My team thinks of building a battery charging station but we actually dont know how to build it properly. Does anyone can give us tips or explanations to build it properly, safely and cheaply?
Start with thoughts of how to store multiple batteries. How many batteries? Depends on your team, but several at least.
Then consider how you’re going to move those batteries from wherever to your pit. Wheels? Sherpas? Come up with an idea. Remember batteries weigh a lot, especially ‘several’ batteries.
Then consider charging. How many need to be charged at once? Where will the chargers go, and do they get enough ventilation air (they do get warm) there? Are they mounted into the ‘station’ or just put in there, and if mounted how? (Velcro, screws, clips, something). How do they get electricity? Can you see the lights on the chargers (you need to…)?
Work through these considerations. During that thought process, your team will definitely come up with more questions, which should be answered (ideally on paper).
Then search the interweb and ChiefDelphi for images of other teams’ battery charging stations, which will give you some ideas, so you can then use the answers to the questions above to a way to build a battery charging station.
Our first station was essentially a bookshelf on a hand-truck. The batteries were carried low, and then moved to the top where the chargers were at competition. A power strip for the 6 chargers completed it.
Let us know what design you came up with please!
The popular choice tends to be shelving on a handtruck. Our team did something along those lines too. We popped a shelving unit on a handtruck that was big enough to fit 2 batteries in a row, with three rows stacked. Powerstrip mounted on the back and a bottom row with three battery chargers in it. Something different we did do, however, was attach voltage readouts for each battery in the station to see how much power something had if it wasnt charging.
Ours is a Harbor Freight handtruck with a plywood shelf mounted onto it that holds ten batteries. We have a ten bank Battery Tender charger mounted up top that keeps the batteries maintained. I uploaded a photo to CD and it should be in the gallery soon. We used Anderson connectors on all of the connections as well so everything stays nice and tidy.
Here is our cart: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/41211?
I agree with what has been said but like to add that its beneficial to mount the charger on top or on the sides of the charging station. Also, make sure you know how much space you have in your pit.
On the team i’m on, 1885, we have a shelf-like design, with a charger that can charge 6 batteries mounted on top, with two additional single chargers on the side. we also have wheels on it. Larger wheels are better because when transporting in and out of arenas its likely that you’ll encounter “tough terrain” (meaning lots of bumps and potholes). Don’t forget to make it look nice! put a couple coats of your teams colored paint on it.
Hope this helps and send pics when it’s done!
You could buy this one: http://www.robopromo.net/product_p/rp_br.htm
Our battery charger has the chargers built in, but additionally it is a power station. Our new one (New for 2014 season) holds and charges six (IIRC) batteries, and also has a fold out table attached to one side, which is really nice to have in the pit area. Also, we have additional space on top to charge our drill batteries (which is really nice to have a designated space for) and extra power strip space to support a few laptop chargers, cell phone cables, power tools, etc. Make sure you include a spot for your drill batteries and at least a few extra power strip spaces for this reason. We also keep our older bookshelf style charger in the shop to charge our test batteries so we can keep our competition batteries separate.
Also, in the competition, I saw teams charging their batteries just in 30 min. How is it possible? It takes us about 2 hours to charge just one battery properly. And is there any way to use 1 charger to charge more than 1 battery?
The only legal method would mean they aren’t discharging their battery too much. Or their charger isn’t very good and isn’t fully charging the battery.
It takes us about 2 hours to charge just one battery properly. And is there any way to use 1 charger to charge more than 1 battery?
There is, but you should only use a properly made charger for it. Andymark sells chargers designed to charge 3 simultaneously. There are others out there as well.
A few years ago, we took plywood and made a station with three drawers in it, plus extra room higher up. Each drawer could hold three batteries and an Andymark triple charger. It’s worked well for us. We use some of the extra room in it for supplies and the safety kit.
Without more information, it is not possible to say whether the team you saw really “charged their batteries in just 30 minutes”. If their batteries were only slightly discharged, topping them up would not take very long. A charger with a very high charging current would charge the battery very quickly but is not legal and would most likely damage the battery.
If you are asking if it is possible to use one LEGAL battery charger to charge several batteries connected in parallel, the answer is a qualified yes. The state of charge of the batteries being connected in parallel will not be the same. Often, teams use batteries from different manufacturers so the internal resistances will be somewhat different. Putting a random mix of batteries in parallel and connecting them to one current source (not a multi-output charger) will mean that the charging current for each battery will be different and the charging time for each battery to reach full charge will be different. If the charger used is a trickle charger, the currents will be low enough that the battery can be left charging at that current for a long time without significant damage so eventually, after a long time, all the batteries will reach full charge, one after another. If the charger is not a trickle charger, it is possible that some of the batteries become overcharged, damaging them permanently.