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

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Speed4goal
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I’ve had no problem with different size nihm or the 20is laptopbpulls I now have 9 were new unused others used. Charges just fine cells don’t get warm or act any different then liito 100 or vc2 charging them. New or old havnt seen any capacity decrease that isn’t average for cycle life. If it does affect cells its is so tiny I’ve seen no difference in aging in cells cycle wise then before I got one. Used only w vc2 and liito li 100 for a long time. Hundreds and hundreds of charges on each. Like 24/7 they was a line of batteries waiting to be charged for several months they never got a break. I had to upgrade. And I’ve put the opus through at least a month straight non stop duty when I first got it. To get capacity. I did my own non scientific expiriment. There are 4 cells that have been paired together one set I kept in the vc2 and the other in the opus. After around 100+ more cycles they both sets had roughly the same degraded capacity. There is no way you could tell which one hae been charged by which. So the opus damaging cell life I havnt seen it. I have some NCR b that get charged almost daily with the opus with over 200 for sure. But just under 300 cycles. Still have 3300mah. At the standard 500mah setting takes 8 hours from 3.0 volt every charge. 2 amp on the 26650s.

I use a lot of cells. When I take my daughters to the park its the high school ball fields that has a park its completely dark I make a circle of lights and light the plat structure up. 15+ cells in a night easy when we go. And for a stretch we were going 5-6 nights a week before it got bitter cold 6 lights on turbo for 2-3 hours. Pkus the one im walking aroubd with and my spare clipped to me anf a duffle bag of extra lights and batteries. Theb the light my wife walks around with. From 18650 to 26650 single and series. And with heavy use I habnt seen a difference in capacity that the other batteries with the same exact cycles because they are matched. So whatever the difference its less then 1%

flydiver
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Yeah, I don’t think PWM kills cells, USERS kill cells most of the time. Wink
I’ll bet keeping a cell fully charged in storage is worse for it long term than storing it at 50% and charging it every time with 2C+ and PWM. But, those kind of tests are not done in any kind of controlled manner and would take forever anyway.

My take, don’t worry about it. Pick the charger you think suits you objectives, use pattern, and budget the best.

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…

Dave_C
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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.

flydiver
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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.

Dave_C
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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.

tatasal
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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.

dekozn
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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): http://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…

dekozn
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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): http://lygte-info.dk/

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HKJ wrote:
The internal switcher uses PWM to regulate output current […]

That’s probably what the manual (obliquely) refers to. But it’s a moot point anyhow, since there is no solid scientific evidence that PWM charging is detrimental to cells. Some speculate that it might be harmful in obscure cases (e.g. very, very low capacity cells), but again, there are no studies backing up such speculation. Guesses about such matters are often incorrect (even those made by leading scientists, since so much still remains to be understood about the underlying electrochemical processes).

As such, I don’t recommend paying much attention to this issue when making buying decisions. Rather, one should be concerned with much more meaningful factors, such as features required, ease of use, safety, etc.

dekozn
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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.

tatasal
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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.

gauss163
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dekozn wrote:
@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.

I don’t think there is anything unique to the Opus BT-C3100 that makes it less safe than any other charger in it class. In fact it may be safer, since it lacks some unsafe “features” in competitors, e.g. the XTAR SV2 Rocket automatically resumes charging at 1A current after a power loss, so if you were charging a very small small capacity cell at very low current, then the change to 1A current could lead to thermal runaway in the worst case. That’s a very big design mistake. Unfortunately reviewers rarely (if ever) perform safety tests, so it is difficult if not impossible for potential buyers to compare chargers based on safety performance. But one should not expect much in the way of safety design at these price points. These small companies cannot afford to have dedicated safety engineers on staff (or even more expensive consultants).

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, e.g. in charging algorithms, termination voltages, and various other parameters that may differ (not to mention external parameters such as ambient temperature, humidity, differences in health of test cells, etc). It’s a task that is challenging even for experts.

wilson563
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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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Dave_C
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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.

gauss163
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Dave_C wrote:
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, e.g. in charging algorithms, termination voltages, and various other parameters that may differ (not to mention external parameters such as ambient temperature, humidity, differences in health of test cells, etc) It’s a task that is challenging even for experts.

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

Generally humidity plays a much more minor role than the other listed factors. However, it can play a nontrivial role in certain types of studies, esp. since its effects can greatly vary depending on chemistry. For example, it can have a nontrivial effect on self-discharge rates. So if you are doing long-term studies and aim to attain very precise results then you need to factor that into your results.

For example, below is excerpted from the introduction and conclusion from a recent study

"byun et al" wrote:
To investigate the effects of the exposure of battery tabs to humidity on the self-discharge properties of full-cell type lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), we assembled two different types of LIBs, composed of NCM/graphite or LCO/graphite, and compared their discharge retention abilities after storage in humid conditions (90% relative humidity (RH)) with and without battery tab protection. Regardless of the type of cathode active materials, tab protection improved the calendar lives of LIBs. For NCM/graphite, battery tab protection shows an approximate 50% improvement in the discharge capacity compared to the case without battery tab protection after storage in humid conditions (51.1% and 34.6% of the initial discharge capacity for tab-protected and non-protected LIBs, respectively). In contrast, LCO/graphite reveals a smaller change in the discharge capacity retention for the same experimental condition because they show superior capacity retention abilities regardless of battery tab protection (85.6% and 82.0% retention of the initial discharge capacity for tab-protected and non-protected LIBs, respectively). We suggested that these results come from the induction effect of polar water molecules, which pulls electrons to the battery tab side, resulting in lithium ion loss from the graphene layers to the liquid electrolyte. […]

By comparing the self-discharge properties of NCM/graphite and LCO/graphite LIBs, we confirmed that exposure of the battery tab to humid conditions during storage greatly affects the self-discharge properties of LIBs. Regardless of the cathode active materials, battery tab protection efficiently improves the discharge capacity retention abilities of LIBs. Battery tab protection was more effective for NCM/graphite, which suffers from metal ion dissolution during storage, resulting in severe SEI formation on the graphite surfaces. We believe that polar water molecules induce electrons that were used to hold the lithium ion between the graphene layers to move from the graphite to the battery tabs. This promotes lithium ion loss from the graphene layers to the electrolyte and it the origin of both the reversible and irreversible capacity loss.

Excerpted from The effects of humidity on the self-discharge properties of Li(Ni1/3Co1/3Mn1/3)O2/graphite and LiCoO2/graphite lithium-ion batteries during storage, by Seoungwoo Byun et al, RSC Adv., 2017, 7, 10915-10921

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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.

gauss163
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@Dave_C There are numerous studies that consider the impact of humidity (you can locate others from the citations in the paper I linked, and from web searches). However, as I emphasized, this plays only a minor role compared to the other parameters (temperature, SOH/IR, etc), which is why I listed it at the end.

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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?

gauss163
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4 × 4.2V x 1A = 16.8W is well under 36W = 12V x 3A. It will also handle Opus’s larger PWM pulses too, which were reduced from 9A to 6A in v2.1, see HKJ’s review.

albert
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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.

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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.

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