should I buy a hobby charger?

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dekozn
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should I buy a hobby charger?

I’m thinking of buying a hobby charger but I have absolutely no clue what to look for.
I would like to:
1* Test some old and salvaged 18650 laptop cells. Most are new and unused but some are questionable (blue LG 2200mAh) since my VC2 seems to take a long time to charge them. Actually I charged them yesterday and the charger didn’t finish charging, it stayed on 99% like forever when my 3400mAh cell finished way sooner. so I just took em out although they didn’t get hot or anything. Would be nice if I could measure the Ri and capacity.

2* Most of my cels are 4.3volt so I wanne be able to charge them to 4.3V

3* Would like to be able to charge 6 or more cells simultaneous in parallel at 1A or more.

4* I got some 18V packs from power tools that I’d like to charge with it.

5* I also have 3 12V lead acid batteries of 7Ah, 90Ah and 120Ah. I use them with solar panels. I would like to recondition (if thats the right word?) them once in a while or just charge them on the mains when I don’t get enough power from the sun. Don’t know if that’s possible with a hobby charger.

6* I would connect the charger to one of the lead acid batteries, would I still need a DC boost converter, an 12V DC to 220V AC inverter (which I’d rather not use cause it’s inefficient) or can I just connect it to my mppt charge controller or straight to the battery?

My budget is around $50 but I wouldn’t mind paying more (even double that) if it’s really worth it. I could do without 4* and 5* but do I still need a hobby charger then? Please point me in the right direction or suggest something. I’d like to see some test of different chargers from reliable and skeptical persons not just a review from someone….

Idiot proofing something only creates improved idiots.

Enderman
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What kind of weird battery chemistry makes 4.3v cells?

alpg88
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yes you should, imo, imax b6

alpg88
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Enderman wrote:
What kind of weird battery chemistry makes 4.3v cells?

li ion. some 18650 4,35v but will work just fine if charged to 4,2

Enderman
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alpg88 wrote:

li ion. some 18650 4,35v but will work just fine if charged to 4,2

Oh, you mean LiHV?
alpg88
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MILSPEC
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getting a hobby charger was one of the better investments. I have the imax B6 and it works as expected. very easy to use and reliable.

dekozn
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cool, I’ll check out the B6. Any links to tests or something?

edit: so first link I click
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?746574-IMAX-B6-Read-this-before-you-buy

Quote:
1. The Lipo balance mode (charge & storage) is slow ….. very slow.

2. Inaccurate reading !!
So far, I only tested on 3 cell lipos.

When charging the lipo, you can switch between the two screen:
i) shows the amp, voltage, time, mah charged
ii) shows the individual cell voltage.

The readings on screen i)
a. the charging amp has error ! —> the amount of error changes approaching the end of charging cycle. Initially, the error is a constant.
b. the total voltage has constant error !
c. the charged mah has error !

Don’t think I wanne spend my money on this

Idiot proofing something only creates improved idiots.

HKJ
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Hobby chargers are very universal, but that also means they are not optimized for a round cells.
This means more trouble connecting batteries, often you can only do one battery at a time and you need more button presses compared to a dedicated round cell charger.
The best round cell charger that can do anything a hobby charger can do with round cells and handles four cells at a time is the SkyRC MC3000, but it is considerable more expensive than a hobby charger and it also has a learning curve.

Maybe getting a cheaper hobby charger and a Opus BT-C3100 or LiitoKala Lii-500 round cell charger would be the optimal solution.

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

alpg88
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round cell holders are sold cheap online for pretty much any cell, single or multiple, but chargers that are made for round cells can not charge or balance cells in series. for now op does not do that, but you never know what he’ll be up to latter.
i build lights with build in none removable batteries, i use cb radio multipin connections to balance\charge cells in those lights, i use hitek x4 charger, very happy with it, it has 4 separate channels, i can charge\discharge…. 4 cells or packs at the same time, but it was $239 plus tax. at the hobby store.

HKJ
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alpg88 wrote:
round cell holders are sold cheap online for pretty much any cell, single or multiple, but chargers that are made for round cells can not charge or balance cells in series. for now op does not do that, but you never know what he’ll be up to latter.

Correct, but a hobby charger is rather slow if you want to check a pile of salvaged cells. Testing in series is a bad idea in that case, i.e. you can only test one cell at a time.

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

alpg88
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HKJ wrote:
alpg88 wrote:
round cell holders are sold cheap online for pretty much any cell, single or multiple, but chargers that are made for round cells can not charge or balance cells in series. for now op does not do that, but you never know what he’ll be up to latter.

Correct, but a hobby charger is rather slow if you want to check a pile of salvaged cells. Testing in series is a bad idea in that case, i.e. you can only test one cell at a time.

yes, unless it is x4 you have to do 1 cell at the time

testing cells in series is sure a bad idea.

actually if his budget was up to 100 i’d recommend skyrc mc3000 since he is interested in round cells. it can do pretty much everything hobby charger can except work with packs.
b6 are around 50, however since they are very popular, there are many fakes around, i have seen a thread either here or on cpf on fake b6’s and how to tell them apart.

LightRider
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Didn’t I see a 4-cell analyzing charger talked about somewhere around here? Maybe star? It had the ability to plug in a series pack as well. If I remember right.

cclight
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MILSPEC wrote:
getting a hobby charger was one of the better investments. I have the imax B6 and it works as expected. very easy to use and reliable.

I got this one [too?] soon after I discovered the flashlight world and cannot use it because there’s nowhere to put the batteries… A lot of searching revealed that it’s ready for lipo packs (which I had never heard about) and not for the cylindrical cells used in flashlights Sad So much for being a newbie…

Is there a holder/adapter that will connect to the imax B6, allowing for different cell sizes if at all possible? Cabling for doing balanced charging like the lipo packs would be ideal but is not essential.

tempo
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LightRider wrote:
Didn’t I see a 4-cell analyzing charger talked about somewhere around here? Maybe star? It had the ability to plug in a series pack as well. If I remember right.

i think the xstar VP4- charger . has 1 TEST button . 1 press and it tests 4 batteries at the same time .

alpg88
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cclight wrote:

Is there a holder/adapter that will connect to the imax B6, allowing for different cell sizes if at all possible?


tons of them available online, for regular size cells you can get holders at radio shack, however those holders come either with wires, or snap in, (9v) type connector, or simply solder connection, i’m not sure about b6 but mine x4 came with wire that had banana plug on one side, (to plug into the charger) and alligator clips on the other, so you can clip it to pretty much anything.
lipo packs already come with balance tail\wires attached, so you wont need any extra wires.
alpg88
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LightRider wrote:
Didn’t I see a 4-cell analyzing charger talked about somewhere around here? Maybe star? It had the ability to plug in a series pack as well. If I remember right.

there is mh-c9000 analyzing 4 bay charger, but it does not work with packs nor with li ion cells, nicd\nimh only. i’m not aware of any other 4bay analyzing charger that works with packs and li ion cells, maybe someone else knows about such charger

HKJ
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alpg88 wrote:
LightRider wrote:
Didn’t I see a 4-cell analyzing charger talked about somewhere around here? Maybe star? It had the ability to plug in a series pack as well. If I remember right.

there is mh-c9000 analyzing 4 bay charger, but it does not work with packs nor with li ion cells, nicd\nimh only. i’m not aware of any other 4bay analyzing charger that works with packs and li ion cells, maybe someone else knows about such charger

He is talking about Xtar Dragon, but it only supports 3S packs.

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

dekozn
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The opus and liitokala both seem to have shortcomings and they are not able to charge to 4.3V. I have been looking into the MC3000 and it does most of the things I need it to do but I do not like the sound of “tinkering with flattop cells” as most of my cells are flattop. And

Quote:
The charger is not without issues, most of them will probably be fixed with software upgrades
Are these issues fixed with the upgrades? I mean your test was done in 2015 so the should be fixed by now no?

Which hobby charger would you recommend, I need a reliable one if I’m gonna charge my 18V packs and lead acid batteries with it as these things are really expensive. I’m talking about at least $75 for an18V pack and my lead acid batteries are way more than that.

Pfff the more I look intoit the more desperate and confused I get. No such thing as a perfect charger I guess.

Idiot proofing something only creates improved idiots.

HKJ
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dekozn wrote:
Are these issues fixed with the upgrades? I mean your test was done in 2015 so the should be fixed by now no?

Yes and it has a few extra functions compared to the software I tested.
But you still need to mount some flattop batteries a bit high. I mostly uses GA cells and they do not have any connection problems.

dekozn wrote:
Which hobby charger would you recommend, I need a reliable one if I’m gonna charge my 18V packs and lead acid batteries with it as these things are really expensive. I’m talking about at least $75 for an18V pack and my lead acid batteries are way more than that.

I will not recommend any hobby charges, I do have a few but do not use them much. If you need information from people that uses hobby chargers, try a RC forum.

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

MILSPEC
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I use magnets or 18650 holders. bought them on 11/11 at AE for a few pennies. electronics are my hobby so I had them anyway/can use more of these holders. I also build my own lithium battery packs for other devices like development boards.

edit: the main reason why I bought the imax is I can set a higher charge rate. have plenty of dedicated LiIon chargers and the max they do is 1A for 2 bays. also needed something that works at home, in my car, anywhere really.

alpg88
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you can charge 18v pack with hobby charger, as well as lead acid, i charged my 18v dewalt battery few times with x4, no issues, same with small sla from emergency lights. if you plan to charge car battery, it can do that too, but it’ll take few days or a week even, if battery is big.

Jinx
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I use a DPS5015 and a iSDT sc608, you don’t need the DPS but it does add flexibility. I did a video here playing around with the units but only watch if your considering as tbh it’s a bit long and boring otherwise. Link: YouTube sc-608 at the end I get round to doing a large SLA on the unit.

I also have a few battery holders on route and a dc load, much better than the discharge avalible from most hobby chargers that take forever and discharge nowhere near the rate modern LEDs consume power.

It all takes a lot of parts, effort and time but ultimately you do end up with a far greater range of options.

dekozn
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Can someone who owns a imax b6 comment the link i posted? Seems like everyone here likes em yet on the rc forum they say it s cheap knock off with a lot of errors and inaccurate readings. Am I missing something?

Idiot proofing something only creates improved idiots.

MILSPEC
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I initially bought the clone and it worked fine. A friend has the authentic item (for RC) and it feels the same. I don’t have any software issues with my clone and it works fine with lithium cells.
Apparently there are issues with NiMH cells in series (that would be the setup for them to charge/discharge) but I frankly have such a variance in my NiMH cells (age, brand, price are all different) and I don’t have a strong need for charging these products.

My clone was sold as “real” but I realized b/c of price and seller it is a clone before I bought it. you can change the firmware on select models.

useful link:
link to RC groups

edit: please note that there are many different imax B6 clones. 50W vs 80W different discharge rate etc

hellokittyhk
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I have to recommend the ISDT SC608.
It’s far superior to the outdated B6 and family.
It has a cortex M4 processor, bright full color IPS screen, and a simple, fast, high quality button.

It can charge at up to 8A or 150W, several times more than the B6, whereas the B6 will not even be able to parallel charge 6 batts at 1A each. The ISDT has options for HV lithiums without flashing anything and it’s easy to update firmware. It also has higher precision voltage measurements and takes individual IR estimates with the balance tab connected. It has a much wider input voltage range as well.

The best part is that it’s tiny and fits in the palm of your hand but still dissipates the same amount of power as the B6, except that it has thermal monitoring.

Can be found for 40 shipped from a US supplier. This new charger far outclasses the antique B6 that we used to use like 10 years ago.

https://www.kadosmicromotors.com/products/isdt-sc-608-150w-smart-charger

I have a clone B6 that I got for $20 shipped and have been using for years, and it’s acceptable but the ISDT is nicer to use. The B6 has a crappy blue calculator screen, the buttons are finicky, and voltage measurements are not as accurate. It also charges much slower. I don’t like to wait so I charge my 18650s at 2C, which wouldn’t be possible with the B6.

I still use my B6 but I can hardly recommend any electronics that were designed over 10 years ago and hasn’t really been updated since. I know it’s cheaper though.

Lexel
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For refresh cycling large solar batteries you need a way bigger charger

Just imagine refreshing a 120Ah 12V battery with 15W max discharge of those hobby chargers

Most do it with a charger that can supply at least 0.2C for your biggest battery
and then connecting the battery to a 1500W inverter powering a cheap heater

dekozn
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lexel: I taught also, gonna look for a decent charger just for lead acid batteries or just keep borowing my the one from my friend. hello: really? I saw a post here somwhere bout a charger like that and that scrolling wheel just looks like it won’t last long. Just the way it’s build makes me think it’s crap but I never had one in my hands so…
@milspec: ok they’re talking bout clones and not the skyrc one that explains alot thx.

Idiot proofing something only creates improved idiots.

RobertB
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dekozn wrote:
The opus and liitokala both seem to have shortcomings and they are not able to charge to 4.3V.

I don’t know about the liitokala, but the Opus will definitely charge to 4.35v. I cut a circle hole in the bottom of my Opus so I didn’t have to remove the cover every time I wanted to switch it from 4.2v to 4.35

alpg88
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dekozn wrote:
Can someone who owns a imax b6 comment the link i posted? Seems like everyone here likes em yet on the rc forum they say it s cheap knock off with a lot of errors and inaccurate readings. Am I missing something?

like i said before, there are lots of fake b6s around, some are ok some are total garbage. b6 is a good charger for the price, (the real one at least).

i’ve never used SC-608, it seems to be good, on paper, and at least 1 member here seem to be happy with one, if you can find that one that fits your budget go for it. just make sure it is real, as soon as something gets popular and demand grows, fakes flood the market.

MILSPEC
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If you are able/willing to spend 40$ or around that budget I’d not recommend the imax B6. The clones are cheap (I believe I paid 9$US plus shipping for mine) but at a higher range there are significantly better balance chargers!

One recommendation is in this thread and the RC groups will give you a good overview, reviews and rankings.

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