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Unread 11-13-2018, 02:34 PM
cad321 cad321 is offline
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Potential Battery Charger(s)?

I've found this battery charger for about $20 USD at my local Costco and was wondering what other people thought of it with regards to charging our FRC batteries. My main question for people is, will it work? Is there some thing about this charger in particular you can see that would be "bad" for use with a typical FRC battery?

What stood out to me was the 4A rating and low cost. We're in need of new battery chargers, and while I'd love to pick up a few of these from andymark, it's just not in the budget.
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Unread 11-13-2018, 02:41 PM
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Re: Potential Battery Charger(s)?

Keep in mind

Quote:
R40. Any battery charger used to charge a ROBOT battery must have the corresponding Anderson SB
connector installed.
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Unread 11-13-2018, 02:43 PM
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Re: Potential Battery Charger(s)?

While that charger would work, it's really not worth it. This charger will do so 50% faster, charges 3 batteries instead of one, and already has the battery terminal end on it. Not quite sure what the duty-cycle of the charger you linked is, but I know the one I linked will survive for many years of constant use.

In combination with what Fletcher said, I suspect it'd just be easier to get a 3-gang charger from AndyMark, especially with respect to effort / cost over time.

EDIT: Somehow I missed your last sentence. Yeah, if you terminate SB50s onto the ends, it should work just fine.
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Last edited by tjf : 11-13-2018 at 02:47 PM. Reason: For being dumb and missing part of the OP.
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Unread 11-13-2018, 02:45 PM
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Re: Potential Battery Charger(s)?

You'd have to get an Anderson connector for each one, cut off the alligator clips, and attach the connector on there - not a huge deal, but an increase in cost/effort to consider.

Otherwise, they seem perfectly fine. The 4A limit would mean they charge slower than the 6A the linked AndyMark charger provides - but if you have enough batteries, space, and chargers (at $20 each, you could get 10 chargers for the 3 ports the AndyMark one has!), that wouldn't be a problem.
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Unread 11-13-2018, 03:56 PM
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Re: Potential Battery Charger(s)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
The 4A limit would mean they charge slower... but if you have enough batteries, space, and chargers, that wouldn't be a problem.
I don't think 4A max is a problem. Locally, most teams run 6-10 batteries and avoid ever charging above 1A for battery longevity.
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Unread 11-13-2018, 04:08 PM
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Re: Potential Battery Charger(s)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s-neff View Post
I don't think 4A max is a problem. Locally, most teams run 6-10 batteries and avoid ever charging above 1A for battery longevity.
Which is no guarantee his team is the same. A budget conscious team may not have as many viable batteries at an event.
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Unread 11-13-2018, 06:00 PM
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Re: Potential Battery Charger(s)?

Thanks for the supplies so far guys. Yes I know we would need to crimp on our own SB50's but we have enough rookies and connectors lying about that it shouldn't be an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
Which is no guarantee his team is the same. A budget conscious team may not have as many viable batteries at an event.
This is very true for us. While we have a fair amount of batteries (thinking 10-12), those date as far back as 2012. Only last year were we able to get ourselves a couple new ones. So as far as I am concerned, we only have 3-4 viable batteries at the moment.
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Unread 11-13-2018, 06:28 PM
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Re: Potential Battery Charger(s)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cad321 View Post
Thanks for the supplies so far guys. Yes I know we would need to crimp on our own SB50's but we have enough rookies and connectors lying about that it shouldn't be an issue.

This is very true for us. While we have a fair amount of batteries (thinking 10-12), those date as far back as 2012. Only last year were we able to get ourselves a couple new ones. So as far as I am concerned, we only have 3-4 viable batteries at the moment.
If you have only 3-4 viable batteries and get a few more new ones for the 2019 competition season, you might want chargers that are capable of charging at the 6 A limit. Otherwise, the batteries might not get recharged enough between matches at your competitions. This is assuming the 2019 rules are the same as previous years.
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Unread 11-14-2018, 01:02 PM
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Re: Potential Battery Charger(s)?

Brian,
I would suggest you buy one or two for spares and demos since they are portable and small. It will take a bit longer to charge batteries but that really depends on how far you had discharged them.

Battery life will not be extended by charging at 1 amp. The discharge rate for our use is what shortens battery life. Charging when the battery first comes off the robot also affects charging as the internal temperature of the battery tends to confuse smart chargers.

The multi chargers most teams use, while stating that max current is 6 amps, will likely fall below that current depending on the software for the charger. We purchased an eight port device last year from McMaster when we lost our 6 port device. I really like this charger as it has meters on the front panel to show terminal voltage and charge percentage. It auto senses battery type so it can be used for gel cell and wet cell lead acid batteries without switching modes.

It is a 7318K31 for $594.67
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Last edited by Al Skierkiewicz : 11-15-2018 at 05:09 PM.
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Unread 11-14-2018, 01:11 PM
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Re: Potential Battery Charger(s)?

I'd say that looks like a great option and I wish they had those at that price at the Costco's in my area because I'd pick up a couple for my team.

Despite what the others have said this won't be appreciably slower to charge the battery than those that have a max 6a charge rate.

It is the state of the battery that determines the charge rate that a smart charger will charge at and it will not charge continuously at its max charge rate.
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