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-   -   Is iCharger really superior? (https://www.rctech.net/forum/electric-road/826221-icharger-really-superior.html)

snuvet75 07-22-2014 02:13 AM

Is iCharger really superior?
 
A guy at our local track said iCharger makes a huge difference in power and speed. To me, it doesn't make sense because even if it charges up to 20A whatever, once it's charged it charged, right?
Can somebody explain how it makes the car faster and more powerful if it ever does it?

goots 07-22-2014 02:26 AM


Originally Posted by snuvet75 (Post 13416575)
A guy at our local track said iCharger makes a huge difference in power and speed. To me, it doesn't make sense because even if it charges up to 20A whatever, once it's charged it charged, right?
Can somebody explain how it makes the car faster and more powerful if it ever does it?

cycling to lower IR and end voltage accuracy

snuvet75 07-22-2014 02:29 AM


Originally Posted by goots (Post 13416583)
cycling to lower IR and end voltage accuracy

Can you be more specific? IR being inner resistance? So the way it charges lowers the resistance when it's being discharged?? Do you personally feel it makes such a difference?

goots 07-22-2014 02:35 AM


Originally Posted by snuvet75 (Post 13416588)
Can you be more specific? IR being inner resistance? So the way it charges lowers the resistance when it's being discharged?? Do you personally feel it makes such a difference?

that's the secret no one is telling you! you need to experiment! lower IR before you're run the better the lipo discharges.

snuvet75 07-22-2014 02:39 AM


Originally Posted by goots (Post 13416592)
that's the secret no one is telling you! you need to experiment! lower IR before you're run the better the lipo discharges.

AGain my friend, I appreciate you even spending time on this advising me.
But I must ask you.. again.. do you see difference? If what you said is true, they guys using iCharger should be always faster than the others if they are at the same level. Am I wrong?

goots 07-22-2014 02:43 AM


Originally Posted by snuvet75 (Post 13416596)
AGain my friend, I appreciate you even spending time on this advising me.
But I must ask you.. again.. do you see difference? If what you said is true, they guys using iCharger should be always faster than the others if they are at the same level. Am I wrong?

It depends on the lipo. All lipo's are not the same. And yes, there are differences in feel between some of the lipos I own even though they are the same brand.

snuvet75 07-22-2014 02:46 AM


Originally Posted by goots (Post 13416600)
It depends on the lipo. All lipo's are not the same. And yes, there are differences in feel between some of the lipos I own even though they are the same brand.

I see. Difference like a lot faster difference? So I guess you're the iCharger user. Do you see lots of people at your local track use it now, especially the faster ones?

goots 07-22-2014 02:49 AM


Originally Posted by snuvet75 (Post 13416604)
I see. Difference like a lot faster difference? So I guess you're the iCharger user. Do you see lots of people at your local track use it now, especially the faster ones?

no I do not use an Icharger. Still rocking an TP820. But I do see many I chargers at my local track

WagwanBumba 07-22-2014 02:58 AM

Cycling to reduce IR etc etc ... doesn't happen for lipos. What does happen, when you're charging at 20A, is that cell temperature increases! This increase in temperature is what is reducing IR of these lipos.

I believe at some races, they are shooting temp guns at batteries to try limit the advantaged gained by people with fat wallets that can afford to trash their lipos with insane temperatures in order to gain that little bit extra.

snuvet75 07-22-2014 03:00 AM


Originally Posted by goots (Post 13416606)
no I do not use an Icharger. Still rocking an TP820. But I do see many I chargers at my local track

See I don't think that's the charger that makes the speed difference I mentioned in the "how to modify motor" thread. Cuz I know some are still too fast for the class with regular charger. But I believe you that iCharger CAN make the car a bit faster. but not by much, right?

snuvet75 07-22-2014 03:03 AM


Originally Posted by WagwanBumba (Post 13416613)
Cycling to reduce IR etc etc ... doesn't happen for lipos. What does happen, when you're charging at 20A, is that cell temperature increases! This increase in temperature is what is reducing IR of these lipos.

I believe at some races, they are shooting temp guns at batteries to try limit the advantaged gained by people with fat wallets that can afford to trash their lipos with insane temperatures in order to gain that little bit extra.

Yeah I also heard about it. That's probably why they sell out almost new lipos after the big races, right?

goots 07-22-2014 03:08 AM


Originally Posted by snuvet75 (Post 13416616)
See I don't think that's the charger that makes the speed difference I mentioned in the "how to modify motor" thread. Cuz I know some are still too fast for the class with regular charger. But I believe you that iCharger CAN make the car a bit faster. but not by much, right?

who knows? I don't have an Icharger. Its a combination of driver skill, setup, and equipment that makes a car fast. You have to be fast with the equipment you have. There is too many variables.

WagwanBumba 07-22-2014 03:11 AM


Originally Posted by snuvet75 (Post 13416618)
Yeah I also heard about it. That's probably why they sell out almost new lipos after the big races, right?

Would never buy 2nd hand batteries (I did once back in the day before the advent of NiMHs) because battery care drastically affects performance and durability (short and long term) ... but yeah I would imagine people selling "almost new" lipos after big races that have been thrashed

xevias 07-22-2014 06:34 AM

I did a lot of research on how to charge batteries when I decided to buy a 308Duo. This is what I learned:

Almost everyone (blinky racers) over charges their batteries to hit the ROAR voltage limit of 8.44v. ROAR uses this limit to take into account small variances in measuring devices. However, everyone upped their battery voltage to take advantage. The limit really should be 8.4v, period.

People are over charging at high amps with cycling to time the heat buildup in the battery with their race. Heat in the battery lowers IR providing the motor with higher voltage. This, evidently, has replaced the now illegal LiPo battery warming trays.

The iCharger has a couple features that can help you do the above a little bit safer. Or these features can charge the batteries more efficiently (if you choose the safer, lower voltage charge levels).

One is the iCharger balancing options. You can program this to death to get the best charge time while keeping your cells' IR matched and increasing battery efficiency and service life.

It also has the option to 'trickle' charge the battery after it has completed to maintain the 4.2v per cell as you get ready to race.

With this said, an overcharged battery will give you virtually no advantage if you scrape a board once or twice during a run. So really the best feature of having an iCharger is to protect your batteries. Not to go faster.

Pauly6401 07-22-2014 09:11 AM


Originally Posted by xevias (Post 13416786)

With this said, an overcharged battery will give you virtually no advantage if you scrape a board once or twice during a run. So really the best feature of having an iCharger is to protect your batteries. Not to go faster.

I hope this is true. LiPos were supposed to do away with all the crazy battery tricks we lived with during NiMhs, like cycling, heating, overcharging, etc. I don't want to get back into that world again! :cry:

JiuHaWong 07-22-2014 09:18 AM


Originally Posted by xevias (Post 13416786)
With this said, an overcharged battery will give you virtually no advantage if you scrape a board once or twice during a run. So really the best feature of having an iCharger is to protect your batteries. Not to go faster.

:nod:

I'd only add that my 4010 duo and my Powerlab 8 seem to be more accurate and charge faster than other chargers that I have tried.


Originally Posted by Pauly6401 (Post 13417076)
I hope this is true. LiPos were supposed to do away with all the crazy battery tricks we lived with during NiMhs, like cycling, heating, overcharging, etc. I don't want to get back into that world again! :cry:

Sadly, I believe that people will always push the envelope so long as Spec classes dominate the racing scene. :(

Rick Hohwart 07-22-2014 09:31 AM


Originally Posted by xevias (Post 13416786)
I did a lot of research on how to charge batteries when I decided to buy a 308Duo. This is what I learned:

Almost everyone (blinky racers) over charges their batteries to hit the ROAR voltage limit of 8.44v. ROAR uses this limit to take into account small variances in measuring devices. However, everyone upped their battery voltage to take advantage. The limit really should be 8.4v, period.

People are over charging at high amps with cycling to time the heat buildup in the battery with their race. Heat in the battery lowers IR providing the motor with higher voltage. This, evidently, has replaced the now illegal LiPo battery warming trays.

The iCharger has a couple features that can help you do the above a little bit safer. Or these features can charge the batteries more efficiently (if you choose the safer, lower voltage charge levels).

One is the iCharger balancing options. You can program this to death to get the best charge time while keeping your cells' IR matched and increasing battery efficiency and service life.

It also has the option to 'trickle' charge the battery after it has completed to maintain the 4.2v per cell as you get ready to race.

With this said, an overcharged battery will give you virtually no advantage if you scrape a board once or twice during a run. So really the best feature of having an iCharger is to protect your batteries. Not to go faster.

The ROAR limit is 8.4.

Rick Hohwart 07-22-2014 09:39 AM


Originally Posted by snuvet75 (Post 13416575)
A guy at our local track said iCharger makes a huge difference in power and speed. To me, it doesn't make sense because even if it charges up to 20A whatever, once it's charged it charged, right?
Can somebody explain how it makes the car faster and more powerful if it ever does it?

The basic idea is that you can use the high charge and discharge rates to increase the core temperature of the battery which will lower internal resistance and make the car faster.

If you were to take a heating pad and warm your battery, you would notice the same increase in performance. But to prevent people from going crazy with temps most big races have set a max temp limit and they strictly prohibit warming. Some even limit max charge rates (unenforceable however). These chargers circumvent the no warming rules.

Some budget ways to heat batteries are to place your battery on your power supply or place the battery in a warm place. What really matters is the temp of the battery when teched (if there is tech). the most basic way to increase core temp is to use the same battery throughout the race day.

Now at club races no body really cares or checks temps, voltage,or anything so guys overcharge their batteries to 8.50, warm the packs, run illegal motors, etc. to go faster. Stock racing is pretty much the wild west with limited or no rules at the lower levels.

You are right though; if you were to charge your battery with an iCharger at 10A and charge the same battery on another charger at 10A, there will be no difference in how they perform assuming both batteries end at the same voltage and same temperature.

Odin544 07-22-2014 10:45 AM

I like the iCharger as it seems more accurate and consistent than my old TP820CD. I normally charge at 10-12 amps. Only because of time constraints not to heat my pack.

syndr0me 07-22-2014 10:55 AM

We tech packs based on the outside temp of the case they're in. If you heat them from the outside in (using a heating pad) the outside of the case will have the highest temp. If you do it with discharge, it heats from the inside out, so the inside of the pack has the highest temp. You could, in theory, get more heat in the pack (lowering its IR) and still pass tech.

CraigMBA 07-22-2014 01:31 PM

I nearly got DQd at the TCS regional because I accidentally left the battery in the sun. Dunno if the internal temps went up, but the case was right there!

I had a Thunderpower which I loved, but I love my iCharger more. If you get behind being able to get charged in time is a plus, the menus are easier than the TP to navigate. I usually charge at 10a, sometimes more.

ElectricMann 07-22-2014 01:40 PM

I like my Graupner EX.. also like the knockoff Reaktor (clone Icharger208) Both do a great job and I can get almost 135 more watts from them compared to my other chargers..So Yes The Icharger is that much better

RCBuddha 07-22-2014 02:25 PM

I have no complaints about the iCharger series, specifically the 308, 406 and 4010. My 4010 has been quick charging, accurate (as far as I can tell) and can be updated. If you don't want to spend the money on the upper end of the iCharger series, they have less expensive options. Best place to get either the iCharger or Powerlab is here:

http://www.progressiverc.com/

robk 07-22-2014 02:33 PM


Originally Posted by Rick Hohwart (Post 13417141)
The basic idea is that you can use the high charge and discharge rates to increase the core temperature of the battery which will lower internal resistance and make the car faster.

If you were to take a heating pad and warm your battery, you would notice the same increase in performance. But to prevent people from going crazy with temps most big races have set a max temp limit and they strictly prohibit warming. Some even limit max charge rates (unenforceable however). These chargers circumvent the no warming rules.

Some budget ways to heat batteries are to place your battery on your power supply or place the battery in a warm place. What really matters is the temp of the battery when teched (if there is tech). the most basic way to increase core temp is to use the same battery throughout the race day.

Now at club races no body really cares or checks temps, voltage,or anything so guys overcharge their batteries to 8.50, warm the packs, run illegal motors, etc. to go faster. Stock racing is pretty much the wild west with limited or no rules at the lower levels.

You are right though; if you were to charge your battery with an iCharger at 10A and charge the same battery on another charger at 10A, there will be no difference in how they perform assuming both batteries end at the same voltage and same temperature.

http://www.integy.com/E2005.gif

This integy box is $30 and dumps batteries @ 30A. You can take a normal charger and after the charge is over, hit it with 30A for a couple minutes until it warms up and charge it again. The internals will be hot just like the $400 charger.

Rick Hohwart 07-22-2014 02:43 PM


Originally Posted by robk (Post 13417691)
http://www.integy.com/E2005.gif

This integy box is $30 and dumps batteries @ 30A. You can take a normal charger and after the charge is over, hit it with 30A for a couple minutes until it warms up and charge it again. The internals will be hot just like the $400 charger.

That will work!

snuvet75 07-22-2014 02:57 PM


Originally Posted by syndr0me (Post 13417330)
We tech packs based on the outside temp of the case they're in. If you heat them from the outside in (using a heating pad) the outside of the case will have the highest temp. If you do it with discharge, it heats from the inside out, so the inside of the pack has the highest temp. You could, in theory, get more heat in the pack (lowering its IR) and still pass tech.

So the trick you're saying to understand correctly, is that you discharge the pack to raise core temp and then charge it again normally. Then still outside temp will be normal yet you'll get more performance from the pack due to the heat generated from discharging. Correct me if I'm wrong.

2nd question is, if you raise the battery temp with however method, would it last for a while? Rick above mentions that it'd be better to use same battery all day. My understanding on that is the high battery temp from previous usage will last for a while then. This brings me to the question "Why do we need to cool down the battery before charging it again if high inner temp is better?". At least that is my understanding in order to prevent the puffing and lengthen the life of the battery.

snuvet75 07-22-2014 03:03 PM


Originally Posted by Rick Hohwart (Post 13417141)
The basic idea is that you can use the high charge and discharge rates to increase the core temperature of the battery which will lower internal resistance and make the car faster.

If you were to take a heating pad and warm your battery, you would notice the same increase in performance. But to prevent people from going crazy with temps most big races have set a max temp limit and they strictly prohibit warming. Some even limit max charge rates (unenforceable however). These chargers circumvent the no warming rules.

Some budget ways to heat batteries are to place your battery on your power supply or place the battery in a warm place. What really matters is the temp of the battery when teched (if there is tech). the most basic way to increase core temp is to use the same battery throughout the race day.

Now at club races no body really cares or checks temps, voltage,or anything so guys overcharge their batteries to 8.50, warm the packs, run illegal motors, etc. to go faster. Stock racing is pretty much the wild west with limited or no rules at the lower levels.

You are right though; if you were to charge your battery with an iCharger at 10A and charge the same battery on another charger at 10A, there will be no difference in how they perform assuming both batteries end at the same voltage and same temperature.

Higher charge rate -> increase temp ->lower IR -> faster. Ok I get that. But how does it translate into overcharging?? Lowering IR allows you to overcharge the battery? I don't know much about iCharger but both of mine only charge up to 8.4V (2S pack). Both charge at 6A maximum. Does the screen on the charger say over 4.2V each cell when you overcharge it?

Pauly6401 07-22-2014 03:07 PM

The last time I was seriously into RC, the rule of thumb was that you don't want to charge your Lipos at greater than a 1C rate (3000 mAh = 3A, etc). This was to avoid damaging the cells, and the possibility of fire/explosion.

Has battery technology improved to the point where this is no longer the rule, or has conventional wisdom changed and people just do what they want? I have an old Team Checkpoint charger that can charge at a 10A rate, so I'm not sure what you are necessarily gaining from a 30A charge rate, other than time (and the heat mentioned above).

Matt Trimmings 07-22-2014 03:10 PM


Originally Posted by snuvet75 (Post 13417750)
Higher charge rate -> increase temp ->lower IR -> faster. Ok I get that. But how does it translate into overcharging?? Lowering IR allows you to overcharge the battery? I don't know much about iCharger but both of mine only charge up to 8.4V (2S pack). Both charge at 6A maximum. Does the screen on the charger say over 4.2V each cell when you overcharge it?

The 308, 406 & 4010 allow you set per cell peak voltage. So I could set it at 4.22 or 4.23 etc per cell to get to 8.44 / 8.46 as a pack respectively. The high discharge rate is what creates the heat, the high charge rate keeps the heat in while ensuring your pack charges quick to be able to take advantage of the heat/lower ir. The more you cycle a pack this way on a race day the lower the ir becomes.

snuvet75 07-22-2014 03:31 PM


Originally Posted by Matt Trimmings (Post 13417767)
The 308, 406 & 4010 allow you set per cell peak voltage. So I could set it at 4.22 or 4.23 etc per cell to get to 8.44 / 8.46 as a pack respectively. The high discharge rate is what creates the heat, the high charge rate keeps the heat in while ensuring your pack charges quick to be able to take advantage of the heat/lower ir. The more you cycle a pack this way on a race day the lower the ir becomes.

Thanks. Man this helps a lot. So every time you use a pack, do you cycle (discharge/charge) it again? What voltage do you discharge it to? And if you know how long typically a cycle takes, would you want to finish charging the battery right before the race or does it not matter?

Matt Trimmings 07-22-2014 03:35 PM


Originally Posted by snuvet75 (Post 13417805)
Thanks. Man this helps a lot. So every time you use a pack, do you cycle (discharge/charge) it again? What voltage do you discharge it to? And if you know how long typically a cycle takes, would you want to finish charging the battery right before the race or does it not matter?

When i had an Icharger i would discharge/charge everytime before a race (practice not so much). I would discharge the pack at 20amps to about 3.5v per cell then charge it at 30amps to 4.2 per cell. You would want it to finish as soon before your run as possible. Remember though, if you do any roar events then max charge rate is 1c according to their rules.

snuvet75 07-22-2014 03:45 PM


Originally Posted by Matt Trimmings (Post 13417813)
When i had an Icharger i would discharge/charge everytime before a race (practice not so much). I would discharge the pack at 20amps to about 3.5v per cell then charge it at 30amps to 4.2 per cell. You would want it to finish as soon before your run as possible. Remember though, if you do any roar events then max charge rate is 1c according to their rules.

:nod: I feel like I got a whole day lesson from you guys. Thanks,

thecaptain 07-22-2014 04:06 PM

As well as temps +- 5 deg. of ambient temps, no direct cooling devices aloud.

Mr RCTech 07-22-2014 04:59 PM


Originally Posted by Matt Trimmings (Post 13417767)
The 308, 406 & 4010 allow you set per cell peak voltage. So I could set it at 4.22 or 4.23 etc per cell to get to 8.44 / 8.46 as a pack respectively. The high discharge rate is what creates the heat, the high charge rate keeps the heat in while ensuring your pack charges quick to be able to take advantage of the heat/lower ir. The more you cycle a pack this way on a race day the lower the ir becomes.

Yes, this is true.

Never cycle a lipo packs it puts to much heat in the pack which Raises IR.

There is a temp range in which the lipo batteries responds to lower IR.

To cold or to hot HIGHER IR.

Use your Icharger with the wire balancer connected to it.

CarbonJoe 07-22-2014 05:09 PM

Part of the reason that the iCharger is faster than most chargers is that the balance current is much higher than other brands. From what I remember, it can handle 1.2A for balancing, instead of < 300 mA for others. Plus, for the higher charge rates you must use one of the balance modes.

snuvet75 07-22-2014 06:46 PM


Originally Posted by CarbonJoe (Post 13418017)
it can handle 1.2A for balancing, instead of < 300 mA for others.

Aw, sorry but what does that mean?? With my charger, regular charging mode is up to 6A and balance charge is also up to 6A. So 1.2A for balancing in iCHarger vs 6A in my charger, how is it different?? Sorry for my ignorance LOL

klaymon 07-22-2014 06:57 PM

It's the amperage rates the charger uses on the balance leads. With higher discharge rates on the balance leads, it takes less time to bring all cells to the same level.

avs 07-22-2014 07:08 PM


Originally Posted by CarbonJoe (Post 13418017)
Part of the reason that the iCharger is faster than most chargers is that the balance current is much higher than other brands. From what I remember, it can handle 1.2A for balancing, instead of < 300 mA for others. Plus, for the higher charge rates you must use one of the balance modes.

I noticed that both the icharger 308 and powerlab pl6 are faster with 1s batteries. I think this is because they both limit current to produce voltages in excess of 4.2, like 4.25 compared to more conservative chargers (skyrc, bantam..) that would limit the current to produce a voltage like 4.15 to 4.18.

CraigMBA 07-22-2014 07:11 PM

I have a three year old Thunderpower that is labeled for a 6c charge rate - 63 amps!

Dunno if anyone is ever in that big a hurry.

RCBuddha 07-22-2014 07:23 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...gCnDaDkQ#t=155

*this is for the powerlab. I believe the icharger does something similar.


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