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Thread: Lipo balancer chargers

  1. #1

    Default Lipo balancer chargers

    I have recently purchased but have not received yet a Sky Charger b6ac balancer charger to charge and manage my batteries. I didn't by the La Crosse 700 or 900 or the Maha c9000 due to the fact I want to charge a wide range of batteries. Has anyone any experience with these types of chargers. I have visited Youtube and it seems many people like them. But I can't ask them any questions. So I wanted to get a new thread started on these chargers. I couldn't find a thread on these so l started one.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    There's a thread or two around about this style of charger - mostly the Accucell 6 which is a clone, almost. I've got a few different hobby chargers, each has its pluses and minuses, but they're not the best thing for charging AA cells of any flavour, unless they're welded into a pack.

    I use them to charge my R/C packs, (2S & 3S LiPo's with balance leads), and occasionally my cordless drill battery (15 cell NiCad) and a 12V gelcell.

    This style of charger is very flexible, but if you want to maintain AA's, you really need a C9000.

    Cheers
    I'm a peripheral visionary...

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Russel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    There are a few threads concerning the Sky Charger b6ac balancer charger here:

    http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/searc...Charger%20b6ac

    And you can post questions. Although it would be great if someone here could answer your questions.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by digitor View Post
    This style of charger is very flexible, but if you want to maintain AA's, you really need a C9000.

    Cheers
    That's why I bought this type of charger because it will do all types of battery packs. But I would like to understand more on the charging aspect of this Sky Charger b6ac and why it won't maintain NiMh single cells as well as the the C9000. These "lipo balancer/charger" systems say they'll charger "1-15" cell NiMh batteries as well which makes me think they would have the capability to charger the NiMh the way they were engineered to be charged. At least that's one of the main reason I bought it.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlampJunkie View Post
    But I would like to understand more on the charging aspect of this Sky Charger b6ac and why it won't maintain NiMh single cells as well as the the C9000.
    It has the capability to maintain NiMh cells, it's just that it would be a lot more time consuming on your part.

    In order to maintain AA cells (for example) the cells would need to be in a pack or in a (parallel) cradle
    (as 45/70 indicates below, do not charge at a rate higher than 0.1C).
    If one cell is going bad, it may not really show or the whole pack/group may get brought down to the lowest cell.

    The other option is you would need to maintain the cells one at a time, which would be very time consuming.

    Something like the C9000 has 4 independant channels to maintain each cell on it's own and cells can be removed from or inserted into the charger whenever you want.
    Last edited by Black Rose; 02-27-2010 at 10:40 AM. Reason: Added caveat regarding parallel NiMh charging

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    The Sky Charger is one of the many clones, of the Bantam BC6. They all work pretty much the same, with minor differences, the biggest being there are AC and DC versions. After reading on the R/C forums how, especially with the cheaper clones, the AC power supply can fail, I bought a low end DC version. Except for some initail modding that needed to be done, it works very well.

    Black Rose pretty much covered the usability of these types of chargers. They do in fact charge just about any type of battery. The big disadvantage in using them to charge individual cells, is you have to charge the cells one at a time, as this particular type of charger only has one channel. These chargers, are primarily designed to charge soldered, or welded series packs.

    One thing I want to mention here,

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Rose View Post
    In order to maintain AA cells (for example) the cells would need to be in a pack or in a (parallel) cradle.
    You do not ever want to charge NiMH, or NiCd cells in parallel at a rate higher than 0.1C. There is no suitable means to determine charge termination, when nickel based cells are charged in parallel. Charging these cells in series, is of course fine. For Li-Ion cells (all chemistries) parallel, or balanced series charging works fine.

    In summary, these types of chargers are very versatile, but are limited to charging multiple nickel based cells in series, only. To keep track of individual cell behavior, it is necessary to charge each cell, one at a time.

    Dave

  7. #7

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Rose View Post
    It has the capability to maintain NiMh cells, it's just that it would be a lot more time consuming on your part.

    In order to maintain AA cells (for example) the cells would need to be in a pack or in a (parallel) cradle
    (as 45/70 indicates below, do not charge at a rate higher than 0.1C).
    If one cell is going bad, it may not really show or the whole pack/group may get brought down to the lowest cell.

    The other option is you would need to maintain the cells one at a time, which would be very time consuming.

    Something like the C9000 has 4 independant channels to maintain each cell on it's own and cells can be removed from or inserted into the charger whenever you want.

    I truly understand the "time" factor to maintain NiMh single cells on the Lipo balancer/charger. I have given it some thought and researched this forum as to how to keep from spending lots of time maintaing/charging NiMh single cell rechargeables. I found that some guys are moding their single cell chargers with a balancing/charging plug to utilize their Lipo balancer/chargers to cut down on "time" problems. It seems to work. That's what I'm striving for.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlampJunkie View Post
    I truly understand the "time" factor to maintain NiMh single cells on the Lipo balancer/charger. I have given it some thought and researched this forum as to how to keep from spending lots of time maintaing/charging NiMh single cell rechargeables. I found that some guys are moding their single cell chargers with a balancing/charging plug to utilize their Lipo balancer/chargers to cut down on "time" problems. It seems to work. That's what I'm striving for.
    I'm not sure what your getting at here, but it is not possible to balance charge NiMH/NiCd cells in series with a hobby charger, only Li-Ion cells.

    Dave

  9. #9

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by 45/70 View Post
    I'm not sure what your getting at here, but it is not possible to balance charge NiMH/NiCd cells in series with a hobby charger, only Li-Ion cells.

    Dave
    Yep I understand that. What I'm trying to accomplish is to get into the 21st century with my NiMh chargers because I want to see then information about the batteries that a LaCrosse c700 or 900 or even a C9000 battery charger displays. But those chargers only charge AAA and AA batteries. That's why I went with the Sky Charger b6ac Lipo balancer/charger. It will charge and also balance packs and give me the information on each cell I'm looking for. But charging single cell NiMh and NiCd batteries would be a pain. So what you have to do is mod a NiMh/NiCd charger to a parallel configuration with a balancer plug. Because my NiMh/NiCd charger accomodates 6 single cell batteries and a 9V. Then I just hook the charger (not pluged in normally to the wall after moding) to my Sky Charger b6ac balancer/charger and charge and balance at the same time and getting the readout information on each cell I'm lookin for. Now I'm into the 21st century.

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by 45/70 View Post
    You do not ever want to charge NiMH, or NiCd cells in parallel at a rate higher than 0.1C.
    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlampJunkie View Post
    So what you have to do is mod a NiMh/NiCd charger to a parallel configuration with a balancer plug.
    I've got to say this even more definitely. You do not ever want to charge NiMH or NiCd in parallel under any circumstances, even at 0.1C.

    The reason is that the voltage behavior of these cells will prevent you obtaining even current distribution between the parallel cells.

    The way you balance NiMH packs is you charge them in series at 0.1C for 16 hours. At the end of the 16 hours all the cells will be at a full and balanced charge state.

    Like the infamous parking sign, don't even think of charging NiMH cells in parallel.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlampJunkie View Post
    Yep I understand that. What I'm trying to accomplish is to get into the 21st century with my NiMh chargers because I want to see then information about the batteries that a LaCrosse c700 or 900 or even a C9000 battery charger displays. But those chargers only charge AAA and AA batteries. That's why I went with the Sky Charger b6ac Lipo balancer/charger. It will charge and also balance packs and give me the information on each cell I'm looking for. But charging single cell NiMh and NiCd batteries would be a pain. So what you have to do is mod a NiMh/NiCd charger to a parallel configuration with a balancer plug. Because my NiMh/NiCd charger accomodates 6 single cell batteries and a 9V. Then I just hook the charger (not pluged in normally to the wall after moding) to my Sky Charger b6ac balancer/charger and charge and balance at the same time and getting the readout information on each cell I'm lookin for. Now I'm into the 21st century.
    If you mean that you will modify an old charger, and use it as a battery holder, then use a balance plug setup to charge 6 NiCds at once, it won't work.

    The b6a6 charger doesn't use the balance plug on the NiCd/NiMH setting, so you'd have to use the LiIon balance charge setting. In fact, it doesn't charge via the balance connector either, (just balances while charging) so you will need to connect the cells in series as well, using the main charger output leads. But, using this program, as soon as the charger sees that each cell is only around 1.2V, it will refuse to charge, as the voltage is way too low for a LiIon cell.

    Cheers
    I'm a peripheral visionary...

  12. #12

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by digitor View Post
    If you mean that you will modify an old charger, and use it as a battery holder, then use a balance plug setup to charge 6 NiCds at once, it won't work.

    The b6a6 charger doesn't use the balance plug on the NiCd/NiMH setting, so you'd have to use the LiIon balance charge setting. In fact, it doesn't charge via the balance connector either, (just balances while charging) so you will need to connect the cells in series as well, using the main charger output leads. But, using this program, as soon as the charger sees that each cell is only around 1.2V, it will refuse to charge, as the voltage is way too low for a LiIon cell.

    Cheers
    Like I mentioned in Post #9 I'm only really concered with getting the Mah and voltage readout on the batteries while charging.

    Since I do not have hands on experience yet with the b6a6 charger I don't know what it will give me in data on the LCD screens when I hook up a NiMh battery to this unit. Or what it will give me in data on the LCD when I hook up 15 NiMh cells (in series). That's what I'm really wanting to know.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    I think what you're getting at is using a caddy charger to charge the cells, then somehow getting a balance plug onto it so you can see the per cell voltage info?

    Sounds like it should work, although it'll be a bit bulky.

    All you'll really see with any accuracy is voltage though. I imagine any capacity testing will either not work or be horrendously inaccurate in that configuration

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by herulach View Post
    I think what you're getting at is using a caddy charger to charge the cells, then somehow getting a balance plug onto it so you can see the per cell voltage info?

    Sounds like it should work, although it'll be a bit bulky.

    All you'll really see with any accuracy is voltage though. I imagine any capacity testing will either not work or be horrendously inaccurate in that configuration

    I'm curious where HeadlampJunkie found information as to how to do this. Any links Junkie?

    If one did set up a cradle with balance leads to use with this charger, it wouldn't accomplish anything when the charger was set to NiMH/NiCd, as the balancing function is not available in these modes. Also, there is no individual cell information available in these modes either, only the series "pack" voltage.

    If the charger were set to LiFe/LiIo/LiPo, it would attempt to charge the cells at 3.6/4.1/4.2 Volts/cell, and I would think, reject the process with an error message, as the cells would be detected as being under voltage.

    Dave

  15. #15

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Sounds like he's wanting a monitor mode, where it neither charges nor discharges. The iCharger series (I have the 208B) has this exact feature, but I really don't know what it'll do with the voltage seen from Nixx as it's targeted for Lixx.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlampJunkie View Post
    Like I mentioned in Post #9 I'm only really concered with getting the Mah and voltage readout on the batteries while charging.

    Since I do not have hands on experience yet with the b6a6 charger I don't know what it will give me in data on the LCD screens when I hook up a NiMh battery to this unit. Or what it will give me in data on the LCD when I hook up 15 NiMh cells (in series). That's what I'm really wanting to know.
    In post #9 when you said "and getting the readout information on each cell I'm lookin for. Now I'm into the 21st century." it sounded like you were hoping for more than that...

    What you will see is pack voltage, charge current, elapsed time and charged capacity. No data for individual cells.

    Cheers
    I'm a peripheral visionary...

  17. #17

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    I've got to say this even more definitely. You do not ever want to charge NiMH or NiCd in parallel under any circumstances, even at 0.1C.

    The reason is that the voltage behavior of these cells will prevent you obtaining even current distribution between the parallel cells.

    The way you balance NiMH packs is you charge them in series at 0.1C for 16 hours. At the end of the 16 hours all the cells will be at a full and balanced charge state.

    Like the infamous parking sign, don't even think of charging NiMH cells in parallel.

    So what's going to happen if I charge these NiMh batteries in Parallel??

  18. #18

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Just got my Sky Charger b6ac balancer/charger in today and I was slowly learning about my NiMh batteries that I didn't know before. I searched on Youtube an found this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ROhH9EkhtUd An explanation about the charging characteristics of these batteries. This guy is dead on.

    Plus when I couldn't get an old very dead 3.6v NiMh 400mah battery pack from a cordless phone to charge to 400mah capacity on the NiMh setting I changed over to the Li-Ion setting and guess what? It took the charge and to capacity!! The delta C on NiMh setting wasn't allowing the pack to take charge because it was so dead. The Li-Ion setting has no delta C cutoff. In this scenerio I made sure to check the battery charger and pack every now and then to keep an eye on it. I had the Sky Charger b6ac connected to my computer and watched Voltage curve just like the guy in the Youtube video explained. And sure enough as it was reaching capacity the voltage started droping slowly. At 400mah I shut it off. I had the pack accepting about .4 amps and about an hour the packs charge did just as he said it would. The Li-Ion setting would have let it go to 120 minutes and then shut it off if I hadn't.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlampJunkie View Post
    So what's going to happen if I charge these NiMh batteries in Parallel??
    As Mr H stated in his post that you quoted, the current distribution between nickel chemistry cells that are in parallel, is uneven. What you will get, is some cells that are overcharged, and some cells that are undercharged. The problem, aside from uneven charging, is that the overcharged cells could be damaged in the process.

    Dave

  20. #20

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    My next trick is to wire some NiMh batteries in Parallel with a charge plug and an additional balancer plug and see if I can charger and balance them in this configuration in the Li-Ion setting because the NiMh setting won't show the readout on Capacity and Voltage for each cell. Why? Why not? I'm curious as to what these batteries will do. Anyone want to take a guess?

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    I don't know junkie, it doesn't sound too good to me though. I don't have flash on this computer, so I couldn't look at the YouTube video. I'll check it out tomorrow.

    Dave

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by HeadlampJunkie View Post
    My next trick is to wire some NiMh batteries in Parallel with a charge plug and an additional balancer plug and see if I can charger and balance them in this configuration in the Li-Ion setting because the NiMh setting won't show the readout on Capacity and Voltage for each cell. Why? Why not? I'm curious as to what these batteries will do. Anyone want to take a guess?
    For my guess, see my post above about what will happen if you attempt to charge NiMH cells using the balance port on the LiIon program.

    Cheers
    I'm a peripheral visionary...

  23. #23

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Quote Originally Posted by digitor View Post
    For my guess, see my post above about what will happen if you attempt to charge NiMH cells using the balance port on the LiIon program.

    Cheers
    Well I'll also have a charge connection as well. So I'll be charging and balancing the NiMh pack on the Li-Ion setting. While paying very close attention to the charging process of course.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    So I'm going to wire a 4 AAA battery holder in Parallel with a charger connection and a balancing connection. Then I'm going to insert the AAA batteries and connect the charger plug to the Sky Charger b6ac charger and then connect the balancing port the the Sky Charger b6ac balancing port. Then charge them as if the are Li-Ion batteries. Hoping for a charge and an individual cell balance charge. Why? Because each NiMh cell (when wired in series) in a pack on a fast charge (hour or hour and a half) doesn't get balanced properly. They only get balanced on a trickle charge. But if I wire them in parallel with a balance plug I'm hoping for a balanced NiMh pack when charged in Li-Ion setting in an hour or hour and a half charge. I'm not going to run off and leave the charger so I'll watch it closely and let you know how it goes.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* Russel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Why would you want to try charging NiMH cells with a Lithium Ion charge algorithm? Especially when the cell voltage is so drastically different.

    I highly recommend that you use an appropriate charger such as a Maha MH-C9000 that is designed to charge or discharge individual NiMH cells as well as provide you with information about the process.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Lipo balancer chargers

    Hello HeadlampJunkie,

    The balance circuit is designed to keep Li-Ion or Li-Po cells from exceeding 4.2 volts per cell. When you hook up a 1.2 volt NiMh cell to it, what do you expect it to do?

    Tom
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