Field charging/house charging Lipo packs.. charger choices?

I've been reading on this for a while.. gotten many suggestions.. forgotten /lost some of them.. mixed in other threads.. so I figured
I'll start one last thread on this subject for my own resources..
When charging Lipos.. is the recommendation to charge at 1C over 1 hour.. or if 3200mah then 3.2amps max charge.. and for better life.. only 75% of this value.. say 2.8amps?
I've been looking at chargers, trying to decide what is the best/ cheapest option.. I see alot that are Lipo only, and also include the balancer.. built in.. but usually their max charge is like 2.0 amps or similar.. to me this may take quite awhile, even though typically I'll be charging these in a security firesafe box (no vents) in my house while supervised (does this security box seem like the usual safe idea?)
Do I want a charger that is ideally at least the 1C rate of my highest mah battery pack? Should I be charging at 75% max value?
Ideally I wanted a charger that also had AC adapter ability, i've seen several that offer this, some that also do Nicad/nimh.
I will still be doing nicads with my older zagi till I convert it.. so I thought maybe having 2 chargers that still did nicad would be good? (IE: cig lighter adapters, 2 at same time, charging two nicads, in the car, is this bad on the battery for several good charges?).. if this idea is not useful, then I would probably go with a lipo only solution.
Charging Lipos in the field: Safe to plug a single charger into the cig. lighter adapter, and put the battery in the security fire safe box outside the car while charging? Or do some people use a different setup.. a seperate Lead acid battery (like an automotive battery?).. outside of the car? I'm not clear on how this is done or what exact battery is used in this type of situation.
Balancers.. I'm assuming if the charger doesnt have a balancer.. I can just buy a balancer and attach it to the charger (usually around $30 online)?
Final area of confusion.. if the charger doesnt have AC adapter ability or a cig lighter adapter which could go in one of those AC to DC converters for in the house.. are most people doing the whole PC power supply idea.. or purchasing a pre-modified psu?
I could attach multiple chargers to one of the PC power supply setups could I not? And charge multiple Lipos at the same time.. IE: 3200mah at 3.2amps x 3 would be roughly 10 amps, so if the PSU is rated 10 amps or higher I should be fine?
It would also be nice if they made a charger/cycler that did Nimh,nicad, and Lipo :)
I already have a 300 watt power inverter for in the car, if the charger had AC plugs too.
I've come to the conclusion from what i've read, that i can buy any charger.. i would simply cut the leads and put on the matching connector for whatever battery (or vice versa) that I would need.
Sorry for the mass questions again, I'm just trying to pool my thoughts into one single thread on the same subject..
Here are the chargers/balancers I've found so far:
Thunderpower, has ac pack.. $79 http://www.rctoys.com/rc-toys-and-parts/K-TP-535-1205P/RC-PARTS-CHARGERS-BALANCERS-POWER.html?utm_source=googlebase_froogle&utm_medium=US&utm_term=K-TP-535-1205P Would have to add balancer.; 2-5 cell; 5amp max
DN charger/balancer: http://www.aero-fever.com/product_info.php?currency=USD&products_id37 ; 0.2a/cell to 2amp/cell, 2-4 cells $67 (add $13 for ac plugs)
Team Orion http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXNNA5&P=7 up to 6amp with balancer, balancer connector is JST $48
Astro 109: http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXFWW2 $109 (notes say not to use with car battery?) 1-9cell, 7.5 amps max (must add balancer)
Great Planes Triton JR http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXMAH9&P=ML $79, nicad or nimh, or 1-4cell lipo.. 0.1 to 5amp .. limitted to 1C for lipo.. add balancer
ProPeak 1-4 Lipo Auto charger (100-6000mah or .1 to 3 amps) http://www.redrockethobbies.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=GBL158370&click=2 $29.99
CellPro 4s http://www.helihobby.com/html/helicopter_chargers.html $69 3amp/1c max (add balancer again)
PSU idea: http://www.etronics.com/product.asp?stk_code=pyrps14kx&store=&catid@71 $40, 14amp
*Balancer idea: http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXMGS7&P=M $29.99
The propeak seems to be cheapest.. but it maxes at 3 amps, so on 3200mah pack, its slightly under its normal speed of charge? But economical?
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I have one of the original Triton chargers which is what I charge all my LiPo packs with. It monitors the pack while charging and stops automatically when fully charged. A cell balancer is a must. I plan to buy the 4 station charger (similar to the Triton) for LiPos next. One charger just isnt sufficient if you have more than a couple LiPo packs.
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Dan
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On Apr 2, 1:51 pm, "Fubar of The HillPeople"

What are you charging your batteries in at home.. or are you? IE: Firebox.. ceramic etc Are you using a PC power supply like this : http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?tf5139#post7202104 Or a prefab one like I mentioned originally in the post.
I originally thought maybe I could use a 350watt power inverter and a 350 watt PSU device like that to charge two batteries at once in the car (lipos).. but your saying it probably wont work to that level (not 3amps each, etc, in reality?)
I guess I should decide if i want to get one that has multiple chemistry types or just go all lipo on the next two chargers.. I'm leaning towards all lipo the more I think about it.. isnt there a danger of accidently leaving it on say Nicad, when one meant to switch to Lipo.?
It appears for a decent, well monitored/automatic charger.. $79 is the sweet spot, followed by $30 for the balancer..
I did come across two that had built in cyclers for nicads: http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXEYD4&P=FR accucycle elit $134 (does 2 at once, but only 2 amps max) or Dymond Delta X3 plus lipo NIMH/NICAD/PB.. lipo 1-5 cell , auto cycling! 5 amp max charge; $79 http://www.rc-dymond.com/order_chargers_dy.htm
The $79 dymond looked interesting, though I'm not sure how good it would be in terms of safety and all.
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I am using an Astron regulated power supply. I have had this power supply for years. I originally purchased it to power a Kenwood 220mhz mobile transceiver. Not really sure how you were thinking of using the inverter. My mental image has the standard wall bugs that come with radio systems plugged into the inverter to charge up your tx. I have heard that the standard wall bugs only put out something like .15 mAh total. 150 mAh will take quite a while to charge up rx and tx batts making it useless to use at the field. I suppose with the Triton there is the possibility of charging with the wrong settings but you would really have to try to succeed with this due to the way you start the charger in any application. There is a very obvious readout on the unit itself. Also, you need to push the start/selection button twice to start charging. First push acknowledges the charge rate, second push, the cutoff voltage. So, you can do it, but if so, you probably shouldnt have any business being in your hanger that day. The Triton will charge just about any battery including the gel cells that come in most flight boxes. I pretty much have given up on nicads and run strictly LiPos so other than charge rate and cutoff voltage, I generally dont change the batt type on the charger. The cell balancer I have is from Astro Flight and cost about $25. I had to get an adapter for 2mm plugs which was another $5. I dont use a blast box because I only charge at half C at home and never leave a LiPo on charge unattended. I generally charge while working in the shop and the charger is on the bench right in front of me if something happens. I smell something funny (not the pot the neighbors are smoking in the adjourning garage) I can simply grab and fling the pack out the door hopefully hitting one of those previously mentioned dope fiends. With the Triton I have on occasion charged multiple nicad packs in parallel so long as they are equal ratings. I very rarely charge LiPos at the field.
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On Apr 2, 4:15 pm, "Fubar of The HillPeople"

Well yeah.. now I understand what you meant by the wall bugs lol.. I was going to get another wall adapter.. while I'm at work the transmitter would charge for 8 hours or so.. that way when I leave it is still at 11.2 volts (this is a new battery, after hours its down to 10.8.. I guess this is normal, though my nicads for the plane drop even faster in 30 minutes).
I envision taking that PSU unit and plugging it into the inverter via the wire leads which the inverter also has.. I figured I could then charge with multiple chargers at once. I'm not familiar with charging nicads in parallel.. I guess I should figure that one out, as I still use them with my Zagi for now.

So in other words, one could accidently set the Nicad setting on a lipo.. but they would have to be a pretty big moron to do so? :)

I envisoned taking 3 or 4 chargers and velcroing them either on the inside of the lid of the security fire box or on the outside lid with wires running inside to 4 batteries max.. (these being coupled onto the PSU if possible)
I figured I would then charge 4 at once.. 2 for my plane, then 2 for my camera equipment, and they'd all be done in 45 minutes to 1 hour time.. most likely I would only charge these at home, but I thought I could take the PSU/security box on the road and do that via the inverter or plug all 4 chargers via the battery terminals on my car?

Rotflmao.. I got quite a laugh out of that one I must say.

Do you just scatter charge multiple lipo packs over the course of a day or two or 3.. then they are still fully charged for the weekend I'm assuming?
Maybe I'm just being lazy, cause I guess I could save some cash and just do it that way, with one charger or maybe two.
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Easy. Don't.
Good way to overcharge and cook some batteries.
--
Jim in NC



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I use a Trident Jr. charger running off a 12 V gel battery for everything, including field charging, powering my foam cutter, and my electric starter motor. I leave the gel battery on a Battery Tender trickle charger in the shop, so it is always ready. A day's use has never come close to running down the gel battery. I made a box for it with the Triton charger mounted on top and a pocket on the side for various charging leads. Grab one handle and I have everything I need.
The first step in charging is to choose the battery type. As long as you are careful here, you can't mess up the other settings. Also, the charger gives you a lot of control over charging rates. I charge Lipos out doors in a Pyrex mixing bowl set on a piece of 12x12 foil sided insulation material used to install air handlers in home heating systems. These go with me to the for field charging.
wrote

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I'm assuming you meant Triton Jr. correct?
Your 12v gel battery.. whats the mah or ah rating on that one.. I took a quick look, saw a few out there.
I think for now I may just use my jump start battery.. seems to be doing the job.. not sure how it will work with the Triton or CellPro 4s but we'll see.

I'm still leaning towards a safety firebox.. as I could probably mount multiple chargers either inside or on the outside lid.
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Forgive me if I have misunderstood your post, but it does not address the question of charging NiCads in parallel, does it?
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| Forgive me if I have misunderstood your post, but it does not address the | question of charging NiCads in parallel, does it?
Let me address it for you then ... don't do it.
Do not charge NiCd or NiMH cells in parallel. At best, it might work as expected. More likely, one pack will be fully charged and the other not fully charged. Worst, you'll be charging at a rate too high for one pack, but one pack will get all the charge and will overheat.
You can charge NiCd/NiMH packs in series as long as the charge rate is appropriate for both packs and you realize that when you're done one pack may not be fully charged and that your peak charger may have a hard time detecting the peak, but this is best avoided as well unless you know what you're doing.
Chargers are cheap. If you need to charge two packs, get two chargers or a two port charger.
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Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzied.us
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wrote:

I never considered doing the parallel or series charging, but what is involved wiring wise in either case.. any good images out there of what this actually looks like (I guess series more so than parallel, I'm curious on)
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I havent run into any probs with parallel charging two nicad packs at the same time. In my case tho, the packs were identical. Its not something I do regularly, but have done it when time is a factor. My charge leads use stackable banana plugs so I can plug in multiple packs at once if needed. Mainly I have two diff types of plugs on the other end for my LiPos (Deans ultra and JST) so I can use one lead or the other without unplugging anything. I wouldnt charge LiPos in parallel although I suppose it would work with identical rated packs and balancers on both. Too paranoid tho so I wouldnt. I charge all my packs in a fan tube.
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Any battery that is charged with a constant potential regime may be charged in parallel with another pack of the same number of cells, capacity doesn't mater. Constant current systems (Ni-Cd and Ni-Mh) should not be charged in parallel because once a pack is charged it begins to warm up in overcharge, the voltage starts to drop and it can unbalance the charge currents. Aircraft (flooded) Ni-Cds may be charged in parallel because they do not have recombinant systems (where heat is generated in overcharge) and are generally charged with a constant potential.
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Red S.
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I'm on board with you and the don't do it. I just did not follow what your post had to do with addressing the question about parallel charging.
Was there any connection of your answer to the question, or did you just go out on a tangent>
Don't misunderstand my question as being confrontational, or whatnot. I just was unsure if you were trying to answer the question, and if so, I did not understand the connection.
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| I'm on board with you and the don't do it. I just did not follow | what your post had to do with addressing the question about parallel | charging.
Then perhaps I don't understand what the question was about parallel charging. What was it?
I saw somebody say that they did it, and then several of us said why it's a bad idea.
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Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzied.us A chat has nine lives.

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| When charging Lipos.. is the recommendation to charge at 1C over 1 | hour.. or if 3200mah then 3.2amps max charge.. and for better life.. | only 75% of this value.. say 2.8amps?
Yes, that's generally the idea.
| Do I want a charger that is ideally at least the 1C rate of my highest | mah battery pack? Should I be charging at 75% max value?
Yes, you probably want a charger that can do your largest pack at 1C. But even if you get a smaller one, that's OK too -- it'll just take longer. Consider that your future airplanes may use larger packs, so it's nice to have some room to grow.
| Ideally I wanted a charger that also had AC adapter ability, i've seen | several that offer this, some that also do Nicad/nimh.
Personally I just use external power supplies for indoor use.
| I will still be doing nicads with my older zagi till I convert it.. so | I thought maybe having 2 chargers that still did nicad would be good?
Sure.
| (IE: cig lighter adapters, 2 at same time, charging two nicads, in | the car, is this bad on the battery for several good charges?)
You're doing small batteries now -- your car battery can handle it with no problem. Perhaps if you start doing 8s 8Ah packs you'll start having a problem, but not now.
If you do charge from a `loose' battery, make sure it's a deep cycle battery. A small gel cell battery is fine (but be aware that they have very limited capacity) but if you just use a loose car battery discharging it without recharging it quickly will make them not last long at all.
Deep cycle batteries might cost a bit more, but they'll last a lot longer.
But don't worry about your car battery -- it'll be charged as you drive home, so it won't remain discharged for long at all.
| Charging Lipos in the field: Safe to plug a single charger into the | cig. lighter adapter, and put the battery in the security fire safe | box outside the car while charging?
Yes.
| Or do some people use a different setup.. a seperate Lead acid | battery (like an automotive battery?) outside of the car?
Already covered that ...
| Balancers.. I'm assuming if the charger doesnt have a balancer.. I can | just buy a balancer and attach it to the charger (usually around $30 | online)?
Yes. The Astroflight Blinky works nicely like that.
Note that you only need to use a balancer occasionally. They're optional, but can double the how long your batteries last before wearing out if used occasionally.
There's no need to worry about a balancer at the field, for example. | | Final area of confusion.. if the charger doesnt have AC adapter | ability or a cig lighter adapter which could go in one of those AC to | DC converters for in the house.. are most people doing the whole PC | power supply idea.. or purchasing a pre-modified psu?
Most is hard to say. People are doing both of these, however. Or using a deep cycle marine battery to charge from.
| I could attach multiple chargers to one of the PC power supply setups | could I not?
Yes, as long as you don't exceed the maximum amps rating.
| And charge multiple Lipos at the same time.. IE: | 3200mah at 3.2amps x 3 would be roughly 10 amps, so if the PSU is | rated 10 amps or higher I should be fine?
Yes. Unless you've got 4s or greater packs -- then since the final voltage is higher than 13 volts, then the current drawn from your PS will be higher than what's put into your battery.
| It would also be nice if they made a charger/cycler that did | Nimh,nicad, and Lipo :)
They do. The Triton chargers for example do this, and there are many others.
| I already have a 300 watt power inverter for in the car, if the | charger had AC plugs too.
Really, there's little need to use this. Most chargers have 12 volt inputs.
| I've come to the conclusion from what i've read, that i can buy any | charger.. i would simply cut the leads and put on the matching | connector for whatever battery (or vice versa) that I would need.
Yes. | Sorry for the mass questions again, I'm just trying to pool my | thoughts into one single thread on the same subject..
Nobody minds ...
| Great Planes Triton JR http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXMAH9&P=ML | $79, nicad or nimh, or 1-4cell lipo.. 0.1 to 5amp .. limitted to 1C | for lipo.. add balancer
Should also do Pb cells -- if you have a gel cell battery to charge, for example.
All chargers are limited to 1C for LiPo. Well, the charger will probably happily do it if you tell it to, but you don't want to do that unless you're sure the pack can take it.
| *Balancer idea: http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXMGS7&P=M | $29.99
No experience with that one. Note that there's several different `standards' for balancing plugs, and you might need adapters to use this.
| The propeak seems to be cheapest.. but it maxes at 3 amps, so on | 3200mah pack, its slightly under its normal speed of charge? But | economical?
3 amps vs. 3200 mAh, who cares? Assuming a constant charge rate (which is not really an accurate assumption) you're looking at about four extra minutes. If you had a 6 Ah battery, you might care, but 3.2 Ah? no.
Note that LiPos generally charge at full rate until they're 90% full, then the charge rate tapers off. So if you're charging at 1C, and start with a fully discharged battery, it'll get 90% charged in 90% of an hour, but then the remaining 10% will take another 30 minutes or so.
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Thanks for the reply and all the answers.. Much appreciated.
In pooling my thoughts and answers I think I'm leaning towards the CellPro 4s (for right now).
I never cycled my tx battery in the past and it lasted 9 years though I should.. in a bit I may get a TritonJr or even an Astro 109 for higher amp rate.. but I think for very short term, the best bet would be the cellpro (only about $70).. max of 3 amps.
Someone said that they didnt think using the Cig. lighter port in the car would work with an Inverter (with a PSU in the field too).. because it doesnt go over 12 volts for using the cellpro like this. I checked the volts.. its around 11.89 with the car off (correct way).. vs car on about 14.25 volts or more.
Would probably be far easier just to open the hood on the car, connect the chargers this way. I'm also guessing there is no reason why I cant just combine black/red leads if I have multiple chargers into 2 plugs and connect to the car battery.
I probably cant use my jump starter, not just because its probably not the deep cycle type, but because it only has a cig. lighter port, there is no way to connect leads from any of the non AC ability chargers (if I bought the thunderpower it would have an AC option, but its more money).
If they make a cig. lighter to bare wire type cable out there.. I guess this would work with the jump start device or even the car cig lighter port (if that is enough volts).
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You guys have mentioned getting the leads on the battery to match the charger..
Well I'm about to plunge on a battery (2 of them).. with the CellPro4S charger (for now)..
What type of balancing/charging connector do I need on each end..
I'm looking so far.. at either this battery:
http://www.xushobby.com/catalog/DN15C21503S-2P.gif
or this one
http://www.rctoys.com/rc-toys-and-p...-BATTERIES.html
or this one
http://www.bphobbies.com/view.asp?i...05&pid 467965 out of stock.. (this one doesnt mention equinox balancer type leads, it also says it comes with bare wires.. so I guess in fact, you do have to solder on your own connectors?)
Depends on whether I go 3200mah or not.. They dont seem to list the type of connector they have on some sites.. like the DN battery site (cheaper).. Do I want poles or deans or does it matter.. do I need to do anything fancy to make them connect to the balance leads on the 4s cellpro?
I'm undecided on 2500, 2100 or 3200mah 15c 3s.. I thought I'd get the 2100/2500 mah ones first for my Twinstar, then get 3200mah later on, for longer life, so i could use the lighter 2100's in the Zagi brushless upgraded version for now.. but my flight times with the bp-12s and 2100's would only be about 10-13 minutes, vs 20 minutes with the 3200mah and once I add camera equipment, this flight time becomes even shorter on both numbers... I was hoping for 2 batteries (3200mah) 15c for $100, but I guess this is impossible:)
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As far as charging connectors, it depends on what kind of plugs you are using in the plane. Usually. In my case, everything I fly uses Deans Ultra Plugs so I made a cable with stackable banana plugs on one end, and a male Deans on the other. You want the female plug on the battery to avoid shorting possibilities. I also fly an M.A.E. Nemesis. Both the speed controller and the batt pack came with, I believe, JST plugs. I made a lead for that one using the banana plugs on the charger end and a male servo plug with the shroud removed on the other. I had a pile of short servo leads handy but no JST male plugs so I used the servo plug. I guess I forgot to mention that the Triton will charge just about any battery you have: Nicad, Nimh, lead acid, gel, and LiPo. As far as a balancer plug adapter it depends on the LiPo pack. Most of the packs I have will fit the Astro Flight balancer as is. Only the one pack I fly on my Slow Stick had the 2mm balancing plug so I had to get the adapter for that. I have never had a pack explode or catch fire but before I got the balancer I did have a couple swell up during flight. Oddly enough they were the expensive Kokam packs, not the cheaper no name ones. Go figure.
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