Portable Battery Chargers

We were recently asked (a lot) at our last regional about our battery charging cases. I figured I’d make a post to share and explain them, and we wanted to show them off! A few years ago, our team got to tour a local Pelican products center, and we had the honor to be donated two rolling cases - which is a huge plus-side for portability.

With rough outer specs of 20"x12", they’re small compared to other methods we’ve used. A lot of teams (that I’ve seen) use the RealPRO Model RS3 battery charger, and it’s what we used to use too.

Because these had thicker charging wires for the space we have, and the fact that they’re pretty heavy, we recently switched to the NOCO genius GEN5x3 battery chargers - our electronics mentor found these and they are much better for battery health. They automatically change input amps to avoid over-charging, the charging wires are much more flexible, and they have fuses built into the wires.

In our original design, we still had room for the RealPRO model charger, but the other model has more ‘breathing room’ for wires. To actually connect the charger to an outlet, we passed the passed it through a side of the case with a 3-prong socket and a following power cord. * Note that in our CAD, the slight difference is leg heights is to accommodate for the ‘wheel wells’ of the case. *

We included voltmeter displays to show charge levels - these ones include amperage, which will actually indicate whether the batteries are done charging or not. We also put in a temp sensor, but that’s just for fun. These are mounted onto a 1/4" sheet of wood onto the top cover of the case (which thankfully already had a few holes for mounting).

Of course, please ask if you have questions about our (potentially bulletproof) battery cases.


Very nice! What does the wiring look like from the NOCO charger cables with their fuses through your V/A meters, and to the Anderson SB50 connector? I see the photos you attached, but I’m not sure I understand where different wires start and end. I expect that the NOCOs have much smaller than 6 AWG output wires (maybe 16 AWG?). How do those smaller wires finally end up in SB50 contacts?

This is the less pretty part…

We used the following diagram to wire the charger-display circuit, it shows the general layout that our wires follow. We used powerpole connectors & 12AWG radio cables for all main wires & connected the smaller V/A display wires to them. For the power supply to the batteries, we joined standard 6AWG battery wires with a twisted/lap-solder job to the radio cables - it can probably be done better with a fuse/converter, but we haven’t done that on this case.

We have 3 of these circuits per case, one for each NOCO charging bank. For visual purposes, we used red/black powerpoles for the power supply-to-display wires, and orange/green powerpoles for the display-to-battery charging wires.

For the NOCO charger to display wires, the gauge is actually the same as the radio cable! (Both 12AWG, which is the standard for robot motor wires too). Here’s what the transition looks like for that part & the built-in fuses with the caps open:

Obviously, the only safety concern is that 6-12AWG connection I mentioned, but we haven’t had any issues with it in the past few years of using them!

As a general note, you can get the smaller 10AWG SB50 contacts, and if your wire is even smaller than that, you can strip it long and fold it over several times before crimping.

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