FY1205000 Charger

Has anyone used the charger that came with the KOP? Ours is a FY1205000. It says when charging the LED will be red, and when fully charged it will be green, but when we hook a battery to the charger that we know is low the LED stays green. We have checked the voltage coming from the charger and it is measuring just over 13 volts. Has anyone else had this issue? Has anyone used the charger successfully?

I have no hands-on experience with this charger (which only started coming in the kit in the last year or two), but the lack of a storefront and such makes me leery–especially when you often want multiple chargers to ensure fresh batteries are on deck at all times.

Fortunately, you’re not lacking for alternatives. There are threads on recommended chargers all over CD, and I’ve used several different kinds effectively. 1293 uses several that came in way-old KoPs when they used to give you a lot of fresh things annually. 2815 uses several Walmart automotive section chargers from 2011 or 2012; I think they just now had to replace one this year, but that’s getting your $30 worth. 5402 used a one-bank charger from AndyMark and thought long and hard about the three-bank one, which saves you power outlets. Both of those are on sale this week. (Full disclosure, I used to work for AndyMark.)

There are lots of philosophies on which charger is best, but if nothing else look for:

  • One without buttons–you don’t want to trust freshmen to hit the right thing to start a charge. You want it to start when you connect a battery, straight up.
  • One that can’t charge higher than 6A, lest you damage the battery. (Some chargers may advertise, say, 2/6/10. But that’s a setting, and you don’t want settings.)
  • One with some smarts to it, at the minimum peak detection and auto-shutoff. You don’t want to go just dumping 6A all the time into the battery, obviously.
  • Ideally, some mounting method so you can fashion a storage and charging station that meets your needs. But if nothing else, a viable velcro location is good too.

I suggest you do a little bit more measuring of voltages.

What is the voltage on the battery, before you connect the charger?

What is the voltage on the battery, after you connect the charger? (while it is connected)

Did you install an Anderson PowePole connector on the charger? or are you using clips to connect it?

Minor note: the Anderson SB series is separate from the PowerPole series. Teams receive SB-50 connectors in the Kit of Parts, which are color-coded (but the donated pink ones mate with red).

SB: http://www.andersonpower.com/us/en/products/sb-sb-boots/index.aspx
PowerPole: http://www.andersonpower.com/us/en/products/powerpole/index.aspx

(The still-excellent distributor Powerwerx mixes the two lines together on their site, but Anderson doesn’t.)

We bought an alternative charger to use for our competition batteries. We are wanting to use this to charge other 12 volt batteries like those that come in the KOP but that are being used on other projects we have.

The batteries before I connect the charger read: 11.5
After: 13.7

I suppose it is charging, it just concerns me that the markings on the charger concerning the LED don’t appear to be correct. I’ll let it charge some more and see if it raises that battery voltage and maybe the LED will then turn off, who knows.

Fair warning: there are two rules about chargers:

Rule R40: “Any battery charger used to charge a ROBOT battery must have the corresponding Anderson SB connector installed.”

Rule R41: “Any battery charger used to charge a ROBOT battery may not be used such that it exceeds 6-Amp peak charge current.”

R40 typically means cutting the connectors off the charger wires and crimping/soldering the SB50 connectors on. Note that the SB50 pins come in 6, 8 and 10 awg sizes. In general, you will want the 10awg size for the charger.

Also, note that you only want RED and PINK connectors. The other connectors will not fit with each other.

Rule R41 will eliminate most chargers on the market because it’s impossible to limit them to only 6 amps of current. You also want a charger that is designed to work with Sealed Lead Acid batteries. (More information that you really want here: https://www.silvertel.com/images/technical-articles/charging_sealed_lead_acid_batteries.pdf )

After charging since 11am EST the batteries are still reading 11.5 volts. I guess the charger included in the KOP is bad.

Again, we have a charger for our robot batteries that we got from Andymark. We wanted to use this one for other projects.

Update: After trying the battery with another charger I have determined the battery is faulty. The charger in the KOP actually works.

What facts did you use to make this determination ?

I tried a second battery on the KOP charger and it charged it correctly. I also placed the bad battery on another charger that has safety features built in and it shut off when the battery was attached. I have since tried it on a 3rd charger and have the same result.

Some of previous years KOP battery leads have the polarity of the Anderson connector backwards. It is work double checking the polarity of everything.

This charger only has alligator clips, but I have checked polarity and all is correct on the charger. The battery (an old one we had used on previous projects in my class) is bad.