MagCharger Questions

this_is_nascar

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I'm in the market for my 1st rechargable light. I've been hearing some good things about the MagCharger, but have some questions.

1. Do you need to worry about that battery "memory" issue like in the past or can you charge this at will, without waiting until it's already run down?
2. Can it stay on the charger all the time or only when it's charging?
3. With the charger adapter for the car lighter adapter can the light be used while charging or do you have to wait until it's charged then dissconnect the adapter?
 

dano

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1. NiCd memory is a myth, don't worry about it.
2. It can stay in the charging cradle without worry.
3. Can't use the light when it's in the charging cradle, because the cradle has a cover of sorts around the light's head.

It's a good light that's finally getting some attention...

--dan
 

Rothrandir

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i don't have a mag-charger, but i do have an ultrastinger. WOW!!!, you should really look into one. for about $120, you get 2 2.5 hour AC/DC fast chargers, and you can leave it on 24/7. before you buy the magcharger, please do yourself a favor and look into the ultrastinger...if you haven't already.
 

lemlux

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Dano:

"Don't worry, be happy" seems to be the recharging word from many battery makers at present.

Kind of reminds me of the mid 70's when lower octane unleaded gas made GM cars "knock" (destructive and disruptive pre-detonation before the compression cycle has completed)

GM's owners' manuals of the time asserted that a little knocking was just fine and was a very minor price to pay for the increased efficiency of using a higher compression ratio engine with the reduced octane gas.

Personally, I won't leave a NiCad on extended charge at a rate more than 0.1C and even then I won't let it charge for more than a day.

I am willing to top off NiCads occasionally after shallow cycles but try to deep cycle at least once every 4 months or so.

In other words, I'm more careful with the old optimization instructions than the manufacturer's suggest, but I'm not anal compulsive enough to deep cycle every time. As the Nicads I own normally last for more than the 5-year quoted standard life, I doubt if I'm being excessively careful.

I've seen micro-photographs that show how the memory effect is caused. Charging a NiCad creates microcrystals. Much, if not most of the charge in these crystals is retained close to the surface of the crystals. These crystals are broken down during the discharge cycle. After shallow discharges, the undischarged crystals are likely to grow bigger during the charging cycle. Each time this happens, there is less crystal surface area and less capacity.

Effective deep cycles break down these larger low efficiency crystals. Bigger crystals may require more deep cycles before they are fully broken down. It has been reported that really big crystals can accelerate NiCad cell deterioration by puncturing adjacent membranes.

Newer NiCads apparently have less severe bloated crystal problems. They still have some of this "memory effect".

Nonetheless, the surest way to reduce the capacity of and ultimately kill a NiCad (other than extended overcharging at > 0.1 C) is to run a pack down so low that the lowest capacity cell suffers polarity reversal. This will degrade internal seals, etc.
 

jtivat

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I have the US and MC I like US for it better and brighter beam, also the fact that it is lighter. I like the feel of the Mag it fits my in my hand better it is also built like a tank. (Note I am 6'6" and have large hands, also my Mag only has the 30,000 CP bulb in it). Also my Mag is about eight years old and has the original battery in it.
 

GPS Rider

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Nascar,

1. Rechargeable battery memory is a myth. Running the battery down for "conditioning" only decreases it's overall life and risks ruining the battery by overdischarging a cell. Recharge your batteries immediately after every use and you'll find they live much longer. Immediately stop using (and recharge as soon as possible) batteries which are going flat, as typically indicated by a sudden drop in output (light, speed, whatever).

2. Extended charging without use is to be avoided. Some manufacturers do a better job with this than others. A good rule of thumb is if the battery stays warm while in the trickle charge mode, they are overcharging the battery and it should not be left on charge indefinitely without use.

StreamLight does a really good job with their chargers and you can safely leave a StreamLight on charge for several days or even weeks without damage. Longer than that and I would disconnect the battery at the end of a full charge cycle (i.e., around 24 hours). NiCads and NiMh's self-discharge pretty fast, so you're going to want to top up the battery at least once a week if it's not used.

3. Don't own a MagCharger so I can't say for sure, but all the Mag charging stations I've seen have a shroud that covers the lens, rendering the light useless in the charger.

You should also seriously consider the StreamLight UltraStinger. It's about half the weight of the mag, which may be good or bad depending on your application. The barrel diameter is also about half, which again may be good or bad for you. The US has probably the best throw of any flashlight ever.

GR
 

Sean

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Actually, I believe memory problems do occur with nicad's. That was the primary reason NiMH batteries were developed. When NiMH batteries hit the market they cliamed to be "memory free". But to be honest, it's not something I would really worry about.

I'll put it another way:

1. Don't overcharge your battery! So you leave it off the charger and it's always dead when you need it.

Solution: leave it on the charger till you need it.

2. Don't "cycle" your battery! Are you telling me that if I run my $100+ light for 60 minutes (or whatever it's rated for) until it begins to dim I will ruin it?

Solution: charge it when it gets dim.

3. Don't "over-discharge" your battery! Again, are you telling me that if I run my $100+ light for 60 minutes (or whatever it's rated for) until it begins to dim I will reverse the polarity of one of the cells?

Solution: charge it when your done using it or it gets dim.

My point is there is a lot of info and everyone has their opinion. Just keep it simple and you should be fine. Constantly worring about the above problems will only cause you to never get one, or sell it once you get it.

BTW,
They (security) use Mag-Chargers were I work and they are very nice, but big and fat. If you want a meaty rechargeable that runs a long time, get a Mag-Charger. If you want thinner and lighter, get an Ultrastinger. If you want fat and short, get a Tigerlight.

I'm sure KT will come along shortly and commend you on your choice.
wink.gif
 

makar

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Ni-Cd can get in fact a memory effect. You should discharge them from time to time(every 3-4 months) to a voltage of 0,85. Then charge them completely. Avoid running the cells completely empty. it's possible that if you have more cells in a row(?) that one cell is completly empty and the others have a little rest. The cell which is completely empty gets in danger to deepdischarge. Or it can change its pole and beeing completely destroyed (I don't know how often this happens).
After charging leave it on the charger to trickle charge it.
I hope you understand my english:)
greets Marc
 

dano

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Very briefly, memory effect does not exist. What a majority of poele are experiencing is damage to the cell, mainly from over-discharging or overcharging (and the associated over heating).

When Nicds were developed, the associated charging technology wasn't as advanced, and the cells cooked due to overcharging. Overcharging forces the internal chemistry to vent, thus creating a loss in capacity.

If you use a light for ten minutes a day, and recharge several times, the cells will not remember that cycle.

In all the years I've been playing with nicds, I've never seen the memory effect, as it's commonly described. I have seen blown cells, completely vented cells, cells on fire, cells that were reversed in polarity, etc...but never a cell that would discharge to a certain point and stop working or have overly reduced output.

--dan
 

whiskypapa3

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Dano is correct.

Backin the good old days of my misspent youth I helped build four of the early ham satellites. We used some surplus flight qualified NiCads from NASA. When we went to pick them up we got a tour of the batt test area. Dano must have been there as he described the place to a "T":
"I have seen blown cells, completely vented cells, cells on fire, cells that were reversed in polarity, etc." Their take at the time was they had to very carefully match cells in a battery or one or two would not chagre fully.

23,000 mile service calls to replace a weak cell are very expensive.
 

PlayboyJoeShmoe

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Don't know if I can say anything meaningful here, but I'll try!

Back when Gary was alive (DAMN but I miss that big dufus!) he and I were RC Flyers. We built and flew lotsa planes. All had Nicads in the radio transmitter and reciever. Many a radio was used in a different plane.

Many times before we really knew what was going on, we would completely discharge all the batteries. Then charge them all night and fly the next day. We never lost a plane due to battery that we know of. I did lose two different planes (really shattered one!) due to a radio that had developed an intermittent problem.

Cordless power tools. I can't seem to have a cordless drill that will reliably charge up and work for much more than a year. They sit in my truck in the box for long periods, and I don't have a truck charger. But even when I have 4 cells to rotate and take a freshly charged one out, it doesn't seem to have the runtime it used to.

Macharger subject: My uncle has a Magcharger. I played with it on a roadtrip to South Dakota awhile back. Very bright! Nice enough beam.
My buddy has a Streamlight SL35X (he used to have Mags). He doesn't treat his stuff very well, but at two years old, his SL is going strong.

You'll pay more for a Stream. But I'm either getting a Stinger HP or an UltraStinger soon!!!
Probably HP as I use a light most on my back in fairly tight quarters, and it ain't as long as a US.
 

2dogs

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Oct 21, 2002
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We used MCs on all our fire apparatus with no problems at all. The light generally was used at least a few minutes each night. (Thank goodness for those nights with no calls.) We had planned on replacing the baterries at two years but ended up at about 4 years. My own MC is 4 years old this month and is still on its original battery. No problems, random charging cycle, below zero temps, +140 temps, very reliable. Much better charging sleeve than SL, still like the SL beam better.
 

Rothrandir

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well, not to get to off topic, but i just gotta ask...

makar, does your name have anything to do with the barbaric war-god's makar and his sister measse from tolkien?
 
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