Test/Review of Charger Opus BT-C3100 software V2 update

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HKJ
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Test/Review of Charger Opus BT-C3100 software V2 update
Charger Opus BT-C3100 software V2

DSC_4722

After my first review of this charger the software in this charger has been updated. This is a partial review of the updated charger, please read the original review first.
In this review I will focus on the problems I found in the first review and just do a fast general test.

This software will show "2.0" on the display for about 1 second when power is connected.

DSC_5774 DSC_5775
DSC_5777

This time I got the charger in a retail box, but the box is without any brand name.

DSC_5779

The box contained the charger, a manual and a US power supply.


The charger looks exactly the same, and works the same, with one exception. The maximum NiMH discharge current is reduced to 700mA, instead of 1000mA. Probably because it can not discharge NiMH with 1000mA anyway.



Measurements

In these test I have only checked charge/discharge looking for differences compared to the frist version, not for a total test of the charger.

LiIon batteries

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%201A%20(PA18650-31)%20%231
Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%201A%20(PA18650-31)%20%232

First an ordinary charge on channel #1 and #2, they look fine.

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%202A%20(PA18650-34)%20%231

Provoking the charger with a older cell (i.e. higher Ri) and maximum charger current, does still look acceptable.

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%201A%20(AW16340-IMR)%20%231

My old IMR cell is more of a problem, the charger voltage is temporary way to high, but get adjusted down again and there is no oscillations any more. This is a significant improvement compare to the first version.

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%201A%20(4xPA18650-31)

With four batteries and 1A charge current, the charger has a problem. The display shows 1000mA charge current, but the actual currect is considerable lower.
The charging takes longer, but the batteries are charged fine.
The reason for the wrong capacity reading on the charger is because it does not detect the reduced charge current, but assumes 1000mA charge current.

DSC_5784 DSC_5786

The most significant problem is the charge capacity display, it shows to high mAh. Doing a discharge shows a much more correct value.
This did also happen on the first charger, but there it was only a little bit to high. I do not believe that the software update has anything to do with this increased error, it is more likely it is related to how the power supply behaves when overloaded.
For practical usage, this is not really a big deal. If you want to know how much capacity is left in / used from you batteries, either discharge them or charge one at a time (Both will give correct value).
Charging four batteries at a time will charge the batteries, but at a lower current and with the power supply running hotter than normal.

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%201A%2012V%20(4xPA18650-31)

Using an external power supply with lots of amps, the charger does draw a significant current in the peaks, more about that below.

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%201A%2012V%20(4xPA18650-31)a

With enough current aviable, the charge can maintain 1A charge current .

DSC_5788

And the display shows a much more realistic charge capacity.

1

This time I connected the scope to the supplied power supply, to see what is going on. As can be seen the charger draws about 10A and the power supply voltage collapses to about 6 volt, reducing the current to about 6.5A (The power supply is rated for 3A).
This type of load will usual increase the power lost in the power supply, this means the power supply will run hotter and hotter means shorter lifetime for the power supply. This is not really a big problem, the power supply is a standard 12V supply and it is very easy to get a replacement if it wears out.

2

Reducing the charge current does not really help, the puls is shorter, but the same thing happens.

3

Less batteries does help.

6

Charging with 2A on a single channel gives no problems with the power.

Charge12V%201A%20current%20peak%20Vbat=3.4V

Here I am using my own power supply with enough current. The charger wants about 10A for 0.01 second 20 times each second. This is, of course, a bad design in the charger, a good design would have smoothed the current draw.

4x1A%20supp%20PS

Looking directly at the charge current pulse with 4 batteries and supplied power supply, it is obvious that something is wrong. The pulse is supposed to be a square pulse, it is not supposed to sag in the middle.
Note: When doing these measurements I have a fairly large resistance (0.1ohm) in series with the battery, reducing the current somewhat.

2x1A%20supp%20PS

Reducing the number of batteries to 2, fixes the problem.

4x1A%20ext%20PS

Or using my high current power supply.



NiMH batteries

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%201A%20(4xeneloop)

Surprisingly the NiMH algorithm has also been changed, no more tapering of the current when the battery is nearly full, now it uses a very obvious -dv/dt algorithm (It was also supposed to do that before, but it was not as obvious). It does still use a trickle charger when finished with the regular charging.

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%201A%20(eneloopXX)%20%231

No problem with the eneloop XX battery.

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%200.5A%20(eneloopAAA)%20%231

I wonder why the charger needs more than 30 minute to detect the -dv/dt signal. With the other batteries it is also a bit slow at detecting a full battery.

Opus%20BT-C3100%20charge%20full%200.5A%20(eneloop)%20%231

It does also take significant time to detect a full battery.

Opus%20BT-C3100%20discharge%200.7A%20(4xeneloop)

Discharge works fine.
Notice: I started this just after a charge, before the batteries had cooled completely.



QUICK TEST, i.e. measuring internal resistance

Since I last tested the charger I have made a test box with a 10mOhm resistance taps. This makes it possible to do multiple ohm measurements without removing the battery and with only a small variation in contact resistance.
The first "Extra R" column is the resistance added from my box, the second "Extra R" is the average extra value measured by the charger.
The "Avg" column is the average of the 5 ohm measurement and the "Diff" is the difference between highest and lowest value".

Ohm

LiIon gives a fairly constant value and the two "ExtraR" columns are fairly close in values.
With NiMH it does not look nearly as good.



Testing with 2500 volt succeeded, but 5000 volt between mains and low volt side on the power supply failed. This means this power supply is only safe for 110VAC, not for 230VAC (This is the US supply, the EU supply passed the 5000V test in the first review).



Conclusion

The charger has been improved with the updated software, but many of the problematic areas are stil present:

The user interface is fairly easy to use, but it may take a some time to learn what the different modes does.
The high current peak from the power supply is not good for the power supply and makes the charger show wrong readings.
Generally the peak charge and discharge current for LiIon are a bit high, especially on the outer slots.
The resistance measurement has limited use, not only due to contact resistance, with NiMH the precision is generally low.
I would have preferred constant current, instead of the pulsing.
The NiMH termination has changed, but it is a bit slow to terminate now (It does definitely fill the cells).


LiIon charging now works on all slots. The NiMH charging is probably not as good as in the first version, because the -dv/dt is rather slow to terminate
The analyzing function makes the charger very useful for anybody that wants to know something about the state of their LiIon cell.

The charger is not perfect, far from it, but as long as the problematic areas are know, the charger is a very useful tool.



Notes


The charger was supplied by GearBest for review.

Here is an explanation on how I did the above charge curves: How do I test a charger

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

Edited by: sb56637 on 06/25/2015 - 14:21
MountainKing
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Thanks man! First Silly So great! Reading it now!

Never ever forget and forgive. Niwal**er new kid on the block trying to act tough.
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24847
Do not support this brand.

DINODIRECTSCAM COMPANY. DO NOT BUY
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/11324?page=2#comment-254983

koyotee
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I hoped for better news, but thanks anyway Smile

Finaly, proud owner of a Powerex Maha mh c-9000 for my Eneloops:)

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Thanks for the update, HKJ. Would you still say this is a good buy, for $40?

I’ve already bought mine, so will be finding a better power supply to get rid of some of the issues you noted.

HKJ
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sirpaul wrote:
Thanks for the update, HKJ. Would you still say this is a good buy, for $40? I've already bought mine, so will be finding a better power supply to get rid of some of the issues you noted.

Yes, it is much easier to use than a four channel hobby charger and much more compact (The hobby charger is a better analyzer & charger).

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

jmpaul320
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My power supply broke after one use. I now see why. I’m using a higher power PSU now with no issues.

Thank you for the review Smile

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

pipifax
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HKJ wrote:

Helo. Where can i buy the white battery holder?

Thanks for the review, very good charger.

sirpaul
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pipifax wrote:

HKJ wrote:

Helo. Where can i buy the white battery holder?

Thanks for the review, very good charger.

Fasttech has a bunch, just remember to check length, as some protected batteries don’t fit in certain holders.
http://www.fasttech.com/search?18650%20holder

lagman
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Thank you HKJ, your reviews are awesome.
One question: Could it be possible to add a big input electrolytic capacitor to reduce that current spike? If not how should they modify the design to remove that spike?
Thanks.

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

pipifax
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I have the FT holders. They are small, cheap and poor.

 

I want white.

lagman
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Plus FastTech holders are known to cause shorts with unprotected cells because the metallic part goes under the heatshrink on the positive side.
***
I’m surprised to see that HKJ has a hobbyking power supply for his hobby charger. I would have immagined that he would use a more robust lab PSU or even a PC power supply as I’m sure he has many!

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

HKJ
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pipifax wrote:
Helo. Where can i buy the white battery holder?

It is not produced any more.

lagman wrote:
One question: Could it be possible to add a big input electrolytic capacitor to reduce that current spike?

Yes, it would have to be about 100000uF.

lagman wrote:
If not how should they modify the design to remove that spike? Thanks.

Keep the charge current pulses as low as possible and use a decent buck regulator on the input. Using a buck regulator on the input will reduce the peak input current draw to about half the peak charge current. I.e. 4x3A charger current is 12A and using half that from DC input would only be 6A from the 12 volt supply (Assuming the internal working voltage is 5 to 6 volt).

Stepping the charge pulses down to 2A would be even better and then using an extra transistor to parallel two charge circuits for high current charge.

 

My favourite would be real current regulation without pulsing, but it requires a more complex circuit.

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

HKJ
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lagman wrote:
I'm surprised to see that HKJ has a hobbyking power supply for his hobby charger. I would have immagined that he would use a more robust lab PSU or even a PC power supply as I'm sure he has many!

Yes, I do have many lab power supplies, but they are MUCH larger. I do not really uses PC power supplies, except in PC's. I prefer that a power supply is in a closed box.

With that small supply I can take the charger and power supply out when I need them. This is not very often, usual my two iChargers are enough.

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

lagman
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HKJ wrote:
Yes, it would have to be about 100000uF.

Ahahah ok.

***

HKJ wrote:
Keep the charge current pulses as low as possible and use a decent buck regulator on the input.

Do you imply that this charger does not use a buck regulator? I doubt the fact that it’s using a linear regulator! Or is it?

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

HKJ
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lagman wrote:
Do you imply that this charger does not use a buck regulator? I doubt the fact that it's using a linear regulator! Or is it?

The charger does have an inductor for each slot and I assume it does some sort of buck regulation, but it is not doing a good job.

One detail is that the input current pulse is about 10ms, but the charger pulse is closer to 20ms, i.e. the charger has to use double input current.

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

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Thanks for the great review HKJ.

Is the EU plug of higher quality or i still need to replace it in order to achieve best results? thanks.

Fenix TK61 MOD> resistor, transistors, copper heatsink, Artic Cooling MX4, dedome, 3A > 5.7A ~ 1700 lumens > (600.000cd)

HKJ
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dazed1 wrote:
Is the EU plug of higher quality or i still need to replace it in order to achieve best results? thanks.

As you can see in my first review the EU supply did also have problems, but I did not analyze it as careful as I have done this time.

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

lagman
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I understand. This is indeed a very bad design. If they bothered to include an inductor then it should not be that hard to make a nicer solution. Or even simpler they could change the phase of pulsing by 90° for each slot to avoid pulling all the current at the same time.
If I understand correctly, the charger sends a PWM current with 3A amplitude and changes the duty cycle according to the desired charge current. Isn’t that bad for a small AAA cell? 3A is way beyond a safe charging current.

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

HKJ
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lagman wrote:
I understand. This is indeed a very bad design. If they bothered to include an inductor then it should not be that hard to make a nicer solution. Or even simpler they could change the phase of pulsing by 90° for each slot to avoid pulling all the current at the same time.

Yes, using four phases would be a good solution, but I doubt the hardware supports it.

lagman wrote:
If I understand correctly, the charger sends a PWM current with 3A amplitude and changes the duty cycle according to the desired charge current. Isn't that bad for a small AAA cell? 3A is way beyond a safe charging current.

Due to the pulsing speed it will average out, but generate more heat than a constant current. Double current generates four times the heat and only having it on half the time will only reduce the heat to half.

I do wonder how much peak current the small cells can take, but all analyzing charger for NiMH batteries works this way.

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

lagman
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Interesting. Thanks.

***
You have two icharger 208B? Are you a RC hobbyist? I would like to hear more about your setup. You should do some reviews about these hobby chargers, batteries, etc.

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

HKJ
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lagman wrote:
You have two icharger 208B? Are you a RC hobbyist?

Yes and no. I bought the iChargers after my first battery test and was planning to use them for the next one. But a couple of trial runs showed me that they where not suitable for it.

Instead I upgraded to electronic load and lab power supply, both controlled from a computer.

lagman wrote:
I would like to hear more about your setup.

I do have a lot of equipment: Power supplies, electronic loads, DMM's, oscilloscopes, waveform generator, component testers/analyzers, etc.. A lot of it can be computer controlled.

At the bottom of most of my reviews, you can find a link showing what equipment I uses for that test. The listed equipment is not always 100% correct and often substitute with another unit that has the same function.

lagman wrote:
You should do some reviews about these hobby chargers, batteries, etc.

Maybe one day, hobby charger do take a long time to analyze and test.

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

lagman
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I did read your page about your equipments but I’m always keen to hear more about that. Smile
So you are not using your ichargers any more? I’m thinking about buying the turnigy reaktor from hobbyking which is apparently a clone of the icharger 206B. For 65USD it seems to be a really good deal.
I already have a 50W hobby charger (accucel 6) but it’s just not powerful enough. Plus I damaged it by touching the red Banana plug with a chassis screw, effectively shorting the big Lipo that was charging through the charger’s ground plane. Big sparks!
Your reviews are priceless for me. Please keep them coming! BTW, do you have a youtube channel? I’m sure you would make great videos!

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

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HKJ wrote:
Yes and no. I bought the iChargers after my first battery test and was planning to use them for the next one. But a couple of trial runs showed me that they where not suitable for it.

iChargers are not suitable for battery tests? Are they maybe too inaccurate equipment? Smile

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So about 350 people jumped the boat too early?...I'm sure less people would have bought this if they would have read this review.

Nonetheless, this is a unique charger and does a good job in certain ways! I kinda like the charger. 

Interested to see people's comment to justify there purchase now.. because these were some of the issues people complained about with the first version, and held off buying. But still bought the 2nd version without waiting for the review.

I agree with some people that it's a nice charger as long as  you don't try to use it in its max setting with li ions. I don't mind using this charger, even version 1. Within its limits.

HKJ
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lagman wrote:
I did read your page about your equipments but I'm always keen to hear more about that. Smile

There is at least 3 pages.

lagman wrote:
So you are not using your ichargers any more?

I am using them all the time to discharge batteries for my charger tests. For charging I usual uses Xtar chargers today.

lagman wrote:
BTW, do you have a youtube channel? I'm sure you would make great videos!

No, I do not speak a very good English.

pipifax wrote:
iChargers are not suitable for battery tests? Are they maybe too inaccurate equipment? :)

Yes and not 4 terminal either.

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

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Wasn’t the main issue on v1 the pulsing on the battery voltage and this causing a too early chargingstop, resulting in not fully charged batteries.

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So I took from this that you can sort the main problems out by getting a better power supply, correct? In that case, what specs should they be?

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aoeu wrote:
So I took from this that you can sort the main problems out by getting a better power supply, correct? In that case, what specs should they be?

IMHO I don’t think so, as it still leaves the high pulsing current.
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Roberta 0:)

Greetings from The Land Downunder

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Dammit I bought this less than 24 hours ago too aaarrrggghhhh |(

I’m after a very good charger not one with problems. As a laymen I just want to know that it doesn’t have problems working within its specifications. Shouldn’t have to run it at lower current just to get the proper charge!

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ChibiM wrote:

So about 350 people jumped the boat too early?...I'm sure less people would have bought this if they would have read this review.

Wasn't the group buy supposed to wait for HKJ's updated review?  I said I was going to wait for a positive update from HKJ before buying, and risked missing the group buy pricing, and I'm very glad I had the patience to stick to that.  

 

@HKJ, thank you for saving me some money.  That money is looking like it'll go towards another hobby charger.

The low mode should be lower.

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leaftye wrote:

ChibiM wrote:

So about 350 people jumped the boat too early?...I'm sure less people would have bought this if they would have read this review.

Wasn't the group buy supposed to wait for HKJ's updated review?  I said I was going to wait for a positive update from HKJ before buying, and risked missing the group buy pricing, and I'm very glad I had the patience to stick to that.  

 

@HKJ, thank you for saving me some money.  That money is looking like it'll go towards another hobby charger.

I thought I read in the giant group buy thread something along the lines of 'everything wrong with v1 is fixed in v2)', but I may be mistaken. 

Anyway, I too am glad I waited. $40 is a lot to spend on something with this many issues.

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