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  • Topic: Lithium Ion Packs and chargers

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    • December 1, 2015 8:15 PM EST
      • Elverta, CA
         
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      John,

       

      Faith is all good, but blind faith may have a cost.  Battery assemblers/resellers and or battery retailers are not the OEM's of said cell technologies. Accordingly for whatever reason the industry abounds with a lot of misinformation at the public level! Those in the know recognize said misinformation, been there done that going on nearly 15 years... FWIW: I see many retailers offer products that work together, yet are not directly inline with OEM cell manufacturer specifications for charging/discharging/storage. Its my belief that the OEM's know their respective products better than any other entity.

       

      I was referring to individual cell voltage, verses battery packs with multiple cells. You noted 3.6V NiCd batteries; a 3.6V NiCd battery comprised of three 1.2V cells...

       

      All cells have specifications that suggest their charge termination voltage, discharge termination voltage and charge/discharge current values at the least. In practice the charge termination voltage is realized as its "PEAK". The PEAK term was coined back in the day of the NiCad and referenced a semi automatic charge regimen that terminated automatically once the cumulative cell voltage calculation was met at various current levels (verses trickle charging at a fixed low current and specified time intervals). PEAK charging in of itself is NOT appropriate for Lithium technologies. 

       

      The advent of PCB/PCM's control boards used in conjunction with Li-Ion/Li-Po batteries offers what should be a secondary safety to limit the accumulated cell voltage by terminating charge once the pre-determined voltage is reached (same as PEAK termination), however the actual termination voltage of a PCB/PCM is typically 4.3V+-.025V. Herein lies a problem, there are dumb and or so called intelligent chargers that simply rely on the PCB/PCM to terminate charge... Terminating charge in excess of the OEM specification is undesirable!

       

      Michael

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • December 1, 2015 8:31 PM EST
      • Vail, Az
         
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      Michael,

      Thanks for your detailed response.

      As noted on another thread; From my retail source, likely not the OEM...

      I googled; LI-ion battery warnings.

      From BatterySpace;

      "Please realize that batteries might cause damages like leaking, fire or explode when misuse or defective.
      It is your responsibility to double check and make sure your devices have necessary protection circuits.
      When charging Battery Pack, please put battery in a fire proof container.Always charge in an isolated area, away from other flammable materials. Ex: wood bench, carpet unattended.
      We are only responsible for the products we sell.We are NOT responsible for any damages and consequences damages by using our products."

       

      Good thing I have that oven, I understood what I read, but I'm still gonna use that charger my purveyor sold me.

      John

      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • December 3, 2015 11:43 AM EST
      • Vail, Az
         
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      So Faith isn't perhaps the best way and the gods protecting me have made my brick charger fall into the cosmic hole ....

      As I only have 2 li-ion packs of 14.x v would this cheaper charger be good enough?

      http://www.all-battery.com/Tenergyb450acbalancecharger-01441.aspx

      It's about 20 bucks cheaper than what was discussed above....

      Thanks,

      John

      Well.... I went back and oooops can't use it I have 8 cell packs.

      As Miss Emily used to say:

      Never Mind

      Then again, see below...

      This post was edited by John Caughey at December 3, 2015 12:03 PM EST
      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • December 3, 2015 12:09 PM EST
      • Vail, Az
         
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      Are 8 cells in a 14.x v pack considered 2x 4 in series or is an 8 cell pack?

      Seems chargers are rated by number of cells (s)

      My packs are 14.8v 4400mAh

      Oh my head hurts...

      No rush, I'll be back later...

      Thanks,

      John

      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • December 3, 2015 12:55 PM EST
      • Penacook, New Hampshire
         
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      Hi John, I am here to help you and others. There are a few company's  that advertise on this site. We sell smart chargers just for you guys! I do not see BatterySpace here offering personal service to make sure you have more fun and a safe experience with your trains.  All I ask is you try to support the vendors on this site.  Sorry I had to  vent.

      Safety First. I am recommending Cell-Con medical grade 4 cell 14.8v  smart charger for $55. It works! You will need to charge each pack indivually. If you a using a 14.8v 4400mAh pack then this charger will still work. Inside the pack you would find 8 cells or a second row to get the higher amperage or runtime. As you stated the charger is set to the number of cells not the amp ratings in your battery pack. These smart chargers will take about 4 hours to charge your 14.8v 4400 pack.

       

      As Michael has stated we have an excellent safety record with lithium battery packs used in our trains. I know of two accidents due to using a variable output charger at 3 amps. That blew up the battery. Just choose a charger to match the number cells/voltage or use our universal charger ($89)  that you can select 5 different nickel metal hydride packs or 5 different lithium packs that matches your pack.

      Please call me to ask any questions.

       

      Don Sweet

      RCS of New England

      603-321-1347

       

    • December 3, 2015 1:44 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Don,

      Interesting post. Made me think a bit. Customer service to me is #1 and having a dealer that understands exactly what we are working with is important. The adage "you get what you pay for" includes the customer service behind it. So on one side of a coin you have dealers here that while their product might cost more their ability to help you is far greater and I believe there are greater chances of being well cared for in the case something doesn't work out so well.

       

      But the flip side of that coin is that this is a very expensive hobby. Not all of us can afford to have the best and nicest things. If we want to play we might have to make due with something lesser, otherwise this simply becomes a rich man hobby. So where do you cut corners and where do you splurge? I could buy a battery pack and charger from a dealer here and get exactly what I need and excellent customer service and support and pay twice as much. Or does one buy a very reliable generic product for half as much and not get any support or service? I could make a strong case for either scenario. 

       

      This isn't meant in anyway as derogatory to you or any of our dealer/fellow hobbyists/friends. It simply comes down to what are each of us willing to pay for to get that extra something versus buying on the cheap what will meet our needs. Its a tough call and you have made me think about what is important to me and who I should by it from and why.

      This post was edited by Devon Sinsley at December 3, 2015 1:46 PM EST
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    • December 3, 2015 4:25 PM EST
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      Well, my trusted go-to guy was Jonathan Bliese, but he has retired from this business. it seems.  His website now shunts me to RCSAmerica.  Did I miss a notice on these pages?

      This post was edited by Steve Featherkile at December 3, 2015 4:26 PM EST
      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • December 3, 2015 5:52 PM EST
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Devon, my 2 cents worth is that power is worth spending the cash on. I spent the cash for good track, good power, and I over-killed the wiring. Without reliable motive power, and good track, I do not have a railroad. Rolling stock I buy used, or on sale, and that includes my locomotives.

       

      Since you aren't going track power, splurge for good power for the locomotives. Sure, you could save some green by shopping and purchasing lesser expensive stuff, but what happens if your locomotive sputters to a stop 30 minutes into its 4 hour shift? You get frustrated and go watch TV, or play on the internet. Having poor running equipment (for whatever reason) has probably cost this hobby an untold multitude of model railroaders. A cheep boxcar car be tuned up to perform well, a cheap battery, not so much.

      ____________________________________

      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • December 3, 2015 6:02 PM EST
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      David Maynard said:

      Devon, my 2 cents worth is that power is worth spending the cash on. I spent the cash for good track, good power, and I over-killed the wiring. Without reliable motive power, and good track, I do not have a railroad. Rolling stock I buy used, or on sale, and that includes my locomotives.

       

      Since you aren't going track power, splurge for good power for the locomotives. Sure, you could save some green by shopping and purchasing lesser expensive stuff, but what happens if your locomotive sputters to a stop 30 minutes into its 4 hour shift? You get frustrated and go watch TV, or play on the internet. Having poor running equipment (for whatever reason) has probably cost this hobby an untold multitude of model railroaders. A cheep boxcar car be tuned up to perform well, a cheap battery, not so much.

      What he said.

      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • December 3, 2015 7:30 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Oh I can't argue the point of quality power. But many on here have recommended, and have had great success with Tenergy Li-Io battery packs. They are considerably cheaper than say those being sold by some of those train friendly dealers here. Same with the chargers. That said I still believe in dealing with people who know and understand what we are doing and will be around when I have a problem. Here is what I discovered, a Tenergy 14.8v 2600 mAh pack is $39.99 at Allbattery, I can get a Cordless Renovations 14.8v 2800 mAh pack for $53.00 from a dealer on here.  I will likely buy the Cordless Renovations one, Why? its only $13.00 dollars more and I am dealing with a neighborhood (albeit virtual) hobby shop train enthusiast instead of some company that could care less who I am. However the the difference in price of chargers is much more considerable and actually the Tenergy charger so far is the one recommended by the members here. So in all likelihood I will buy the Tenergy charger.

       

      I do believe in dealing with the local hobbyist/enthusiast ahead of the big box internet catch all store. But at some point I have to mind the pocket book also.

      ____________________________________
    • December 3, 2015 8:03 PM EST
      • Vail, Az
         
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      Since I reopened this can-o-worms, let me state that BC I would have gone best, but since beating cancer and being forced to go on SS early, I asked about a cheaper charger. I'm trying to hang onto what I have.

      I bought my R/C equipment from a forum sponsor too, maybe a different forum tho', but Del is a nice guy too.

      John

      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • December 3, 2015 8:16 PM EST
      • Elverta, CA
         
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              John Caughey said:

              Are 8 cells in a 14.x v pack considered 2x 4 in series or is an 8 cell pack?

              Seems chargers are rated by number of cells (s)

              My packs are 14.8v 4400mAh

       

      John

       

      Yes, chargers are specified in series cell count and technology specific voltage's.

       

      An eight cell, 14.4V, 4400mAh battery Li-Ion battery is known as a 4S2P 4400mAh battery.

      4S = four 3.7V cells in series.

      2P = two sets of cells in parallel

       

      The charger you noted will suffice for your needs and it works on 12VDC/120VAC too. Big thing IMO with a chargers is the ability to feed the battery what it specifically requires. Most of the dedicated units fall very short herein. The ability to provide proper amperage ratings is generally where they fall short at the least, again IMO.

       

      Michael

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Michael Glavin at December 3, 2015 8:31 PM EST
    • December 3, 2015 10:30 PM EST
      • Penacook, New Hampshire
         
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      Hi Devon, we are having a good discussion about what is most important to us when making buying decision and how one perceives value. I believe in listening to my customers. Without you I have nothing.  As a dealer I will do a better job explaining cost to performance.  When I can offer a better deal I pass it along. Those that have visited me know I have a fully stocked workshop/showroom located on the house property. 

      Each situation is unique.  That is why I prefer to talk on the phone. Sometimes I have offered forum members deals without them spending a penny. I can do that but not in a public forum. For example I have a new Cordless Renovation 14.8v 3000 mAh lithium pack for $47.  It is the last one before the Samsung cells went up in cost. Each pack comes with a safety quick disconnect connector using silicone coated extra flexible 20 ga wires. That is an additional charge on the  Tennergy pack item #31022. My regular price is $47 for the 14.8v 2200 mAh with connector.

      As for charger safety is always first. The Tennergy B450 does not charge the older 12-15 cell Nickel Metal Hydride packs that most of my customers still have. The Tennergy E6AC will but it is $10 more. But the B450 will work for you just fine. However, I do not sell any chargers that you can vary the amperage to speed up the charging rate. Every model train battery accident that I am aware of has been caused by over charging by increasing the amperage for faster charging. Cordless Renovation had to take out a $2million insurance policy just to sell the Lithium packs. So we are very conservative with the chargers. If you choose the Tennergy charger set the charge current for .5amp and never change it. Cover over the button.  I used to sell the Super Nova and Triton fast chargers. These were the precursor to todays smart chargers. Every setting had to be programmed and placed in a memory key. I did it on each charger with a page of directions. These were accidents just waiting to happen. But nickel metal hydride batteries could take a licking. Then the dedicated smart chargers came along and they are truly automatic. Plug them in and go away for the weekend.   Puts the simplicity back into using battery power.

      My dedicated Lithium 4 cell charger is $55. It is made in the USA by Cell-Con of Exton, PA. www.cell-con.com

      We spend a lot of money on our trains because they make us happy. I am here along with other dedicated dealers to help you enjoy them.

      Don

    • December 3, 2015 10:34 PM EST
      • Penacook, New Hampshire
         
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      Hi Steve, Jonathan is a good guy and helped me out in the early days. When his  domain became available, rctrains.com,  Cordless Renovation picked it up.

      Don

    • December 3, 2015 11:12 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Don,

      We are having a great discussion and it is always nice when adults passionate about the same hobbies and have the same desires and goals can have differing opinions or view points about them without getting bent out of shape. I appreciate all your advice and the help you have offered me and continue to offer me. I have pretty much already made up my mind to buy my battery from you or one of your dealers (MD Trains caught my attention due to their add here). I also appreciate the honest assessment that a less expensive charger from a competitor will meet my needs. That means a lot to me. I will send you PM about that battery.

       

      Thanks for the candid conversation and the experienced help.

       

      Edited to make sure I have adequately given praise and respect due Don. I really do believe that customer service is huge especially in a difficult market such as model railroading.  Don is always on here giving free advice and helping people with their power needs even when it does not directly lead to a paycheck. He has helped me directly and indirectly by his helping others. He is correct, Allbattery and the likes, are not on here doing this. That deserves our attention and our money. I wont always be able to or even willing to buy from him but I will be a customer just to pay him back for what he has already given me. I just wish that business model was the norm instead of the exception. Its easy to be so cheap that we forget about those that really are into the hobby to help with their products. That can be a large uncalculated value.

       

      So Don Thank you and I look forward to doing business with you.

      This post was edited by Devon Sinsley at December 3, 2015 11:32 PM EST
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    • December 4, 2015 2:07 AM EST
      • Elverta, CA
         
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      Far as I know after reading OEM datasheets and working with said 18650 Lithium cells for many years a .5A and or 500mAh charge rate is well below ALL OEM recommendations. Of course various OEM's suggest various charge rates, NONE are as low as 500mAh. Lowest standard charge value I can find suggests 0.5C and most are 1C or better (OEM FAST charge recommendations are often 2C for 2.5 hours). Even at the conservative rate of 0.5C and or half of the cells rated capacity 0.5A is less than half of cell manufacturers published charge value (4S1P 2200mAh x .5=1100mAh = 1.1A). 

       

      It should also be recognized that said OEM charge rates are for a single cell and or combination thereof wired in series such as a 4S1P. Once you wire batteries in parallel; capacity doubles, accordingly so does the charge amperage requirement. 4S2P 4400mAh x 0.5C = 2100mAh = 2.2A.

       

      All of the OEM cell manufactures suggest the MAXIMUM charge time interval is 3.0 hours (3.0 hours for a depleted battery).

       

      Never leave any charger connected for an extended period of time.

       

      Michael

       

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Michael Glavin at December 4, 2015 10:31 AM EST
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