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Old Jan 17, 2012, 09:30 PM
Nothin Ventured, Nothin Gained
harddrive8's Avatar
United States, NC, Maiden
Joined Jul 2011
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Got the PL8 Today

I got the PL 8 v2 today and got to messing with it after work. I must say that this charger has more data tables/screens than I will ever need when charging. I really was at a loss due to this with what all the screens meant until I installed the CCS software.

I pulled out a 6s 4k mah battery and ran it through some cycles trying to learn about the charger. The battery is rated for 3c so charging wasn't an issue.

I was surprised to find out that my fans don't turn on during the charge cycle, but do during the discharge cycle. This makes for really quiet charging (when doing a single battery). However, I found that no matter what preset I chose or how I "customized" it in the CCS software, that my cells never ended in a balanced state. I came to realize that one of my cells is weaker as it was taking charge quicker and discharging quicker than the other 5. I haven't yet figured out how to get it to balance the battery (even with the weaker cell). Is this normal on this charger?

Also, I noticed that my max charge rate when hooked to my 600W PS is 10A. I know the charger is capable of 40A charge, but I'm unable to obtain that level. The PS is 17ish V output, so it seems I should be able to obtain higher than 10A charge rate. Is there a way to "unlock" higher charge rates?

I've had about 4 hours to play on this charger thus far, but feel like I'm really going to enjoy using it once I become more familiar with it. I'm stepping up from a 400W single output charger that I used to parallel charge, and will be using my new PL8 to get faster charges from the higher charge C-rated batteries.

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am still a little lost as to how to perform and read all the functions my new charger is capable of.
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 08:58 AM
Nothin Ventured, Nothin Gained
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United States, NC, Maiden
Joined Jul 2011
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With the help of another RCG'er I found out that if I use the Generic High Power profile, it will allow me to obtain the 40A charge rate setting. However, I'm still a little confused about the balancing. I did confirm that I had the balance setting set for balance on the go (can't remember exact wording as I'm at work, but it's enabled). I did only do this on one battery, and it did seem to keep the other cells pretty close in balance, so it may have been so far off for that cell due to it appearing to be a weak cell. I'll play with it more tonight and see how it does on a different battery.

I didn't play around with the @nC setting much last night, but I'm wondering how accurate using that setting is. If I choose @1C, is it pretty accurate for a 1C charge rate? Are 2C and 3C pretty accurate on the charge rate?

This charger has so much capability that I'm not used to having access to, and it's truly overwhelming. But there aren't any complaints from me, as I'll learn the functionality. Once I get a few of these basic questions figured out, I know this will be put in my field box to take with me when I go fly.
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 09:25 AM
D C
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United States, TX, Bryan
Joined Jan 2009
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I found its easiest to select the High Power profile and manually set the actual amps you want to charge at. Can't get much simpler than that....

Don C
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 02:31 PM
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Howard Matos's Avatar
Frederick, MD
Joined May 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harddrive8 View Post
With the help of another RCG'er I found out that if I use the Generic High Power profile, it will allow me to obtain the 40A charge rate setting. However, I'm still a little confused about the balancing. I did confirm that I had the balance setting set for balance on the go (can't remember exact wording as I'm at work, but it's enabled). I did only do this on one battery, and it did seem to keep the other cells pretty close in balance, so it may have been so far off for that cell due to it appearing to be a weak cell. I'll play with it more tonight and see how it does on a different battery.

I didn't play around with the @nC setting much last night, but I'm wondering how accurate using that setting is. If I choose @1C, is it pretty accurate for a 1C charge rate? Are 2C and 3C pretty accurate on the charge rate?

This charger has so much capability that I'm not used to having access to, and it's truly overwhelming. But there aren't any complaints from me, as I'll learn the functionality. Once I get a few of these basic questions figured out, I know this will be put in my field box to take with me when I go fly.
Hi,

The auto modes may or may not be that accurate for your particular battery type. This is because the fuel table used for the auto mode was based on a specific battery when the fuel table was generated. To obtain the most accurate auto mode charge rates, I suggest you build a custom fuel table for your specific packs.

Personally, I use and set manual charge rates as this will ensure the fastest charge on your packs. The charger does not have to "think" in the manual mode, it knows to ramp up to a specific setting and do its thing. In the auto mode, the charge will take approximately 10% longer as it continually has to calculate the proper charge current throughout the charge.

Of course for best balancing, use Accurate Charge preset. To get higher current, use High Power preset. Here is a link to the PL8 calculators so you can get precise values for your charger and power supply.

http://www.revolectrix.com/PL8_calculators_Main.htm

Please let me know if you have any questions, thanks.
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 02:46 PM
Nothin Ventured, Nothin Gained
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Joined Jul 2011
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Using the accurate charge preset is what I was doing when I started playing with the charger. Even then cells 1-5 were a little out of balance and cell 6 was way different. I'll try another pack tonight to see if it was due to a weaker cell. Even when I did a discharge using the storage preset, cells 1-5 ended around 3.81V while cell 6 was around 3.73V. Again, all this was on the same battery so it could be that particular battery is going out on me.
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 04:53 PM
President, FMA, Inc.
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Joined Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harddrive8 View Post
Using the accurate charge preset is what I was doing when I started playing with the charger. Even then cells 1-5 were a little out of balance and cell 6 was way different. I'll try another pack tonight to see if it was due to a weaker cell. Even when I did a discharge using the storage preset, cells 1-5 ended around 3.81V while cell 6 was around 3.73V. Again, all this was on the same battery so it could be that particular battery is going out on me.
Hello:

If the battery is in good condition, the PL8 will always balance to precise ending voltages designated in the preset; particularly if using the Accurate Charge preset. If the batteries are old, or damaged, then the PL8 will still generally terminate only when the cells are all at precisely 4.200v. But if you don't see it at the precise moment the charge ends, and the cells are not in good condition, they might not hold the end-charge voltage for more than a few seconds.

In certain cases, if you use Faster Charge or High Power Charge presets, then even good condition cells might fall off shortly after end of charge. If you are seeing your cells fall off after charge using Accurate Charge preset, I recommend you just live with the situation, or decomission the packs. I say this because, while you can always extend the effort PL8 uses to balance precisely, if Accurate charge is not getting the pack balanced perfectly, there's likely something wrong with the pack. The values that control balance accuracy can be found in the CCS. One is balance time out. The other is C/? C/20 will work harder the C/10.

Also, just so you get the terminology: If a cell is getting ahead of the other cells on charge voltage, then that cell is weaker than the others. This is because it has smaller capacity and is coming up on charge faster. In the case you describe where cell 6 isn't getting fully charged, that would say that cell 6 is the strongest cell in the pack, not the weakest. When you're charging the packs, watch to see how much mAh capacity is put back into the pack by the time it completes the charge process. Does it come close to what's on the label for capacity?

Hope this helps!

Tim Marks
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 05:31 PM
Nothin Ventured, Nothin Gained
harddrive8's Avatar
United States, NC, Maiden
Joined Jul 2011
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I plugged up a 4s 5000mah battery when I got home from work and it read 3.95v/cell. I chose to power charge it @ 14A (battery is rated for 3c charge) and it was charged and balanced in 7 minutes! WHOO HOO! Looks like it's a battery going bad and the PL8 was just reacting to the bad cell. I'm doing a discharge on the 4s battery now and everything appears to be staying balanced fine.

Cell 6 was actually outrunning cells 1-5 both on charge and discharge. I tossed the 6s battery back in my battery box last night with all the others, so it'll probably wait for another time before I check the capacity.

As I said earlier, I'm not used to a charger that is this detail oriented. It will be nice to have a lot of these bells and whistles that I can use when I want, but I don't see me using most of them very often. However, it looks like I'm going to be happy with the charger and I still wish I would have bitten the bullet long ago and just bought this charger in the beginning of my RC journey.
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 08:48 PM
President, FMA, Inc.
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Joined Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harddrive8 View Post
I plugged up a 4s 5000mah battery when I got home from work and it read 3.95v/cell. I chose to power charge it @ 14A (battery is rated for 3c charge) and it was charged and balanced in 7 minutes! WHOO HOO! Looks like it's a battery going bad and the PL8 was just reacting to the bad cell. I'm doing a discharge on the 4s battery now and everything appears to be staying balanced fine.

Cell 6 was actually outrunning cells 1-5 both on charge and discharge. I tossed the 6s battery back in my battery box last night with all the others, so it'll probably wait for another time before I check the capacity.

As I said earlier, I'm not used to a charger that is this detail oriented. It will be nice to have a lot of these bells and whistles that I can use when I want, but I don't see me using most of them very often. However, it looks like I'm going to be happy with the charger and I still wish I would have bitten the bullet long ago and just bought this charger in the beginning of my RC journey.

Hi:

I think the best thing about the PowerLab series is that it can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Think about it. You got up and running very fast because the interface is easy to use. You only have to get into all the bells and whistles if you want to. Some really love to get deep into it. Others just want to connect batteries, call up a preset, and press ENTER. If you really want to make it easy to just start a charge, make sure Quick Start is enabled in the CCS options. Then all you have to do is press and hold ENTER to start a charge using the preset's settings. This bypasses all the questions in the beginning and goes straight to charge.

If you need to go deeper into it, just remember, we're hear to help answer any questions you may have.

Tim Marks
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Old Feb 22, 2012, 09:31 PM
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United States, TX
Joined Aug 2011
76 Posts
Got my PL8 2/17/12

I've been reading a lot on this forum about the PL8. I had 2 chargers before this one(not going to mention which, but they were the same brand that had issues). There were many heated discussions about the two top of the line chargers out there. Well after I got my PL8 up and running all i have to say is, there is no comparison at all. They shouldn't be comparing them in the first place because the PL8 in my own opinion is in a class by itself. The PL8 does everything better, faster, and with more accuracy than any multi-chem charger on the market.

And yes, you can get as deep or as shallow as you want with this charger. I'm just sorry i had to wast my time on the others before i purchased the PL8.

Just my 1-1/2 cents worth.
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