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Old 12-25-2006, 04:27 PM   #1
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Unhappy Battery Charging/Discharging???

I bought TC4s for my boys for Christmas. I have no previous RC car experience. I relied on the advice of the local RC car store owner who seemed to know what he was talking about, until I asked about battery discharging. I don't know much, but a red flag went up when he said that they did not need discharging. He said the boys could run the cars until they started to slow and then recharge the battery. Again, I do not know much, but I thought that would shorten the "memory" of the battery. I may be wrong, but it puzzled me. He handed me a couple of battery stick packs by SMC marked only as 3600. The batteries say nothing about mV/C or amps or anything other than 3600. He then handed me a Duratrax Piranha Digital Peak Charger that has programmable settings for different battery types. Well, needless to say, I cannot find ANY info for the batteries to get the settings correct on the charger, and the whole discharging info has left me confused. I visited SMC's site that gave me NO information to support this product. Now, my boys RTRs have become frustrating conundrums. Please help. Do the batteries need discharging? My charger does not have a discharge setting, so do I need to purchase that as well? How do I find info to set the charger to the correct setting to get peak charging of my batteries? Should I only use Piranha batteries with this charger? Is my local store owner knowledgible, or should I find another source for information and purchases???? I am confused!!!
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Old 12-25-2006, 05:38 PM   #2
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I would say that your batteries SHOULD be discharged, but they don't NEED it.
As for the PIRANNA Charger, you can use almost any battery with it.
I would reccomend that if you would like to discharge your packs, I would reccomend getting a Integy or Much 'n' More discharger.
As for your hobby shop owner, he is right when he says they don't need to be discharged.
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Old 12-25-2006, 05:57 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info.
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Old 12-25-2006, 06:26 PM   #4
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For your sons bashing around you do not need to discharge. Especially if they run them till they start to slow. The packs would be more than discharged enough. A discharger is only necessary in the racing world where there is a substantial amount of life left in the packs after a race. The newer Ni-mh cells do not have memory problems like the old Ni-cd cells. One thing I would be careful of is running the packs too low. Since they are stick packs you have no way to equalize them and you run the risk of dropping a cell too low and risking cell reversal. Ni-mh cells do not like to be dropped below .6 volts. Equalizing is another thing you shouldnt need to wory about with them just bashing around. Also never store the cells for long periods of time fully discharged. No more than a few days to a week. Ni-mh cells self discharge over time and will more than likely be damaged if stored for long periods of time with a low charge. If your going to store them for longer than a week charge them about 1/4 full before storage. Also be sure to let the packs cool after a run for at least 1 to 2 hours. Hope all that helps. Its a little hastle for a toy thats supposed to be fun but its worth it to keep your expensive equipment in top shape.
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Old 12-26-2006, 07:50 AM   #5
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Again, thanks for the info. My only other question is about charging the "unknown" SMC batteries. Since the Piranha charger does not automatically detect the battery settings, and the SMCs provide none of the info the charger is asking for, what should I do?
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:33 AM   #6
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Set your mV/c to the lowest setting it will take to start. (.02 I'm assuming) 6 amp charge. After it detects the peak feel the pack with your hand. If its warm to the touch, definitely NOT HOT... just warm. Your good to go. If not, step up the the next lowest. .03 or .04

Being that these are stick packs you may find you have to turn up your mV/c setting as they get older to keep that temperature in them when they peak. Reason being you can not equalize them.

Dont worry about this though. For your situation, I think the person who sold you this equipment was spot on. When the kids start racing, then you can worry about being up to date with the latest battery technology!

Until then - cheap stick packs = low dollar fun for the kids.
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:55 AM   #7
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XMS is right on the process. Your chargers lowest setting is 3mv/c so start there and the max amps you can charge at is 3.0 with the ac plug. If you have access to something that can read the temperature. Like a infared temp gun or a thermometer with a probe you can place on the pack. Keep turning up the setting till they get around 120F.
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