Altoids tin charger mod - (Pic heavy)

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pilotdog68
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Altoids tin charger mod - (Pic heavy)

There have been quite a few mods using the TP4056 1amp chargers, but I finally got around to doing my own. Even though I was starting with a fairly simple charger board, I wanted to end up with something full of features. I ended up putting so much time into this little project, that I couldn’t help but share it with the brethren. I’m unabashedly proud of this one.

On the outside, there are a few cues that there aren’t any mints inside anymore.

Once you open the lid, you see the full extent of the carnage Silly

  1. KEWEISI USB meter – Measures Volts, Amps, mAh during charge, and time duration of charge. I don’t know how close the mah is, but the volts and amps were spot-on in my tests. The chargers go through this to get to the battery, so it should be much more accurate than if the meter was on the outside.
  2. Xtar MC1 – gutted to just be a battery holder. I wanted a slide holder so I can charge smaller batteries, and this is the only slide that would fit in the tin.
  3. Dual TP4056 chargers wired in parallel – Electrical tape is under the corners as insulation, but a small section in the middle of each board was left bare, then I used Arctic Alumina epoxy to hold them in place and transfer some heat to the tin.
  4. MicroUSB plug on the TP4056 exits tin here.
  5. Main power switch – I cut a trace on the charger pcb so that all power goes from the microusb connector through this switch before anything else. I salvaged it from a small desktop fan. It’s the smallest toggle I could find, and a perfect fit.
  6. Omten 1288 – This switch is in line between the two charger boards, so I can switch between ~1.8amps and ~0.9amps depending on if my usb adapter can handle 1.8amps or not, or if I’m charging a smaller battery (like 14500).
  7. Piranha RGB Leds – each TP4056 has it’s own led, blue while charging then changes to green when done.
  8. Reset switch – since the meter measures time and capacity, it has a small SMD switch to reset the data. It was inaccessible when the meter was mounted, so I moved the tiny button to the corner next to the main power switch.

Here is the basic power wiring for the two boards

And all of the wiring before I installed it in the tin.

And some more pictures of the outside. I look forward to your comments!

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

Edited by: pilotdog68 on 11/21/2015 - 09:41
MRsDNF
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Madness. Sheer madness. What an absolutely crazy charger packed to the hilt. Laughing

 

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brad
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Using an Altoid tin is very cool, for some reason I love seeing those used for things, but I have never seen one used for anything this elaborate.

Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.

pilotdog68
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Thanks guys. There was actually at least one other thing I wanted to add, but the extra wiring just wouldn’t fit

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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pilotdog68 wrote:
Thanks guys. There was actually at least one other thing I wanted to add, but the extra wiring just wouldn’t fit

you are a genius!!

great!

Did i say you are a genius? if not, you are. Silly Brilliant!

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Nice work Smile

When will HKJ be putting up the review?  Wink

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FmC wrote:

Nice work Smile

When will HKJ be putting up the review?  Wink


He already did! (sorta)

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/13913!

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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texaspyro
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I would be extremely leary of connecting two TP4056’s in parallel. They are not designed to share the load and could get into a fight over who’s the boss. I can imagine situations where they might not terminate charging properly, etc.

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texaspyro wrote:
I would be extremely leary of connecting two TP4056’s in parallel. They are not designed to share the load and could get into a fight over who’s the boss. I can imagine situations where they might not terminate charging properly, etc.

Believe me I was. I got the idea to do them in parallel from some random person’s post on CPF, so I decided to give it a try. (I’ve even seen a 1.5amp charger that has twp TP4056 on the same pcb.) I tested the setup on my bench for several cells before actually deciding to put it into the Altoids tin. As soon as the charging enters the constant voltage stage, the second one shuts off (“done”) and only one of the chargers finishes the charging. So one of the lights turns green well before the other. I also hand-picked these two chargers from a lot of 6 (as there is some variation among samples). On their own, the first one terminates at 4.20v every time. The second one terminates at 4.17v just as reliably. Together in this final configuration, I have now charged 8 cells and all have measured either 4.19v or 4.20v at completion. Obviously I’ll still keep an eye on it, but the meter makes it easy.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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KawiBoy1428 wrote:
Thought I seen this done before..
http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=79&pr...

One of my inspirations in fact! I actually was planning on using one of those chargers, but changed my mind after buying one from RMM

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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I had a similar thought but I don’t know if it’s really a concern. Both TP4056 boards push current into the battery at a max of 1A with the chips regulating the flow. Just as long as your USB charger can provide the full 2A I don’t think it’s an issue. From what I gather the chips step down the current as it approaches the cutoff as well. With both in parallel it simply means it’ll get to the cutoff voltage faster with higher current (still below 2A total). I was concerned that power would feed from one board to the other but then I thought the battery could just as well do that with a single board especially if you want to charge a fully charged battery. Then I thought what if both chargers terminate at slightly different voltages? Then I realized that probably didn’t matter either since it would simply mean one charger would stop before the other. I think putting in a USB meter alleviated a lot of concern with initial testing and configuration. It’s not necessary anymore but it’s nice to see the validation that it’s still working. Housing it in an Altoid’s metal container would just be extra cautious. Great work!

I bought 2 types of “TP4056” boards before realizing that there are fake 4056 chips out there. I’m ordering a 3rd batch off of Aliexpress now to see if there’s any difference. (Can’t beat ~$1 for 5 boards shipped). I built my own 10180 charger replacing the regulating resistor so it outputs ~50mA instead of 1A.

texaspyro wrote:
I would be extremely leary of connecting two TP4056’s in parallel. They are not designed to share the load and could get into a fight over who’s the boss. I can imagine situations where they might not terminate charging properly, etc.
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Nice. These mc1 are really cheap and slide very nice, I also have one bought for few dollars in one of the last sales. How does the stock circuit board look like?
And how did you open the mc1?
I haven’t seen the two parallel modules but I have thought about it too.
You could also use a potentiometer to adjust the current, just replace the stock current selecting resistor with a pot and you would be able to charge even small batteries…

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Werner wrote:
Nice. These mc1 are really cheap and slide very nice, I also have one bought for few dollars in one of the last sales. How does the stock circuit board look like?
And how did you open the mc1?
I haven’t seen the two parallel modules but I have thought about it too.
You could also use a potentiometer to adjust the current, just replace the stock current selecting resistor with a pot and you would be able to charge even small batteries…

Sorry I didn’t really look at the MC1 circuit before I stripped it all off and soldered my wires on. The MC1 is just glued around the seam; I used a razor and started at the microusb port and slowly worked my way around.

I thought about having a way to charge at a lower rate, but I really don’t use anything smaller than a 14500. I have single 10440 that I rarely use, so my VP2 will be fine for that. Mainly I wanted something faster than the VP2 for big 18650’s, and more portable. Then halfway through the project I decided to use the little omten to disable one of the chargers for 14500 duty. I’m starting to use my TG06 and L1A more than anything.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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This is what I want to see on BLF all the time, thanks for sharing, great build!!

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Sweet!!! That is very cool indeed.

I’m a junky, I mod lights so I can sell lights so I can buy more light to mod so I can sell lights to buy more lights to mod.

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Very nice work there.  Congrats

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Now… If just my phone hadn’t a 4.35V battery I would use it to charge the spare ones

Also, would this work with a variable resistor? Or has the resistance to be fixed at the datasheet’s values?

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Nice charger on Steroids :bigsmile: the TP4056 is my favourite small charger board for Li-Ion cells. The smallest one i built was this one: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42204

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

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Is 1A not too much for a 14500?
I use the mc1 stock with 500mA for my efest imr16340 and I thought it is to much?
That’s why I wanted to use a charger board with pot….?
I wasn’t sure how to select the current until I have seen your post and the idea with the build in USB power meter.

I just checked a fishermans friend tin box and it is a bit too small to fit well…

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Werner wrote:
Is 1A not too much for a 14500?
I use the mc1 stock with 500mA for my efest imr16340 and I thought it is to much?
That’s why I wanted to use a charger board with pot….?
I wasn’t sure how to select the current until I have seen your post and the idea with the build in USB power meter.

I just checked a fishermans friend tin box and it is a bit too small to fit well…


Well all of the TP4056 boards that I have topped out at 0.9amp instead of the full 1amp. The recommended charge rate for my 14500’s is 0.8amp, so it’s a little high still. I’ll probably lose some charge cycles I guess. Some 14500’s even state they can take a full 1amp.

Those efest 16340’s have a recommended rate of 0.5amp, so you’re fine with the MC1 I think. I could always have swapped the resistor on one of my boards to tune it down a tiny bit, but I’m not too worried about 0.1amp.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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I just opened mine, I just slipped one or two times and after cutting half the seam it popped and I could crack the rest open very easyly.
I will mod my charger just with a pot. It seems to use two 4057 giving 250mA each in stock so it could also be modded to 1A just by swapping two resistors.

I have plenty of time as I usually Play around some hours before sleeping and so I can recharge my edc 18350 a couple of hours with no problem with 0.5C.

I usually charge my 18650 with less than 1A and my smaller batteries with 300mA.

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Could one of the 4057's be removed to halve the charge current to 250 mA?

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

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Yes. Or just one of the resistors. I will make a mc1 mod thread in a few minutes….

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Thanks. Smile

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

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Nice PD68!

pilotdog68 wrote:
Thanks guys. There was actually at least one other thing I wanted to add, but the extra wiring just wouldn’t fit

What did you want to add? If you mentioned it, I missed it somehow.

Also, the KEWEISI USB meter, how low can the voltage go and have it still work, give accurate readings?

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Halo… wrote:
Nice PD68!
pilotdog68 wrote:
Thanks guys. There was actually at least one other thing I wanted to add, but the extra wiring just wouldn’t fit

What did you want to add? If you mentioned it, I missed it somehow.

Also, the KEWEISI USB meter, how low can the voltage go and have it still work, give accurate readings?


One thing I thought about adding was a powerbank controller and full USB out, but I would’ve had to use a bigger tin. The other thing was a second omten switch just before the MC1. That way I could store a cell in the holder with it completely locked out for travel. You can actually see the white omten in the wiring picture, but I had to take it out. It wasn’t secure and the wire didn’t fold correctly with the hinge. Instead I just store a small piece of un-shrunk shrink tubing that I can slip over the slider to isolate it from the battery if I ever want to travel with “one in the chamber”.

The way I tested the meter was to check a cell with my DMM then put it in the charger to see what it read. I also poked the ‘out’ pads of the chargers with my DMM while it was running. Both showed it was accurate. Because of those methods, I never tested very low of voltages. It is rated down to 3v though.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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Applauds pilotdog68 , i love those DIY customs stuff of yours indeed

O.T

May i give you an idea for your next project? An Iphone 6S DIY charger 500mA: this way youll prolly get 1-10 mill in a day or two cause there are too many Apple fans PLUS you can immeadiately start at least 20 court cases vs all charger producers for stealing an Apple innovation: as we all know its the Apple who indented the first charger 350 years ago Wink