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Old Apr 29, 2002, 10:52 AM
Registered User
Sunnyvale, CA
Joined May 2001
635 Posts
Using Orbit charger for foam cutting

I made my first hotwire foam cutter last night and I'm using my Orbit Microlader V6.0 charger to power it. Is anyone else doing this? I set it to easy charge mode, Nicad sensitivity, and try different current settings until the wire cuts the foam. To start it, you have to hit all 3 buttons simultaneously.

The problem is that sometimes the charger stops. I'm guessing that this is because the temperature changes are affecting the resistance of the wire which changes the voltage needed to supply the programmed current and the Orbit is reading this as "done charging". It cuts out less when I'm actually cutting foam, but it has stopped a few times even then.

Any ideas on how to prevent the charger from stopping midway thru a cut (besides getting a separate power supply )?
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Old Apr 29, 2002, 12:07 PM
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ScottS's Avatar
Houston,TX
Joined Mar 2000
1,217 Posts
You could try to get a AF110/112 as a backup charger. This is one case where more smarts isn't better. The AF chargers have test mode that you enter by holding the button down when you connect the power. The first test mode is just a voltmeter, mode 2(slow) and 3 (fast) are constant current, no peak detection, no time-out - just what you need and you get a knob to adjust the current on the fly.
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Old Apr 29, 2002, 08:58 PM
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staten island new york
Joined Sep 1999
829 Posts
I actually use a toy train transformer but I have tested the orbit. I have a Race which has a function for powering glow plugs. If the V6 has this, use this mode instead. I power the charger with two PC power supplied hooked up in parallel but a car battery as if you were charging nicads will also work.
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Old Apr 30, 2002, 01:52 PM
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Sunnyvale, CA
Joined May 2001
635 Posts
ScottS Yikes, buy a whole new charger?! It would be nice if the Orbit turned off its "smarts" in this mode.

mrneutron: Unfortunately the V6.0 version doesn't have the glow mode. I'm using a PC power supply and the "Charging of 0V accu packs" mode.

After playing around some more I've found that using a little more current works better. It still shuts off occasionally, but most of the time that happens when the wire is not in the foam.
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Old May 01, 2002, 01:11 AM
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Palo Alto, CA, USA
Joined Nov 2000
61 Posts
Hey Tom., Stop goofin off so much! 250 posts! geez! I'd like my
options to be worth something!

Can u get hold of a PC power supply? or the power supply
of that other charger u had?

Else try lead-acid mode on ur Orbit? That probably has a voltage
cutoff but in general seems like using a charger is not likely
to be easy.


-A
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Old May 01, 2002, 10:33 AM
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Sunnyvale, CA
Joined May 2001
635 Posts
We were supposed to get options?!?! Don't you have some email to read slowpoke?

I'm not sure if the Orbit will starting charging in Lead Acid mode if there isn't a battery attached. I'll have to look into that.

I guess I could just buy a dimmer switch and hook it straight to the PC power supply instead of going thru the Orbit...
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Old May 02, 2002, 02:49 PM
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staten island new york
Joined Sep 1999
829 Posts
How about what some other people have done? They hook a resistive wire into the motor end of their esc, have it setup exactly as if it were in a plane except a wire where the motor is. The heat of the wire is controled by the throttle stick of the TX. And, if you want you can power the whole system with a PC power supply rather than a charged nicad pack
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