The making of the BLF UC4 charger: the start of a new venture, INTEREST LIST, UPDATE 6 (KICKING THIS TO DRIVE)

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RapidLux
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Does it have a fan for cooling? Then I hope it is easily replaceable, unfasten a few screws and unplug, as this is the most likely troublemaker. Also possible a flashing port.

Andmiller
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Put me in for 1.

powerslave
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I would like to get in on this as well. Thank you!

Rexlion
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Robin Dobbie wrote:
Interested.

Also, an idea. Not sure if anyone brought it up as I haven’t read the almost 50 pages at this point.

My idea is for the terminals be spread open for use by a secondary lever behind each terminal so I don’t get human oils or whatever on the terminals from my thumb. Also, I wish for the motion to be smooth and frictionless. My charger is horrible in this regard, I’m not sure how others are. Although all the ones I’ve seen require touching at least one terminal and that’s not ideal.


Have you tried pushing the slider terminal with the cell you’re inserting? That’s how I always do it. I haven’t touched a terminal in ages.
Robin Dobbie
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You can’t slide the terminals that way on the Zanflare C4. It’s almost doable with AAs, but even that feels like nails on a chalkboard. Seems to be really cheaply made, and many others I’ve seen for more money appear similar. I have to reach down with my thumb and apply pressure as close to the base of the terminal as possible to minimize lateral force and the associated friction. Then I have to slide my thumb up and catch the edge of the terminal with my nail, hold it there, then slide the cell in. An annoying, two-handed operation that smears whatever’s on my thumb onto the terminals every effing time I use the charger.

IRONMAN
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interested

liteupmynite
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Interested!!!

TheIntruder
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Robin Dobbie wrote:
You can’t slide the terminals that way on the Zanflare C4. It’s almost doable with AAs, but even that feels like nails on a chalkboard. Seems to be really cheaply made, and many others I’ve seen for more money appear similar. I have to reach down with my thumb and apply pressure as close to the base of the terminal as possible to minimize lateral force and the associated friction. Then I have to slide my thumb up and catch the edge of the terminal with my nail, hold it there, then slide the cell in. An annoying, two-handed operation that smears whatever’s on my thumb onto the terminals every effing time I use the charger.

Perhaps something similar to a shooter rod on a pinball machine. Or something as simple as making the negative tab tall enough to provide a leverage point to grab, pull back the slider, insert the cell, and then gently release. Even simply choosing springs with less force; they only need to be secure, not act as a vice.

Relying on the cell at act as the lever, or shoehorn, of sorts, is less than optimal, and I hate the crude execution used by most, if not all chargers in general.

There are many more elegant ways to approach it, but the status quo is cheap.

Robin Dobbie
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I like the pinball approach. Pulling rather than pushing often results in less friction.

Making the terminals taller is appealing, and if the racking can be eliminated it would work well. If nothing else changes, a longer terminal would make things worse proportional to how much longer they get.

kramerica72
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Interested!

psmbfuer
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Interested in 2, thanks.

nocturne
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I like the constant current modes. Interested. Thanks.

slmjim
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Could updates in post 1 be dated going forward?

 

slmjim

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

Smile! It makes others wonder what you've been up to.

Andrew LB
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Pete7874 wrote:
Finley wrote:
On the 1st page the last update says the project has been put on hold. Is this still being produced?, if so when would it be expected to ship?
Long way away from starting production.

I had a feeling that this would happen. While i admire how inclusive you guys have been regarding the design of this charger, it apparently has fallen victim to the old adage.. “Too many cooks in the kitchen”. There comes a time when the people in charge need to take the initiative and stop trying to be all to all people and get things done.

Robin Dobbie
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Andrew, what features do you think you, personally, couldn’t live without?

Do you merely want a charger with the BLF stamp on it?

nocturne
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Andrew LB wrote:
I had a feeling that this would happen. While i admire how inclusive you guys have been regarding the design of this charger, it apparently has fallen victim to the old adage.. “Too many cooks in the kitchen”. There comes a time when the people in charge need to take the initiative and stop trying to be all to all people and get things done.

Feature creep kills products, especially those that actually make it to market. Keep the essential features missing from most other chargers, dump the rest. To me, that means keep polarity protection, the multi-chemistry compatibility (but for NiZn, a boutique feature few will use, plenty of NiZn chargers out there), keep the resistance testing, the constant current charging modes, but bail on some of the adjustable charging, 0.03A – 0.05A – 0.08A?? Why. I also don’t believe active cooling is necessary, nor a Li-ion storage charging feature, which is redundant if it supports LiFePO4, just charge Li-ion to that 3.7V and store.

But what do I know?

ElginAgain
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Sign me up for 2 please.

Kona G
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Count me in for 1 please

Scallywag
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Andrew LB wrote:
I had a feeling that this would happen. While i admire how inclusive you guys have been regarding the design of this charger, it apparently has fallen victim to the old adage.. “Too many cooks in the kitchen”. There comes a time when the people in charge need to take the initiative and stop trying to be all to all people and get things done.

!https://i.pinimg.com/originals/90/eb/5f/90eb5f1d8d20ccf1fd77639b055702d0...!


Actually, BlueSwordM seems to have a good idea of what he’s doing. The only thing it’s “fallen victim” to is delays, which are understandable given that he’s largely doing the project alone (and also had a recent injury).

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Unheard
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Robin Dobbie wrote:
Although all the ones I’ve seen require touching at least one terminal and that’s not ideal.

Never did this. I push the negative terminal back with the battery (Lii-500).

Smile, you cannot kill them all.

Robin Dobbie
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I just tried again and there is a way to get the cell in by using the cell to push the terminal. I can hold the cell like a pen so I can apply pressure as low as possible. Still not low enough, scrapes badly. Feels fundamentally ungood.

The smoothest action with the zanflare requires pinching the terminal to manage the angle while moving the terminal.

I’ll upgrade at some point. Hopefully it’s the UC4, or UC8.

mrbill
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I’d be interested too – but it has to be better than the Opus BT-C3100. which does most of what people want for a good price as it is. I don’t mind spending a little bit more for some ‘Pro’ features and a very high quality build.

I know it says feature list is locked – but:

- Sometimes when cells are very depleted, they are not recognised. If there were a way to force a charge to start at a particular voltage to get the charging started (apologies if this is already on the list and I didn’t understand)

- Nice color OLED screen with info

- USB connected to download data – but also crucially, to update firmware with new features and bug fixes

- Ability to run custom sequence of programs. I.E. run an internal resistance test, charge/discharge battery 3 times while taking resistance test and record battery capacity between each charge. Output data. If it could store extra data during the whole charge/discharge process – all the better – this can be exported and graphed externally.

- Easy serviceability – particularly the fan. Dont solder onto board, and don’t use some weird-ass sized fan you can’t find anywhere (looking at your Opus!). If it were a ‘silent’ fan – that would be a bonus!

- For internal resistance, give a warning if the battery voltage is too low to give an accurate measurement. Take several measurements, and give an average, or mean value.

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mrbill wrote:
  • Sometimes when cells are very depleted, they are not recognised. If there were a way to force a charge to start at a particular voltage to get the charging started (apologies if this is already on the list and I didn't understand)

  • For internal resistance, give a warning if the battery voltage is too low to give an accurate measurement. Take several measurements, and give an average, or mean value.

As a power user I tend to dislike mommy chargers. Just do what I command and STFU. But of course I take care.

In case of need setting an over-discharged cell in parallel with a healthy one using some (thin) wires (a few touches here and there) is a solution.

Concerning the internal resistance measurements, depending on how that is implemented a too high voltage warning may also be wise. Certain chargers like the popular Lii-500 measure internal resistance by injecting a given current into the rail and substracting the no-load rail voltage to the measured rail voltage while the current is flowing, then dividing the difference by the current (dV/I). However, since rail voltage cannot go above maximum charge voltage, if a cell is close enough to maximum charge voltage the resistance measurement is invalid because rail voltage maxes out. Chargers which operate in such a way should warn whenever rail voltage reaches maximum charge voltage upon cell IR measurement.

In any case, I hope this charger implements cell voltage monitoring right at the cell terminals.

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panagis
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Interested for one

Robin Dobbie
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Barkuti wrote:
As a power user I tend to dislike mommy chargers.

How neat would it be if it gave birth to new cells, though?

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Robin Dobbie wrote:
Barkuti wrote:
As a power user I tend to dislike mommy chargers.

How neat would it be if it gave birth to new cells, though?

 

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Hezekiah
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Interested in one

rogue2020
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hi…

I wonder if you could add the function or feature to your proposed charger to test for AC Internal Resistance (IR, in micro Ohms) accurately (like Xtar VP4 Plus, but it only test DC IR), with the accuracy of the YR-1030 tester? I would like to get a nice charger with an accurate AC IR testing function without buying the YR-1030 tester separately.

Thanks. Smile

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Interested in one

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Thank You for pulling this offer together. …I would like a charger/dis-charger functions for cell going into storage (~3.8V Li-Ion / ~3.3V LiFePO4), also let charge ‘top-off’ be user settable by 0.1V or even 0.05V increments? Count me in for 2 charger/dischargers either way.

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