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Old May 21, 2008, 11:53 PM
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Help!
Accu-Cycle Elite and Lipos, Balancing Concern

Howdy,

A couple weeks ago I bought an Accu Cycle Elite because I read that it can charge two lipos at once, and it can still charge my other NiMH. I also bought a tower hobbies brand 11.1V 910 mAh LiPo battery. When I opened the TH battery the instructions say I have to use a balancing charger .

I have never heard of a balance charger, and when I look it up it seems to be specific to RC hobbyists.

I am using the batteries for a Blade CP Heli.

Can I charge this battery with the Accu Cycle Elite?

Any help is appreciated.

-Daniel
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Old May 22, 2008, 12:16 AM
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DFW, Texas
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Yes, it will charge any lipo up to 3 cells, any lipo (I have had two Elites for the past couple of years - selling them now since I just got a Hyperion 0610i DUO charger). The Elite is a great charger up to 3 cells for lipos.

A balancer just makes sure each cell is "in balance" with the other cells. Many folks today will recommend balancing during charging (I am one of them), but many others just charge without a balancer and have no problems. You can always add a balancer later. Also, I know some who just charge without a balancer most of the time, and then balance charge every 5th time or so.

Bottom line: Don't worry, just charge and fly for now, and do some research with some other flyers that use lipos and see what they say. Don't go spending a ton of money until you understand what you need a balancer for, and then you can make an intelligent choice on which ones (you will need two since you have a dual-port charger) you get.

-Hilgert
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Old May 22, 2008, 09:54 AM
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Just get a Blinkey balancer at the local hobby shop, it works well and can be used while charging or used by itself without charging. IMHO balancing is always a good choice as it never hurts to do it and it can save you the price of a new battery many times over if used each time. All you have to save is one battery pack and it has paid for itself.
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Old May 22, 2008, 02:03 PM
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I've used the Accu-Cycle Elite with a Hyperion LBA10 balancer
connected to each output for several years to charge / balance
lipo batteries without any problems.

It is the first charger setup I purchased and I've never regretted
the decision. I'll probably invest in a more expensive / capable
charger in the next couple of years only because I'm starting
to fly larger planes requiring larger batteries.
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Old May 22, 2008, 02:15 PM
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just use the E-flite new version 3S charger

http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...rodID=EFLC3115
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Old May 23, 2008, 12:00 AM
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Joined May 2008
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Thanks for all you suggestions. So it looks like I can
1) Charge without a balancer
2) Buy a balancing adapter for my charger
3) Buy another new charger that balances

I am kind of dissapointed because I thought the Accu-cycle elite would meet all my needs but now I have to invest even more in battery management.

Does anybody have any opinions on which route I should take?

-Daniel
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Old May 23, 2008, 12:01 AM
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I am not sure about the eflite 3S charger because I couldn't find any specs at all.
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Old May 23, 2008, 11:22 AM
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Seattle, WA
Joined Dec 2006
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Absolutely - buy a pair of LBA6 balancers or Blinky's and get on with the charging. This shouldn't cost more than $40 for a pair and you can charge two lipos or NiMH independently with the Elite. I use one frequently and have been thoroughly impressed with it's speed, accuracy, and ease of use.

- David
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Old May 23, 2008, 07:09 PM
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What's nice about the LBA balancers is that they will interrupt
the chargering cycle in the event of a dangerious condition
which makes things a little more bulletproof than using a
Blinky. Another option is the Equinox balancer which is very
similar to the Hyperion LBA balancers.

Ideally you want an integrated charger / discharger / balancer
however there's not many dual output options available at the
moment. Using the Elite with an external balancer is a fairly good
solution. Another route to go is to purchase multiple single output
chargers
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Old May 24, 2008, 07:29 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will get either a blinky or an equinox. The LBA10 is a little pricey for me.

FYI: I charged the battery I bought (without using a balancer) and these are the cell voltages I measured:

Cell1: 4.165V
Cell2: 4.210V
Cell3: 4.153V

57 mV difference doesn't seem like much to me. I'll keep watching my cell voltages untill I get a balancer.

Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old May 24, 2008, 08:26 PM
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Haralson County GA. USA
Joined Oct 2004
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Quote:

57 mV difference doesn't seem like much to me.
Inbalance greater than 0.020 is enough to be concered about.
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Old May 24, 2008, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by down_n_flames
Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will get either a blinky or an equinox. The LBA10 is a little pricey for me.

FYI: I charged the battery I bought (without using a balancer) and these are the cell voltages I measured:

Cell1: 4.165V
Cell2: 4.210V
Cell3: 4.153V

57 mV difference doesn't seem like much to me. I'll keep watching my cell voltages untill I get a balancer.

Thanks again for all the advice.
The difference is not so high to cause instant damage of Your pack,
however, it is probable that the difference will increase with use
, and differences in voltage may cause consequent difference in health (internal resistance and capacities).

Good Lipos stay in perfect balance, but with any small difference, each cycle may move things toward worse and worse state.
Many chargers are inaccurate, charging to lower voltage than exactly accurate 4.20V per cell, and that is the good case. That way, a gap between accurate and real voltages during charge protects highest cells against outreaching maximum healthy voltage. However, it is not Your case.
In Your case a cell is already above 4.20V, and in addition that is probably the rest voltage, so the highest voltage to which that poor cell was exposed was even higher..

As well, never wait for ESC low voltage cutoff, land before pack get empty, to avoid overdischarge of lowest cells (at the end, some are empty a bit sooner, thus pushed very low). This applies to any pack, including perfectly balanced one. And the unbalance is mostly caused by deep discharge.

... Watching unbalanced pack behaviour by using it, is simply not good idea....

Your charger can charge single lipo cell.
Most of Lipo packs are equiped by "balance connector".
So, use it, and (after partial discharge) hook each cell to charger, separately, one by one. That will restore acceptable balance, by fully charging each cell to same voltage.
(beware of using both ports! Cells remain series connected in a pack, and the ports of a charger, or two chargers using single power supply, are common ground.)

All You need are two wires with pins to hook into appropriate holes, with bananas to connect them to charger. Could be found as receiver pack charge lead, just remove plastic cover of pins.. And be sure not to short those pins when connecting to pack connector.
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Old May 24, 2008, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coro
So, use it, and (after partial discharge) hook each cell to charger, separately, one by one.
The more steps in a task, the greater the likelyhood of error.

In my opinion the various options ranked in order of highest to lowest risk are:
Manually charging each cell

Charging a pack as a whole without balancing

Charging a pack while using a Blinky

Charging a pack while using a LBA10 / Equinox

Charging a pack while using an external balancer which communicates with charger
(e.g. LBA10 connected to EOS1210)

Charging a pack using a charger with an integrated balancer
It's a matter of choosing a balance of price, performance, and risk that you are comfortable with.
My first LIPO packs didn't have balance ports (few did at the time) and they worked fine with the
Accu-Cycle Elite. I charged them at .5C and discharged them at 5-7C with the LVC set to 3.3V per cell
and the flights timed to avoid over discharging them. When packs with balance ports became
available I invested in them as well as later purchasing a LBA10 because that gave me what I'm
comfortable with.

Note: I'd also suggest investing in something like a Liposack for charging and to have on hand at the
field in case of a crash resulting in a questionable battery.
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Old May 25, 2008, 01:15 AM
I will be an angry old man!
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Vancouver Isl
Joined Apr 2007
1,360 Posts
Wow, that's an expensive charger considering it doesn't balance. Any chance you can return it and get something else? I guess it basically contains 2 chargers, but still only 2 Amps per side. I guess the fact that it can provide very low currents is useful for forming Nimh packs.

If you can`t return it, you can try a Blinky. Depending on the size of the lipo, you may need to reduce the charge rate so that the blinky can keep up with the charger. Other than that, it works well.

Another option is using the Great Planes / Electrifly Equinox balancer. You connect the balancing taps of your lipos to the balancer and then connect the balancer to your charger.

Either option will keep your backs in balance, but you won't have the safety features that are designed in balanced chargers offered by manufacturers such as FMA Direct, Kong Power, Thunder Power, Hyperion, etc...
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