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Thread: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

  1. #181
    Flashaholic _UPz's Avatar
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Hey kreisl, can you share a link for the USB tester? is it reliable?

  2. #182

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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Xtar Direct sells a USB tester, for both current and voltage, for a mere five dollars. Has been reliable for me, and HKJ and Selfbuilt both have found it to be accurate.

  3. #183
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by _UPz View Post
    Hey kreisl, can you share a link for the USB tester? is it reliable?
    I have been checking a couple of them: http://www.lygte-info.dk/info/indexUSB%20UK.html
    More will be added over the next couple of weeks.
    My website with battery and charger information: lygte-info.
    More than 1000 reviews of batteries, charges and other stuff.
    Compare 18650 LiIon batteries or smaller (RCR123, 16340, 14500, 10450) LiIon batteries.

  4. #184

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    I have been checking a couple of them: http://www.lygte-info.dk/info/indexUSB%20UK.html
    More will be added over the next couple of weeks.
    Damn, I should have waited. Ordered the DX one. Guess it was cheap ...

  5. #185

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    I am informed that all testers can online update the new fw now, my weekend is saved!


    Lemme look for the changes ..

  6. #186
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    For consistency the "Upgrade Complete" dialog-box should be "Update Complete", if it's needed at all.

  7. #187

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    tru (…)
    just some quick intermediate info regarding the new fw:
    + the maximum discharge rate of NiMH/Eneloop got raised from 1 amp to 2 amps, which means that one can discharge 4Χ(-2A) simultaneously for a total discharge power of (4*1.5*2.0)W, 12 watts.
    + also the maximum charge rate of NiMH/Eneloop got raised from 2 amps to 3 amps per slot. 3.0A would be the correct charge rate for D-size Eneloops.
    + again, the minimum user-settable charge rate for both LiIon and NiMH is indeed 0.05A (50mA), not 0.1A (100mA) as stated wrongly in the preliminary specs of the 2014 PDF catalog.
    + cooling fan and background light are now fully controllable: cooling fan has the options {Auto|OFF|ON|
    20|25|…|45|50}°C
    , and the background light has got the options {Auto|1min|3min|5min|ALWAYS ON|OFF}. Underscored options denote the factory default setting (Factory Reset).
    + the CV-phase of LiIon charging can be cancelled, if desired. you'd end up with constant current charging, CC-phase only.
    + and there are many other little changes which i've been discovering and need to test in the next days. looks all promising and fun!

    Q. Hey why would i want to charge a LiIon battery with CC-algorithm instead of the regular CC-CV-algorithm?
    A. You don't need to. The machine does offer this option for more flexibility, though.

    Q. Okay but when could a user make serious use of it if not for fooling around?
    A. I had mentioned a practical/technical example in September. Do you or don't you follow this thread?

    Q. Betcha i do. But I am not too interested in every everything that you're posting. By the way, in September i was on holiday.
    A. The entire month? Sweet man. I can't take a leave until the DC2 product release to market whenever that maybe, yikes

  8. #188
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    After you update to v1.05, are you able to downgrade to v1.0?

  9. #189

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    hmm.

    lemme check




    lol.

  10. #190
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post
    While power banks based on NiMH batteries might exist, the truth is that i hardly know of 1 example with actual market availability and HKJ didn't afaik ever review any such for good reasons.
    They have been on the market for a few years actually from trusted solar companies PowerTraveller and GoalZero with the former being expedition grade quality:
    https://www.powertraveller.com/en/sh.../powerchimp4a/
    http://www.goalzero.com/p/133/guide-10-plus-recharger

    Both can be bought in the average outdoor shop, at least here in the Netherlands

  11. #191

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post
    hmm.

    lemme check





    lol.
    Neat little animated gif, Kreisl, thanks for that. I'm not sure why someone would want to downgrade the firmware, unless, of course, a newer version was discovered to have some bugs.

  12. #192
    Flashaholic _UPz's Avatar
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by Dubois View Post
    ...unless, of course, a newer version was discovered to have some bugs.
    +1

  13. #193
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    I have the NiMh 2500 Bluetooth model and love the power and convenience of the iPhone app. I just wish it ran on the iPad. I'm sure I'll be buying one of these soon.
    It is better to buy a beautiful, expensive, custom flashlight than to curse the darkness.

  14. #194

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by Power Me Up View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post
    I don't want to be shy myself so lemme join your thread mark and say thanks so much for your serious testing efforts of cycling Eneloops hundreds of times. My iCharger can run CYCLE programs with up to 999 cycles, which is insane and awesome at the same time. What's the max number of cycles which the USC UltraSmartCharger supports?
    I've currently got it set to limit the number of cycles to 100 which I think is plenty. I could very easily change it to allow up to about 125 but I kept it at 100 as a nice round number. With a few more changes, I could allow it to go up to literally a billion cycles but I think we can agree that it would be slightly overboard to allow that many! ;-)
    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post
    In the current MC3000 firmware this number is limited to N=10, a nice realistic reasonable practical number. As long as users don't express their case why they would want or need over 10 cycles in a charger-analyzer, the ten would stay that way i guess.
    IMHO, 10 is a bit low. If I didn't have the USC and I was looking at purchasing the MC3000, I'd be asking for it to allow up to 100 as well (or at least 50) so that it could also do similar cycle testing without having to be babied all of the time.
    10 is low for ambitious amateurs or professional battery testers in the industry IMHO too. Since the charger saves the DISCHARGE history (4*100 +4) and displays it in the SOV, i am not sure if there is some kind of memory limit of the hardware, lemme find out. While i find 10 a reasonable nice round number, we learn that there are serious instances in which a much higher number would be desirable. And as the product is made for serious use and abuse, it should support 99, 100 or more cycles, I really agree.

    Btw, i enjoy watching the two competitors —USC & MC3000— growing side by side into impressive full-fledged products for end consumers with different needs. Maybe one day one product will match the special features of the other. Then, at the same retail price, it will be an easier purchase decision on behalf of the shoppers

    Off the top of your head mark, which would be in your opinion the advantages or superior points of the UltraSmartCharger?

  15. #195

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    What does 'cycle' mean exactly, how is it defined?

    Or what's the CYCLE mode on the MC3000, how does it compare to other chargers? There is a cycle mode on my Powerex MH-C9000 but i don't understand what it's really good for and i don't seem to need it anyway. Reduces the life of the batteries!

    Afaik the Imax B6 does not have a cycle mode for LiPo and Lilo battery types. How about the MC3000, does it have a cycle mode for Li-Ion batteries?

  16. #196

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    'Cycling' on a charger-analyzer or hobby charger means the repeated sequence of a pre-defined charge routine, discharge routine, plus the pausing/resting routines in between. For decomplication and symmetry reasons it is common to employ the same REST TIME, e.g. 60min (or 0min) after both the discharge and the charge routines, see Turnigy, Imax B6, iCharger, NC2500, etc (let me know if you know any battery analyzer other than the C9000 which supports different rest times after charging vs. after discharging thx).

    A singe cycle (N=1) always starts with a partial charge transfer (partial DISCHARGE or partial CHARGE, depending on the beginning of the CYCLE program), followed by a full CHARGE (or: full DISCHARGE), and may be followed by another full DISCHARGE (or: full CHARGE) routine to complete the CYCLE N=1. For illustration purposes let's enumerate all possible cases, there are four. Parentheses denote partial charge transfer, ">" denotes RESTING routine:
    1. CYCLE MODE: C>D
      N=1: (C1) > D1
      ex. N=3: (C1) > D1 > C2 > D2 > C3 > D3
      comment: charger reports D1, D2, D3 in the CAPACITY history, and you end up with a fully discharged battery. Hobby chargers offer this imho not too useful mode, and it is indeed less common elsewhere: i don't get it, one ends up with a fully discharged battery wdf
    2. CYCLE MODE: C>D>C
      N=1: (C0) > D1 > C1
      ex. N=3: (C0) > D1 > C1 > D2 > C2 > D3 > C3
      comment: charger reports D1, D2, D3 in the CAPACITY history, also the value of C3, and you end up with a fully charged battery. The N=1 case, a popular mode also defined as REFRESH MODE on the MC3000, can be found on many charger-analyzers and often bears its own confusing name.
    3. CYCLE MODE: D>C
      N=1: (D1) > C1
      ex. N=3: (D1) > C1 > D2 > C2 > D3 > C3
      comment: charger reports D1, D2, D3 in the CAPACITY history, also the value of C3, and you end up with a fully charged battery. suitable for refreshing and cycling old NiMH batteries with memory effect. The N=1 case is the first basic mode on dedicated NiMH/NiCd battery analyzers and sometimes called "CHECK MODE" (see Charge Manager, Akkumaster C5, ALC 8500-2 Expert).
    4. CYCLE MODE: D>C>D
      N=1: (D0) > C1 > D1
      ex. N=3: (D0) > C1 > D1 > C2 > D2 > C3 > D3
      comment: charger reports D1, D2, D3 in the CAPACITY history, and you end up with a fully discharged battery. this mode is perfect for resetting a set of test batteries back to the identical original start condition: fully discharged and equalized! my preferred mode for cycling Eneloops to get a coherent test data matrix.

    Fyi the PC Link software gives you access to all other values (D0, C0, C1, C2, etc) too.

    It is true that the old Imax B6 did not cycle Lilo batteries whereas the old iCharger could do it. However the new Imax B6mini has upgradable firmware so don't give your hopes up. The MC3000 offers CYCLE program for LiIon/LiIo4.35/LiFe battery types right off the start, and i've been using it a lot for robustness and long-term endurance testing of the machine under the max charge/discharge rates.


    C>D
    C>D>C
    D>C
    D>C>D
    N(max) special notes
    iCharger 999 999, siriusly? omg
    Schulz 5 §$%&/#!
    Imax B6 5 B6 doesn't cycle Lilo
    Imax B6mini 5* *upgradable FW could support cycling Lilo and N>5
    EBC-A ? ? ? ? ? who cares about exotic Chinese battery analyzer
    Turnigy 5 Turnigy doesn't cycle Lilo
    NC1000 (N=1) (N≤20) NC1000 does not have a dedicated cycling mode
    MH-C9000 12 i am not very happy
    NC2500 12 neither
    BC700 (N=1) (N≤20) BC700 does not have a dedicated cycling mode
    BT-C3100 (N=1) (N=3) BT-C3100 does not have a dedicated cycling mode
    Charge Manager 2016 (N=1), (N=2) (N=1) CM2016 does not have a dedicated cycling mode
    Akkumaster C5 (N=1) 20 confusing manual lol
    ALC 8500-2 Expert (N=1), (N=3) 12* *could be over 12 who cares
    AV4m+ / AV4ms (N=1) (N=1) §$%&/#!
    Akkumatik 9 somewhat impressive DIY kit
    UltraSmartCharger 100* *upgradable FW could support N>100
    MC3000 99* *was 10. is 99 since FW1.07

    We are learning that only Paul&Mark's UltraSmartCharger and Skyrc's MC3000 offer all 4 cycle modes. Maha's cycle mode for example is C>D>C only and that's it. Was very annoying and me not bery happy when i tried to perform consistency tests on the C9000.

    Quote Originally Posted by shelm View Post
    There is a cycle mode on my Powerex MH-C9000 but i don't understand what it's really good for and i don't seem to need it anyway. Reduces the life of the batteries!
    Yes, a battery could be cycled only so many times until it has reached eol. Can be compared to regular workout in a health club. After few weeks of training and conditioning, your body starts to feel refreshed, strong, fit and younger but at the same time you did accelerate the aging of your body cells through the increased metabolism. Sports consumes cell life, cycling consumes battery life, whatcha gonna do, life is a mystery, a paradox.
    Last edited by kreisl; 01-05-2015 at 03:51 AM. Reason: FW1.07

  17. #197
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post
    No other charger offers all 4 cycle modes.
    Actually, the LCD UltraSmartCharger offers all 4 modes...

    The non LCD version doesn't have the C>D option due to the more restricted user interface, but like any charger with an upgradeable firmware, it could be added if there was enough demand for the feature...
    Firmware Developer for the UltraSmartCharger: Open Source Charger/Analyzer for NiMH/NiCad/NiZn batteries.
    http://www.ultrasmartcharger.com

  18. #198

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by Power Me Up View Post
    Actually, the LCD UltraSmartCharger offers all 4 modes...
    Please do tell if the USC non-lcd version offers differing REST TIME after charging versus after discharging. How about the LCD version, and what is the REST TIME range from which the user chooses the rest time? As i had noted before, the Akkumaster C5 distinguishes between service pause and cycle pause.

    Each service programme (except ‘Charge’ and ‘Discharge’) consists of a combination of charge and discharge procedures. The service pause (SP) is a pause that is entered between discharge & charge, or between charge & discharge, procedures. E.g.
    for the service programme:
    • "Discharge-Charge": Discharge – SP – Charge;
    • "Charge-Discharge-Charge": Charge – SP - Discharge – SP – Charge;
    Here: SP = service pause;
    Settings range: 1 - 60min;
    ...
    The cycle pause (CP) is a pause which is entered between cycles. E.g.:
    • (Discharge – SP – Charge) – CP – (Discharge – SP – Charge) – CP - ...;
    Here: SP – Service pause; CP – Cycle pause;
    Settings range: 1 min to 30 Days;
    I find this concept interesting but imho it is unnecessary and too confusing to call them this way. It is more straight-forward to call the pauses "REST TIME AFTER CHARGING" and "REST TIME AFTER DISCHARGING". Sure, these are long names haha. In the present MC3000 firmware, the cycling uses symmetrical resting periods, i.e. the same REST TIME between Charge&Discharge and between Discharge&Charge. Too simple, too restricted, what do you think?
    So how about the implementation of REST TIME in the UltraSmartCharger?

  19. #199
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post
    Please do tell if the USC non-lcd version offers differing REST TIME after charging versus after discharging. How about the LCD version, and what is the REST TIME range from which the user chooses the rest time?

    Yes, you can specify different rest times after charging and discharging on the non LCD version as well. The rest period can be set between 0 and 255 minutes in 1 minute increments on both versions.
    Firmware Developer for the UltraSmartCharger: Open Source Charger/Analyzer for NiMH/NiCad/NiZn batteries.
    http://www.ultrasmartcharger.com

  20. #200

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    thanks mark for the info. So the MH-C9000 (in part), the Akkumaster C5, the UltraSmartCharger, and maybe very few more analyzers offer 2 different rest times, hmm. I kinda dig that — for now I'll leave it as an optional FW update to the programming team, not the most urgent suggestion to consider for implementation. Sure enough, my personal dreamcharger should have it

    In the meantime i got a quick FW update which fixes a few harmless bugs in the UI. These days i am doing again extensive tests with the powerbank functionality and Eneloops and got some interesting positive results which i'll share later. I never used the powerbank (=mobile USB output) functionality of my other chargers say XTAR XP4 but with the Skyrc test unit i can't help but play with it all the time. Probably because of the ease of use with the LCD screen, automatic vs. manual control which slot is being used next, user interactivity, slot number button LED status, the possibility to use Eneloops (with an adapter), high amperage output, etc, argh it's just so much fun!

  21. #201

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Fun? Fun? Never mind the fun - we haven't got time for fun here. Get the testing completed and the product to market asap.

  22. #202

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by Aperture View Post
    They have been on the market for a few years actually from trusted solar companies PowerTraveller and GoalZero with the former being expedition grade quality:
    https://www.powertraveller.com/en/sh.../powerchimp4a/
    http://www.goalzero.com/p/133/guide-10-plus-recharger
    Yes yes, fun Dubois

    Aperture thanks for the pointers, i was not aware of these two "old" products, they must have been on the market for many years, earlier iterations of them. In fact, the PC4A claims to be the very first of its kind on the market back then. At about the same time, around 2006, Tekkeon had released the MP1500, followed by its successor the MP1550 in 2008 and finally the MP1580 in 2011. At some point in between, in 2007 Duracell had entered this niche market with the CEF23 but discontinued the production by 2010. In 2007 too, Panasonic came up with the short-lived BQ-600 for 2ΧAA. Nowadays there are non-branded alternatives on ebay (blah, blupp), Aliexpress, a.o. to be found thru search term <emergency aa>, trade company PortaPow and Fujitsu/FDK have a similar product since 2013. All these aforementioned 4ΧAA products have in common that they really need all four AA's (NiMH, Alkaline, Lithium primary) in the battery holder to function as powerbank. If one AA battery is removed from the tray, the device will either stop working right away, or act up and stop working properly. They have in common too, that their spec'ed output is 500, 800 or 1000mA, not any higher!, and that the max current thru each single cell does not exceed 1.0A, which is imho a reasonable figure for a single AA battery also for limiting the heat production within the enclosed plastic box. Reports of damaged/melting cases exist, see amazon customer reviews. Eneloop Pro/XX could sustain higher rates, though.

    I have found out that the MC3000 does use the four slots concurrently, if more than 1 slot is occupied by a battery. I don't know whether the Samsung Galaxy Note3, which initially draws "1.45A" from the original USB wall adapter as measured by my USB tester, or the MC3000 is responsible for the following interesting behavior:

    config1) With only 1 slot occupied (3xEneloop AA in a serial round holder), my USB tester measures "0.28A" current, powerbank displays "0.2A", and it takes 2½hrs until the powerbank shuts down operation because the 3.2V cut-off voltage under load has been reached (remaining capacity: 450mAh/cell). So after another set of 3xAA's, or 5.0hrs total, the smartphone shows "81%" battery charge level, offline voltage 4.07V. And finally with a 3rd set of 3xAA's, the smartphone shows "100%" battery charge level, which equals exact 4.250V offline voltage (remaining capacity: 1350mAh/Eneloop). USB tester measures accumulated transferred capacity at 5.10V 1698mAh. The Samsung battery specs are 3.8V/4.35V 12.16Wh 3200mAh, while apparently the smartphone assigns "0%" to any offline voltage < 3.480V (=black screen, can't be turned ON lol) and "100%" to the cell at 4.250V, even the original Samsung chargers don't charge the cell higher than 4.250V. Do these numbers add up? I did the maths and trust the squirrel they do

    config2) Now, with more than 1 slot occupied (M1:3xAA, M2:3xAAA, etc), the powerbank outputs an average of "1.1A" ("1.4A" max) to my big smartphone. At any time only 1 slot can constitute the main power source (full red SNB LED as you know from the old youtube clip), so be slot#1 active, the other slots act as 'supporters'. I can click on SNB#2 and the device switches to slot#2 to draw the main energy from the 3xAAA while continuing to output the "1.1A". Very interesting, i need to investigate the exact circumstances why the … EDIT: i bought a 5-pack of higher quality round 3s1p-AA battery holders off ebay, shipped by Uxcell afaik, and tested the charging of my depleted smartphone battery with 2 holders in the tray (M1:3xAA, M2:blank, M3:blank, M4:3xAA) twice: with a USB tester in series to get some 'external' measurements, and without it. The 6 abused Eneloop AA's, ~1900mAh MH-C9000, came fresh off the charger at ≥1.500V, the smartphone battery was fully depleted to "0%", the phone could not be turned on anymore and appeared dead. I removed the Samsung battery, measured its offline voltage, put the battery back in the phone and started the tests. First test was without a USB tester. After 91mins the power bank concluded the test, battery had reached "85%", and after restarting the power bank several times the Eneloops still had 264mAh/cell juice left (as determined by subsequent discharge in MH-C9000). In any case, because of the power bank min. operating voltage of 3.2V in firmware 1.06 the high current draw naturally accounts for high termination current ~0.6A of the CV-phase, and this somewhat premature termination makes it impossible to squeeze out the remaining capacity from the Eneloops. Yet we already learn that this setup is superior to config1) because it is faster (91mins vs. 5hrs) and makes better use of the Eneloops (85% vs. 81%):

    config2)
    time M1: 3ΧAA M4: 3ΧAA output notes
    no load
    0min 4.5V
    4.5V
    0.0A "0%", Samsung 3.186V offline
    under load 0min+ 4.3V
    4.4V 0.3A we're online! soft start, grey icon, no LED
    M1 is main
    7min 4.?V
    4.?V 1.0A color icon, no LED

    9min 4.?V 4.?V
    1.1A display off, red LED

    50min 3.3V
    ?.?V
    1.1A SNB#1 blinking red
    M4 is main
    54min 3.2V → 3.?V 3.4V
    1.2A automatic switching to M4

    60min 3.?V 3.4V 1.1A

    75min 3.?V 3.3V
    1.1A SNB#4 blinking red

    79min 3.?V 3.3V
    1.0A looks like CV-phase begins

    83min 3.?V 3.3V
    0.9A lucky to sustain 3.3V for some time

    86min 3.?V 3.3V
    0.8A fast decreasing current

    89min 3.?V
    3.3V
    0.7A

    91min 3.?V
    ~3.3V
    0.6A high termination current because of cut-off?
    reload, etc
    1min 3.?V
    3.?V
    0.6A "85%", Samsung 4.170…4.103V offline
    game over
    ~15min 3.6V
    3.6V
    0.0A
    remaining
    266,312,328mAh
    213,220,248mAh average: 264mAh

    Now, adding a USB tester in series does influence the performance of the system since it adds resistance to the circuitry and comes with a minimal voltage drop! We can see this influence in the lower output amperage, 0.8A instead of 1.1A, which extends the charge duration from 91mins to 122mins. However on the up side, the lower current also makes for a lower termination current, and in fact it seems that the original Samsung termination current is reached before the power bank runs out of juice! In other words, the Samsung device determines the battery to be (quite) full, stops the current draw from the power bank, which in turn makes the Skyrc device shut down the operation. At this point the Samsung battery is at "93%" or 4.230V. Restarting the power bank several times gets the gauge up to "95%" and only 0.007V away from the top score. The Eneloops are squeezed from 1900mAh down to 154mAh/cell.

    config2)
    time M1: 3ΧAA M4: 3ΧAA output (usb) KCX-017 notes
    no load
    0min 4.5V
    4.5V
    0.0A (0.00A) 0mAh "0%", Samsung 3.245V offline
    under load 0min+ 4.3V
    4.4V
    0.3A (0.42A) 0mAh we're online! grey icon, no LED
    M1 is main
    6min 4.0V
    4.4V
    0.8A (0.93A) 46mAh color icon, no LED

    7min 3.9V
    4.4V
    0.8A (0.93A) 57mAh display off, red LED

    11min 3.8V
    4.3V
    0.8A (0.93A) 125mAh

    13min 3.7V
    4.3V
    0.8A (0.93A) 150mAh

    15min 3.7V
    4.2V
    0.8A (0.93A) 180mAh

    18min 3.6V
    4.2V
    0.8A (0.93A) 226mAh

    21min 3.6V
    4.1V
    0.8A (0.93A) 273mAh

    29min 3.5V
    4.1V
    0.8A (0.93A) 400mAh

    35min 3.5V
    4.0V
    0.8A (0.93A) 492mAh

    52min 3.4V
    4.0V
    0.8A (0.93A) 757mAh

    55min 3.4V
    3.9V
    0.8A (0.93A) 803mAh

    67min 3.3V
    3.9V
    0.8A (0.93A) 991mAh

    69min 3.3V
    3.8V
    0.8A (0.93A) 1022mAh

    72min 3.3V
    3.8V
    0.9A (0.93A) 1069mAh SNB#1 blinking red
    M4 becomes main
    73min 3.2V → 3.5V 3.7V
    0.8A (0.93A) 1100mAh automatic switching to M4

    76min 3.6V
    3.5V
    0.8A (0.93A) 1131mAh opposite voltage jumps

    85min 3.7V
    3.5V
    0.8A (0.93A) 1247mAh M1 has been recovering

    91min 3.7V
    3.4V
    0.8A (0.93A) 1366mAh

    108min 3.7V
    3.4V
    0.7A (0.83A) 1633mAh looks like CV-phase begins

    111min 3.7V
    3.4V
    0.6A (0.73A) 1670mAh becoming easier to sustain 3.4V

    114min 3.7V
    3.4V
    0.5A (0.64A) 1705mAh fast decreasing current

    118min 3.7V
    3.4V
    0.4A (0.52A) 1745mAh

    122min 3.7V
    3.4V
    0.3A (0.40A) 1773mAh Samsung termination current
    no load 122min+ 3.7V
    3.7V
    0.0A (0.00A) 1773mAh "93%", Samsung 4.230V offline
    reload 1min 3.3V
    3.7V
    0.7A (0.81A) 1773mAh+
    etc 3min 3.2V → 3.5V 3.5V
    0.3A (0.42A) 1773mAh+
    game over ~15min
    3.6V (3.680V)
    3.6V (3.701V)
    0.0A (0.00A) 1773mAh+ "95%", Samsung 4.243V offline
    remaining
    101,125,150mAh
    162,179,208mAh
    average: 154mAh

    So there we have it! It is very possible to charge a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (with new original included battery B800B, nominal capacity 3200mAh, max voltage 4.35V) from 3.24V to 4.24V with mere 6 (abused) Eneloop AA's. According to the USB tester some 1800mAh were transferred at 5V, which does not appear much compared to the nominal 3200mAh. Yet the Samsung gauge states "95%" according to its internal scale and that's what counts. After all, a voltmeter cannot lie, 4.24V is an unambiguous quantity. If we don't trust the USB meter, then only special equipment could measure/verify how much capacity could be extracted between 4.24V down to 3.24V at a certain constant current draw, say -1.00A. Anybody out there who tested/measured Samsung smartphone batteries please? Dude. Can't you measure this with the MC3000 itself? - You know why you can't. The B800B is not a round battery!
    And what is the Eneloop current draw in either config? That's challenging to measure because the USB tester plus the multimeter plus the round holder all add resistance to the circuitry and influence the system performance. But lemme tell you, the battery pack does get a bit warm by the end of the powerbanking hehe

    Last but not least, let's do a quick calculation with rough average quantities (and employing the questionable data provided by the USB tester) to obtain a feeling about energy conversion and efficiency:

    consumed Eneloop energy = (1900mAh - 450mAh)/cell * 1.2V Χ 6cells + (1900mAh - 1350mAh)/cell *1.2V Χ 3cells = 12420mWh
    energy provided to phone = 1698mAh * 5.10V = 8659.8mWh
    powerbank efficiency with Eneloops = 8659.8 / 12420 = 69.7% (config1)

    consumed Eneloop energy = (1900mAh - 154mAh)/cell * 1.2V Χ 6cells = 12571.2mAVh = 12571.2mWh = 12.57Wh
    energy provided to phone = 1800mAh * 5V = 9000mWh = 9.00Wh
    capacity/energy stored in B800B battery between 4.24V down to 3.24V ≤ 9.00Wh
    powerbank efficiency with Eneloops = 9 / 12.57 = 71.6% (config2)

    Since the powerbank cannot have 2 different efficiencies, in theory the 2 numbers should be identical. Since they are close enough, we could calculate the mean efficiency and drop the decimal: (69.7% + 71.6%)/2 = 70.65% ≈ 70%

    In words, about 30% of the Eneloop energy gets consumed in the powerbank due to conversion and other types of losses and for powering the powerbank itself. Is 70% a good number, typical, average, standard, or poor? Well, we need to compare it against other Eneloop-powered power banks! Please note that these figures are only valid if:
    1. the power bank is operated with Eneloops (or NiMH batteries similar to Eneloop)
    2. the mAh-capacity measured by the USB tester is truthful and accurate


    All right then, let's have a look at how the power bank functionality of Powerchimp 4A, a premium 4ΧAA dual purpose charger designed and developed in the UK, performs in comparison. After 2½hrs the device signals the low Eneloop power with a red LED and 10mins later the connection gets lost. With only 1 four-pack of Eneloop AA the Samsung battery got charged from 3.100V to 4.087V, or "83%", transferring 1611mAh at 5V. The Powerchimp manages to squeeze all juice from the Eneloops, remaining capacity: 4mAh/cell. After 15mins with another fresh set of 4xAA's, the smartphone shows "95%" battery charge level, offline voltage 4.240V (remaining capacity: 1644mAh/Eneloop). After a total of nearly 3hrs the USB tester measures an accumulated transferred capacity of 1815mAh, which is not surprisingly very much the same result as the MC3000 tests. Here the details:

    Powerchimp
    time PC4A: 4ΧAA output (usb) KCX-017 notes
    no load
    0min 5.43V
    (0.00A) 0mAh "0%", Samsung 3.100V offline
    under load 0min+ 5.42V
    (0.42A) 0mAh grey icon, no LED, why voltage unregulated?

    10min 4.95V
    (0.69A) 69mAh color icon, no LED

    11min 4.97V
    (0.69A) 75mAh display off, red LED

    28min 4.98V
    (0.69A) 285mAh

    95min 4.98V
    (0.70A) 1070mAh

    131min 5.00V
    (0.70A) 1480mAh

    134min 4.83V
    (0.28A) 1515mAh

    135min 5.04V
    (0.28A) 1520mAh

    149min 5.03V
    (0.28A) 1586mAh

    151min 4.43V
    (0.24A) 1598mAh powerchimp LED red

    152min 4.40V
    (0.18A) 1600mAh

    154min 4.37V
    (0.11A) 1604mAh

    158min 4.34V
    (0.07A) 1610mAh

    159min 4.32V
    (0.06A) 1611mAh connection breaks, "83%", Samsung 4.087V offline
    remaining
    1,3,4,7mAh
    MH-C9000 reports "0mAh", average: 4mAh
    new Eneloop set
    1min 5.04V → 4.89V (1.01A…0.87A) 1650mAh LCD draws full current

    4min 4.92V
    (0.84A) 1688mAh looks like CV-phase begins

    6min 4.94V
    (0.75A) 1712mAh voltage seems to recover

    9min 4.95V
    (0.61A) 1747mAh

    11min 4.97V
    (0.53A) 1765mAh

    14min 4.98V
    (0.44A) 1795mAh Samsung shuts off, "94%", Samsung 4.235V offline
    reload
    17min 4.98V
    (0.44A) 1815mAh Samsung shuts off, "95%", Samsung 4.240V offline
    remaining
    1538,1624,1700,1714mAh average: 1644mAh

    And what about its efficiency? Similar calculation as before:
    consumed Eneloop energy = (1900mAh - 4mAh)/cell * 1.2V Χ 4cells + (1900mAh - 1644mAh)/cell * 1.2V Χ 4cells = 10329.6mWh = 10.33Wh
    energy provided to phone = 1815mAh * 4.95V = 8984mWh = 8.98Wh
    capacity/energy stored in B800B battery between 4.24V down to 3.10V ≤ 8.98Wh
    powerbank efficiency with Eneloops = 8.98 / 10.33 = 86.9%

    These were very rough calculations but tendency is as clear as expected: Since the powerchimp operates without overhead and is optimized for slots at 1.2V, less energy gets lost on its way from the Eneloops to the smartphone input, thus making its Eneloop power bank operation more efficient. The next question would be, how efficient are the el cheapo 2$ emergency AA powerbanks? We should find out one day! (EDIT: I've ordered a white unit 2014-12-09, i am thrilled!)

    The NiMH tests so far were very instructive and serve as first base line for more rigorous systematic NiMH tests to produce more refined measurements. We have learned that:
    • the round 3s1p plastic AA battery holders work quite well in practice, kreisla proved
    • operation profits from concurrent consumption of batteries in multi-slot configuration
    • hence 2-slot power banking is preferred to single-slot power banking
    • multi-slot NiMH powerbanking enables higher amps output
    • however, reduced amps output, eventually by connecting a USB tester, may squeeze out more juice
    • with the Powerchimp, 4 abused Eneloop AA's charge a Samsung B800B to "83%"
    • with the MC3000, 6 abused Eneloop AA's can charge a Samsung B800B to "95%"
    • efficiency of MC3000 NiMH powerbanking is high (~70%) but Powerchimp's is higher
    • powerbanking works beautifully, is efficient enough and immensely fun!
    • powerbank efficiency may be different/higher with LiIon's or LiIon4.35 and needs separate testing


    Q. Stop it already, you're boring me no offense.
    A. Erhm excuse me?

    Q. All the talk about AA powerbanks. Who on earth is interested in AA powerbanks?
    A. C'mon gimme some credits. DC2 market release is well ahead still, which leaves me with time for such research and testings.

    Q. Ya yah. But don't forget to test similar configs with 18650's so that we can compare with our own commercial liion powerbanks.
    A. Your powerbank has the same efficiency as the Skyrc, you'll see. I'll show you more of my squirrel maths, sit tight. hehe
    Last edited by kreisl; 01-01-2015 at 11:07 AM.

  23. #203
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Actually I think the powerbank feature in a charger this size is really not very important (AA or otherwise). Sure it's nice to have the check box, but sane people will like have a 8K-20K mAh powerbank if they need one depending on their size and weight tolerance. While mostly impractical for travel, during a power outage a powerbank feature in this large charger could be useful, so as I said it's a nice to have.

    One important criteria for a powerbank is that it not discharge the batteries when it is unused. Some large Anker powerbanks are excellent at this... others... not so much. Component tolerances and specs are important to ensure this as often the design is OK, but the actual components used are a problem. These issues are often not checked in QC I have found as it's a harder measurement to make.

    So for something more interesting regarding this charger/powerbank; What is the drain on the batteries when left in the device and it has no input power?

    Another thing I wonder about the SmartPhone App. The iOS app for the NC2500 is very annoying when you try to set the mode and operating parameters after the device is operating as it does not initialize the control parameters to their current state. I don't know if the Android app is the same, but I find this quite an annoyance if i want to change the current setting for instance, but i have to set all the wheels so they match the current state first, and I may not even remember the current cut off voltage and such.

    I'm glad this charger will have PC link software since the Bluetooth link does not work well enough. insuffcient range, always having to reconnect, general pain in the butt when it is suppose to be a quick way to check on the program status.

  24. #204
    Flashaholic _UPz's Avatar
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    NC2500 app works fine in my android devices. You have the typical BT dissaventages like limited range / reconections if you are moving around with the device, but I find it pretty useful.

  25. #205
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by _UPz View Post
    NC2500 app works fine in my android devices. You have the typical BT dissaventages like limited range / reconections if you are moving around with the device, but I find it pretty useful.
    So on Android, say you are doing a Discharge on the charger in slot-1, you get the app connected and when you see the charger screen you press '1' for Slot one to change settings, does it show that you are doing a discharge or is the mode just set to 'charge' or the last thing it was set to? Does it show the correct current for the current discharge? On iOS the answer is no to both of these questions.
    Last edited by StandardBattery; 11-23-2014 at 12:38 PM.

  26. #206

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by StandardBattery View Post
    Actually I think the powerbank feature in a charger this size is really not very important (AA or otherwise). Sure it's nice to have the check box, but sane people will like have a 8K-20K mAh powerbank if they need one depending on their size and weight tolerance. While mostly impractical for travel, during a power outage a powerbank feature in this large charger could be useful, so as I said it's a nice to have.

    I agree - nice to have as a back up, but I can't imagine ever using it as a powerbank.

  27. #207

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by StandardBattery View Post
    While mostly impractical for travel, during a power outage a powerbank feature in this large charger could be useful, so as I said it's a nice to have.

    One important criteria for a powerbank is that it not discharge the batteries when it is unused. Some large Anker powerbanks are excellent at this... others... not so much. Component tolerances and specs are important to ensure this as often the design is OK, but the actual components used are a problem. These issues are often not checked in QC I have found as it's a harder measurement to make.

    So for something more interesting regarding this charger/powerbank; What is the drain on the batteries when left in the device and it has no input power?
    Hi sb, thanks for contributing some interesting thoughts.
    As you know, measuring very low currents in low voltage circuits is a huge challenge in the entire world of electronics because of the very natural effects by burden voltage and shunt resistor, and my sub-100$ digital multimeter doesn't help it. The most truthful reading would be on the amps-setting but this setting lacks resolution. On the miliamps-setting and the microamps-setting, one gets incredible resolution but the numbers can't be trusted a hazelnut because they lack accuracy due to the shunt resistor effect. For some idea of order of magnitude lemme quote my UT61E readings anyway, i'll leave it up to HKJ to post much more accurate and higher resolution measurement values.

    UT61E on
    With all cables unplugged from the MC3000, the standby current draw of a single battery of interest depends on the situation and configuration in the tray and may range from as low as ~0.00035A (1 Eneloop sitting next to 1 supporting LiIon battery) to as high as ~0.0025A (1 LiIon sitting solitarily in the tray).
    With the mains cable plugged in the MC3000 and the slot showing as READY (=the SNB LED is blinking green-red), the offline current draw of a slot from a single battery of interest is much lower, for example for 1 LiIon sitting solitarily in the tray less than ~0.0009A. When a charger program has finished, the SNB LED would turn from full red to full green in order to indicate that the proper program has finished and that the slot is still online. The current draw during this 'green phase' shows as "0.000A" on the multimeter (and switching to the miliamps-setting would mean going offline for a moment thus breaking the active circuit). During the green phase optional program parameters such as trickle charge xor restart voltage are active, so no worries.
    —UT61E off

    No, not suitable as pocketable mobile travel mini powerbank lol. However, what does make it interesting enough to have/test/use apart from the check box is imho its ease of use, flexibility, and real fun, as mentioned before. Batteries can be exchanged on the fly, battery types can be mixed, any round batteries you have at home can be thrown at it (eventually in a 3xAA or 4xAA round battery serial holder to surpass the lower powerbank operating voltage threshold), the algorithm cleverly proceeds with the next promising slot (tests highest voltage and lowest voltage drop), slots are used concurrently to support the main source battery, ..

    There is no app out for me to test yet. I might get the Android app by next year.

    With all the advances in the firmware updates, my PC Link software version has a hard time to play catch-up. It's the reason why i haven't shared screenshots as yet, pardon me. But for testing the charger's functionality, program parameters, performance, detecting bugs or quirks, my early PC Link software version still does me a beautiful invaluable service.

  28. #208
    Flashaholic _UPz's Avatar
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    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl
    hmm... thinking of round 1s3p or 1s4p battery holders, in theory it would be possible to charge 12*Eneloop AA batteries (each at 1 amp) or 16*Eneloop AAA (each at 0.75A) in the DC2 simultaneously,
    + 1

    i would be interested in this crazy test. Are you going to do it for us, do you even have that many Eneloops?
    Last edited by _UPz; 12-01-2014 at 04:45 AM. Reason: typo

  29. #209

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Have you considered balance charging option for 2-4 cells?

  30. #210

    Default Re: SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

    Quote Originally Posted by ptolemy View Post
    Have you considered balance charging option for 2-4 cells?
    Hello ptolemy, thanks for the interesting suggestion!

    In fact the maker had the same exciting idea at the start of the product design, they wanted to integrate balance charge functionality somehow for the sake of it because the engineers already had so much experience and expertise in the specialized field. In theory it would be possible to combine the 4 independent slots internally to get a ready-to-go balancing cradle and that's exactly what users of 3/4 cell flashlight owners would need to make optimal use of their Turnigy/iMax/iCharger balance charger, i agree. However, by combining the slots to form a balancing cradle you lose the two key properties and original reasons why MC3000 was invented in the first place, namely to make it superior to a common hobby charger for charging single round batteries: 1. four main output channels instead of one (the bulk of hobby chargers sold on today's market comes with 1 single output, premium devices may have 2 outputs), 2. the independence of these very four channels. Balance charging is a needed means of charging a serial configuration —in our example: 2sXp, 3sXp, 4sXp— of (typically li-ions in a pack of) cells in a safe way by using 1 single main output; note that not all serial liions chargers on the market, see for example cheap multi-18650 power banks!, make use of balance charge technology. MC3000 comes with 4 separate outputs, each cell can be served directly and independently, so there is no need to make use of balancing technology. The device charges 4 batteries faster than a dedicated balance charger without compromising safety. Again, that's the whole point of its invention: multi-cell-flashlight users with hobby chargers can cut the **** with DIY cradles, single-output and complicated balance wiring, and enjoy the advantages of a four-output charger which effectively kills the need for any balance wiring. In short, employing the MC3000 bay as balancing cradle constitutes a severe technical contradiction and makes little logical sense. Therefore, after consideration and discussion the above idea was discarded. We simply couldn't answer the question:
    What would be the advantage(s) of it?

    Nonetheless the very first prototype, and i have a classified RL photo of its PCB , had another approach in mind: equipping the machine with an extra balancing port, making it factually 2 separate devices (a four-bay charger & a balance charger) housed under 1 single casing. Crazy stuff!



    Then i told the maker that, if they continued to add more and more questionable functionality, hardware, and complexity to the project, i also really wanted to be able to play games on the device and have an integrated flashlight underneath!! And i kinda meant it since I was having wild wild dreams back then. Remember? - "dreamcharger". Anyway, that must have broken the camel's back because a week later after the PCB was made and i got a project update, both my suggested game play, the flashlight, and the extra balance charger had been dropped from the project altogether - not too surprisingly tbh.

    One can't have it all i guess

    Q. Seriously, you had been dreaming about chargers and special features? Omg, pathetic.
    A. Thinking in bed, not dreaming in the conventional sense. Yet i sometimes woke up with sound ideas for certain aspects or details, yes. Wonderful mornings they were!

    Q. I see. But a flashlight integrated in a charger? You must be kidding, come on. I ain't no fool.
    A. Ah forget the flashlight. I also accepted the dismissal of the whole balance charging idea fairly quickly. During the initial phase from scratch anything cool was admitted in the conceptual design.

    Q. Playing games on the LCD would definitely be cool. Maybe some ardent programmer could code alternative firmware with games and stuff i guess?
    A. I guess so too. If the product becomes popular enough, some coder might feel motivated to share his h*cking work. Count me in as tester, yay!
    Last edited by kreisl; 04-01-2016 at 01:47 AM.

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