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Old 02-09-2006, 11:30 AM   #1
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Default Designing your ultimate charger/discharger

If you could design your dream ultimate, all in one, charger and discharger, what would it be like? I'd like to see:

Charging features:
  • The usual connections, plus a tray.
  • Tray should be adjustable for different size cells.
  • Each cell would be individually charged / peaked.
  • Large, easy to read, backlit, color, LCD touch screen.
  • Plenty of memory for different battery types.
  • Variable speed fan, auto increasing only when needed.
  • Adjustable trickle charge.
  • Charge modes: linear, reflex, impulse, and step.
  • Adjustable peak detect (in fine 1mv adjustments).
  • Determine IR of the cell/pack during charging.
  • Temperature sensor for each cell.
  • Add-on trays for multiple simultaneous charging.
  • Option to allow for auto adjusting amps to maintain a certain cell temperature while charging.
  • Charge settings and history memory for individual packs.

Discharging Features:
  • Pulse discharge up to 35 amps.
  • Linear discharge up to 35 amps.
  • Customizable discharge voltage per cell.
  • Discharge and hold at certain voltage.
  • Discharge and release (allow voltage to rebound).
  • Individual cell discharging.
  • Programmable step discharging rates.
  • Plenty of matching information.
  • Add-on trays for multiple simultaneous discharging.
  • Option to allow for auto adjusting amps to maintain a certain cell temperature.
  • Variable speed fan blowing from underneath the tray to offer customizable cooling.

Extra features:
  • Computer USB interface with software.
  • Software analizes each cell/pack, assists with matching, prints labels, etc.
  • Auxilary output with definable voltage.
  • Zapping and/or Dyno ability.. ok, this may be a bit of a stretch
  • Software based for easy firmware flashing updates.
  • Jog dial and buttons could be used instead of LCD touch screen.

Last edited by James35; 02-10-2006 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 02-09-2006, 01:19 PM   #2
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That sounds like the ultimate Charger/Discharger.
Now all we need is someone to build it.
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Old 02-09-2006, 01:25 PM   #3
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Why not add battery zapping and matching features to make it more complete.

Hehehe!

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Old 02-09-2006, 01:26 PM   #4
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Ooooh NICE! I'll add that to the list.
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:46 PM   #5
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Battery zapping is useless, plus you wouldn't be able to incorporate it into the charger without adding a lot more bulk and weight. Get rid of zapping and add a dyno.

I think the best way for chargers to improve is have everything software-based, so getting a new charger is only a matter of downloading the newest version. The I.C.C. is doing this, which is nice.

How about a pressure sensor to measure shock compression, or the weight of your car?
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:48 PM   #6
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All the features listed above but with a price tag of $300 USD............lets see who can achieve that first....
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:49 PM   #7
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For me I would want two seperate devices for charging/discharging. That way I can charge & discharge at the same time.
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:50 PM   #8
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How about the size of a credit card.
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamescam
For me I would want two seperate devices for charging/discharging. That way I can charge & discharge at the same time.
Good thinking jamescam. I updated the list with: "Add-on discharge trays for multiple simultaneous discharging." This way, you could just plug in more discharge trays. The LCD touchscreen menu would allow you to select/monitor the main tray or any of the add-on trays. Heck, while we are at it, let's make these have the ability to charge too.

The more I think about it, the less difficult this would be to do. Basically, if you develop the technology to allow for individual cell charging/discharging, then you could easily reproduce this x amount of time inside the charger. For example, 18 times would allow you to have a main tray, plus 2 additional add-on trays.

On a different note, do you think little warming contact pads under the cells would be a good option to have to maintain a certain temps?

Last edited by James35; 02-09-2006 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:59 PM   #10
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Why not with "ZAPPER and DYNO" for around $200 US?
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Old 02-10-2006, 08:54 AM   #11
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Wow... Sounds easy... if you can make one I'll buy it... At a reasonable price of course....

Just a few points I'd like to mention
- LCD touch screens for dirty pit fingers stained with corrosive traction compound will pose a problem. People would have to wash their hands clean before they touch the screen if they want to keep it working for a while.

- A controller has only a limited amount of I/O pins so to duplicate the hardware inside your charger you're going to have to duplicate those control pins as well. Which means a multiplexer or more CPUs, you will probably need more CPUs since one CPU just don't have enough speed to control more then it is designed to handle. Remember these run on around 20-40mhz not 3ghz...

- Size is also an important factor, the trend is towards sleek and compact units.


I'll post more when I come up with more on this... It's a good topic to explore on!
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Old 02-10-2006, 09:39 AM   #12
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I like your ultimate thinking and don't want to hinder creativity but here is what I would like to see that I believe would fairly acheivable:

Much More JamesCam Edition Charger/Discharger $299
- Individual Cell Charging/Discharging
- Adjustable Battery Tray for 4 or 6 cell packs
- Backlit LCD Display
- USB Interface
Charge Mode
- Linear & Step
- Magnetic Temp Probe
- Individual Cell Charge Data (mAH's & IR)
- Adjustable Peak Detect
Discharge Mode- Pulse discharge up to 35 amps
- Linear discharge up to 35 amps
- Discharge and hold at certain voltage.
- Individual Cell Discharge Date (Capacity, Run Time, IR, & Voltage)

I will take 2

Last edited by jamescam; 02-10-2006 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 02-10-2006, 10:30 AM   #13
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This is a great topic - good idea James35.

I would take the feature set of a Competition Electronis GFX and make some "minor" modifications. Most important, however, is having it made by a USA company like CE, where if you need a repair or have a problem, they have great customer service and support (software updates, etc). It is a great charger now and could be feature upgraded to make it even more perfect.

Take a Competition Electronics GFX, with its present feature set, and:

Add LiPo battery charging function

Add USB computer interface with a Windows XP program interface for keeping track of batteries over time, nice graphing function in the program, label printouts built in, as well as flashing a software upgrade if needed.

While you are at it, however, add the ability to save battery cycle info within the memory of the unit itself, as an alternative to computer storage/use. Then you could put a battery pack on to cycle, give it a name (Pack 101), cycle it and have it remember the data and date. Six months later put the same pack on, cycle it, and have it store the data and compare it to the initial cycle data. Output all this data to the current graphing screen on the GFX.

Really, you could do the same for charging data, when you put a pack on to charge, tell the charger that this is pack #101, and it would a) know the charge profile you want to use for that pack, and b) it could store the charge data over time to show you how well your pack is aging, when performance data drop, you know it is time for a replacement pack.

Make the mliiamp hours of charge readout accurate even if you change the charge rate mid charge (right now it just multiplies the current charge rate times number of seconds (that artifically boosts the mahr figure if you boost the charge rate in mid cycle) (a minor gripe)

Add step charging like the CE's newest Pitbull X3

Add temperature probe and temperature cutoff charging option

Add an aux output at user set volatge so that you can run a com lathe, break in motor, etc while still doing battery charge and discharge. Doesn't have to be anything fancy (like monitoring amp draw, etc), although that would be nice as well. In effect, graft into the unit a Cobra Vari Drive or Yokomo Hyper Motor Mate. Should be at least a 15 or 20 amp output at any selected voltage (assuming you are hooked up to a sufficient power supply).

Finally, and perhaps my biggest wish, shrink the current case form factor by at least 50% and graft a complete seconde charger/discharger into the reduced size case. Actually, I thiink that this is really completely do-able (I have heard that some have actually combined two GFX units into a single case, but I have never actually seen one). To have a 35 amp discharge function, you really need a decent size heat sink/fan combination, if you try and shrink those parts down too much you will have heat/reliability problems. If you look inside the GFX, however, there appears to be plenty of opportunity to shrink the circuit board down to perhaps 50% of current size, yet keep the big heat sink and thus have a more compact unit. If you were to shrink the current circuit board by 50% front to back, and then stack two circuit boards one on top of the other, and put two fans side by side next to the current heat sink, you would have the perfect "double" charger. While the reduced case size would be lovely and really should be able to be done, if you can stuff all of this double charger into even the current case, it is still a wonderful new unit.

Maybe make the case footprint the same as their current 23 amp power supply, but a bit taller so as to allow for the present nice graphing display.

I would hope that you could get all this into a street price of $499 for this charger, about 1.5 times current pricing on a GFX.

Hey Competition Electronics, ya listening??
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