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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 04-01-2012, 04:45 AM   #1
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Default Charging with car engine running

Just wanted to post a warning, at least for anyone using a Hyperion EOS0720i Net 3 charger but it probably holds true for most lipo chargers.

If you are at the field charging lipos, don't run your car engine at the same time as you are charging. I ruined my charger by doing this. First it was operating strangely, over charging the lipos. Then when I turned the car engine off it seem to go back to normal but not for long. Now it give a high voltage output warning and won't charge. It also blows fuses if I try to use it from the ciggarett lighter plug (with the engine off). So I fried something on the inside of the charger!

Learn from my mistake! Fortunately I have two Hyperion chargers one D/C (that I ruined) and one A/C D/C that I'll be using from now on.

Now if my car battery gets low (charger shows low voltage input) I'll disconnect my lipo charger from the car battery and run the car for a while to top off the car battery....then turn my engine off and start charging again.

Steve
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:57 AM   #2
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I have 2 Hyperion, an FMA and a Thunderpower charger and Ive run all of them with my truck running many times with no issues.

You may have a regulator problem on your car thats causing your alternator to run too hi a voltage or surging.

The other thing is, you dont want to try to start the car while the charger is running or connected. During the start cycle, your battery voltage can drop way down, then when the engine catches, there can be a voltage spike before the regulator kicks in.

That may have caused your damage.

Check your battery voltage while the car is running. It should be around 14.8 volts.

The Hyperion chargers are good for a much higher input voltage than that. Well over 24 volts IIRC.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:51 AM   #3
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14.8v would be a bit high for a running car. Most batteries are 12.2-12.6 charged, and 13.5 or so for running. Lower with things like headlights, heater, stereoect runnning.Highest I've ever seen is 14.2 without anything running, and that was after upgrading to a 130amp alt, where the old was 55amp.

Some 12v electronics are not regulated, even when "designed" for automotive use. If the voltage range isn't higher then 12v, and it isn't regulated, your going to burn something up. Also, with a 12-24v range, the higher input you have, generally the less taxed the regulators are. To a certain extent, it is better to be slightly over voltage, then under, as long as your in the acceptable range. I am guessing something in the charger shorted, or your pulling too many amps on the cigarette lighter socket.

In my station wagon I can charge 4 3 cell 1800's at a time, all day long with the car off without worry about the battery going dead. 2 of those run off of the cigarette lighter socket, shared between my stereo, cellphone charger, and both chargers in the rear door. The other two are run under the hood with clips.

Your battery should be rated for 650cold cranking amps or more. Deep cycle discharge should be higher then that. Figure 2-4 chargers at 12.6v's, and 4 amps each, 36-72 amps an hour, it should take me over 8 hours under full load to run my battery dead. I also generally charge at .3 to .5 amps if I'm not in a hurry, and 1.75 if I am. So basically, I should be able to charge 4 battery's for a full day of flying before my car battery runs dead. My dx6I transmitter batteries won't even last that long.

If your charging large cells at higher voltage, like with lithium ion, it will draw significantly more then that.

Most regulators will work much harder as voltage drops. With car computer electronics, most things would run for 15 seconds or so at 8v's before browning out, but would pull much more amprage through all of the curcuits. Making it work harder will burn it out quicker, especially at lower voltages. My old ford uses a larger power consuming starter motor, and it will crank over well enough to start down to about 8v's. Lots of newer cars run much more efficent starters, I know one guy that couldn't roll his windows up and down after leaving his headlights on, but it did start. So if you were running your battery lower then the 12v's the charger was rated at, you were overstressing that charger.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:51 PM   #4
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You are probably right about not starting the car while the charger is connected. I did that a few times!

I love the Hyperion charger, and batteries so I'm sure it was me and not the charger!

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:22 PM   #5
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It's hard to see how a running engine could cause problems. Are you sure that's actually what caused the problem? seems from yhat you have said that there is no reason to link the running engine with the charger going bad, correlation does not imply causation. Chargers sometimes fail for a variety of reasons.

If you are charging from your car battery until you get battery low voltage then your gonna kill your car battery pretty quick. Normal car batteries aren't designed to be discharged more than about 20% of their capacity on a regular basis, they are just designed for short sharp bursts of power to start your engine not for sustained deep discharging. You really need a special deep discharge battery for what you are going.
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:20 PM   #6
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Hi all,

I only assumed (I know the old joke) because the problem started after a few engine starts and a few times charging with the motor running. Also a club member was of the opinion that as the car battery is being charged the voltage is rising and falling and that some chargers don't like that. (I did have a charger before this one that said not to run the car engine, I forget the brand name.)

Other than those things I can not say for sure why the charger died. I really did get my money's worth out of this charger. It has really been worked. I have charged hundreds if not a few thousand times in the past four years with it. Even with it's demise I would not hesitate to get another Hyperion charger. I am using Hyperion lipos that charge at a higher rate than a lot of other brands. Some of my larger lipos start charging at 20 amps. That is why I'm draining my car battery low enough to cause the lipo charger to say low voltage input. But that is after a few hours of flying. Maybe I'll get a better car battery in the future.

So, in the end I'm not totally sure why it died but I'll disconnect my charger when I run the car engine to top off the car battery just to be on the safe side.

Thanks for everyones opinions.

Steve
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:16 PM   #7
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Good news, I didn't fry my charger after all. Discovered that I was blowing fuses because when I was trying to charge using the ciggarette lighter adaptor I was over loading the built in fuse! (dumb because I did that once before!)

Tried the charger this morning directly on the auto battery (with engine off) and it worked fine!

I would still advice against running your car engine while charging because the charger did act up and over charge some lipos, of that I am sure. And now with the engine off it is charging like there was never a problem.

I'm just glad now that I am back to having two working chargers again! In case I really kill one of them some day!

Thank again for everyone's opinions!

Steve
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:37 PM   #8
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I was always pretty sure that the running engine couldn't have damaged your charger. Good to hear that the real problem was one that could easily be fixed.
Regarding the overcharged LiPo's: There is even less possibility that a running engine could cause the charger to over-charge a LiPo. The charge termination voltage has nothing to do with the input voltage of the charger. Most likely the problem was the charger being set incorrectly for the battery it was charging.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:19 PM   #9
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Default Engine Running!

One cold morning my Dodge 6cyl. wouldn't start & after several
attempts it lit off!
About 2-3 sec's after starting & running @ about 1,500 rpms I
turned the lights on & both headlights BLEW!! Battery was depleted,
& Alt. was putting out max!!!!

Regards
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:54 PM   #10
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Jimmy,

With a flat battery the alternator would be putting out max amps but voltage would be at it's lowest.. So that doesn't really explain why your lights would blow (not disputing that it happened but the alternator doesn't increase voltage due to a flat battery, quite the reverse in fact).
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:19 PM   #11
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Alt does increase voltage with engine speed, but dodge was never known for their wiring. My neon was the biggest peice of crap I ever looked at. Tailight bulbs melted, dash constantly went out, fronn lights wouldn't light up, and airbqg light and check engne light were always on. The camshaft sensor was getting eaten by the cam shaft. Even after putting on a new from dodge head and cam after a blown head gasket, same problem. Gave up after buying about 10 sensors at $80 a pop, went to the junkyard, million neons, not a single camshaft sensor. Don't think I'm the only one that had the same problem.

All and all, your voltage regulator probably just went out, and alts are the same between makes. Ford uses bosch and mitsubishi(dodge) alts on most of their bigger trucks. A lot of componants in a car are diesigned to work from 8-16 volts, or even higher. A good healthy alt at idle should put out right around 14.2 with full load. Unloaded should be 14.6 or so. At higher rpm's it will probably get near 15-16vs.

To blow head lights you were probably well over 16 volts, and your lucky you didn't burn out all your other components.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:28 AM   #12
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It is still a mystery to me because I don't manually change the setting at the field because of the built in memory. The charger has a memory for 20 different settings. I have two settings for each of my lipos labeled by plane and number. One when I'm charging from the car battery (some of my larger Hyperion lipos start charging at 20 amps) and one setting for when I'm using the ciggarette lighter. I have to limit the charge to a max of 10 amps when using the ciggarette lighter adaptor because the car will only feed the ciggarette lighter socket at a max of 10 amps. So, I will admit there are times when my "thumbs" make mistakes while flying but I could not have changed any setting while charging.

Another thing to add to the mystery is that it says right on the front of the charger that input voltage can be from 11 volts to 28 volts and when my engine was running the charger was showing an input voltage of only 14 volts.

The only other thing I can think of is that my freind, the club member says that it is the variation of input voltage that his charger doesn't like. Perhaps the charging input of the car charging system is doing something? I can't think of anything else that may have caused the problem.

Who knows for sure but I may try charging again with the engine running (while I'm standing there watching like a hawk) just to see what happens.

In any event, the charger is working now so far with the engine off and I'm happy...

Now if only my wife would let me buy that $750 sailplane I want to get without giving me "that look"! I'm sure all you married pilots out there have gotten "that look"!

Steve
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Stevedots View Post
Hi all,

I only assumed (I know the old joke) because the problem started after a few engine starts and a few times charging with the motor running. Also a club member was of the opinion that as the car battery is being charged the voltage is rising and falling and that some chargers don't like that. (I did have a charger before this one that said not to run the car engine, I forget the brand name.)

Other than those things I can not say for sure why the charger died. I really did get my money's worth out of this charger. It has really been worked. I have charged hundreds if not a few thousand times in the past four years with it. Even with it's demise I would not hesitate to get another Hyperion charger. I am using Hyperion lipos that charge at a higher rate than a lot of other brands. Some of my larger lipos start charging at 20 amps. That is why I'm draining my car battery low enough to cause the lipo charger to say low voltage input. But that is after a few hours of flying. Maybe I'll get a better car battery in the future.

So, in the end I'm not totally sure why it died but I'll disconnect my charger when I run the car engine to top off the car battery just to be on the safe side.

Thanks for everyones opinions.

Steve
Yeah, as jetplaneflyer indicates, our automotive batteries really are not designed for a power source for our chargers. In my case, even a 120 Ampere Hour deep cycle battery was not lasting one year, or about 20 discharge and charge cycles on the deep cycle battery.

Might be my Cellpro Powerlab 8 charger was pulling 40 Amps for 18 minutes out of the deep cycle battery???

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Old 04-15-2012, 02:14 AM   #14
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I'm turning my 2000 Explorer into my Plane Hauler. I have mounted 2 Trojan T-145 Golf Cart Batteries. They are isolated Hellroaring Tech Battery Isolator. www.hellroaring.com/nodiode.php. I went with golf cart battteries because they are designed for constant discharge. They are mounted in custom boxes that are bolted to the floorboard and vented to the outside of the vehicle in case of accident. I have replaced to alternator with a 250 amp heavy duty unit that is used in Police Cars or other vechicles with lots of added electronics. All of the recepticals have been frame and battery grounded. No more dead batteries for ole Johnny. Will post pictures when finished.
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Big Johnny View Post
I'm turning my 2000 Explorer into my Plane Hauler. I have mounted 2 Trojan T-145 Golf Cart Batteries. They are isolated Hellroaring Tech Battery Isolator. www.hellroaring.com/nodiode.php. I went with golf cart battteries because they are designed for constant discharge. They are mounted in custom boxes that are bolted to the floorboard and vented to the outside of the vehicle in case of accident. I have replaced to alternator with a 250 amp heavy duty unit that is used in Police Cars or other vechicles with lots of added electronics. All of the recepticals have been frame and battery grounded. No more dead batteries for ole Johnny. Will post pictures when finished.
Yeah
I thought seriously about buying a pair of those 6 Volt golf cart batteries for DC power, but didn't know how long they'd stand up to how I use them.

So the "portable 65 Amp supply" was put together. So far, it's worked out well. (It also keeps my club members that only fly the big gasser models happy )

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

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Old 04-15-2012, 02:57 AM   #16
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Damm, don't know what I'm going to do when I eventually get a 5 or 6 cell 5000 milliamp warbird! Never mind a twin warbird.

Wish my club had A/C power at the field but I don't see that happening.

And don't forget....I still have to deal with "That Look" from the wife!

Steve
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Stevedots View Post
Damm, don't know what I'm going to do when I eventually get a 5 or 6 cell 5000 milliamp warbird! Never mind a twin warbird.

Wish my club had A/C power at the field but I don't see that happening.

And don't forget....I still have to deal with "That Look" from the wife!

Steve
I did OK when flying models with a 6S2P A123 battery pack that is similar in capability to a 5 cell Lipo. Those 120 Ampere hour deep cycle batteries would last about a year under those conditions.

What caused the problems was going to a 12S2P A123 pack in my giant scale models. The Cellpro Powerlab 8 charger was pulling about 50 Amperes out of the deep cycle batteries. IMHO, it was killing them.

Take a look:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65723

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Old 04-15-2012, 06:48 PM   #18
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Default Did it again!

Today I was at the field and I decided to try the suspect charger two ways, one with the engine off running directly from the auto battery and once with the engine running. I did disconnect the charger when starting the engine.

Same results, works fine with the car engine off but over charges the lipo's beyond 4.19 or 4.20 with the engine running. The lipo got up to 4.35 before I shut it down. I did manually check the setting and they were OK. Same setting for both attempts.

So I'm going to try to contact Hyperion and see what they say. There was nothing in the instructions about not running your auto engine.

It is really no big deal but now I'm just want to know why it is doing this.

Steve
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:59 PM   #19
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Default Contacted Hyperion

I contacted Hyperion and they said that the charger should work OK with the engine running. They also gave me a series of questions to answer about while chargeing.

Before I attempted to use the (old) charger with the engine running I tried the new charger (same charger but A/C D/C version). I used the computer software to make sure the user setting were the same.

The new Hyperion EOS0720i Net 3 (A/C D/C version) charged perfectly with the car engine running and not running. So it turns out the original charger is defective.

In fact when I was trying to charge with it again with the engine running it really malfunctioned. First it over charged the lipos then when I switched to storage mode to get the lipos back to a lower cell voltage state the display flashed and it stopped working completlely!

So, it wasn't the car charging system, or the setting, it was the charger it was just giving up the ghost. As I said before I really can not be upset because I have really gotten a lot of charging/storage cycles out of it in the past 3 or 4 (maybe longer) years since I have purchased it.

I will not hesitate to buy another Hyperion charger, in fact I plan on ordering another one of the Hyperion EOS0720i Net 3 A/C D/C versions as a back up to the one I already have.

Thanks everyone for your input and help!

Steve
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:47 PM   #20
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Default Hyperion

Steve!

I am sure they would give you
a good deal on repair/replace!!~

REGARDS!
Jimmy
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:06 AM   #21
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I didn't actually ask for a replacement but I complimented them enough and asked about how long the warrantee was to leave the door open if they wanted to offer me something.

Steve
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:16 PM   #22
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Came across this the other day. I've noticed with my car running and Powerlab8, the charger triggers a safety function that occurs when the voltage functions are beyond the designer's safe levels. A some amount of fluctuations can be absorbed by the chargers input capacitor. But large amounts, over time can be hard on the capacitor.

In practice, chargers need a fairly constant input voltage. This does not mean ripple-free, but free of voltage fluctuations. If the input voltage of the charger suddenly rises or falls, the output current does the same, as the charger's electronics need some time to compensate and readjust. The output current can fluctuate quite a lot, for example 4 times as much when the input voltage rises by 1V. This is also the reason why one should not charge from a car with the engine running. It has happened that chargers were destroyed by the fluctuations.

<http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1082910>
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:47 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Gregor View Post
Came across this the other day. I've noticed with my car running and Powerlab8, the charger triggers a safety function that occurs when the voltage functions are beyond the designer's safe levels. A some amount of fluctuations can be absorbed by the chargers input capacitor. But large amounts, over time can be hard on the capacitor.


<http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1082910>
That's kind of strange, especially when the Powerlab 8 is rated for between one 12 Volt battery and two 12 volt batteries in series. I've connected mine to a variable 24 Volt 25 Amp supply, set to anywhere between 12 and 24 VDC. No problems.

Have also run it off of my auto battery but don't do that when I'm charging a 6S4P A123 pack at 28 amps! (That's pulling 51 Amps out of the 12 Volt Battery)

So, this is my "Portable 65 Amp 12 Volt DC Supply" Take a look:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66066

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Old 04-27-2012, 10:56 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
That's kind of strange, especially when the Powerlab 8 is rated for between one 12 Volt battery and two 12 volt batteries in series.
Its not the voltage range, but the voltage fluctuations that are the issue. I suspect that will vary considerable depending on the vehicle and condition of the car's battery. My battery is smallish and not new. So if the car's regulator dipped rapidly, the car's battery most likely could do much to prevent the input voltage from dropping from 14v to 12v. The voltage fluctuations were enough to trigger the safety code when the car was running. As that is not my typical charging scenario, I didn't pursue it.
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:08 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Stevedots View Post
I didn't actually ask for a replacement but I complimented them enough and asked about how long the warrantee was to leave the door open if they wanted to offer me something.

Steve
My charger was old enough that it was no longer in production so no free replacement or deal on a new one. But the new one (a/c d/c) works great. Both with the engine running and not running. At least now I know what it is suppose to be able to do!

Steve
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