This is probably the best charger on the market because of how configurable it is and how you can have its four slots doing different jobs simultaneously. However, unless you already know a lot about batteries, it can be hard to know if your programs make sense even after reading the official manual.
This is the guide I wish existed when I got my charger.
Find the datasheet for your cell. Duplicate a worksheet of the same battery type (e.g. a LiIon program sheet) and change the inputs to match you cell specs. At minimum, you need to put in the cell capacity.
I copied and pasted many notes from the official manual. You can hover over relevant spreadsheet cells to view them. For example, all of the program parameters have notes you can view.
It also has a Bluetooth phone app. I store maybe 10 of the programs that I use regularly on the phone. Then it is easy to find and select the one that I need. But I think you can also store something like 20 programs on the charger then select them from there.
Yes, there is a learning curve, but it is a great charger. Mine is something over 10 years old. Other than fixing the springs for each slot (simple fix), it has been perfect with almost daily use.
I bought one of the dual fan units a while back, but it is still in the box. The last firmware is a few years old now. There is a huge thread on CPF with bugs, but SkyRC worked with users and fixed pretty much all of them. I flashed it on my old one, and it works fine.
Thank you @SYZYGY
Been using this charger for the past 5+ years.
Bought another SKYRC NC2200 for Nimh but still prefer the MC3000 to charge my Eneloops and Li-ions.
Will go through the excel sheet on my next charging cycle.
I need a new charger and im considering this but I’m also thinking, cant I buy a programmable hobby charger for this price? It wouldn’t be able to do a couple things this can do like NiMH charging but it can do a whole ton of things the sky RC can’t do. Cell balancing for example.
Haven’t decided yet. Any suggestions? Not sure about a lot of the options at this price range. But I’d pay a little more cuz I think I could use it for more than just lithium ion stuff.
I don’t need cell balancing. But I don’t need several of the things the Skyrc has either. It’d just be a nice thing to have. I think a hobby charger would have a higher nice to have ratio. I think I’d use it for other things.
no, i don’t know anything about hobby chargers. i was just curious.
so far, i haven’t found another charger that has as many features that are useful to me. regardless of price.
it’s “fun” to be able to tinker with all of the features, but tbh that’s as much as a burden as it is useful. which is why i made this program guide. in the end, i like having the flexibility, but i also acknowledge that it’s not really necessary for me personally (or for most people i’d think). like, do you really need to be able to set termination voltage to a centivolt?
storage mode and charge mode simultaneously (in different slots, ofc)… my previous charger could do both but not at the same time. this really matters because i take a dead cell out of a flashlight and charge it to 50%, and then i take another half-full (stored) battery and charge it to 100% to put back in the light. doing both at once is a time saver. is there another one that can do it? perhaps, but i’m guessing there isn’t one that can also do NiMH on top of that but idk. i use NiMH batteries in video game controllers. these kind of features are legit useful.
being able to calibrate the voltage and current is also sweet though probably not that useful, especially considering how in-spec mine was. but yeah, you bet your ass i calibrated mine anyways.
Right, just more stuff to potentially go wrong. I never use NiMH anymore. Now there’s not that much I really need that many features for. I just want something that charges reliably, controllably, and displays voltage and current close enough.
Everything else I could take or leave. Capacity testing, discharge, 3a charging, internal resistance etc I don’t care. Don’t need it. Can test all that another way. Just something else to break. But it seems like the best chargers all have that stuff anyways and I do like the skyrc.
I’m just thinking, if all I want is the most reliable and controllable charging possible, maybe I should just put the money into charging, exclusively. A bench power supply looks like its built to last longer. And I could replace or modify some components if they start to fail, at least the simple stuff like the battery holder setup or a cooling fan.
I don’t need to be able to adjust mV but I’d like it lol. +/-50mV is good. And some control over current up to 1, maybe 1.5a would be fine. Would be nice to set 4.1V sometimes. Even though I’m sure the high temp high discharge that flashlights run at makes charging’s effect on cycle life pretty much irrelevant in comparison, I still want it.
Tho I hit the onboard charging lottery with a convoy H3 I just got, 4.200V charge termination on the dot so far. Won’t last I’m sure but I still think it’s cool. Btw ive never heard someone say centi volts before lol is that a thing? Must be right? Strange.
well, the volt belongs to the SI, and centi is a SI prefix, so centivolt (cV) is perfectly valid. just like centimeter (cm).
it’s less commonly said probably because centi itself is a bit less common as it’s not a power of three. in engineering practices, powers of three seem to be favored. hence you hear a lot of nano, micro, milli, (unity), kilo, mega, giga. you express as those and shift the decimal place accordingly. not as much of the ones like centi, deci, or whatever else.
if you didn’t study the prefixes in school, memorize them all. they’re fun.
I have a few “hobby chargers”. They all will charge several chemistries, including NiMH, NiCD, Lead Acid, LifePO, etc.
They also can measure capacity and can give IR (sort of) readings. Just about any charger you get that is decent these days will have functionality that you don’t need to just to get the few things you do need. The nature of marketing and cramming every possible thing into a single unit.
I got the hobby chargers to be able to charge up to 6 LIIon cells at a time. Kept upgrading to be able to do more at a time… (one will do 10S) ,
But I had to build a fixture and wire up the balance charging plug properly. You will also need a good bench supply to power the charger. Which will cost you darn near as much as the MC3000 for a good one with enough power.
Thing is, I seldom use them. Only very occasionally for things like 3 or 4 cell NiMH packs. Or gently charging 6 volt lead acid lantern batteries.
I use the SkyRC darn near everyday. Much easier to do one to four cells quickly without messing with my fixture and messing with balance wires. BTW You WILL need to use balance charging for multiple cells. Otherwise you WILL overcharge and maybe damage your cells.
Yes, hobby chargers are great for some things. Essential even for charging LiION (which already come with the balance charging harness) or NiMH packs. But for single cells, you are wasting your money.
Ya I guess…it’s not just like centimeter though. Centimeter is an SI base unit. Volts is not an SI base unit, it’s a derived SI unit, like metres per second. It’s not It’s own thing, so that’s not a great analogy. A better one would be saying it’s like Newton metres. We don’t say centi-newton metres.
But we do use SI prefixes it as if it were a base unit. Just cuz it’s easy. So it’s valid I guess. But nobody uses centivolts in practice. Check it out, type out “centivolt” right here on this forum and it gets a squiggly red underline. It thinks you made a typo lol. It’s not even a word in the English language lol. For real. Try and find it in a dictionary. Millivolts is in there. Centimeters is in there. Centivolts is not. It’s not a word in the English language according to Webster’s. But it is technically valid. So why does nobody use it?
I’ve got some theories. So joule is the SI base unit of energy and a coulomb is the SI base unit of electric charge and 1J/C=V. That’d be a confusing equation if you were using centi. 1cJ/cC=cV? Too many c’s lol. This is my “two many c’s” theory lol.
See(pun intended), “c” is standardized in SI to represent centi, that’s not the case in electrical engineering notation, c is not universally standard. It represents too many things. Coulomb, capacitance, current, charge, conductance, constant etc based on context. Too many c’s. And too many cVolts even! Capacitance-voltage, control-voltage, constant voltage.
Too many sources of confusion. Got too many c’s as is. Plus not many reasons to use it. It’d be such a niche application in such a narrow range. Who would you use it? Why? It makes more sense to just jump from volts to mVs.
Tool packs already have a battery management system (BMS) built in. So the balance charging function of a hobby charger is not required. In fact, I THINK that the BMS in the pack and charger interact, so I am not sure that the hobby charger would work at all. The packs I am talking about are for things like drones or RC planes and cars. Or of course ones that you might build yourself.
as someone who has done a pretty solid amount of university engineering studies (and is rather pedantic), i disagree with almost everything in your post. almost can’t tell if you’re trolling me.
actually, the meter (not centimeter) is the SI base unit for length. base unit is a rather specific thing, and if you don’t think prefix is contained therein, consider that the base unit for mass is the kilogram (and not the gram!).
moreover, the type of unit (base vs derived) has absolutely no bearing on the applicability of prefixes. the real reason cV is not as common is explained in my previous post – powers of multiples of 3 are highly favored in engineering disciplines (including electrical engineering). did you miss what i said?
cV it is still used though. i very appropriately used it because it is the single word for 0.01V (the voltage resolution MC3000 presents in its UI). i have also seen it in writing and heard people say it before
also, a dictionary is not an authority on the SI and cannot be used to validate a unit. dictionaries will not contain every permutation of a word, especially for technical or very domain specific subjects. the authority on the SI is General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM).
actually, 1 cJ / 1 cC = 1 V, not 1 cV.
also, it’s def not too many cs. worked problems in math and science can be super long (many pages) and can include a lot of tedious dimensional analysis. that’s par for the course.
the centi (c) prefix is indeed standardized by the SI, though perhaps not as universally as i’d like considering we don’t fully use the metric system in the US.
there is zero confusion, however. SI units and prefixes are case-sensitive. c is the prefix symbol for centi, and C is the unit symbol for coulomb.
though you are right that the symbol for the concept (not unit!) of capacitance is commonly C, care is generally taken by good authors to avoid such ambiguity in writing. for example, a conceptual formula will generally consist of only conceptual symbols (e.g. using L for length).
your theory does not explain why decivolt (dV) and decavolt (daV) are also uncommon. the real reason is the one i have given.
Oh I know, I meant like building/rebuilding packs. They gotta be at least kinda balanced first.
There’s a lot of variation between brands and battery lines as far as the BMS’s go. Some put most of it in the battery and not much in the tool or charger. Most are the other way around. They arent designed to do that much balancing and some chargers will just refuse a battery thats not mostly balanced. They all interact with each other somewhat. Except for some amazon brands.
I was just going back to the post about buying a hobby charger instead of a dedicated cylindrical cell charger. I have three (maybe 4) hobby chargers. I have used one of them, maybe, 4 times in the last year. I use my MC3000 just about daily…multiple times per day.
As this started as a topic dealing with the MC3000, my thought is that, for its intended purpose, it is far more valuable than a hobby charger. AND, for that purpose, it is far more flexible than a hobby charger.
In fact you can balance cells , just charge them. Each will charge according to its current condition. Then you can sort them by capacity, resting voltage, IR or whatever. A balancing charger will distribute the charge so that all cells finish . You have no clue what they are doing when it finishes.
yeah… the fact that no one has commented on my spreadsheet tells me that it’s either flawless or no one cares (more likely, lol).
MC3000 is not perfect, but after looking a little at hobby chargers, there is no way i would want one of those instead of this. besides, i only use single cell devices anyways.
as you can see here, i was looking for a charger a couple years ago:
no one replied, and i also never found something that looked good, so i finally broke down and bought a MC3000. i love it, but i’d love a cheaper charger that can do the above things to leave at my summer place.