New Battery Charger

We had an unfortunate incident where our team trailer was broken into after IRI and they stole half of our battery chargers (Midtronics). So, we need to replace them for this season.

We received new chargers in the kop this year. They look nice.

Has anybody played with them yet to see how well they work? Better or worse that the Midtronics units?

I am looking for more specific information than “Yea…they charged our batteries fine”. Charging batteries is a science. I really want to know how well these chargers work. I am definitely not a battery or battery charging expert (far from it) but I do know enough to be dangerous (I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night)… I know that there are many experts out there who probably have played with them to see how well they work.

And insight is appreciated.

Thanks.

They are pretty straightforward and have similar features to the old chargers. New thing is that there is a battery meter to see how charged it is thus far.

Don,
A few years ago we purchased a multibattery charger from McMaster designed for lead acid and gell cell batteries. It charges 6 batteries and hangs on the wall. Effectively it is the same type of smart charger as the Midtronics. If you need to purchase new, a multi charger is a little more cost effective.

Thanks Al. Unfortunately, the only one listed on McMaster right now is 8 batteries (fine) but 10 amps each (not fine)…

Thanks for the suggestion though…I searched all over for multi-battery chargers but didn’t think about McMaster (I search them first for just about everything else)…

The new kit chargers were already being used by some teams because you can pick one up for about $25 at your local Walmart, and they have that spiffy meter on them. I know we read a CD post on them last year and picked one up and used it. Think they were up to about $29 last I checked.

We had no problems with it, but I believe you had to mash a button or two to get it going instead of just plugging a battery up like the previous kit chargers. No big deal as long as everybody knows to do it.

Might not be top of the line, but hard to beat that kinda price and availability.

What is being referenced is that by default when you plug in the charger it sets the charging rate to 2 amps you have to hit that button twice after you plug it in to change it to 6 amps. (settings are 2, 4, and 6 amps)

Seems like a nice charger to me. . . Used it to charge this years batteries plus some older ones and it seemed to charge relatively quickly. . I don’t believe the meter is the most accurate but nice to have a general reference.

Don,
This is the charger we use…
http://www.powerstream.com/Shopcharg.htm
also available here for less http://www.batterystuff.com/battery-chargers/12-volt/multi-bank/BusPro-600s.html
All about $500, fully automatic and smart charge.
We of course changed out the alligaotr clips for Anderson 50 amp plugs to match the robot.

The one thing that a really like about the new chargers is the fact that they don’t drain the battery if you remove power from the charger but leave the alligator clips on the battery. Our first year, we had a row of chargers at competition, and after we shut everything down for the night and they shut off the main power, our batteries drained all night. They were dead in the morning. I much prefer the new ones.

Looking back at the year, several times I found at the competitions that our 2008 Schumacher battery charger was charging on 2amps and it needed to be set on 6 amps. The chaos of the competition makes me want to modify the new charger so we do not have to adjust the charge when it is connected to a battery but leave it on 6 by default. We often pull the charger off and check the voltage to take the “best one” to a match. When reconnecting the batteries then the charge amps were not readjusted. Anyone have similar experience and any idea on how to hack the controls as to bypass the 2,4,6 amp charge button?

the 6 amp charge is not good at all for the batts they can be charged at 5.6 amps safely if a recall but i’m not sure on the number i know it was under 6 amps so yeah

I like the fact that the new battery chargers can be set to charge at 2 amps. During the off-season it is very rare that you would need to charge at any more than 2A, and… as I understand batteries… the lower charge rate should be more battery friendly. Then kick it up to 6A at competitions for a faster charge.

Unfortunately our new charger “let the smoke out” in Portland. There were some issues getting enough power to our row of pits, so it may have been related to some weird issue in the 120v supply rather than in the charger (and yes, we have the Anderson terminals and were hooked up to a battery at the time… so it was not likely a short circuit that did it). Our old chargers were not affected, however, so I have the feeling they may be just a bit more robust. I also note that the new charger runs a cooling fan, while the old ones do not… just one less thing to fail on the old ones.

Jason

I plan to do some more serious testing in the off season, but I can tell you two simple things:

  1. After getting our kop batteries and they sat for maybe two or three weeks without putting terminals on them, we finally hooked them up to the new fast charger supplied with the kit and it immediately said the batteries were fully charged.

  2. We immediately disconnected the batteries from the new fast charger and connected one to an old midtronics and the other to a new charger as Al suggested (http://www.batterystuff.com/battery-chargers/12-volt/multi-bank/BusPro-600s.html) and both showed that the batteries needed to be charged, and did so for at least 20 minutes and a low level.

This led me to believe that the “charged” battery circuit in the new charger might not work as well as it could.

I also know that we were very strict this year on how low we would drop the battery voltage before changing to a new battery and the life of our practice batteries at the end of the season is still VERY good.

We are using (3) http://www.batterystuff.com/battery-chargers/12-volt/multi-bank/BusPro-600s.html to do the charging plus 6 Midtronics chargers to keep our 24 practice and competition batteries up to spec at all times…

As I reported in another thread, MK is still investigating battery issues but on the surface, they believe the KOP chargers are OK at this point in time. They have purchased both types and are bench testing them with real batteries.