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Old Aug 11, 2010, 11:45 PM
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CanI use a Dell to charge A123 batteries??

Hi guys, I'm new to this board and my question is about charging an A123 battery pack. But I DON"T use it for RC Hobby stuff I have A123s used as Motorcycle batteries...I"m coming here because you guys seem to know everything about these batteries.

I have two A123 packs that I use for my motorcycles... I've been using them for a year and they work great and haven't had a problem... but I plan on building my own too...we use them since they are so light so it helps on the track.

So on these motorcycle batteries I use a 12v 4s (4 cells) and 12v 4s2p (8 cells) configurations,and they do not need the balancing that you RC guys use so I don't need one of those deluxe battery chargers....But I thought what if I needed to charge it someday? So I was in the garage and saw I had an old Dell AC Adapter that also charges the old Dell laptop...

So my question is would this Dell AC adapter work as a battery charger for the A123? Forgive my ignorance I just have no clue...

Model # PSCV360104A

--- Input is 1.0-.5A 50/60Hz
---Output is 12v ----3A



But my question
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 12:16 AM
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No, I wouldn't even try it. A 4S 123 pack, charged is rated at 14.4V. Either you won't get there or your power supply is not regulated very well and will over charge the cells.

As for not needing a balancer, you are wrong. 123 cells need this more than our lipo's.
You could buy an A123 compatable balancer and balance them from time to time and HEY, 14.4V is about the same as your vehicles charging system when running. *wink*

Rick
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rampman View Post
No, I wouldn't even try it. A 4S 123 pack, charged is rated at 14.4V. Either you won't get there or your power supply is not regulated very well and will over charge the cells.

As for not needing a balancer, you are wrong. 123 cells need this more than our lipo's.
You could buy an A123 compatable balancer and balance them from time to time and HEY, 14.4V is about the same as your vehicles charging system when running. *wink*

Rick
Thanks for the reply I appreciate it...

As far as being wrong about not having to balance them... The companies and the engineers that work for them state no balancing is necessary. Keep in mind the application is completely different for RC stuff. We don't do a quick charge then a quick discharge, so perfect duplicatable performance isn't neccesary...It does not matter if a couple cells might be off by a minuscule amount or a bit more...The use of our batteries are 90% of the time a one time high amp discharge to start the bike which barely drains the battery pack. Once started the alternator takes over...

So now tha tI know I can't use the Dell as a charger... what is the least expensive option to charge an A123 pack up to 12 cells in a 12 volt configuration? Keeping i mind I don't want the balance stuff...
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by rampman View Post
As for not needing a balancer, you are wrong. 123 cells need this more than our lipo's.
How do you know this? I think you should be carefull to asume the bahavior of the cells in other aplications.

I use a A123 battery in my bike too. I made it with a balance connector so I could track the balance of the pack. It has never needed balancing. I think the way a bike uses the batteries don't put them out of balance.


Charging the batteries can be done by connecting them to another 12v battery, like the one in your car. You can find more information, on this kind of charging, in this forum. I think "Everyday flyer" wrote some about it. Please read this as you will need som way to limit the current flow.
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 10:41 AM
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Charging a 4S just use an automotive charger,anything up to 10Amps. will be fine.

balancing. If you are lucky and have closely matched cells thgen balancing is not necessary.I have had a 3S stay in balance for 500 cycles but I have also has 4 and 5 cell ones get way out of balance in less than 50 cycles so I believe that it is a good idea to at least have balancing point connected so that you can check each cell or pair or cells from time to time.


Charles
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 11:46 AM
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Forse, I popped 2 cells in a 4S2P a few weeks ago on my riding lawnmower. Something was smelling and it wasn't a belt. Granted, these were not matched cells and I don't know the history of these used cells but I find a cell can get away really fast on 123 packs if you don't stay on top of them. As Charles says, some do, some don't, stay in balance.

Center, me and dirt bikes go waaaayyyy back and I am assuming you have a KTM with electric start, like Ronnie Renner used for Step Up at this years X-Games? Is a 4S1P sufficent for the starter and how long will it crank? One of my boys rides for KTM/jagermeister and KTM is wanting him on a 4-stroke next year for the SX FMX exhibitions. Any weight savings can be HUGE in this application.

Rick
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 12:50 PM
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A motorcycle only microcycles a pack. A typical engine start is over in seconds and uses less than 50mAh often. These cycles do not wear batterys out.
We RC people, in contrast, totally drain these packs. This wears out cells considerably quicker, and therefore, balancing is needed.

To charge your 4s pack, take a normal lead acid charger if you have one lying around. 14-14.4V is the voltage you need. Checking the idividual cell voltages from time to time can't hurt; as long as it is under 3.8V, everything is ok.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rampman View Post
Center, me and dirt bikes go waaaayyyy back and I am assuming you have a KTM with electric start, like Ronnie Renner used for Step Up at this years X-Games? Is a 4S1P sufficent for the starter and how long will it crank? One of my boys rides for KTM/jagermeister and KTM is wanting him on a 4-stroke next year for the SX FMX exhibitions. Any weight savings can be HUGE in this application.

Rick
I actually have 3 bikes one being a WR450 that I have the 4s1p in and it starts it fine, so that would crank the KTM 4stroke no prob... I use the 4s2p in an Aprillia SXV 550 and also in a Hypermotard... The wieght saving is fantastic in all regards... my problem is I ruined the 8 pack by leaving the ignition on TWICE...made3 cells bad. I actually have a friend who is doing a start up company and is testing his packs now...He will be offering the packs at least 30 buck cheaper than the nearest competitor and with higher specs like 6 guage leads instead of 8 and all soldered terminals... I'm buying two and wanted to see if that Dell charger would work if I ever need to charge them...If your intrested I"PM his email to you.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 12:10 PM
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Just wanted to say thanks for the informative posts guys. I've actually been reading so much of this sites info about the a123 that I feel like a pro now. I actually have a buddy who is starting a company building these for MCs so that is why I posted about that Dell charger... figured I might be able to use it but know better now.
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