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Old May 05, 2001, 06:18 AM
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rscamp's Avatar
Dundas, ON Canada
Joined Feb 2001
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Orbit Charger Questions

Perhaps someone who has one (or two) of these chargers can answer a few questions for me.

I just ordered a couple of the Orbit chargers (one for me, one for a flying buddy). I chose the Microlader Pro because I generally fly bigger stuff and my friend chose the Microlader V6.0 because he intends to fly some indoor stuff.

Other than the obvious differences (current, # cells) anyone know if there is any difference in the software/firmware between these two chargers? If so, what is the difference?

What do you like best about these chargers? Least?

I know, my questions are a bit late since I've already ordered them!

Thanks!

Rob
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Old May 05, 2001, 07:15 AM
Make Haste Slowly
realdeal's Avatar
USA, KY, Lexington
Joined Nov 1999
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As far as I know both chargers share the same software. The only difference I can find is the charge rate and number of cells. They are great chargers. I replaced an Astro 112D with the Orbit Pro and consider it a real upgrade. The auto-charging is very cool. My 21-cell RC2000 pack used to take 45 minutes to charge on my Astro 112D. It now takes about 19 minutes on my Orbit Pro and gets no hotter than before. My 10-cell 1250SCR pack went from 25 minutes to 12 and is even cooler coming off charge than it was on the Astro. The format feature is nice as well. I use it on new packs to get them up to capacity.

Some recommendations:

If you don't already have a 12V power supply capable of at least 20A (better if it can do 30A) then get one. The format charging takes several days if you do multiple cycles and it is nice to not worry about a source battery running out of juice. Radioshack runs specials from time to time on some appropriate power supplies on their website.

Read the manual throughly. It is not a dificult charger to operate, but it is different than anything else out there.

Keith
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Old May 05, 2001, 01:20 PM
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Dundas, ON Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisc:
It does not look appealing on the outside but don't be fooled by it.
That's it. I'm cancelling my order. Any charger I use must be fashionable...

Rob
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Old May 05, 2001, 01:35 PM
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Haldor's Avatar
Stavanger, Norway
Joined Feb 2000
7,999 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by rscamp:
Thanks for the advice on the power supply. Could I just use a big 12V battery or a 12V battery connected to an automatic charger?

What exactly is the "Format" charging for and how does it work?
You could probably use a 12V battery + charger like you said - I have done that with no problems. If I had the cash I'd prefer a 20+A PSU tho.

The Format mode is a cycle setup where you set the charge/discharge rate and how many cycles (1-9). Fast or slow charging doesnt matter. Its nice to do this on new packs to ensure that the cells are nicely equalizied before using them.

I have played with this charger (Regluar Microlader v6) but havent got one on my own yet - its on my list tho!

The big difference between the Pro and the "standard" is the amp/cell range,
Pro 2-32cells@100mAh-8Ah (275W)
Reg. 1-30cells@50mAh-6Ah (180W)

Its more difficult to get a high output charger as the Pro to work well with low (<100mAh) charhing current hence the discrepency in low charge&cell value.
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Old May 05, 2001, 01:44 PM
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Dundas, ON Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by Haldor:
The big difference between the Pro and the "standard" is the amp/cell range,
Pro 2-32cells@100mAh-8Ah (275W)
Reg. 1-30cells@50mAh-6Ah (180W)

Its more difficult to get a high output charger as the Pro to work well with low (<100mAh) charhing current hence the discrepency in low charge&cell value.
Haldor.

Are you saying the "Pro" version won't charge/discharge 1 cell? Gee, I was hoping I could use it for matching cells.

Rob
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Old May 05, 2001, 02:11 PM
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Wilsonville, OR, USA
Joined Mar 2000
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I have the manual for my Pro right here and it says 1-32 cells. And I've used my to charge individual Li-Ion cells.

Keith W.

[This message has been edited by Keith Watson (edited 05-05-2001).]
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Old May 05, 2001, 02:19 PM
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St. Mary, Maryland, United States
Joined Dec 1996
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There is no difference between the models as far as software goes, the difference is all in max amp capability.

I've had my Orbit Pro since June last year and other than perhaps the $600+ Schluze it is the best on the market IMHO. Best feature for my money as others have said is the 8 amp max rate, I've charged up to 24 cell packs at 8 amps and the charge time for 2400's is less than 30 minutes, sometimes 20 depending on how empty they were. The other great features I use a lot are reflex charging for Rx packs and Nimh power packs as well as discharging. I have even charged Tadiran packs on it. There isn't a charging need I can think of that this unit will not do.

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Old May 05, 2001, 02:43 PM
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Belgium
Joined Sep 1999
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I agree, this is a great bit of kit.

One point to note, small packs, even low resistance ones like 500AR (but particularly small indoor packs) often come up as 'APPARENT FAULT' towards the end of charging in automatic mode (this is actually mentioned in the manual). It is better to use "easy charge" which is the constant current option, or reflex - no problem with these.

Another nice point not documented in that the PC interface also includes a DOS version which is just fine. I picked up a nice little completely outdated IBM notebook with a B&W screen for next to nothing and it now lives in my workshop.

I would second the power supply suggestion, I don't regret having bought one at all.

Rod
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Old May 05, 2001, 04:44 PM
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Stavanger, Norway
Joined Feb 2000
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Quote:
Originally posted by rscamp:
Haldor.

Are you saying the "Pro" version won't charge/discharge 1 cell? Gee, I was hoping I could use it for matching cells.

Rob
I stand corrected - the Pro do single cells no problem. My bad...


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Old May 05, 2001, 08:21 PM
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Dundas, ON Canada
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Hey guys.

Thanks for your responses. I learned a few things...

Can't wait to get "Into Orbit".

Rob
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Old May 05, 2001, 11:25 PM
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Ralph Weaver's Avatar
Indianapolis, IN USA
Joined Nov 2000
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Quote:
Originally posted by rscamp:
Haldor.

Are you saying the "Pro" version won't charge/discharge 1 cell? Gee, I was hoping I could use it for matching cells.

Rob
What's the max discharge current with one cell? I didn't think it was enough current to match. It doesn't simulate the inflight load.

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Old May 06, 2001, 12:07 AM
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Wilsonville, OR, USA
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Ralph,

The max discharge for 1 or 2 cells is 8A. And it falls off quickly for higher cell counts because the max discharge watts is 25W. It works fine for testing capacity, just not for testing loads.

Keith
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Old May 06, 2001, 12:32 AM
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Dundas, ON Canada
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Thank you very much Keith.

I'm glad you like yours. Makes me think we are doing the right thing.

I was looking forward to a small but significant reduction in charge times, but you seem to have shortened them tremendously. More flying, less waiting. I like the sound of that...

Thanks for the advice on the power supply. Could I just use a big 12V battery or a 12V battery connected to an automatic charger?

What exactly is the "Format" charging for and how does it work?

Cheers,

Rob
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Old May 06, 2001, 12:40 AM
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canada
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I am using an Orbit V6.0 charger and I fully recommend it. The Orbit Pro cost more. This is the best charger I have ever use.

It does not look appealing on the outside but don't be fooled by it.
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Old May 06, 2001, 07:12 AM
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Dundas, ON Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ralph Weaver:
What's the max discharge current with one cell? I didn't think it was enough current to match. It doesn't simulate the inflight load.

Ralph.

How much current do you need to discharge with to match cells? I would have guessed there is a reasonable relationship between capacity at 8A and capacity at 20-30A discharge.

Rob

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