SkyRC — IFA 2014 — MC3000 charger-analyzer

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Geppo

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It's more than one month that I test it with all available parameters and it is simply unthinkable to change charging parameters for each battery. So I did extensive testing to find out best standard charging parameters for most common battery types (AAA, AAA, C, D). These are now working with almost all batteries, but anyway sometimes a partially weared battery refuses to charge. This never happens with other chargers.
Anyway I firstly tried dV = -3mV and I found it works only with Eneloop battery in very good condition charged at C/2. These are the Panasonic recommended charging value. It never ended correctly a charging cycle with these parameters with other batteries, brand new. I found 0dV is the only working end of charge detection mode for general use.
Please consider I usually use 3 different types of AAA Ni-Mh batteries (Eneloop standard, Eneloop Pro, EverActive Pro - all with different capacity), 3 different types of AA Ni-Mh batteries (Eneloop standard, Eneloop Pro, EverActive Pro - same as above), 1 type of C Ni-Mh batteries, 2 different types of D Ni-Mh batteries + 3 types of Li-Ion batteries. Multiply the batteries number for the three main mode (Charge/Discharge/Refresh) you will get a nightmare of needeed profiles. That's why I had to find a common profile for all AAA battery types, one for AA and so on.
Truly I set two different profiles for AAA, and two for AA, the first one to achieve a fast charge rate (just for Eneloop Pro), the second for a "soft" charge rate (with a charging current about C/3 - somewhat function of the battery capacity under charge).
Anyway this is too much complicated and I don't like at all. With chargers like the Everactive, with just some buttons press, you simply set the mode and the charging current and I never had issues also using very low charging current. You can set it to charge/discharge/refresh all kinds/size/capacity of Ni-Mh batteries in a breeze. Surely it gains from the use of a low frequency pwm charging mode (pulse), but I think it has a better implemented alghoritm to detect the end of charge point.
For my thought, far better than a bulky charger like the SkyRC that you have to set very accurate to obtain a decent result. A very bad user interface......
 
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sbj

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Because (as already mentioned) I mostly use the cheap chargers to charge NiMh batteries, I only use the MC3000 for NiMh if I want to see the charged capacity, for example.

For AAA I set:
Capacity: 1100mAh; Current: 0.5A; Volts: 1.65V; DeltaPeak: 4mV; Temp: 38 degrees; Time: 135 mins

For AA I set:
Capacity: 2600mAh; Current: 1,1A; Volts: 1.65V; DeltaPeak: 0dV(or4mV); Temp: 38 degrees; Time: 180 mins

This has worked well for the cells I mainly use so far. Meanwhile, I mainly use "Low Self Discharge" cells.
 
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skid00skid00

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Geppo- which competitor to SkyRC do you work for?
 
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mactavish

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Indeed, while some of the criticisms are valid, they have all been mentioned before. And as this particular charger/product is not being up dated, I don’t see the point of constant update suggestions. I use it mostly for lithium batteries and the charger you seem to love doesn’t do those.
 
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Geppo

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Geppo- which competitor to SkyRC do you work for?
I'm sorry dude, I do not work for any chargers/batteries producer nor for any resellers. These are my personal opinions about this charger.
 
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G

Geppo

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Indeed, while some of the criticisms are valid, they have all been mentioned before. And as this particular charger/product is not being up dated, I don’t see the point of constant update suggestions. I use it mostly for lithium batteries and the charger you seem to love doesn’t do those.
I use mainly Ni-Mh batteries in low drain devices and rarely some Li-Ion batteries. I was attracted by the some features of the SkyRC, like the power and the bluetooth app. I had underestimate the user interface, really bad from my point of view. Unfortunately the bluetooth app has issues and lacks some important features.
A potentially good piece of hardware with several issues that make it of little use for my needs.
 
G

Geppo

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Because (as already mentioned) I mostly use the cheap chargers to charge NiMh batteries, I only use the MC3000 for NiMh if I want to see the charged capacity, for example.

For AAA I set:
Capacity: 1100mAh; Current: 0.5A; Volts: 1.65V; DeltaPeak: 4mV; Temp: 38 degrees; Time: 135 mins

For AA I set:
Capacity: 2600mAh; Current: 1,1A; Volts: 1.65V; DeltaPeak: 0dV(or4mV); Temp: 38 degrees; Time: 180 mins

This has worked well for the cells I mainly use so far. Meanwhile, I mainly use "Low Self Discharge" cells.
As I already wrote, I spent more than a month making tests on more than 50 Ni-Mh batteries size AAA-AA-C-D of different brands (all Low Self Discharge cells) using all modes (charge/discharge/refresh/cycle).

The only setting generally working for DeltaPeak is 0dV. I started with Panasonic Eneloop recommended values (-3mV) but I found it reliably works only with fresh Eneloop batteries charged at 0.5C, as Panasonic recommends.

As described I had to find a settings applicable for all AAA batteries (750-1000mAh), one for all AA batteries (1800-2500mAh) and so on. This now works almost ever, but weared batteries are not chargeable at all. If you use a low charge current (C/4) the charger does not detect the correct point for the end of charge and it ends with "capacity limit" (1300 - 3100). If you use a higher charger current (C/2) it "boils" the batteries and it ends with "temperature limit" (45C).
Anyway I found this too much complicated, due to the needs to manage almost 30 profiles to do basic tasks (charge/discharge/refresh) to achieve a quite unsatisfactory result.
I think a big improvement could come from a well designed app, but unfortunately, this shows just basic features and has issue.

As you wrote, you use the MC3000 mainly for Li-Ion batteries and I think this is where it works at best. Moreover it supports a lot of different battery chemistry and this is nice. Unfortunately I use mainly Ni-Mh batteries and I need it work at best also with them.

I think some of the issue as due to the DC current charge method. In fact I saw similar issues (although much less evident) using the XSTAR VP4 Dragon Plus, charging size D 10000mAh cells. Pulse charge allows to minimize this issue and to do the identification of the end of charge point in Ni-Mh cells much more easier. In fact this issue is not present neither in Technoline BC-700 (a La Crosse clone) nor in EverActive NC-3000. These use both pulsed charging mode.
You can charge batteries using charge currents as low as 100mA without missing the correct full charge point. Moreover you can charge also weared batteries without issues using a quite low charging current. I already use some Eneloop Pro batteries bougth on 2015 and although they exibhit a quite high internal resistence they have still a very good capacity and last almost the new one (in low drain devices).
 
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sbj

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In the case of heavily aged NiMh batteries with increased internal resistance, the end-of-charge detection with the Deltapeak method is much more difficult due to the principle (triggering by heating). You can still be satisfied if your simple chargers can handle it well.

In contrast to you, I have hardly found any useful use for NiMh batteries in devices with low power requirements. They only work for a short time in remote controls, wireless thermometers, temperature displays or clocks.
That's why I have little charging experience with it. Maybe in the near future I'll pick out a few NiMh oldies from the junk box and do my own experiments.
If you use a higher charger current (C/2) it "boils" the batteries and it ends with "temperature limit" (45C).
End of charge detection by temperature rise would also be a possibility that you could try with the MC3000. The problem with AAA is that they don't make contact with the minus slide when they are pressed against the ground, which would be important for good contact with the temperature sensor.
Pretty much all multi-cell chargers have this contact problem.
 
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Geppo

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In contrast to you, I have hardly found any useful use for NiMh batteries in devices with low power requirements. They only work for a short time in remote controls, wireless thermometers, temperature displays or clocks.
That's why I have little charging experience with it. Maybe in the near future I'll pick out a few NiMh oldies from the junk box and do my own experiments.
You have to use very good Low Self Discharge batteries, otherwise the leakage current is comparable to the one used by the device. I use a lot of this batteries with very good results in wireless mouse, thermometers, clocks. They last several months, near to the lasting of an alkaline battery.
Sometimes I also test the Self Discharge behaviour of a batteries sample after some months of resting to verify their conditions.
 
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hc900

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As I already wrote, I spent more than a month making tests on more than 50 Ni-Mh batteries size AAA-AA-C-D of different brands (all Low Self Discharge cells) using all modes (charge/discharge/refresh/cycle).

The only setting generally working for DeltaPeak is 0dV. I started with Panasonic Eneloop recommended values (-3mV) but I found it reliably works only with fresh Eneloop batteries charged at 0.5C, as Panasonic recommends.

As described I had to find a settings applicable for all AAA batteries (750-1000mAh), one for all AA batteries (1800-2500mAh) and so on. This now works almost ever, but weared batteries are not chargeable at all. If you use a low charge current (C/4) the charger does not detect the correct point for the end of charge and it ends with "capacity limit" (1300 - 3100). If you use a higher charger current (C/2) it "boils" the batteries and it ends with "temperature limit" (45C).
Anyway I found this too much complicated, due to the needs to manage almost 30 profiles to do basic tasks (charge/discharge/refresh) to achieve a quite unsatisfactory result.
I think a big improvement could come from a well designed app, but unfortunately, this shows just basic features and has issue.

As you wrote, you use the MC3000 mainly for Li-Ion batteries and I think this is where it works at best. Moreover it supports a lot of different battery chemistry and this is nice. Unfortunately I use mainly Ni-Mh batteries and I need it work at best also with them.

I think some of the issue as due to the DC current charge method. In fact I saw similar issues (although much less evident) using the XSTAR VP4 Dragon Plus, charging size D 10000mAh cells. Pulse charge allows to minimize this issue and to do the identification of the end of charge point in Ni-Mh cells much more easier. In fact this issue is not present neither in Technoline BC-700 (a La Crosse clone) nor in EverActive NC-3000. These use both pulsed charging mode.
You can charge batteries using charge currents as low as 100mA without missing the correct full charge point. Moreover you can charge also weared batteries without issues using a quite low charging current. I already use some Eneloop Pro batteries bougth on 2015 and although they exibhit a quite high internal resistence they have still a very good capacity and last almost the new one (in low drain devices).
You are one of the 500 Italian users of the MC-3000!
One of the few who asks himself questions to find personal solutions.

For AA rechargeable batteries, the 1C current is an illusion, maybe you could do a recharge up to 50% at 1C and then go to C / 3, but it doesn't convince me enough.
Our MC-3000 still lacks something to function well without complicated programming.



To do things easily:

For the Eneloop batteries are with you, the Varta are the worst of the worst, the Energizers are saved but do not shine for quality.

Usually I recharge the Eneloop with a BC900 LaCrosse or with a BT-C700 Opus, being careful not to use more than 700mA of recharge due to the known problems of high temperature.

For other less good batteries, a Liitokala LII-500 does a good job even at 1000mA charging for 2 reasons:
1] the housings are wider and retain less heat
2] charging ends by voltage before 100% capacity, so it does not overheat them. Not perfect but decent.



The pulsed current:
ingenious and dangerous, the maximum current is used for short moments.
The thermal effect is maximum even at low currents, because the pulse is of a strong current that warms the battery, more than a constant current charge without pulses.
 
kerneldrop

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Maybe I need to rethink how I charge batteries....I put them on the SkyRC, turn that light to red and wait for that light to turn green.

I must ask...what kind of performance improvement(s) are we getting from delving deep into charging?
 
H

hc900

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Geppo- which competitor to SkyRC do you work for?
To make the MC-3000 work properly, the system of springs and electrical contacts should be improved.

A 4-wire sense system would be ideal to be reliable in all conditions. (would be difficult to make with small batteries or with flat poles)

The temperature sensor should be mounted on a spring that makes it touch the battery in a stable and reliable way.


For the rest:

The bluetooth module needs to be changed to a decent one.

One USB port with QC 3.0 The bays must accommodate 4 D-size batteries. At the risk of becoming a large aircraft carrier!

A 15 Volt powered charger must be able to recharge 9 Volt batteries !!

The App needs deep attention and care, it is the centerpiece of the MC-3000 for busy use


New charger name?
👉MC-6000 or HAL9000:clap:
 
H

hc900

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Maybe I need to rethink how I charge batteries....I put them on the SkyRC, turn that light to red and wait for that light to turn green.

I must ask...what kind of performance improvement(s) are we getting from delving deep into charging?
A universal charger with high technological capabilities, should be able to do everything by itself.

A user who has over 20 types of batteries would like to do without looking for programs suitable for multiple types.
Of him the MC-3000 does not do an optimal job, it is necessary to go into the settings to correct the work of him.

For example: the MC-3000 does not understand if the inserted battery is AA or AAA size, a cheap BT-C700 understands this immediately, by changing the charging current by itself
 
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sbj

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But it can only differentiate between these because it doesn't have to provide a contact for LiIo sizes such as 18650.

Most universal four bay chargers that can charge both LiIo and NiMh have been found not to work well with NiMh. So far I've been happy with the MC3000 here too.
 
G

Geppo

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You are one of the 500 Italian users of the MC-3000!
One of the few who asks himself questions to find personal solutions.

That don't comfort me at all, a reason more to understand there are few chances to get some good improvement to the MC3000.
I'm used to look things for what they really are and I don't like at all who think to have the best device all over the world because he got it. Moreover I have a special "aptitude" to find out in just five minutes a bug while others need a month. This is somewhat my curse....
A friend of mine was used to say: If there are two "lemons" all over the world, first is for you, the other for me.


For AA rechargeable batteries, the 1C current is an illusion, maybe you could do a recharge up to 50% at 1C and then go to C / 3, but it doesn't convince me enough.
Our MC-3000 still lacks something to function well without complicated programming.



To do things easily:

For the Eneloop batteries are with you, the Varta are the worst of the worst, the Energizers are saved but do not shine for quality.

Usually I recharge the Eneloop with a BC900 LaCrosse or with a BT-C700 Opus, being careful not to use more than 700mA of recharge due to the known problems of high temperature.

For other less good batteries, a Liitokala LII-500 does a good job even at 1000mA charging for 2 reasons:
1] the housings are wider and retain less heat
2] charging ends by voltage before 100% capacity, so it does not overheat them. Not perfect but decent.

I agree with you charging a Ni-Mh battery at C current is not a good idea. Panasonic recommends C/2 for Eneloop batteries.
Anyway to correctly identify the full charge point in Ni-Mh batteries using dV identification (surely the best one) you cannot use a too low charge current. This is a well know constraint. Generally speaking you have to charge your NiMh batteries at a charge current not lower than C/3. Personally I discovered that C/4 is generally enough, but I cannot state this for all batteries. Using charge currents below that value cause issue in detecting the correct end of charge point.

The pulsed current:
ingenious and dangerous, the maximum current is used for short moments.
The thermal effect is maximum even at low currents, because the pulse is of a strong current that warms the battery, more than a constant current charge without pulses.
Anyway, please note that also your BT-C700 uses a pulsed charge as you can see here:

About the danger of this method, I only can say that I still use my first Eneloop batteries bought on 2015, so from a practical point of view I don't think it is so dangerous. Moreover, as you have seen using your BT-C700, they never miss to detect the proper full charge point, also using a quite low current (average current).

I own five chargers: a Technoline BC700, a Everactive NC3000, a LiitoKala LII-500, a XSTAR VP4 Dragon Plus and the SkyRC MC3000. The first two are the best for Ni-Mh charging and both uses pulsed charge.
 
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hc900

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Pulsed current is a good idea, only when it works well.
My MahaC9000, LaCrosse BC900 and Opus BT-C700 are pulsed current, I also know for the higher heat they produce than the MC3000.

The point is that if the pulses are too strong like on the C9000, around 2000mA, the batteries can go to a bad end.

On the BC900 there is no space to dissipate the heat, and the over-temperature protections often trip.

On the BT-C700 the pulsed current is better dosed, and the average current of 700mA allows you to finish charging 4 AA without problems.

So I observed how pulse charging can be dangerous, but going further:

Sometimes without apparent causes, the Minus Delt V is not seen. I have 4 BT-C700: 3 of the first generation and one of the latest generation, but the problem is always this, it happens more frequently if the batteries are cheap like Varta and Energizer or Eneloop Lite.


SKYRC:
Sure our MC3000 is a good charger, but you can't take it as the best in the world. I was never convinced by charging high-capacity D batteries, especially with the first firmware, charging at 2000mA stopped without a valid reason.
 
G

Geppo

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Pulsed current is a good idea, only when it works well.
My MahaC9000, LaCrosse BC900 and Opus BT-C700 are pulsed current, I also know for the higher heat they produce than the MC3000.

The point is that if the pulses are too strong like on the C9000, around 2000mA, the batteries can go to a bad end.

On the BC900 there is no space to dissipate the heat, and the over-temperature protections often trip.

On the BT-C700 the pulsed current is better dosed, and the average current of 700mA allows you to finish charging 4 AA without problems.

So I observed how pulse charging can be dangerous, but going further:

Sometimes without apparent causes, the Minus Delt V is not seen. I have 4 BT-C700: 3 of the first generation and one of the latest generation, but the problem is always this, it happens more frequently if the batteries are cheap like Varta and Energizer or Eneloop Lite.


SKYRC:
Sure our MC3000 is a good charger, but you can't take it as the best in the world. I was never convinced by charging high-capacity D batteries, especially with the first firmware, charging at 2000mA stopped without a valid reason.
I usually charge my Eneloop Std / Pro AAA batteries at 200-400mA and the AA at 400-600mA and I never had issues with the EverActive or the TechnoLine. Always "cold" batteries, while during the test of the SkyRC I "boiled" some batteries because it has missed the detection of the full charge.
About size D batteries, I did only a few tests ended without issues, I will do more and I will report about the results.
 
desert.snake

desert.snake

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I now decided to read the instructions for the MC3000, I can't understand, can I set it up so that the lithium ion charging ends at 4.1 volts (or any other voltage that I need) or not?
 
S

sbj

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Yes, you can freely set the end-of-charge voltage in a range from 3.65V to 4.40V (including storage and LiIo4.35).

This freedom of adjustment is what I appreciate so much about the MC3000.

You can find the setting ranges in the operating instructions under: "BATTERY VOLTAGES" (page 11).
 
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skid00skid00

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A universal charger with high technological capabilities, should be able to do everything by itself.

A user who has over 20 types of batteries would like to do without looking for programs suitable for multiple types.
Of him the MC-3000 does not do an optimal job, it is necessary to go into the settings to correct the work of him.

For example: the MC-3000 does not understand if the inserted battery is AA or AAA size, a cheap BT-C700 understands this immediately, by changing the charging current by itself

Lygte-info: BT-C700 charges AAA at 700 mA.

That's too high.
 

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