BC168, Hyena's awesome isolated high current balance charger

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Hyena   100 GW

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BC168, Hyena's awesome isolated high current balance charger

Post by Hyena » Jun 24 2012 10:45pm

Hows that for a sales pitch :P

OK so here's the story - skip to the end if you just just want the punchline

For ages I've been looking for a good balance charging solution. Yeah, everyone uses RC chargers but they're a bit dumb in the way that most charge up to pack voltage and then bleed back the high cells. This prompted me to go down several routes to make my own, using individual DC converters and finally small 5v meanwell SMPSs. The DC converters didn't really work sufficiently, none I tried had enough guys to be feasible without adding multiple in parallel and finding isolated gutsier ones proved difficult or expensive. Then I tried 5a 5v meanwells tuned to 4.2v which did work but was quite bulky and messy to set up and due to the low delta V between flat and fully charged at the single cell level using a dumb meanwell meant it didn't deliver much current for long before dropping to CV mode.
I also tried a few other dedicated lipo charging boards after discussion with a few chinese manufacturers and wholesalers without much luck. Until now.

Enter my current beasty - no DIY fiddling required - it's a neat commercially produced product that you can just plug in and use.
As per the teaser info I posted in my build thread it's an isolated 6S balance charger that charges each cell individually - through the balance taps.
And it does so at up to 8 amps! It also discharges at up to 1 amp. If charging a single 6S pack your balance tap wires might get a bit warm but the silicon wires on mine didn't get anywhere near hot enough to be concerned about them melting. If yours do get hot just turn the current down a little. It'd be unlikely anyone would use them to charge a single pack in an ebike application anyway, you'd be charging multiple packs in parallel which is no issue for it.
For all out speed you could bulk charge to 4.1v/cell or there abouts and then finish off with this charger if you're worried about overcharging, or just let this charge at 8 amps from the get go if you don't need a super rapid recharge. And because it's so quick to balance at the top end, if you did want to bulk charge at full pack voltage you could leave the pack permanantly in series connection and top it up/balance each sub pack through the balance connector (come back 5 minutes later and swap to the next balance tap, and then the next)
Or do what I do with a multipin centronics plug (or similar) and charge all through that.

As an example it balanced up a slightly out of balance (10mv difference) 5ah pack in about 3 minutes and one that was seriously out of balance (2 cells at 3.9v while the others were at 4.16) big 15ah pack in 20 minutes. It basically topped up the 4 nearly charged cells and then belted 8 amps into the other 2 until they were full. See how long your average powerful RC charger takes to sort that one out!

In the below pic I have it set to charge to 4.18v. You can see cells 3, 5 and 6 are already there and have tailed right off before stopping. The others which are slightly behind still charge with max current or are tapering off too. This can balance a slightly out of balance pack in literally only a few minutes.
It doesn't have all the advanced features of some RC chargers but it does what's necessary - set the charge voltage, current, charge time and also has a temp probe. Physically it's relatively large (around the size of a 350w meanwell but about an inch shorter) - alot bigger than my icharger 1010b (which is now largely of use only to calibrate controller shunts :P ) It has 2 fans in the opposite end to pictured below and runs barely above ambient at max power.
It needs a 20 amp + 12v PSU to power it. A 350w meanwell would be ideal - I use cheap server power supply.

Image

So, I had to buy 10 of these as "samples" which was a bit of a risk as they were much more expensive than all my other attempts at a good balance charger and I wasn't sure how good they'd be but it looks like they are indeed the goods so it was worth the gamble. I only had 1 shipped to me initially for testing but the rest are now on the way. So, the deal is I have 7 left to share with everyone and then if there's interest in more I'll drop ship them from china to keep the postage costs to a minimum for everyone.

OK enough dribble

Price is $120 delivered for Aussies and for now international orders will be $130. But once these 7 are gone I'm hoping to have them for $120 delivered world wide. But get in early just incase :P

Bal-charge1.jpg
8 amp balance charger of doom
Bal-charge1.jpg (56.86 KiB) Viewed 15225 times
- Input Voltage: 11~15V DC
- Input power: 250W
- Charge Power: 200W (33W x 6 cells)
- Discharge Power: 25.2W (4.2W x 6 cells)
- Charge Voltage Precision: +/- 0.001V (claimed - resolution of LCD is only x.xx V - which is good enough!)
- Discharge Voltage Precision: +/- 0.001V (claimed - as above)
- Accessories:
- 1 x Balance cable (8cm)
- 1 x Temperature sensor cable (25cm)
- 1 x Adapter board

Cliffnotes: Awesome isolated balance charger that charges individual cells through the balance taps at 8 amps.

Price:
$120 delivered (Australia)
$130 delivered (worldwide)

[moderator edit to add part number to title]
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by liveforphysics » Jun 24 2012 10:49pm

Whoa.

The holy grail of balancing. Save 4 for me please.
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by jonescg » Jun 24 2012 11:12pm

Awesome, I'll have one in 168s please.

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by sn0wchyld » Jun 24 2012 11:40pm

dear santa...

shame, funds are thin atm, I'll have to wait and hope for a second batch. looks good though. now we just need someone to find one like this for 24s :twisted: !

also, presumably since all the outputs are isolated, you'll be able to have 2 or more of these running in parallel off the one psu, but charging in series, ie 12+s packs?

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Rustedhen » Jun 25 2012 12:22am

I assume the voltage can be adjusted for a123 cells?

If so can you please put me down for 1 Jay

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by nechaus » Jun 25 2012 12:33am

If i found this b4 i got my new chargers, i would of got 4 of these and used them as my primary charger
Dammit

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Trackman417 » Jun 25 2012 12:44am

sn0wchyld wrote:dear santa...

shame, funds are thin atm, I'll have to wait and hope for a second batch. looks good though. now we just need someone to find one like this for 24s :twisted: !
What he said......
Please :mrgreen:

Web charging at 8amps, you stated that your balance wires did not get warm enough to worry about anything bad. Did you modify your balance wires in any way? That seems like a healthy amount of current for such small wire.
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Hyena » Jun 25 2012 12:56am

sn0wchyld wrote:also, presumably since all the outputs are isolated, you'll be able to have 2 or more of these running in parallel off the one psu, but charging in series, ie 12+s packs?
I don't see why not - I'll test it when I get home to be sure but it's unlikely that somethine like the first -ve would be in common with the PSU -ve
Rustedhen wrote:I assume the voltage can be adjusted for a123 cells?
Yep, charge voltage range is 1.5v to 4.2v and 0.1 amps to 8.0 amps.
nechaus wrote:If i found this b4 i got my new chargers, i would of got 4 of these and used them as my primary charger
Dammit
If it makes you feel any better I wasted alot of time and money on other chargers and DIY attempts before these came along!
Trackman417 wrote:Web charging at 8amps, you stated that your balance wires did not get warm enough to worry about anything bad. Did you modify your balance wires in any way? That seems like a healthy amount of current for such small wire.
Don't cry to Santa when the liveforphysics grinch steals all your chargers :P

I'll double check the balance tap charging again when I get home but I'm sure it was fine - which surprised me too.
All the packs I have in use on my ebikes are paralleled into atleast 2 with slightly heavier silicon balance tap wires.
As I joked in my build thread, seeing as lipos dont get hot when charging if you're you're worried about the wires use the supplied temp probe on your balance tap with the cut out temp set to 50 degrees :P
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by nechaus » Jun 25 2012 1:23am

you could easily use x4 of these units and plug in this 24 to 24 pin connection good for 20s
label it, cut it, wire it, solder and shrink wrap and it should work brilliantly
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by sn0wchyld » Jun 25 2012 2:00am

Hyena wrote:
sn0wchyld wrote:also, presumably since all the outputs are isolated, you'll be able to have 2 or more of these running in parallel off the one psu, but charging in series, ie 12+s packs?
I don't see why not - I'll test it when I get home to be sure but it's unlikely that somethine like the first -ve would be in common with the PSU -ve
Rustedhen wrote:I assume the voltage can be adjusted for a123 cells?
Yep, charge voltage range is 1.5v to 4.2v and 0.1 amps to 8.0 amps.
nechaus wrote:If i found this b4 i got my new chargers, i would of got 4 of these and used them as my primary charger
Dammit
If it makes you feel any better I wasted alot of time and money on other chargers and DIY attempts before these came along!
Trackman417 wrote:Web charging at 8amps, you stated that your balance wires did not get warm enough to worry about anything bad. Did you modify your balance wires in any way? That seems like a healthy amount of current for such small wire.
Don't cry to Santa when the liveforphysics grinch steals all your chargers :P

I'll double check the balance tap charging again when I get home but I'm sure it was fine - which surprised me too.
All the packs I have in use on my ebikes are paralleled into atleast 2 with slightly heavier silicon balance tap wires.
As I joked in my build thread, seeing as lipos dont get hot when charging if you're you're worried about the wires use the supplied temp probe on your balance tap with the cut out temp set to 50 degrees :P
+1

I did some testing on the 28g ribbon wire I've been using for my balance wiring. in open air it'll take <3A for about 20min and peak at about 30-40deg above ambeint (30cm wrapped around a temprature probe, held on with some tape, ie pretty much worst case scenario). If I put this inside some foam it quickly went north of 85 deg, which is where I pulled the plug. At 2A, even stuffed inside some foam it wouldn't go above 55degrees (20deg ambient). given most balance wire is 22g from memory it should handle 3x 2A easily, in the worst possible environment (ie heavily thermally insulated) given that 22g is about 3x the cross sectional area. I'd keep an eye on things the first couple of charges but I doubt 8A through 22g wire will cause many problems if its all fairly straight runs, ie not bunched anywhere. If its silicon coated wire then there's even less to worry about, its much better than the 80deg max I'm using on the ribbon cable, which was only a little tacky at 85deg (but still holding together).

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by jonescg » Jun 25 2012 2:03am

The problem with these high currents in light wire is the voltage drop between the cell and the thing measuring the voltage. The display might say 4.2 V but that's after losses - could be more like 4.5 V at the cell :shock:

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by sn0wchyld » Jun 25 2012 2:22am

jonescg wrote:The problem with these high currents in light wire is the voltage drop between the cell and the thing measuring the voltage. The display might say 4.2 V but that's after losses - could be more like 4.5 V at the cell :shock:
ill let jay confirm but I think this stops charging momentarily at points to check the voltage, much like battery medics do.

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Hyena » Jun 25 2012 4:04am

Yep it doesn't overcharge, you can see in the pic above the current at different levels when the voltages are quite close. The current drops off as it gets close to the programmed charge voltage then it picks up again, then drops off until it ends at 0.1a. It hovers at this for a minute or so then that channel switches off. Then it might come back on a minute later at 0.1a for 10 seconds then off again.
I can shoot a quick video if anyone is really concerned.
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by drewjet » Jun 25 2012 4:32am

sn0wchyld wrote:
Hyena wrote:
sn0wchyld wrote:also, presumably since all the outputs are isolated, you'll be able to have 2 or more of these running in parallel off the one psu, but charging in series, ie 12+s packs?
I don't see why not - I'll test it when I get home to be sure but it's unlikely that somethine like the first -ve would be in common with the PSU -ve
I would be very careful about that. I use FMA Balance Pro chargers (similar). The negative for the first cell is not isolated, so if you hook them up to the same power supply one of them goes BOOM!

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by pelle242 » Jun 25 2012 5:19am

Could this be the same? Or maybe a cheaper knockoff like with the CellLogs?

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/bc168-1-6s ... ger-124483

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Hyena » Jun 25 2012 5:35am

drewjet wrote:I would be very careful about that. I use FMA Balance Pro chargers (similar). The negative for the first cell is not isolated, so if you hook them up to the same power supply one of them goes BOOM!
Correct you are good sir, I just tested it and found it is as you say. So they're only isolated within themselves as a 6S balance charger. So if you want to run 2 units you'd need to use 2 seperate power supplies.
Or just parallel them as I do. It comes with a 4 way parallel balance board.

I just shot a video to show the action of the charger, uploading now.

Pelle242, that does indeed look very similar though I don't want to buy any more to test it out as I already have a grand tied up in these.
It could be a cheaper knock off, I know there's a bazillion imax B6 clones out there for varying prices.
And you're right, they do sell the cell log clones too.
Though with their superior buying power for 1000 units or however many they'd buy at a time I'm sure they get them cheaper.
Though god help us if the varying product and quality is anything like we've seen recently on the battery medics :roll:

Anyway, 5 of mine left - support an ES member who's always taking a risk on new shit and getting burnt by chinese wholesalers to only deliver the best :lol:
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Hyena » Jun 25 2012 6:33am

Video in action
As shown the balance taps barely got 7 degrees above ambient - though it was fairly cool start with.
Either way not an issue.
I think part of the reason they stay cool is the fan in the unit shifts quite a lot of air out the slots around the balance tap connector. Given the air coming out isnt warm in the slightest despite running at max power I think this might be a feature to keep the wire temp down! Nifty

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by knoxie » Jun 25 2012 2:24pm

Awesome buddy, yes put me in line for one of those, money on the way...you did keep one for me didnt you :P
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Hyena » Jun 26 2012 12:58am

Of course I did! :)

3 left fellas
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Dudeofdoom » Jun 26 2012 2:11am

PM'ed ya..

Keep One for Me !!!!

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Duc998 » Jun 26 2012 2:23am

You got my support Jay put me down for one :)
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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by SamTexas » Jun 26 2012 8:59am

This is an excellent find. Good price too. Thank you Hyena!


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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by SamTexas » Jun 26 2012 11:01am

No I'm not. I already built many like that, but at a much lower 1.5A current. Had Hyena found these a year ago, I would be his first customer.

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Re: Hyena's super awesome isolated high current balance char

Post by Hyena » Jun 26 2012 8:32pm

Yep, I wish these had been made years ago myself!
They've only just been released a bit over a month ago - took me a few weeks to get the first sample and then do testing.
So yeah, they're fairly hot off the press.

I reserved 4 for Luke but have made other bulk arrangements for him so I'll throw those back up for the general ES population :)
1 already taken by PM so we're back to 3 left.
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