is also a good option for charging multiple LiPos. You will need the parallel adapter boards FMA offers.

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Old 04-21-2012, 07:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
Nidly,

My statement was based on the assumption that you were balance charging the packs. However you do need to be careful if connecting packs in parallel with different charge conditions because the batteries would try to balance their voltage 'instantly' putting unlimited amps through the charge board and burning up the batteries, the board, the whole enchilada!
In series however you could connect a fully discharged battery and a fully charged battery and providing you connected the balance leads all would be fine. The charger would just see it as a single battery with some cells much lower then the others and balance them out as per normal (but it would take a long time).

The situation does change if you are non-balance charging but personally I always balance charge if doing multiple packs in order to avoid any possibility of over charging.
Yep, I tend to forget about balancing all the time and all of it's connections and rules. I forget that most users balance at every charge. I like hooking pack to pack parallel with a clampmeter on a lead to check the sudden rush of current. Mine are never an issue , and I have seen videos of 50+ amps between packs too. I've popped some 10,20,30 amp fuses between packs before just tinkering around.

One nice thing is that unless we forget the state of charge of a pack I don't think I'd ever plug a full pack into a discharged pack simply because that full pack doesn't need to be charged. I don't think you'd ever do that with series charging either.
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:58 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by spad View Post
Not if you build one from two used computer server power supplies!
Cheers I looked that up. I also had a hunt around my spare parts at work and found an old APC UPS. Thinking I had hit the jackpot I pulled the cover off to inspect the power supply but it just has a very small 12v capacity (for the controller circuitry I guess) and then a 240v output for the batteries.

I guess 240v would be a touch too much

Will have to keep hunting for a server psu, although given that it's getting annoying now, I may just bite the bullet and buy a 24volt max amps like this:
http://radiocontrolledshop.ie/Power-...upply-psc.html
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:34 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Quandry View Post
Will have to keep hunting for a server psu, although given that it's getting annoying now,
Go to ebay, search on 'DPS-600PB'.. take your pick of the dozens of hits - search over
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:44 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
Go to ebay, search on 'DPS-600PB'.. take your pick of the dozens of hits - search over

I'm planning on buying a PS from another member but I have some buddies that don't want to pay a lot for a PS. So I typed in DPS-600PB into ebay and I found this one... so I'm assuming this will power an iCharger 106B (or any charger needing a PS)?

I also found this one... but the seller replied back telling me he doesn't think his PS will work for my charging needs.

Hoping to hear back from someone that can confirm if these will work cause I'm getting confused
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:54 PM   #22
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They are both DPS-600PB PSU's so they the will work just fine. If you are happy with 12V and 47amp output that a single PSU can give (which is fine for your charger) then you don't need to do any modifications at all to the PSU other than solder on the wires and bridge the appropriate pins to turn the unit on.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:18 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
...solder on the wires and bridge the appropriate pins to turn the unit on.
Thanks for confirming! Are there any videos or posts with pics that show how to do this? So I'm assuming these PS's don't have a on/off switch which is why the wires need to be modified to turn the unit on?
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