Invention needed: iPhone-controlled hobby charger

flashflood

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Mar 9, 2011
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Charger manufacturers: you read this forum, right?

There are several hobby chargers on the market -- the FMA CellPro and PowerLab lines, the iCharger series, etc -- that can connect over USB to a computer that runs Windows-based Charge Control Software (CCS). Now CCS is a great leap forward, but there are three things wrong with it: the USB cable, the computer, and Windows.

Instead, how about making a charger with wireless Bluetooth support that can talk to any mobile device, coupled with really slick iPhone and Droid versions of CCS? THAT would be sweet. You could make the basic CCS app free but have in-app purchase of the fancy graphics and new-chemistry updates. We're geeks, we'll buy it.

You could also crowd-source the charge profiles. Make the defaults available in a standard text-based format and provide a wiki where uses can post new ones. You will quickly end up with charge profiles optimized for every single make and model of battery, with no effort on your part beyond the very minimal hosting cost. Heck, CPF might even host something like that for you. Before you know it, selfbuilt will be posting roundup reviews of AW IMR 18650 charge profiles. ;)

I predict such a charger would be wildly popular, not just in the flashlight community, but even more so in your primary RC market, where lugging a laptop around is far more problematic. Bluetooth is dirt cheap now and iPhone/Droid app developers are readily available to knock out a super-simple application like this. The premium you could charge would dwarf the COGS and NRE.

Please? I promise I'll be your first customer.
 
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HKJ

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All the hobby chargers I know works fine without a computer connection, i.e. there is no reason to lug a computer around.
 

BoarHunter

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Feb 7, 2009
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First this is not invention, just an application.

Are you so sure about the market potential ? Did you make an analysis, here for example where the population is the most likely to be interested ? Outside, I doubt it.
Have you defined the application itself, how it would integrate functionaly in an Iphone ?

And how about writing the application ? We would be glad to give it a try.

Oh, many time during my life, I wanted to strangle people who designed bloated systems with tons of useless gimmicks while hiding the essentials and often screwing them.

How about a battery that would recharge via wireless for a start :)
 

flashflood

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All the hobby chargers I know works fine without a computer connection, i.e. there is no reason to lug a computer around.

Right, but you don't get all the cool graphs. Presumably people value that stuff, or they wouldn't have put it into CCS in the first place.
 

flashflood

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First this is not invention, just an application.

Are you so sure about the market potential ? Did you make an analysis, here for example where the population is the most likely to be interested ? Outside, I doubt it.
Have you defined the application itself, how it would integrate functionaly in an Iphone ?

And how about writing the application ? We would be glad to give it a try.

Oh, many time during my life, I wanted to strangle people who designed bloated systems with tons of useless gimmicks while hiding the essentials and often screwing them.

How about a battery that would recharge via wireless for a start :)

My, someone's feeling contrary today! I don't claim to be an expert in the charger market, just a potential customer.

So what do you say, folks? Would any of you be interested in something like this? Would you pay an extra $10 for it?
 

jasonck08

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Redding, CA
My, someone's feeling contrary today! I don't claim to be an expert in the charger market, just a potential customer.

So what do you say, folks? Would any of you be interested in something like this? Would you pay an extra $10 for it?

I'd just hook it up to my computer. Can't imagine traveling and needing a hobby charger with graphing capabilities. And if / when I do travel, my laptop will come with me and I'd use a Li-ion USB charger to charge cells.
 

Th232

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Dec 25, 2008
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Sydney, Australia
Similar situation to Jason, I'd just use a laptop if I was out and wanted to look at the graphs.

Really though, the graphing and all is only of interest to me as a means of characterising my cells, and I don't do that out in the field, I can wait until I've gotten home to see whether the cell's capacity has dropped by 4% since I last did a discharge test. All the important stuff is on the charger's display, and if something's wrong the charger (or the battery!) will let me know, no need for a graph.
 

ecrbattery

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Mar 17, 2011
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There is a third party software for the FMA PowerLab 8 called "Field charger software" that allow you to monitor charge status from an Android phone. Check out this Youtube video.


While current hobby chargers can't communicate directly with smart phone, nothing stopping you from using a remote desktop program on your phone to control the chargers software on a PC.
 

flashflood

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Mar 9, 2011
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608
There is a third party software for the FMA PowerLab 8 called "Field charger software" that allow you to monitor charge status from an Android phone. Check out this Youtube video.


While current hobby chargers can't communicate directly with smart phone, nothing stopping you from using a remote desktop program on your phone to control the chargers software on a PC.

Cool, that's a start. But there's still a PC involved, which will remain true until there's some sort of wireless support in the charger itself. Maybe I'm the only person on earth who cares. Oh well.
 

KiwiMark

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Waikato, New Zealand
All the hobby chargers I know works fine without a computer connection, i.e. there is no reason to lug a computer around.

+1 on that.

Really though, the graphing and all is only of interest to me as a means of characterising my cells, and I don't do that out in the field, I can wait until I've gotten home to see whether the cell's capacity has dropped by 4% since I last did a discharge test. All the important stuff is on the charger's display, and if something's wrong the charger (or the battery!) will let me know, no need for a graph.

+1 on that too.

It sounds kinda cool to be able to control the hobby charger from a cell phone and to be able to graph the data at the same time. But this would be a neat gimmick rather than something that is really needed, I don't think I'd want to pay extra for this feature.
 

gSPIN

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Apr 1, 2008
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apologies to paul allen but you may need to pull up yer sox.
SkyRC NC2500 BlueTooth enabled 4bay AA/AAA charger .

http://www.skyrc.com/index.php?route...product_id=179

price found online ranges in the 100 dollar to 100 euro range.
but does anyone know where to buy one that they're actually in stock or is this just so much vapourware?
 

marcham

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Aug 12, 2012
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One issue would be power consumption for the phone, perhaps requiring it to remain plugged in if you wanted to continuously monitor the charge via bluetooth, defeating the no cables concept. Most hobby chargers have a display for that.

I don't charge lipos and liions unattended so for me access to charge data on my mobile device is a bit of a moot point.



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