Originally want an iCharger, ended up with a Thunder AC680

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leaftye
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Originally want an iCharger, ended up with a Thunder AC680

Looking for an iCharger, preferably 208B.  I'm in the United States.

The low mode should be lower.

Edited by: leaftye on 06/28/2014 - 11:17
Shadowww
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What’s wrong with getting one off HobbyKing? Silly

leaftye
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Shadowww wrote:
What's wrong with getting one off HobbyKing? :P

Nice price, but no stock in their US warehouse.

The low mode should be lower.

Ejected Filament
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Dont like their Intl warehouse? Apparently it has stock… http://hobbyking.com.au/hobbyking/store/__10382__iCharger_206B_300W_8s_B...

It looks like they have the 106B in the US, but I assume you knew that.

leaftye
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Ejected Filament wrote:
Dont like their Intl warehouse? Apparently it has stock... http://hobbyking.com.au/hobbyking/store/__10382__iCharger_206B_300W_8s_B... It looks like they have the 106B in the US, but I assume you knew that.

Their international warehouse has plenty of stock, but I don't want to wait for this order, and I really don't want to deal with an international warehouse if I need a replacement.

 

There's another vendor that I emailed yesterday about getting a better price on the charger and a power supply.  There's someone in Santa Monica selling a used one for $70, but driving up there would use too much gas.

The low mode should be lower.

sanka
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Progressive RC in Seattle is considered to have fair prices and customer service. They seem to have stock of what you are looking for.

They also list several charger+PS bundles.

drdanke
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I can also recommend, http://www.progressiverc.com/

and also, http://www.buddyrc.com/

and if you are like me, and like modding stuff, I can also, whole heartedly recommend a modified HP DPS600PB to use as a power supply. You can get one on Ebay for near $10, and all you really need to do is jump a couple of wires to get it to turn on, slow the fan speed down by jumping one more wire, and BAM, you have yourself a perfect 12V 47A power supply.

I have been using one running my hobby chargers for years now, and it’s been perfect. I took my power supply one step further, and hooked up my 2 input wires internally to the screw terminals, and put some bullet connectors to match up to my charger input wires. The pins you have to jumper to get it to turn on, and turn the fan down, were done internally by simply twisting some wires together. Very easy to mod, and a super rock solid power supply.

leaftye
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Buddyrc hasn't responded to my email, so I'll probably go with someone else or even another charger if I can't get it for less than $140.

That server power supply is a possibility. 

The low mode should be lower.

moderator007
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When did you send the email? Yesterday was a holiday. :~
I had one problem with buddyrc, and they took care of it pronto. No questions ask. Really good customer service both in emails and over the phone. This was a $150 charger. Sent Me a replacement as soon as the bad one was dropped off at the post office, they had sent me a printable shipping paid label by email. The also had a 10% off coupon I took advantage of. I would highly recommended them. Sorry if I sound like a darn salesman. Oops
I have also heard very good things from Progressive RC. Those two would be my top pick. Either one will handle in warranty claims very professional.
I use a Xbox360 power supply. 12v 16 amp output. I had one that was just laying around taking up space.

leaftye
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moderator007 wrote:
When did you send the email? Yesterday was a holiday. :~ I had one problem with buddyrc, and they took care of it pronto. No questions ask. Really good customer service both in emails and over the phone. This was a $150 charger. Sent Me a replacement as soon as the bad one was dropped off at the post office, they had sent me a printable shipping paid label by email. The also had a 10% off coupon I took advantage of. I would highly recommended them. Sorry if I sound like a darn salesman. Oops I have also heard very good things from Progressive RC. Those two would be my top pick. Either one will handle in warranty claims very professional. I use a Xbox360 power supply. 12v 16 amp output. I had one that was just laying around taking up space.

It was yesterday.  I'll give him until some time tomorrow and I'll place an order.

My fallback is probably going to be the AC680 from Hobbypartz.  They're closer to me, so shipping should be quick, but I'll have to pay taxes.  It's not as nice as the iCharger, but it'd get me going.  Later on I'll build a serious system for balance charging and testing a bunch of cells at the same time.

The low mode should be lower.

leaftye
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No luck finding a used charger and I didn't hear back from Buddyrc after two business days, so I went with Hobbypartz.  I'll go with progressiverc when I go for a hobby charger. 

The low mode should be lower.

drdanke
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Good choice on the Thunder AC680, you will like it a lot. You shouldn’t feel like you don’t have a true “hobby” charger, because you do now! I personally have had multiple Thunder AC680, a Thunder T610, and a Thunder 620 charger (hooked up to a 12v server power supply), and they have always charged perfect. Thunder chargers are really nice, and you made a good choice. I have dealt with HobbyPartz for many many years and have always been happy with what I receive. I am a BIG fan of Thunder chargers.

Don’t let people fool you into thinking that iChargers are some mysterious perfect super chargers that have no rivals. If someone was giving away free chargers, and I had a choice between an iCharger 206B, and a Thunder 620 charger, I would choose the Thunder 620.

moderator007
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leaftye wrote:

No luck finding a used charger and I didn’t hear back from Buddyrc after two business days, so I went with Hobbypartz.  I’ll go with progressiverc when I go for a hobby charger. 


You should have heard something back within two todays. I cant say as I blame you one bit.
Looks like you have chosen a good charger. I have heard a several good things about them and you will not have to fool with a separate power supply. Let us know how it goes leaftye.
leaftye
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@drdanke

You're right. It's definitely a hobby charger. This is an easy way for me to get started and a stopgap. Eventually I'll get something serious that can handle high current discharge and balance charge more cells. I'll work on getting or building a big power supply, charging cradles, and whatever else I may need. I'm glad to hear you've had good luck with the AC680 and other Thunder chargers.  That's a huge relief because I'll be putting a couple hundred cycles on it within the next month.

The Thunder 620 looks like a very capable charger, but I'll be doing lots of logging.  Hopefully they'll update it soon because it's a great value.

I'm looking hard at that HP power supply.  That's almost certainly the way I'll go.

 

@moderator007

I like the xbox power supply idea too.  There's a guy selling one locally for $10.  I'll see if it's still available.  Having a backup isn't a bad idea, even if it means charging at a slower rate.

I'll definitely give some feedback.  I'll be working it hard, so you'll hear from me soon if mine is unreliable. 

The low mode should be lower.

moderator007
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This is how I have mine setup. I took it apart and rewired it with some 12 AWG silicone wire and soldered on female banana plugs. There quite compact for the amount of current they produce.
.

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pipifax
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Can you control the iCharger from the PC?

Or is the PC connection only for logging the incoming data?

 

Smile

garrybunk
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leaftye wrote:
I'll be putting a couple hundred cycles on it within the next month. . . I'll be working it hard, so you'll hear from me soon if mine is unreliable.

Hmm . . . care to share what you're up to?  Just curious.  Sounds like some big plans.

-Garry

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moderator007
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pipifax wrote:

Can you control the iCharger from the PC?

Or is the PC connection only for logging the incoming data?

 

Smile


I use logview, and as far as I know its just for data logging.
pipifax
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Thanks 007 that is good to know!

 

As i understand Logview is not even coded by the iCharger makers.

Ejected Filament
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leaftye wrote:

I’ll definitely give some feedback.  I’ll be working it hard, so you’ll hear from me soon if mine is unreliable. 


Given the comments placement in the post I assume you are referring to the PSU, seems likely given kids run the xboxes they power for hours on end, doing whatever it is MS thought needed 16a, they should handle load alright.
leaftye
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Charger hasn't shipped yet.  I was hoping it'd arrive quickly because hobbypartz is close, but that's not going to happen now.  At least I didn't waste my money on a more expensive shipping service.  I can't really complain though since they're website says products ship 1-2 business days after order.  This is day two, although I ordered near the end of the business day.  UPDATE: just got a shipping notification.

moderator007 wrote:
This is how I have mine setup. I took it apart and rewired it with some 12 AWG silicone wire and soldered on female banana plugs. There quite compact for the amount of current they produce.

That's a lot bigger than I thought it would be, but totally acceptable given how much power it puts out.  

I just ordered a server power supply.  I still want a xbox power supply since it'll be far smaller and quieter, probably more reliable, and am keeping an eye on them locally and on ebay.

 

garrybunk wrote:

leaftye wrote:
I'll be putting a couple hundred cycles on it within the next month. . . I'll be working it hard, so you'll hear from me soon if mine is unreliable.

Hmm . . . care to share what you're up to?  Just curious.  Sounds like some big plans.

-Garry

Soon my friend, soon.

 

Ejected Filament wrote:
leaftye wrote:

I'll definitely give some feedback.  I'll be working it hard, so you'll hear from me soon if mine is unreliable. 

Given the comments placement in the post I assume you are referring to the PSU, seems likely given kids run the xboxes they power for hours on end, doing whatever it is MS thought needed 16a, they should handle load alright.

Bad wording on my part.  I meant the Thunder charger.  I plan to keep a fan on both to keep them cooler and healthier though.  

The low mode should be lower.

drdanke
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Which server power supply did you decide on?

leaftye
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drdanke wrote:
Which server power supply did you decide on?

This one.

I have a few busted pc power supplies I may try to repair too.  Hopefully their only problem is blown capacitors.

The low mode should be lower.

drdanke
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Ahh, perfect. If you have any questions about modding the DPS-600PB, just ask me here, and I will be able to answer your questions, as I already know everything there is to know about these things. I have modded a half dozen of them, and use 3 of them with my current chargers. Below are some pictures of my Thunder T610 setup is what I use for charging my Li-ion batteries and my smaller lipo batteries, as it can charge up to 10 amps, and discharge up to 5 amps. I use my Thunder 620 for charging larger lipo batteries at up to 20 amps, and for discharging up to 20 amps. My Thunder 620 charger is hooked up to a serial pair of DPS-600PB power supplies, which puts out over 1000 watts and 24.9 volts.

Again, don’t be afraid to ask me any questions about these power supplies, as it might save you hours of sifting through the hundreds of pages of threads about these power supplies.

P.S. I built my own charging cradle that houses my 18650 batteries. I have tested it up to 10 amps of discharge with no heating of contacts. My previous charging cradle burned out at 5 amps, when the springs heated until they melted. I will also be building a higher amp cradle that uses copper for contacts, but for now, this one works fine and uses brass for contacts.

leaftye
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Thank you.  I'll really appreciate help with modding the server power supply.  

I tried looking at one of my pc power supplies earlier today, but its problem isn't with a capacitor.  Too bad because that'd be an easy fix for me.  I may troubleshoot and fix it anyway to gain the experience even though it'll probably be cheaper to buy a new one.  I'll take a look at a second one this weekend.  I think I have more power supplies around the house too.

One of our beloved forum vendors hooked me up with a base for building a charging cradle.  I hesitate to mention their name without their approval because I don't know that they want to get in the habit of doing this.  I only mention it as an example of why we should support vendors that go beyond the initial sale.  I'd like to go with copper all the way to the battery contacts, but I'll have to see how badly that affects the sliders.

I'll build a single cell charging cradle like yours too.  What about copper nails instead of screws?  Put the head towards the battery with a spring behind it for tension.  

I'm also thinking about using aluminum on the bottom and side to aid with heat dispersion.  Home Depot has aluminum L and U stock in the hardware section that should work well for this.  Heat shouldn't be a problem yet, but I could see it being a problem if I get a charger capable of 30A discharge.

I want to use cradles as much as possible.  The idea of cables that can come loose and short makes me too uncomfortable.

The low mode should be lower.

drdanke
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Don’t ever think about heat dissipation with any lithium batteries. What I mean is, you should only use heat as an indicator. If you are getting any heat either charging or discharging, then you are pushing the batteries too much and should reduce the current. Pushing lithium batteries hard enough to cause heating, is very dangerous. If you get any heat when discharging a Li-ion flashlight battery and are still within the rated discharge current, then it’s most likely the battery contacts that are causing resistance and are heating up and transfering that heat into the battery.

Yea, a charging cradle with all copper contacts would be a great thing. Even more important, is that I noticed is that a flat battery contact really sucks with cylindrical batteries. With a flat battery contact, only one TINY spot will hit the battery contact at one time, as neither surface will be perfectly mated to one another. A round ring contact (with spring pressure) is much better at getting a good contact. I like using the end of a copper ring terminal, soldered to whatever contact I am using.

leaftye
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Good point on heat.  

I was going to try wrapping copper braid around the contact points of my charger cradle?  Like a spring mod, but for a cradle.

The low mode should be lower.

drdanke
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Any mods are going to probably be better than nothing. I don’t know about copper braid itself being the actual contact though. It might be awesome, I am just not sure, as I have no experience. I know slot cars use copper braid as their electrical contact at pretty high current.

leaftye
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I never got the iCharger, but at least I'm learning how to use what I got.  The AC680 outputs data to a computer via a tab delimited text file.  This can be imported into Excel and graphed.  Excel makes getting the format for the time to work correctly, so I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it out, using formulas and macros, but I finally got it.

 

 

I'm not balance charging yet.  I have a 3x18650 cradle in the mail, which is about all this charger can handle.  That should save a LOT of time since right now I can barely handle 2 cells per day if I charge them full, do a discharge test, then charge them back to storage capacity.

 

I mentioned it in another thread, but I found some open source firmware that's supposed to add internal resistance capabilities to this type of charger, and also allows logging on the pc to be done with Logview instead of their unstable software.  I'm not sure the latter is so much better since Logview is in german, and while there's an english option, there's a lot of things that aren't translated.  

 

Then I need to see about getting those power supplies converted.

 

This graph is a little better, but setting up a third vertical axis in Excel is proving to be too difficult.

The low mode should be lower.

lagman
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I’m struggling to find a good 18650 holder, one with low contact resistance. The home made one from drdanke looks nice!
Also, hobbyking just released the Turnigy reaktor for 70 bucks, which is a copy of the icharger 206B. Has anyone tried it yet?

My English isn’t perfect but I’m trying to improve it. If you see something that doesn’t sound right or is just plain wrong, please feel free to point it out! Smile

leaftye
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I'm on the verge of buying that new charger.  I have way too many cells for the AC680 to handle.  At 1.3A charge, I can only charge about 6 cells a day.  I'd be charging for weeks this way.  Drdanke's cradle looks nice.  If you have an i4, you attach wire to the contact points.  I used solder wick.  Use that to attach power and balance leads with alligator, then you'll have a nice cradle for your hobby charger, but you can take off the wiring if you want to use the i4 normally.

The low mode should be lower.

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