Difference between Opus BT-C3400 & BT-C3100 v2.1?

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Dave_C
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Pete7874 wrote:
Another negative for C3100 is that it uses PWM/pulse charging instead of constant current. Personally, I haven’t been able to find any proof that it harms Li-Ion batteries, but HKJ seems to think constant current is better.

Well, I ignored that in my post because I am open to the idea of modding, have a few parts lying around. It would be no big deal to me to tack on some capacitors across the battery rails. I looked up the datasheet for the regulator, at least the IC model # used on past revisions of BT-C3100, and it does allow for an output smoothing capacitor.

Heh, I hate vagueness in posts so I should elaborate. EUP3484 regulators (or just stamped “P3484”) are on each charging bank. A datasheet for that shows a typical app circuit with 22uF on the output, but goes on to elaborate with equations and alternates like tantalum or lower ESR electrolytic, so you could choose the capacitance and ESR to arrive at the ripple reduction you want. It’ll never be a purely linear charge, but at some point you could consider it shades of gray how little ripple there is.

However, I must confess that I have not reviewed the details of HKJ’s analysis, so I don’t know how bad the pulse is.

You might find that eventually it needs some capacitor attention anyway, as the generic little 220uF caps they have on each bank could be considered a “wear item” with a finite lifespan shorter than the otherwise viable life of the charger. I mean something is going to fail first (after the !@#$ fan) , and if it’s something you can fix for a couple bucks cost…

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tatasal wrote:
I have posted these photos before in other threads here in BLF but since this Fan thing is again hot, I am sharing my mod that will not win a beauty contest yet fulfills my intention and experiment of a quieter fan, cooler operation, virtually no additional cost, and controlled by the charger’s own power for hands-free operation, just like the OEM fan. The fan is a 12vdc, .13A taken salvaged from a busted pc psu.

The fan sucks air from above, drawing fresh air from the atmosphere downward, passing through the batteries and cooling them in the cradle as the air pass through the rails, then go down below to cool the pcb, then exiting through the holes at the bottom of th the casing, all automatically controlled by the charger’s fan requirement as needed.

Note the holes drilled in the charger housing bottom.

For all intents and purposes, the current v2.2 OEM fans are already improved and good enough actually, but hey, we want to mod, don’t we?

I don’t agree about any 25mm x 10mm (or thinner) fan being adequate for (any) use, unless we’re talking about the highest precision fan that mankind could build at extreme cost. I’ve bought top shelf fans in the past and no brand or model that tiny has good lifespan. Granted I tend to think in terms of extreme duty, for someone running a charger only a handful of hours a week, it may not matter, but I am very much a fan (pun intended) of “fix it once then forget it”, to do a mod that never fails again, or at least not for a couple decades.

This mod you did is similar to some mod thoughts I had, except I would either use a lower diameter fan and cut an open hole in the bottom, OR make a reinforcement plate out of aluminum so a larger fan didn’t structurally weaken it too much, so there was a larger opening instead of little holes that catch dust and restrict airflow, and then I could just fold down the sides of the aluminum into an inverted “U” shape to form two leg-rails to elevate it.

However I have several fans of different sizes lying about, so almost too many options if I’m willing to fabricate a plate too. I’m leaning towards two 50mm x 10mm or one 50mm x 20mm fan on the bottom. The 10mm thick have a shorter lifespan, is the main reason I’d go with two 10mm thick instead, as one moves enough air if there’s an unobstructed opening to allow it, well that and I have about 4X as many new 10mm thick.

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Dave_C wrote:
Pete7874 wrote:
Another negative for C3100 is that it uses PWM/pulse charging instead of constant current. Personally, I haven’t been able to find any proof that it harms Li-Ion batteries, but HKJ seems to think constant current is better.

You might find that eventually it needs some capacitor attention anyway, as the generic little 220uF caps they have on each bank could be considered a “wear item” with a finite lifespan shorter than the otherwise viable life of the charger.

I get the concept but the electronic specific is out of my league. Are you willing to be a more specific about a cap? I can solder and have replaced bad caps in motherboards and TV’s but I just put in what is recommended.

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^ Depends on if you’re trying to only fix a failure and promote longer life, in which case you could just do similar, pick the same voltage rating, capacitance value in a major brand with “very low ESR” and 105C temperature rating, like a Panasonic FM (or whichever newer series they came out with that lowers ESR even more), or for higher cost, one of several brands of polymer capacitor. NCC, Rubycon, et al make suitable models of capacitor. I would advise against use of a generic (or any, really) Chinese brand, though some people have had luck with those too, but I don’t see the point for a few cents cost difference, and the higher quality major brands tend to have lower true ESR.

Larger diameter, height, and voltage rating (up to a point) will give beneficial ESR reduction but as it is the cap is already shoehorned in there at an angle instead of proper mounting on a PCB. For best results a ruler may be needed to measure clearance.

As far as changing for performance, the conservative answer would be choose same diameter, taller since lying sideways that could fit, and go with a higher voltage rating to drop the ESR and no more than double the capacitance. At some point the capacitive load could be too high but I don’t know what that limit might be. If you’re measuring with a scope you can experimentally arrive at an ideal capacitance value to get closer to your ripple target.

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Dave_C wrote:
tatasal wrote:
I have posted these photos before in other threads here in BLF but since this Fan thing is again hot, I am sharing my mod that will not win a beauty contest yet fulfills my intention and experiment of a quieter fan, cooler operation, virtually no additional cost, and controlled by the charger’s own power for hands-free operation, just like the OEM fan. The fan is a 12vdc, .13A taken salvaged from a busted pc psu.

The fan sucks air from above, drawing fresh air from the atmosphere downward, passing through the batteries and cooling them in the cradle as the air pass through the rails, then go down below to cool the pcb, then exiting through the holes at the bottom of th the casing, all automatically controlled by the charger’s fan requirement as needed.

Note the holes drilled in the charger housing bottom.

For all intents and purposes, the current v2.2 OEM fans are already improved and good enough actually, but hey, we want to mod, don’t we?

I don’t agree about any 25mm x 10mm (or thinner) fan being adequate for (any) use, unless we’re talking about the highest precision fan that mankind could build at extreme cost. I’ve bought top shelf fans in the past and no brand or model that tiny has good lifespan. Granted I tend to think in terms of extreme duty, for someone running a charger only a handful of hours a week, it may not matter, but I am very much a fan (pun intended) of “fix it once then forget it”, to do a mod that never fails again, or at least not for a couple decades.

This mod you did is similar to some mod thoughts I had, except I would either use a lower diameter fan and cut an open hole in the bottom, OR make a reinforcement plate out of aluminum so a larger fan didn’t structurally weaken it too much, so there was a larger opening instead of little holes that catch dust and restrict airflow, and then I could just fold down the sides of the aluminum into an inverted “U” shape to form two leg-rails to elevate it.

However I have several fans of different sizes lying about, so almost too many options if I’m willing to fabricate a plate too. I’m leaning towards two 50mm x 10mm or one 50mm x 20mm fan on the bottom. The 10mm thick have a shorter lifespan, is the main reason I’d go with two 10mm thick instead, as one moves enough air if there’s an unobstructed opening to allow it, well that and I have about 4X as many new 10mm thick.

You may try the 40mm fan like mine first, as in my experience it’s just powerful enough to keep the batteries just lukewarm, needed for nimh termination just in case…and as to durability, our charging needs is just way shorter than the time a ‘normal’ psu fan is subjected in its lifetime. And you can always pull out the 40mm and go for a bigger fan as you see fit.

And btw, those rectangular protrusions in the base surrounded by the holes I drilled have openings in its entire length as original design for air to pass through.

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Ha, here I was nagging bout the pwm charging of the opus turns out my xtar VP2 also uses pwm :FACEPALM:.

tatasal
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dekozn wrote:
Ha, here I was nagging bout the pwm charging of the opus turns out my xtar VP2 also uses pwm :FACEPALM:.
l have yet to see someone declare with certainty and with concrete evidence that a cell NOT charged through pwm outlast or outperform a cell charged through other means.

I also have 2 vp2 chargers, iCharger, Pila, MC3000, C9000 and some really cheap ones and l for one never noticed any advantage of one over the other except the user-friendliness of the Opus (and the C9000).

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dekozn wrote:
Ha, here I was nagging bout the pwm charging of the opus turns out my xtar VP2 also uses pwm :FACEPALM:.

Xtar do not use PWM in any of their chargers.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

dekozn
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Hmmm ok wel maybe they mean something different but in the manual they state that the charger uses pulse-width modulation.

tatasal
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Whooo…

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tatasal wrote:
Whooo…

Euhm Xtar or what do u mean with “Whooo….”
Dave_C
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Sometimes I wonder if pulse charging is just an evolution in marketing, a throwback to the NiCd era where people used pulses to blow away dendrites that shorted out cells, that if a charger did that for you automatically, it could create the perception that it was a more versatile charger in being able to charge near dead cells that others refused to.

I’m not suggesting that it should be avoided, only that like any other circuit, the level of peaks to the pulses are higher current that requires the whole circuit to be more robust to handle it, though I question if it’s a good idea to pulse past 4.2V/etc on lithium chemistries since their lifespan so dramatically drops the closer you get TO 4.2V, let alone going over it.

It’s another thing that makes me wonder how far a mad modder would go… they do make a thing called zeners that could shunt voltage, but then how far do you want to go to fix a design? It does make sense in that it saves a lot of time to get something with a custom display and features built in, then you just correct its shortcomings. Heck, half the time when I do a project, it takes me as much time to figure out and fab a custom enclosure that doesn’t look ghetto. LOL

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dekozn wrote:
Hmmm ok wel maybe they mean something different but in the manual they state that the charger uses pulse-width modulation.

The internal switcher uses PWM to regulate output current, all switchers do that and in most cases there is a filter on the output to remove the PWM and give a smoother current and voltage.
The internal switcher usual works at 300000Hz to 60000kHz, not the <100Hz that Opus and other analyzers uses for PWM.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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HKJ: Thanks for explaining altough I don't really understand it. Gaus: well you mention safety, so I would say that putting a high current in a bad worn out cell might be dangerous.
My opus arrived and I’ve used to charge and test a few cells. I like it so far but I’m not sure bout the full test, I seem to be getting quite low mAh. But I have to play with it a little more. Some cells got warm on 700mA charge rate but not hot. They never got this warm on my VP2 or VC2 on a 1A charge rate. I won’t be using the opus to charge smaller cells unless I really have to.

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dekozn wrote:
HKJ: Thanks for explaining altough I don't really understand it. Gaus: well you mention safety, so I would say that putting a high current in a bad worn out cell might be dangerous. My opus arrived and I’ve used to charge and test a few cells. I like it so far but I’m not sure bout the full test, I seem to be getting quite low mAh. But I have to play with it a little more. Some cells got warm on 700mA charge rate but not hot. They never got this warm on my VP2 or VC2 on a 1A charge rate. I won’t be using the opus to charge smaller cells unless I really have to.

Your Opus will not use your chosen charging rate if the cell cannot handle it. It will just automatically go down to what is the level it deems safe for the cell, which is a good feature when charging salvaged cells that has remained in low state-of-charge for quite a while. You will see the display not ‘follow’ your chosen rate, but will eventually go higher, or may not at all if the cell is really in bad shape.

The four individual displays of the Opus is one major advantage over the Littokala and Dragon, for you see what’s happening to ALL four cells at the SAME time, regardless of mode chosen in each bay.

I don’t worry about those pwm or pure CC/CV or whatever thing, for as I posted before, I have owned or am using those ALL those type of chargers and until now have not noticed any advantage of one over the other to my cells in real usage, just perhaps a smoother graph presentation of one over the other.

With salvaged cells, just be around ALL the time when charging them as some of them can and will suddenly get abnormally hot anytime. Most of these cells have had a tough life, or have stayed in a very dangerous low voltage already. It happened one time to me. I salvaged Sanyo cells that was given by a friend from an unrepairable laptop. It was 4.2v after charged, but suddenly got hot when put into the charger in a discharge mode.

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Can the 3100 charge cr123’s ? I notice the 3400 has that listed .

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Hi and welcome wilson. CR123 batteries are not rechargeable. 16340 rechargable batteries can be charged on both.

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

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gauss163 wrote:
As far as comparing chargers, unless you have a strong grasp of the underlying technical issues, you may well be comparing apples to oranges. Such comparisons require very carefully controlled tests that properly account for differences, … humidity. It’s a task that is challenging even for experts.

Edit:
I’d love to see sources for the statement that humidity makes a ( significant ) difference.

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Nice…. Thumbs Up
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Dave_C
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I don’t want a flawed study, I like science.

In an open cell (SLA battery) environment this can matter, but in a sealed cell, humidity can only matter with hygroscopic flux residue present, or if the cell itself was defective so the seal, wasn’t one.

The world will need a mechanism for the change relative to humidity. This is science, not a social game of putting the burden on someone else who screwed up their findings.

Don’t be deluded by one study where the participants were desperate to show they didn’t waste the money spent on it. This happens all the time.

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I noticed plug came with my charger is only rated 3A. So, if I charge 4 batteries at 1A each. Wouldn’t this be bad?

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I like this charger however the one I have the fan is on all the time while powered on.

Occurred after I inserted the dc plug several times directly into the charger when the adapter was plugged into AC.

The ac/dc adapter having power apparently caused an electrical spark to occur between plug and charger, (while inserting the dc plug) causing damage to some of the fan control electronics of the charger’s PCB.

You shouldn’t ever plug in this type of charger when the AC/DC adapter has power as doing so may cause sparking between the DC plug and charger.

Charger seems to charge batteries ok, only the fans run all time never stopping or starting.

albert
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gauss163 wrote:
albert wrote:
[…] You shouldn’t ever plug in this type of charger when the AC/DC adapter has power as doing so may cause sparking between the DC plug and charger.

This is normal behavior. The sparking is caused by the inrush current as the caps charge up.

Your fan problem is not related to that.

How do I get the fan to turn on and off via it’s thermistor or temperature sensor? Currently the fan hasn’t ever stopped running while the charger is turned on (plugged in) and charging batteries.

The fan began running all the time just after I plugged in the AC/DC adapter DC plug several times, afterwhich I noticed the sparking between the dc plug and charger.

IIRC, the Opus instructions state to first plug the dc plug into the charger before plugging the power adapter into AC.

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Interesting to say the least about the fan running non stop. I’ve only plugged my opus in one time and its never been unplugged since. Same with my opus nihm charger. One in the bathroom other on the kitchen counter.
The one in the kitchen I strategicly placed right next to a window unit air condition. So there’s especially for the next 7 months of southern heat wkll be cold air blowing right on the charger and batteries. Even if my fan does break I believe it wouldn’t come close to overheating or thermal shutdown inside not being three feet from the cold air source. The 2.2 version seems to have most of the bugs worked out.
Guess I’m not big on plugging and unplugging chargers. Unneeded wear and tear. Hell even my vc2 stayed plugged in for about 4 months straight before I moved it. In the past I’ve had issues with USB cords wearing out in the cord and the device so now I limit it.

I did purchase a replacement fan in case mine ever hits the crapper. For $1.50 I need another actually. Opus is my go to charger. I just ran 70 cells through it the past 4 days. From pack pulls to test out. Runs like a champ. I gets used daily to charge 4-8 cells usually. If under 4 cells I’ll just uses a lii202 or bc2

Back to bugs, I have the 2.2 version I’ve noticed mine foes this at times. Say I have 4 cells at 3.20 and I put them all in and press 1amp across all 4 sometimes a few minutes in the unit will reset itself. Like a reboot and all 4 will start at 500mah. I’ve witnessed it a couple times. The whole screen lights up like you just plugged it in then goes to default charge. It only does this occasionally not very often. And only at 4× 1amp. Never seen it at 4×700mah or even 2×2amp. I don’t know if the low voltage of 4 cells is drawing to much for the power supply so it resets like a internal fuse going off. And seems only st low cell voltages when the current draw is the highest. The 2.2 version is set at 4.7 not 5volts like the other to limit the pulse spikes under load

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gauss163 wrote:
albert wrote:
[…] The fan began running all the time just after I plugged in the AC/DC adapter DC plug several times, afterwhich I noticed the sparking between the dc plug and charger. […]

It is highly unlikely that the sparking caused your fan problem. If such a relationship existed there would likely be many reports about it by now.

albert wrote:
IIRC, the Opus instructions state to first plug the dc plug into the charger before plugging the power adapter into AC.

I did not find any mention of that in the manual version on Banggood using keyword searches.

I must have gotten the instructions mixed up with the SkyRC MC3000.

From MC3000 manual:

“First connect the 11~18V(60W or more) DC power adapter plug to the device, then plug the 110/220V AC power cable plug into the mains wall socket. In this order.”

I seem to remember a couple other chargers that used power adapters having the same sort of instructions.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’ll have to disagree with you and say it’s more likely the sparking did cause a problem with the PCB’s fan thermostat circuit. However I’m not going to rule out a flaw, bad circut or defect was either the main cause or contributed to the failing thermostat. I think minmally the sparking may have initiated the problem because of an existing defect or flaw of the PCB.

I had an option to return the unit to the seller, however since the shipping was too expensive I just kept it and bring it along with me when I travel. At home I mainly use the MC3000, but in some ways I prefer the simplicity of the Opus which is lighter and not cumbersome as the MC3000.

The chargers I’ve looked at inside at their PCB the power inputs in relation to the PCB don’t appear to be very well protected. Not much expense if any was put into protecting and/or isolating power input of the PCBs.

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gauss163 wrote:
albert wrote:
Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’ll have to disagree with you and say it’s more likely the sparking did cause a problem with the PCB’s fan thermostat circuit.

How do you think that could possibly occur? Is it a wild guess, or do you have some solid theory?

There was some discussion about it a while back on one of the forums. Not really a wild guess. I’ve owned and been using PCs and various types of smaller electronic equipment for more than 35 years. I sometimes get intrinsic thoughts and feelings for electronic equipment it’s behavior. Many times while troubleshooting and repairing electronics these intrinsic thoughts and feeling have proved to be correct.

However I’m not saying my intrinsic thoughts and feelings can’t be wrong. I’m open to ideas, possibly procedural testing methods that can be performed to eliminate and prove possibilities that are wrong.

I no longer have my electronics lab setup with various types of electronic testing equipment and only perform modest electronic repairs using a DMM when able.

I currently have problems with heart disease and breathing, along with past heart surgery that prevents me from doing things I use to be able to do without any problems.

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Speed4goal wrote:

Back to bugs, I have the 2.2 version I’ve noticed mine foes this at times. Say I have 4 cells at 3.20 and I put them all in and press 1amp across all 4 sometimes a few minutes in the unit will reset itself. Like a reboot and all 4 will start at 500mah. I’ve witnessed it a couple times. The whole screen lights up like you just plugged it in then goes to default charge. It only does this occasionally not very often. And only at 4× 1amp. Never seen it at 4×700mah or even 2×2amp. I don’t know if the low voltage of 4 cells is drawing to much for the power supply so it resets like a internal fuse going off. And seems only st low cell voltages when the current draw is the highest. The 2.2 version is set at 4.7 not 5volts like the other to limit the pulse spikes under load
You know, my v 2.2 has done what sound like the same thing on occasion when doing 4 cells (18650’s) at 1A each. I just figured it had something to do with heat or the load being to much for it….. That would be a “wild guess” too, no hard data or scientific theory to back it up………. Smile

So, I just started using the Lii 500 in those situations.

Simple solution for me, but I would like to find out for sure sometime what causes that.

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^^^^^^^^^^

So far mine has NOT done that.Neither the returned or New Opus.

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wolfdog1226 wrote:
^^^^^^^^^^ So far mine has NOT done that.Neither the returned or New Opus.

 

I spoke too soon. That was yesterday! Did a Discharge/Test @ 1amp. I came in the room right after the 4 X 18650 Orbtronic were discharged and just went into CHARGE cycle. I noticed it was charging @500mAh and the Capacity data was NOT there. I set it back to 1000mAh. Came back in room 5 minutes later and it was @ 500mAh again! Set it back to 1000mah and this time I watched it. Three[3] times in a row the unit reset[shut off] and defaulted to 500mah again!

I am not sure whether it is the power supply , failing thermal sensor[?] or just over heating inside.The charger NEVER feels hot.

I think it is overheating because the power supply should be plenty according to HKJ. I asked HKJ earlier today if 12v/3a is enough for 4 batteries @ 1amp?:

"Easily, 12V 3A is 36 watt, 4 batteries with each 4.2V charged at 1A is 16.8 watt, there is a lot of spare power for display and heat".

I am disappointed because this one had more accurate results w/ capacity tests and gave me a slightly higher charges. I called Jon from LIIONWHOLESALE and am getting another one on Monday! He is a very nice guy. So this will be my third one since March 2,2017!

If the Third one fails I am done with these chargers! He told me he does not get reimbursed for these. I feel bad for him.

People can say what they want about the less technologically advanced FENIX ARE-C2. They have longevity[3 years plus] and are consistent w/ no issues!.Must be the simpler technology!

Solitude breeds contemplation which creates clarity. 7.3.2017

Environment molds a person. Perseverance changes them. 3.4.2001

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HKJ
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
wolfdog1226 wrote:

[quote=wolfdog1226I asked HKJ earlier today if 12v/3a is enough for 4 batteries @ 1amp?: Easily, 12V 3A is 36 watt, 4 batteries with each 4.2V charged at 1A is 16.8 watt, there is a lot of spare power for display and heat.

What I did not say was that it requires that the charger know how to handle the power. The first versions of the C3100 charger was very bad on that, in later versions it was improved, but not perfect. This means that a sensitive power supply may give the charger problems.

But you have the problem during discharge and that do not make any sense, the charger is not supposed to be loading the power supply when doing discharges.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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