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    • January 11, 2016 7:30 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Li Ion and Smart charger

      OK so I got my Tenergy smart charger and my Tenergy 2600 mAp 14.8 volt battery. Now the battery clearly states that it is a Lithium Ion battery that it is 14.8v and is 4 cells meaning each cell is 3.7v. Now the charger, when I went to set it up and program it, gives me a warning to make damn sure I have it programmed right and that LiPO batteries are 3.7v and that LiIon batteries are 3.6v and that my 4 cell battery should be 14.4v not 14.8v. Now I have no problem under charging this thing by a few tenths of volts to keep it from getting destroyed but I am wondering what the deal is? Can LiIon Batteries be 3.7v per cell and if that is what is claimed Can/Should I charge it to what the battery says or what the charger recommends?

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    • January 11, 2016 8:41 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      If it truly is a smart charger it should have pre-sets for the number of cells. Stay with the LiIon program (NOT the LiPo program) for 4S (14.4V @ 3.6V per cell) and you will be fine. I would recommend using low amperage setting which is a slow charge and is better for the batteries. For a 2200Mah pack I use the 1.1A setting. 2600Mah wouldn't be much more.

       

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    • January 11, 2016 9:43 PM EST
      • Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
         
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      I don't use Li-po batteries, only Li-on.  My smart charger needed no programming.  It charges all of my 14.8 volt batteries and has been since I purchased it six years ago.  Am I missing something here ?

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      "In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholsome diet"

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    • January 11, 2016 10:12 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Dan - Just because it says Smart Charger on the front doesn't mean it really is.  A true Smart Charger has an LCD screen and numerous options for the charge routine. The Tenergy "Smart Charger" with just a voltage switch relies on the LiIon pack's PCB to cut off the charge when complete. A true smart charger tracks the pack's voltage and the current that the charger is delivering and stops the charge when optimum charge or the safety time-out period is reached, whichever comes first. The true Smart Charger is much better for the batteries than what I call a dumb charger that only has a voltage switch,

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    • January 11, 2016 11:05 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      You mention safety time. How do I determine that? If I am charging at 1.3A would that be 120 minutes of charging for a 2600mAh battery and should I have it set to turn of at that time? Any thoughts o the ability to attach a temperature sensor?

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    • January 12, 2016 12:30 AM EST
      • Burbank, CA
         
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      Devon,

      I bought my Tenergy TB6 Smart/Balancer charger from Jonathan Bliese (EMW) back in late 2011. Some of my engines still have NiMH batteries. Some have Li-ion. With this charger there is a full digital read-out screen showing the type of battery, number of cell and voltage. I can save each battery as a program with all the settings for each battery. I use this charger to charge all of my LS stuff and also the batteries in my 1-1/2 scale caboose (interior lights and caboose marker lights). It was fairly inexpensive, around $60. Takes all the work out of charging batteries and I can custom set the amount of amps I charge with. It will stop charging when the battery is FULL. This is all computer controlled. This is what a "Smart Charger" is supposed to do.

      This post was edited by Gary Armitstead at January 12, 2016 12:33 AM EST
    • January 12, 2016 7:34 AM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Devon Sinsley said:

      You mention safety time. How do I determine that? If I am charging at 1.3A would that be 120 minutes of charging for a 2600mAh battery and should I have it set to turn of at that time? Any thoughts o the ability to attach a temperature sensor?

      I don't have a good answer for you. I think I am just using the default that came pre-programmed in the charger. I assume it should be longer then the normal fully discharged charge time, but not by a lot.  Temperature sensors are more important for LiPo packs. I don't have one or know much about them.

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    • January 12, 2016 11:54 AM EST
      • Shut up Rooster
         
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      The charger I use just has a switch for the total volts being charged.  If it have the switch set to a low voltage it wont charge or if I use the higher volt setting for a low volt battery it wont charge.  The light just stays green.  So far it seems to work well for a basic Lith Ion charger.  

    • January 12, 2016 11:59 AM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Gary Armitstead said:

      Devon,

      I bought my Tenergy TB6 Smart/Balancer charger from Jonathan Bliese (EMW) back in late 2011. Some of my engines still have NiMH batteries. Some have Li-ion. With this charger there is a full digital read-out screen showing the type of battery, number of cell and voltage. I can save each battery as a program with all the settings for each battery. I use this charger to charge all of my LS stuff and also the batteries in my 1-1/2 scale caboose (interior lights and caboose marker lights). It was fairly inexpensive, around $60. Takes all the work out of charging batteries and I can custom set the amount of amps I charge with. It will stop charging when the battery is FULL. This is all computer controlled. This is what a "Smart Charger" is supposed to do.

      And that's exactly what mine does. But there are some user defined parameters. Such as the time safety function to prevent overcharge and charge rate as David has mentioned. Even in full auto mode these parameters can be set for added control. 

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    • January 12, 2016 1:41 PM EST
      • Burbank, CA
         
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      Devon,

      I just use the default settings as far as the computer controlled charging is concerned. This was per Jonathan's instruction. The ONLY thing I "play around with" is the charging amps. KISS is my way. One interesting thing I noticed on my TB6 charger is that LiPO and Li-ion settings, I get 14.8 volts. Someone commented in a post above that LiPO is 14.4 volts. Maybe the newer chargers differentiate between these types of batteries now. I don't know. Electronics and I DON'T get along very well! :)

    • January 12, 2016 2:36 PM EST
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Gary this is a brand new Tenergy charger, one of their better programmable Smart chargers, and it makes the distinction between LiPo being 3.7 and LiIon being 3.6 and LiFe being 3.5 I think it is. That was why I was confused because my LiIon battery says it is 3.7 per cell and a overall of 14.8v. But I will let the Smart Charger do its job and eliminate the dumb me. And for the most part all the defaults are fine and the default for charge time is 120 and I will leave it and adjust the charge amps to 1.3 that way it should reach 2600mAp at the desire 120 minutes if I am understanding it correctly.

       

      I don't want to really tweek it I just am interested in letting it do its thing but with all the warnings for lithium batteries I didn't want to "think" I was doing it right and ruin my new battery. Better to set it up right the first time and save the program. I am just trying to make sure it is set up to take best utilize it.

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    • January 12, 2016 3:45 PM EST
      • Elverta, CA
         
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      I'd set the MAXIMUM charge interval for 3.0 hours as this is the number all OEM datasheets support for same. Keep in mind that the 3.0 hours is for a completely flat or depleted battery. If your not abusing your batteries with MAXIMUM discharge numbers, a figure of say 70% of the rated capacity for the MAX charge interval will provide a more defined need and add some headroom IMO.

       

      Far as I recall the Tenergy chargers use the same chip as many other chargers out there, accordingly there is a screen to choose between Li-Po and Li-Ion. Li-Po's have always been rated @ 3.7V per cell while as I have alluded to many times Li-Ions were traditionally 3.6V per cell, yet I have seen some data sheets that call out 3.7V (I don't know if that's wishful thinking or not by battery resellers/packagers that use their own sleeves and are not OEM's). That said its well recognized that charging said batteries to slightly less than specified numbers to ensure long life cycles is a good thing.... I suspect the reality of the 3.6V or 3.7V choice is a function of determining the correct AUTO selected charge/discharge current and maybe MAX time values verses charge termination voltage, whereas either Li-Ion and Li-Po uses 4.2V per cell to determine when the cell/battery is charged.

       

      A temperature sensor is an option and offers an additional layer of safety. I use them on cells that are charged at high amperage ratings. The temp sensors can be had for a couple bucks typically.

       

      Charging any Lithium cell/battery at SLOW and or LOW values is NOT recommended by any OEM cell manufacturers. Yet is a common practice, users are incorrectly using and or programming chargers with inappropriate current/amperage values for the battery under charge. Charging amperage values for  Lithium-Ion/Lithium-Poly cells/batteries is calculated using the batteries known mAh or Ah capacity according to all OEM cell manufacturers.

       

      Many OEM's suggest standard charge current/amperage is C/2 and or 0.5C of rated capacity and fast charging @ C1 and or 1.0C. No OEM cell manufactures list charge values less than 0.5C or C/2. Some even suggest standard charge rates of C1 or 1.0C.

       

      C = Capacity, C1 means capacity multiplied by 1 and or 1.0C x 2200mAh.

       

      Batteries are rated in mAh (mAh=milliAmp hours) and or Ah (Amp hours). A milliamp is 1/1000th of an amp. The 'h' in Ah and mAh denotes a 1 hour or 60 minute time interval. Amps can be garnered from mAh specifications by dividing mAh's by 1000.

       

      A 2.2Ah battery = 2200mAh battery. A 2.2Ah battery should provide rated cell/battery voltage for one hour at C1 discharge rate (2.2A).

       

      C/2 means capacity divided by 2 = 2200/2 = 1100mAh and or 0.5C = 2200/0.5 = 1100mAh

       

      2200mAh battery = 2200mAh/1000 = 2.2Ah battery 

       

      2.2Ah battery charged at 0.5C = 1.1 Amp charge rate

       

      2.2Ah battery charged at 1C = 2.2 Amp charge rate

       

      2200mAh battery charged at 0.5C = 1.1 Amp charge rate

       

      4400mAh battery charged at 0.5C = 2.2 Amp charge rate

       

      6600mAh battery charged at 0.5C = 3.3 Amp charge rate

       

      I'm comfortable with the C/2 or 0.5C charge rates and use this factor typically. That said I have charged at 1C often without issue too.

       

      Michael

       

       

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Michael Glavin at January 12, 2016 6:03 PM EST
    • January 12, 2016 4:11 PM EST
      • Burbank, CA
         
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      Michael,

      Great information! The "user's manual" (if you jokingly want to call it that!) that came with my Tenergy TB6 in 2011, has very, very tiny print and is damn near impossible to read. I never found a way to change the charging time. Can that be done with a TB6 that's five years old?

      So I have a 2800 mah Li-ion battery in my Accucraft brass long caboose. I would charge it at 2.8 amps. Correct?

      1400 mah Li-ion in my Berlyn Goose #6....charge it at 1.4 amps?

      I also have NiMH batteries in my Accucraft #346 C=19 and my bashed Connie. What would be the charging rate for these batteries? Just curious.

    • January 12, 2016 4:16 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Thanks Michael - good to see that in print again; reinforces what you have taught me before

       

      I think this then brings up the question of 2600MAh packs. Tenergy has been marketing both 2200Mah and 2600Mah packs both using 18650 cells which just seems odd to me - I would think an 18650 cell would be one or the other, but not both.

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    • January 12, 2016 6:41 PM EST
      • Elverta, CA
         
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      Gary Armitstead said:

      I never found a way to change the charging time. Can that be done with a TB6 that's five years old?

       

      Yes, the safety timer is applicable from 10 through 720 minutes. I found TB6 manuals online that seemed quite adequate and are hopefully better than what you’re working with.

      So I have a 2800 mah Li-ion battery in my Accucraft brass long caboose. I would charge it at 2.8 amps. Correct?

       

      I generally use the C/2 or 0.5C calculation for charging my batteries. 2800/1000 = 2.8A, 2.8/2 = 1.4A charge rate

      1400 mah Li-ion in my Berlyn Goose #6....charge it at 1.4 amps?

       

      1400/1000 = 1.4A, 1.4A/2 = 0.7A charge rate

      I also have NiMH batteries in my Accucraft #346 C=19 and my bashed Connie. What would be the charging rate for these batteries? Just curious.

       

      I’d suggest C1 as a standard charge rate for NiMh, this number is pretty universally recognized as the go to rate herein.

       

      Michael

    • January 12, 2016 7:54 PM EST
      • Elverta, CA
         
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      Daktah John said:

      I think this then brings up the question of 2600MAh packs. Tenergy has been marketing both 2200Mah and 2600Mah packs both using 18650 cells which just seems odd to me - I would think an 18650 cell would be one or the other, but not both.

       

      Wish I had a bonafide answer, it’s a crap shoot IMO. As I have alluded to previously ALL battery packs available for purchase are assembled by companies that purchase OEM cells, assemble them into batteries and resell them with their own proprietary labels. Some even roll and use their own cell wraps. So who really knows what you’re getting unless you can see the OEM label, hope its not a second or worse yet old stock.

       

      There is the obvious herein with regard to cell capacity, performance and life cycle i.e., chemical quality and purity, and the assembly environment and practices merit high on the totem pole. There seems to be a pretty wide brush used to paint the picture for capacity and even discharge numbers of 18650's. While all 18650's are the same size physically (18.4x65.2mm) they can be comprised of different chemical matrixes.

       

      Common 18650 Lithium cells utilized today are known as:

      Lithium manganese oxide, LiMn2O4, IMR, LMO

      Lithium manganese nickel, LiNiMnCoO2, INR, NMC

      Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide, LiNiCoAlO2, NCA

      Lithium nickel cobalt oxide, LiNiCoO2, NCO

      Lithium cobalt oxide, LiCoO2, ICR, LCO

      Lithium iron phosphate, LiFePO4, IFR, LFP

       

      I think it’s safe to say that most all of us are using Lithium cobalt oxide, LiCoO2, ICR, LCO cells. The ICR-LCO chemistry delivers the highest specific energy of any 18650 battery chemistry yet they are considered the most dangerous of the bunch due to unsafe discharge levels that can be achieved.

       

      Batteries are comprised of an "Anode - Electrolyte - Cathode"

       

      All of the Lithium 18650's use basically the same Anode i.e., carbon, silicon and graphite. There are some variables in electrolyte matrixes but what the Cathode is comprised of sets the pace (cathode materials are listed above).

       

      Trade-offs abound of energy, capacity, cycle life, and safety. For instance our, ICR (cobalt-based) chemistry has high energy and high capacity, its not very safe comparatively. IMR is safer, but suffers from lower capacity than ICR. Adding nickel to manganese (IMR) gives it a higher specific energy.

       

      Whenever I get a new battery I run it through a charge/discharge cycle regimen; essentially it’s my own grading system and while I used to be more prolific about this, nowadays I take some liberties unless the batteries are for aircraft. Most of the time I see rated capacity +- 5%, surprisingly voltage degradation is a big problem under load, some fair better than others.

       

       

      Michael

      This post was edited by Michael Glavin at January 12, 2016 11:20 PM EST
    • January 12, 2016 8:05 PM EST
      • Burbank, CA
         
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      Michael Glavin said:
      Gary Armitstead said:

      I never found a way to change the charging time. Can that be done with a TB6 that's five years old?

       

      Yes, the safety timer is applicable from 10 through 720 minutes. I found TB6 manuals online that seemed quite adequate and are hopefully better than what you’re working with.

      So I have a 2800 mah Li-ion battery in my Accucraft brass long caboose. I would charge it at 2.8 amps. Correct?

       

      I generally use the C/2 or 0.5C calculation for charging my batteries. 2800/1000 = 2.8A, 2.8/2 = 1.4A charge rate

      1400 mah Li-ion in my Berlyn Goose #6....charge it at 1.4 amps?

       

      1400/1000 = 1.4A, 1.4A/2 = 0.7A charge rate

      I also have NiMH batteries in my Accucraft #346 C=19 and my bashed Connie. What would be the charging rate for these batteries? Just curious.

       

      I’d suggest C1 as a standard charge rate for NiMh, this number is pretty universally recognized as the go to rate herein.

       

      Michael

      Thanks for the clarification and the help Michael. I'll check online for a TB6 manual

    • January 12, 2016 11:39 PM EST
      • Burbank, CA
         
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      I’d suggest C1 as a standard charge rate for NiMh, this number is pretty universally recognized as the go to rate herein.

       

      Michael

       

      So I should charge a 4200 mah NiMH at 4.2 amps? 2200 mah at 2.2 amps?

    • January 13, 2016 12:36 AM EST
      • Elverta, CA
         
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      Gary 

       

      Yes that is correct, C1 is the beloved number for NiMH batteries IMO. MAX time under charge,  at the most 1.5 hours! For giggles may I suggest you auto peak charge said batteries and discharge them and share the results?

       

      Michael

       

      This post was edited by Michael Glavin at January 13, 2016 12:37 AM EST
    • January 13, 2016 1:03 PM EST
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      Michael Glavin said:

      Gary 

       

      Yes that is correct, C1 is the beloved number for NiMH batteries IMO. MAX time under charge,  at the most 1.5 hours! For giggles may I suggest you auto peak charge said batteries and discharge them and share the results?

       

      Michael

       

      Auto peak charge? So I do I set that up? I usually charge my batteries every 60 days when they sit idle. The NiMH batteries in my Connie usually take about 35-40 minutes to charge FULL. On the other hand, the NiMH batteries in my Accucraft #346 only take about 15 minutes and these are a full year newer than the Connie.

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