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Thread: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

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    Default Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    I guess this would be of interest especially for the users of 8AA flashlights. Charging two rounds at the same time. What do you think about it?

    http://www.batteryjunction.com/titanium-md-1600l.html

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    I do not like the charge time, 400mA is a low charge current. My 8 channel charger can charge 16 cells faster, it can use either 1000mA or 2000mA charge current.
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Yeah I think the Maha MH-C801d I have had for years has a 1 (fast charge) to 2(slow charge) hour charging cycle,so even though its only 8 bay its still more efficient probably ,nice find though.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    400ma per channel isn't that bad actually, considering its ability to charge AAAs.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by Illum View Post
    400ma per channel isn't that bad actually, considering its ability to charge AAAs.
    For AAA it uses 180 mA, again a very low value. Using higher charge current makes the termination much more reliable, besides making charging faster.
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Thanks for the response and the valuable information!

    CPF is such a great source of information so I hardly more buy any flashlight, battery or charger without first seeking information here!

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    For AAA it uses 180 mA, again a very low value. Using higher charge current makes the termination much more reliable, besides making charging faster.
    I guess a lot might depend how good the termination algorithm is.
    There's certainly a more obvious termination signal at higher rates, but is it impossible to terminate reliably at lower rates with cells in decent condition?
    I have a couple of commercial chargers that charge at a ~0.2C rate and they seem to terminate OK with all my working cells.

    If cells are not in decent condition and are already due for replacement, how much does it matter if a lower current termination is delayed?
    They're presumably not too likely to go bang if a 0.2C or lower charge runs on a bit too long.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by uk_caver View Post
    I guess a lot might depend how good the termination algorithm is.
    There's certainly a more obvious termination signal at higher rates, but is it impossible to terminate reliably at lower rates with cells in decent condition?
    I have a couple of commercial chargers that charge at a ~0.2C rate and they seem to terminate OK with all my working cells.

    If cells are not in decent condition and are already due for replacement, how much does it matter if a lower current termination is delayed?
    They're presumably not too likely to go bang if a 0.2C or lower charge runs on a bit too long.

    It is about reliability, with the low charging current it will probably not catch all cells, some will just be cooked. There is no risk of cells going bang, if it misses the the termination it will just reduce the lifetime of the batteries.
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    It is about reliability, with the low charging current it will probably not catch all cells, some will just be cooked. There is no risk of cells going bang, if it misses the the termination it will just reduce the lifetime of the batteries.
    Would that generally happen more with more aged cells, or cells in certain states of charge, or more or less randomly?

    The slower commercial smart chargers I have all seem to consistently terminate about when I'd expect them to (so they either terminate correctly, or at worst slightly late), and don't seem to significantly heat cells.
    They do tend to get fed decent LSD cells most of the time.

    Experimentation while designing a homemade ~0.2c smart charger for multicell packs (such as halting the microcontroller while debugging while leaving the charge turned on) suggests that it's certainly possible to warm cells meaningfully with a not-too-prolonged 0.2C overcharge, so with the commercial chargers, a lack of excessive heat on termination does seem to indicate that termination has happened at about the right time.

    A cheap smart charger I have charges faster, but seems rather more likely to be less good at terminating, judging from ultimate cell temperatures, so I'd take the position that charger design is possibly more important than charge rate, and that it is possible to make at least a reasonably good slower smart charger (not that that prevents someone making a bad one).

    It might well be that a particular variable-rate charger is definitely worse at terminating at lower charge rates than higher ones, but it's possible that at least some of that could be down to its particular termination conditions not really being suitable for slower charging, rather than slower charging being inherently quite as bad/difficult as the charger performance might suggest.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Hello Uk caver,

    The first thing to understand is what signals are present to terminate the charge.

    Next you need to look at what charging rate and method gives you a clear strong signal.

    Finally you need to look at cells of different conditions and see if your signal is clear throughout the life of the cell.

    New cells often miss termination. After a few cycles the cells fall into shape and termination is reliable. Aged cells often miss termination.

    -dV is often used for charge termination. The best signal for -dV termination comes when the cell is charged at 1.0C. It is reasonably reliable down to 0.5C, and with newer cells a little lower than that.

    Temperature change is another method of termination. The best signal obtained for temperature termination also occurs at about 1.0C. Lower charge rates seem to cook the cells more than needed.

    Maximum voltage works great for new cells, but as cells age their termination voltage increases. Most chargers are not able to tell what condition the cells are in. The exception is the Schulze algorithm for NiMh and NiCd charging.

    With a dedicated battery pack you can measure the amount of charged used, and only put that amount back in, accounting for various losses. This is difficult to do with single cells.

    Another charge method is the timed charge. Since you don't know how far the cell has been discharged, these chargers charge at a rate slow enough to minimize the damage involved during overcharge.

    Another charge method is to continually charge at 0.1C. The problem here is if you change cells and go to cells that have a different capacity.

    The list goes on and on, and there are variations on all of these. The biggest problem is cost. A well thought out charger that has been thoroughly tested to work with cells in various conditions is going to cost more than a simple charger.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    I recall uk caver previously writing about his homemade charger. Designing NiMH chargers is certainly interesting.

    Almost all cells can be terminated by looking for a voltage plateau. Two problems with that are:
    1. How long do you wait to decide you have a plateau and not a slowly rising voltage?
    2. How do you know this is the final plateau and not just a temporary flat spot early in the charge (it can happen)?


    I think the most certain method of charge termination in theory is to detect a temperature rise in the cells. This will always occur at the end of charge, but the problem here is to reliably measure the temperature. It is not easy to get a temperature sensor to be in good thermal contact with the charging battery in a removable cell charger.
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    Almost all cells can be terminated by looking for a voltage plateau. Two problems with that are:

    1. How long do you wait to decide you have a plateau and not a slowly rising voltage?
    2. How do you know this is the final plateau and not just a temporary flat spot early in the charge (it can happen)?
    Ultimately, it seems to come down to finding numbers that work with the capacity ranges likely to be encountered.
    With a combination -dv/0dv approach, terminating on -dv detected in a short period and 0dv worked out over a longer period, termination seems fairly reliable with new cell packs and also with pretty old and worn-out ones.

    I'd be interested to know what causes termination in the commercial slow smart chargers I have.
    I seem to remember that years ago, some smart charge controller chips had 0dv termination as the NiMH option, as opposed to the NiCD option of -dv.
    Anyone know what currently-used chips do, or do chargers tend to get built around something more microcontroller-like these days?

    A suppose a fair bit might depend on how precisely voltages are being measured - what looks flat at a certain resolution may actually be a very slow slope at another, and charge controllers might be getting more accurate over time.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Many of the faster chips uses all conditions to terminate on, i.e. they have -DV/DT, maximum voltage, maximum time and temperature. The -DV/DT is designated as the primary termination and the other as backup.
    You can see a few datasheets here:
    http://datasheets.maxim-ic.com/en/ds/DS2710.pdf http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/bq2002e.pdf http://cds.linear.com/docs/Datasheet/4060f.pdf
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by uk_caver View Post
    Anyone know what currently-used chips do, or do chargers tend to get built around something more microcontroller-like these days?
    I spent some time once examining the Duracell CEF21 charger. This actually has an ATMEGA microcontroller inside it, but as far as I could tell from my measurements it was looking for a -5 mV signal for termination and it was prepared to wait a really long time for that to happen.

    I suppose it would be slightly possible to reverse engineer the circuit and reprogram the micro to have a different algorithm, but I'm not quite sure how long that would take. Certainly a steep learning curve for a novice like me.
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    I don't know about you, but if I was wanting to charge 16 batteries at once I would rather have two 8 bay chargers that way if one decided to die on me I would still be up and running and I could also move one to another location too if needed. Also that could be a lot or localized heat building up near the middle batteries if you are charging 16 of them at a time at a decent rate (if you had a faster charger).
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    I spent some time once examining the Duracell CEF21 charger. This actually has an ATMEGA microcontroller inside it, but as far as I could tell from my measurements it was looking for a -5 mV signal for termination and it was prepared to wait a really long time for that to happen.
    Would they actually have a great incentive to make it perfect, given that they sell NiMH cells to people whose previous cells have died?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    I suppose it would be slightly possible to reverse engineer the circuit and reprogram the micro to have a different algorithm, but I'm not quite sure how long that would take.
    Possibly longer than just making something from scratch and highly unlikely to be worth doing for a one-off result.

    I'd personally agree with the idea of having twin 8-cell chargers, though I suppose different people have different requirements.
    If someone sees a 16-cell one as good for them, they presumably have reasons for doing so.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    So what's the favorite 8-bay charger?

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    I just got this 16 bay charger last night (Reliably, tracked 3 day shipping). Finally, a solution that works. Yes, I would prefer a 32 bay, but the price limit. I would need $400 of smart chargers to make me happy. With the Titanium genius, I ran through, checking about 70 cells, and cycling 20 cells last night (I have one Maha 4 bay smart charger.). This would have taken days with old setup. Also, not one of the cells got hot like they all do in the .5/1c Maha smart charger. All cells were terminated when I awoke. Also, it rejected nearly all my old high internal resistance cells that the maha did-- 2 of 14 high internal-resistance cells it did take, where I am cycling them now.

    I have so many cells because I buy a couple packs a year, and after like 7-9 years, they add up. I can need 32 cells a day easy, not counting domestic usage. So, to me, it appears to be terminating, but we would need an expert to know for sure. ( I can only measure maximum current and voltage. )

    I have only owned the Maha 1c/.5c for a week. I think I will need to place cells on top of ice pack to ensure cell health when using this 1to 2 hour charger. (You heat sink leds, why not charging batteries?) I don't trust the maha not to damage cells with heat at this fast rate.... Now, you guys got me to worry about missed termination on the .2c 16 bay charger.
    Last edited by degarb; 10-14-2011 at 09:20 AM.
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by degarb View Post
    (You heat sink leds, why not charging batteries?)
    Because the -dV at the end of charging is provided by a temperature rise. If you have everything cooled very nicely (I.E. ac blowing right on it the whole time) and the increase in temperature is minor, then the -dV will be small and easier to miss too.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by CKOD View Post
    Because the -dV at the end of charging is provided by a temperature rise. If you have everything cooled very nicely (I.E. ac blowing right on it the whole time) and the increase in temperature is minor, then the -dV will be small and easier to miss too.
    Interesting and disappointing. However, this is only a hypothesis, and not a theory, until someone verifies this in real world. We are talking computer chips, so "small" might not matter. Brand of charger might.

    I have yet to ice pack cells when charging on the Maha -c204w. (I've been too interested in relative heat v. brand/age of cell, when charging at the .5C rate.) I haven't noticed (big qualifier) overcharging on the energizer 15 minute charger (only an apparent 5x life cycle extension of the cells).

    I also wonder what is the sign of an over charged cell other than heat. (Most cells in past come off dumb chargers at 1.42 volts.)
    Last edited by degarb; 10-14-2011 at 10:58 AM.
    Some people are all lumens and no lux, while others are all lux and no lumens. Some just thank God they have neither.-- All of my lights have throw--some pretty darn far, into the garbage.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by degarb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CKOD View Post
    Because the -dV at the end of charging is provided by a temperature rise. If you have everything cooled very nicely (I.E. ac blowing right on it the whole time) and the increase in temperature is minor, then the -dV will be small and easier to miss too.
    Interesting and disappointing. However, this is only a hypothesis, and not a theory, until someone verifies this in real world.
    No, it's really true. See an experiment I did here, for example.

    When I charged a single AA cell at 400 mA with the charger lid open there was no -dV signal and the charger missed termination. When did the same test with the lid closed to keep the heat in there was a -dV signal and the charger terminated on time.

    Regarding the worry about batteries getting hot when charged at 0.5C or 1.0C, this might not be the bad thing you think it is. The battery case is tightly sealed to keep the electrolyte inside even if the pressure goes up, and the essential hydrogen recombination reaction at the end of charge will proceed much more efficiently if the battery is warm than if it is cold. In fact I have observed batteries to vent when they remained too cool during charging.
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    I am speaking from ignorance, and trying to grasp the subject of cutoff like any of the man off the street. http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/a...ased_batteries Based on links like this article, the author implies ndv has nothing to do with heat, while measuring heat rise is the backup detection mechanism. The article does imply a .2 C charger with NDV is theoretically not possible. So, I guess this 16 bay charger needs to be reviewed by someone with a machine to test if the cell is cutting off by heat, time, or NDV. The only way I know to test this is to benchmark the voltage shut off from the Maha and compare the shut off on the Titanium to see if voltage off charger is the same (I would assume if higher off the Titanium, then heat or timer is kicking in as NDV is missed). Would this work?
    Some people are all lumens and no lux, while others are all lux and no lumens. Some just thank God they have neither.-- All of my lights have throw--some pretty darn far, into the garbage.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by degarb View Post
    I am speaking from ignorance, and trying to grasp the subject of cutoff like any of the man off the street. http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/a...ased_batteries
    Note that page you linked to concerns nickel cadmium batteries, while we are really concerned here with nickel metal hydride batteries. There is a related page specifically for NiMH batteries.

    Based on links like this article, the author implies ndv has nothing to do with heat,
    (I didn't get that from my reading of the article.)

    while measuring heat rise is the backup detection mechanism.
    Yes, in describing what real chargers do it is explained that high temperature is used as a stopping mechanism if other detection methods have failed. Nickel batteries always get hot when they are being overcharged.

    The article does imply a .2 C charger with NDV is theoretically not possible.
    In the NiMH article I picked up on this sentence:

    It is difficult, if not impossible, to slow-charge a NiMH battery. At a C‑rate of 0.1 to 0.3C, the voltage and temperature profiles fail to exhibit defined characteristics to measure the full-charge state accurately


    While I know what the author is getting at, you can see from my graphs in the other thread that it is not entirely true. When I charged an Eneloop at 400 mA (0.2C) the temperature had a very well defined profile. It remained flat for most of the charge and then had a very strong uptick when charging was complete. You could call the temperature profile a classic "hockey stick".

    There is also a definite voltage plateau at the end of charge, even if NDV does not occur. A suitably intelligent microprocessor-based charger can look for this plateau and stop accordingly.
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    Note that page you linked to concerns nickel cadmium batteries, while we are really concerned here with nickel metal hydride batteries. There is a related page specifically for NiMH batteries.
    Correct, I was aware, but when you click over to the nimh, rather than repeating the info, they basically say "ditto, plus" of this nicd page.

    Hmm.. My daughter just placed two NIZn AAs of questionable health in my hands. Wonder how they work in the smart charger.... No time to google. :-)
    Some people are all lumens and no lux, while others are all lux and no lumens. Some just thank God they have neither.-- All of my lights have throw--some pretty darn far, into the garbage.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    NiZn cells cannot be charged (must not be charged) in an NiMH charger. They need different voltages and a different charging algorithm. If you are lucky the NiMH charger will reject them. If you are unlucky the NiMH charger will be damaged
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Here is a review of the Titanium MD-1600L charger i found on you tube and amazon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LYPKMMquTM http://www.amazon.com/Titanium-Batte...owViewpoints=0 the guy who posted it on you tube made the first review on amazon where he got it.
    Last edited by chewy78; 01-05-2012 at 09:05 AM.

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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    I agree with those amazon reviews. I have owned it for about 2 months and still excited about it. They seem to bring up several points about the charger of interest: surprisingly small size (space takup), how cool the cells are, cell conditioning, 16 circuits, etc.

    The ideal charger should do 16 cells/independent circuits per cell, a lot of devices need batteries now days.

    Missing some of the $60 maha 4 bay features: cell break-in, capacity measuring. But what it has is more important: 16 bays on a well-made, truly smart charger.

    Yes, you could get 2 8 bay chargers for same cost, with the "backup" advantage. But, I, like most of you, already have like 25 electrical cords to plug in at each computer station. I had to climb over and under 12 wires just to type this.
    Some people are all lumens and no lux, while others are all lux and no lumens. Some just thank God they have neither.-- All of my lights have throw--some pretty darn far, into the garbage.

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    Flashaholic chewy78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    I could charge just as many AA cells with my Maha C808M within 4-5 hours. But i like the fact that the Titanium MD1600L has 2 usb charging ports and can have 4 sets of batteries cycling independently of each other if you wanted to discharge them or not. And it looks more compact than my Maha C808M charger for travel purposes.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by chewy78 View Post
    I could charge just as many AA cells with my Maha C808M within 4-5 hours. But i like the fact that the Titanium MD1600L has 2 usb charging ports and can have 4 sets of batteries cycling independently of each other if you wanted to discharge them or not. And it looks more compact than my Maha C808M charger for travel purposes.
    Some days I have enough time to use my quicker chargers, which is a great option. The price of the ($48) Titanium smart charger allows this charger to be not my only charger. (I --at my daily charging area-- have one 4 bay ($40)maha 1-2 hour, 2 one hour smart 4 bay ($10 Biglots closeout), one 15 minute charger. ($30)).

    There is bench time, and there is my human time. The Titanium requires the least of my human time for most days-- where, comfortably, I have about 2 minutes in morning and 2 at night to do battery swap of 4-16 cells. The independent bays are a huge plus (batteries packs are more charged for longer running time.). Unfortunately, the smart charger manufacturers still consider a 2 channel 4 bay charger smart--where one of two cells invariably comes off under charged and runtimes suffer.
    Some people are all lumens and no lux, while others are all lux and no lumens. Some just thank God they have neither.-- All of my lights have throw--some pretty darn far, into the garbage.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Finally a 16 cell AAA/AA charger

    Quote Originally Posted by degarb View Post
    The independent bays are a huge plus (batteries packs are more charged for longer running time.). Unfortunately, the smart charger manufacturers still consider a 2 channel 4 bay charger smart--where one of two cells invariably comes off under charged and runtimes suffer.
    I guess a lot comes down to what customers know, and what they choose to buy.

    Apart from advertising, what mechanisms are there to educate most people about technology changes that don't require them to actively seek information? (apart possibly from the odd knowledgeable friend).
    It's possible for a one-cell-per-channel charger to be advertised as 'kinder to cells', but it could be a fine line between on the one hand effectively branding other current or recently-bought chargers (even from the same brand) as 'bad' (even if true, it isn't always great marketing) and on the other being so subtle that people just see individual cell smart charging as some kind of pointless pampering or sales gimmick.

    Particularly when chargers are sold under cell manufacturer branding, it wouldn't necessarily be good business for someone to be effectively told that the brand X 'Recharge 1000 times!' cells that they've been charging in a brand X charger have probably been prematurely aged to some extent even if religiously used and charged in sets, let alone if they haven't.

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