The making of the BLF UC4 charger: the start of a new venture, INTEREST LIST, UPDATE 3(Finalized UI and starting design)

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BlueSwordM
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Which is why I’m planning to do a GB with someone we know and love, Neal!

Or maybe Banggood.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

BlueSwordM
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@tempo, nice find!

I hadn’t thought about the OEM behind Liitokala chargers.

MiBoxer would also be a nice bet as I’ve said before.

A C4-12 BLF edition would be nice, yes?

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

PBWilson
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I’ve limped along with an aging Nitecore Intellicharger and have had to wrestle longer cells into the slots. Keeping my 26650 cells in the slots and touching the terminals has been a delicate operation. It’s like I need the dexterity of a safe cracker to keep them in contact. It doesn’t charge some of the LiFePO4 cells I have and the flashing leds only give me an estimate about how charged the cells are at any one time.

Still, I’ve hung onto it and have waited for a reasonably priced, quality charger with an easy to operate setup. Just like my lights with Narsil and Andruil, I like the flexibility, but I can operate it easily without thinking. I hope that in the rush to get a “pie in the sky” charger, it is easy to use.

I’m glad this thread was started. I’ll keep a close eye on it for the future.

Caleb
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YES! YES! YES!

The perfect BLF charger is much needed.

I am very excited and in for at least 2 when the time comes.

CLB
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BlueSwordM, this is a great idea, and, as a charger-aholic, I’m in for certain, regardless of cost. To me, some important criteria, which have only been mentioned in passing so far, are: quality, precision, and accuracy. Unlike a fun, hotrod flashlight, a charger serves only as a tool, not a toy. No one is going to start modding chargers as a hobby, so it needs to be good out of the box.

The object, I think, is a reliable charger that charges accurately at the desired rate, terminates accurately at the desired level, and does so in the desired amount of time. I think an automatic muggle mode will be fine for many people. But there are tradeoffs between current, voltage, time, and battery longevity, and I want to be able to determine the tradeoffs myself. This is what makes the MC3000 such a great charger, in spite of its convoluted user interface. Charge termination for NiMH batteries is an example of an area where most chargers are both woefully imprecise and inflexible, as you can see from HKJ’s reviews.

Speaking of which, you might want to see if you can involve HKJ, and also Kreisl, who helped develop the MC3000 with SkyRC.

Let’s do it!

BlueSwordM
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@CLB, I already thought about HKJ, but we don’t need him and others, yet.

I’m currently collecting features and ideas.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

Caleb
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I know it may cost more, but what about making the base/casing out of aluminum with built-in heat sink fins?

CLB
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BlueSwordM wrote:
@CLB, I already thought about HKJ, but we don’t need him and others, yet.

I’m currently collecting features and ideas.


I understand, BlueSwordM. One feature request I would have is the ability to create custom programs, as with the MC3000. This has turned out to be the most important feature of that charger, for me. It saves a lot of time, of course, but, even more important, I don’t have to remember all the various settings for different cells and functions. I have a chart which shows the settings for each program, sorted by cell type and size, so all I have to do is look at the chart and punch in the program number. Once set up, the MC3000 actually became the easiest to use of all my dozen analyzing chargers.
JamesB
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CLB wrote:
also Kreisl, who helped develop the MC3000 with SkyRC.

For the love of god, no.

My understanding is also that kreisl has been banned from BLF years ago.

Agro
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Caleb wrote:
I know it may cost more, but what about making the base/casing out of aluminum with built-in heat sink fins?

Interesting. Smile
Whatever allows improved performance while maintaining low (no?) noise is interesting and I would be glad to pay extra for that. Wink
amishbill
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BlueSwordM wrote:
@tempo, nice find!


A C4-12 BLF edition would be nice, yes?


If we’re going to shoot high, aim higher.

!! C8-18 BLF !!

DIY LT1 battery wrap image. "PDF on Google Drive":https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IHIEOi1NXu868IYNCzIM7D2Ulpxchmww

Fresh Sanyo NCR18650GAs already wrapped "for sale HERE":http://budgetlightforum.com/node/69120 if you like.

BlueSwordM
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@amishbill, you mean C8-16 BLF, right?

@Agro, a full aluminium body would be great, but the price would probably increase above 49$US.

Will try with MiBoxer still.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

Agro
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My budget would be $50 for a great charger.
But it would be $100 if:

  • it got open source firmware
  • that firmware got maintainers and I could reasonably hope to be able to upgrade later
    • including adding support for new chemistries
  • the firmware was easy to flash

WalkIntoTheLight
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If you throw too many features into this project, you risk

(1) Making it too complex to use,

(2) Making it too expensive,

(3) Making it buggy with features that don’t work properly,

(4) Making it a niche product that few people will buy.

Honestly, I’d be happy with a Nitecore SC4 that had a settable charge termination voltage, and lower default charge rates. Nothing else needed.

Or a Liitokala Lii-500 with settable charge termination voltage. (The Lii-500 has a discharge capacity function already.)

Perhaps approach a company with something very similar already, and ask them to add the extra couple of features into an existing product. That should make it easier to build, and less prone to quality problems.

amishbill
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BlueSwordM wrote:
@amishbill, you mean C8-16 BLF, right?


I was aiming for 100% increase in slots and a 50% increase in max current. 2× 4, 1.5× 12.

To be perfectly honest, I’d be as happy with the original 12 amps split across 8 slots as I would with 16, 18, or 24 total amps split across them.

A complete wishlist item, but hey – this IS brainstorming, right? Thumbs Up

At least this is a more practical idea than adding 1 or more cheap accessory sidecars containing their own charge circuits but being controlled by the UI in the master unit. Beer

DIY LT1 battery wrap image. "PDF on Google Drive":https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IHIEOi1NXu868IYNCzIM7D2Ulpxchmww

Fresh Sanyo NCR18650GAs already wrapped "for sale HERE":http://budgetlightforum.com/node/69120 if you like.

zeroair
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BlueSwordM wrote:
With every feature included here, 49$US GB should be doable.
rizky_p
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I also recommends ISDT they are making great hobby chargers.

ToyKeeper
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Truck wrote:
My charger is a LiitoKala Lii-S1, it is exactly what I needed. you put the cell in, it charges, I can remove whenever I feel the voltage is right. It was on sale on AE a while ago, holding up since then.

+1

I’ve been using a Nitecore D2 I got on clearance for $13. It does everything I need or want in a charger, and by sheer luck, it’s calibrated 0.02V low so it stops right at 4.18V. Pretty much ideal, as far as I’m concerned.

Also a couple MC1 chargers, for travelling. They were like $3 or $5 or something; I forget. And the BLF Lantern is nice if I want to charge a set of 4 cells.

JamesB wrote:
CLB wrote:
Kreisl

For the love of god, no.

Wow, that’s a name I haven’t heard in ages.

New BLF members probably don’t know the history there, and it’s pretty much erased from the internet now, but… there’s only one answer to that question, and JamesB nailed it.

Nev
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I think it needs to stay exclusive to us in this forum & chargerholics because if it’s to become available to joe public (muggles) they will slap to many safety features on it to try and stop muggles killing himself or set fire to his house ,eg don’t tolerate the charger to terminate early on the er of safety etc ,we are responsible adults & we know the risks & monitor things. Edit ,no that’s a stupid idea because the manufacture will want to make & sell as many as they can ,& we’ll have to put up with the changes they make to it.

Relampago
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I predict 5k+ pages of future posts. Call me in two years when this is ready. In for two.

“Electricity is really just organized lightning”
― George Carlin

BlueSwordM
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Ok, here are the basic features of the chargers that I want:

1. Adjustable charging current (0,1A-3,0A) in 0,1A steps.

2. Support for multiple chemistries (NiMH, lithium-ion, lithium ion HV, LiFePO4).

3. Temperature monitoring (45C max below 2A, 60C max below 3A).

4. 4 cell channels, with support for AAA sized cells all the way to the largest 21700/26650/D cells up to 78mm length.

6. Full current cutoff according to charging current (10%).

7. 12V-20V compatibility.

8. Nickel coated phosphor bronze/brass rails for highest conductivity and accurate internal resistance measurement. Or just well plated nickel plated A3 steel if everything goes wrong.

9. Internal resistance measurement.

10. Low voltage recovery
Below 2,5V, charge at 150mA.
Below 2,0V, charge at 100mA.
Below 1,0V, charge at 25mA.

11. Adjustable max voltage for lithium ion charging: 3,90V-4,20V in 0,1V steps.

12. Storage charge mode: 3,6V. Lower would be better, but it is too low otherwise for most people.

13. Individual channel selection.

17. Automatic charging current adjustment available.

Other features are nice, but not necessary.
If I can get them on this BLF charger, that would be dope.
These are the bare minimum requirements for me.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

staticx57
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I’m in

Stittville Ed
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Everything sounds so I would be in for at least 1.

Tixx
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Definitely interested

BlueSwordM
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Thank all of you guys and gals for the support.

I’m going to use as much of my knowledge and experience in charging batteries and electronic experience to get BLF its own best, customized charger.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

djozz
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Way to go Blue, I admire the spirit! Smile

slmjim
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"The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain."

Captain of Engineering Montgomery Scott (Scotty), USS Excelsior, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

 

Guess I'm an outlier here.

I'm a hands-on, button-pushin' guy.  The more automation, the more things can go wrong.  I'd prefer a minimum of automation, only what's necessary for safe operation.  Otherwise, this looks like an outstanding device that could appeal to advanced muggles outside the flashlight community.

 

slmjim

Great... Carnac the Magnificent tells me I just signed up for yet another expensive hobby.

SKY69
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I will buy one when available

SKY69
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Thanks Blue for your generous act.

CLB
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BlueSwordM wrote:
why not make a BLF charger, the ultimate charger from companies that we know, trust, and have confidence in their skills and experience? It would be the best charger on the market, with amazing features

I am exited by the ambitiousness of your mission statement, BlueSwordM, as well as your intitial list of features. It’s in the true spirit of BLF. Stick to your guns!

It’s confusing to me that some BLF’ers who agonize over every detail of flashlight hardware and firmware seem content with a simple Nitecore or LitoKala charger. If that suits your needs, hey, that’s great, but why would we want a BLF charger to emulate that? It would be like a BLF 2AA Maglite.

Relampago wrote:
I predict 5k+ pages of future posts. Call me in two years when this is ready.

Yeah, I hear you. The SkyRC MC3000 did not not start out as a CPF project, but it kind of turned out that way. The thread has 5200 posts, of which 200 or so are by HKJ. And a lot of development work was put in by a member who shall go nameless. And the result is the benchmark for a universal analyzing charger for cylindrical cells, with enough of a market, apparently, to keep it in production.

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