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Nov 10, 2007, 10:41 PM
Only electrons, Martha
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Maxpro X6 Multi-Charger Owners Thread


If you're considering purchasing this product, please fast forward to this post:
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=770

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About a week ago I was able to get ahold of a MaxPro X6 Charger from RC-TEK. I got it at a promotional price, but in no way was it free. I noticed today that RC-TEK has them available for purchase at their website for $148.95 so I think it's safe to assume this is the MSRP.

Manufacturer Support Webpage
http://www.maxprotechnic.com/Maxpro/...axproX6-1.html

MaxPro X6 Manual (PDF)
http://www.maxprotechnic.com/Maxpro/...ers_Manual.pdf

This charger has a ton of features. If you're a tinkerer like me, you'll really like all it offers.
  • Lithium Ion 2S to 6S
  • Lithium Polymer 2S to 6S
  • Lithium Manganese 2S to 6S
  • A123 1 to 8 cells
  • NiCAD/NiMH 1 to 18 cells
  • Lead Acid (pb) 1 to 12 cells
  • Charge Amps range from .1 to 4.9A in .1 increments
  • Discharge Amps range from .1 to 1.4A in .1 increments
  • Multiple Balancer Charging Modes (Normal / Fast / Slow)
  • Cell Balancing Only Mode
  • Storage Charge Mode
  • Discharge mode for all pack types
  • Pack Cycling Mode (1 to 5 cycles) for all pack types
  • PC (RS232) Interface and Monitoring Software
  • Thermal Probe for temperature monitoring
  • Upgradable firmware
  • Ability to balance charge 3 2S Li* or 2 3S Li* simultaneously


The programming is very intuitive and fairly idiot proof. It will try to auto-detect the pack chemistry and voltage connected to it, but still requires you to verify both before performing a charge or discharge.

Discharge Display


Cell Balancing Mode Display



Charging Display


There are subtle variances in the LCD display depending on the pack chemistry selected, but it shows the same basic data across all types including Charge Rate in Amps, Voltage, Temperature, Amps Charged/Discharged, and Elapsed time.

It currently does not support A123 cell balancing... why they would not include this initially is beyond me, but I was informed that a future version of the firmware will most likely incorporate cell balancing into the programming for A123 packs.

A123 packs can only be charged at a rate of 4.9A because of the charge rate maximum for the charger so you may not want to throw away your A123 Charger just yet. In my tests, it took a bit over 30 minutes to charge my 3S 2300 mAh A123 pack.

The monitoring software is very easy to use and informative. it provides real-time feedback based on the action being taken, has 2D and 3D charts, with detailed, and summary views. The version I was provided is unable to connect to the charger under Windows Vista, but works fine under XP and 2003 (both 32 and 64 bit). When I asked RC-TEK about this they said that they are already working with Maxpro to get a Vista friendly version of the software.

Begin Charge Cycle Monitor Screenprint


End Charge Cycle Monitor Screenprint


End Charge Cycle General Chart Export


End Charge Cycle Details Chart Export


End Discharge Cycle General Chart Export


End Discharge Cycle Details Chart Export

I noticed with the 3D charts that periodically the series colors act a little buggy, as illustrated below. I believe this too will be addressed with a future version.

3D Chart Export

My overall impression of this charger is that it is versatile, functional, and full of features. I have not tried the 3S x 2 charge mode yet, but I have a couple pigtails on order so that I can make my own balancing adapter for matched 3S packs.

More to come as I progress further. Feel free to post your own experiences or any questions / concerns you may have.

Shell
Last edited by ShellDude; Aug 15, 2008 at 10:29 AM.
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Nov 10, 2007, 10:53 PM
Only electrons, Martha
ShellDude's Avatar
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Enclosed below is the pinout for the 3S X 2 to 6S balancing adapter if you're like me and want to make your own:

Nov 17, 2007, 05:34 PM
Only electrons, Martha
ShellDude's Avatar
Thread OP
I created my 3S x 2 to 6S adapter today. I assembled it from 2 Hyperion 4S balancing pigtails and 1 Hyperion 6S one.

I'm in the process of discharging a couple equally rated (and aged) 3S packs with the charger individually. Once that is done I'm going to hook them up in series with my new pigtail (I've already validated that it's working fine) balance all the cells across the two packs and do a 1S charge.

I'll take a couple pictures of the process once I've got it going and post the results when I'm done.

One thing I've noticed, and have been reminded about from a couple different people is that you need to be VERY careful when charging two packs like this. Things can go wrong quick if you don't pay attention to what you're doing.

Nov 18, 2007, 10:54 AM
Registered User
What will happen if both packs are not at or near the same voltage?
Nov 18, 2007, 11:53 AM
Only electrons, Martha
ShellDude's Avatar
Thread OP
Actually, that was the case before charging them last night. After discharging and balancing the two 3S packs individually the voltage between the two of them was still a bit off.

The charger only offered the "Balance" charge mode which does nothing more than balance all of the cells across the two packs. It was actually pretty neat cause it discharged a couple cells and charged a couple others.

I've got pictures and screen prints of it all. I just need a couple minutes today to cut/edit them and format a post.

Something else I've noticed that I like is that even though it has individual balancing ports for the different cell counts / connector sizes I can use the 6S pigtail and if I only have a 3S pack connected, the charger correctly detects it as a 3S pack. This is similar to how the DN Power charger works and is a little easier to manage than having a different adapter for every different type of pack cell count wise.

More to follow soon.

Shell
Nov 18, 2007, 07:03 PM
Only electrons, Martha
ShellDude's Avatar
Thread OP
Here's a picture of the 3S x 2 setup ready to charge:


Before it'd enter into a full charge cycle it insisted on first balancing the cells because they were at too high of a variance.


So a couple clicks of the start button and it's balancing away:




The charger indicates with an * which cell it's focusing on during the balancing process:


Here's a shot of the LCD upon completion of the balancing cycle:


And a couple screenshots of what the PC monitoring software was showing pre/post Balancing cycle:


Balance Mode Start


Balance Mode End

Now that I've got all 6 cells within the tolerances defined in Setup for cell voltage variances I can proceed to performing an actual charge. I navigate through the charge options by pressing the Start button and select the Normal charge mode:


And the the charge cycle begins:




After about an hour (it was actually 59 minutes) the charge was complete and I'd put 1,830mA back into my 2 2,200mAh 3S packs.




I grabbed a couple screenshots of the monitoring software during the Charge cycle too:

Charge Starting


90% Charged


Charge Completed

There ya have it. 1C charging of 2 3S packs in one hour. It doesn't get much better than this for "traditional" LiPo.

Shell
Nov 18, 2007, 07:15 PM
Registered User
Nice set of features.
Can I ask a question about "Charge voltage" and "battery voltage" ? Could You explain them, please?
Counting this values and even making difference between them is not ordinary. I am appreciating this.
However, anything may be done wrong - I see allmost 13V on the graphs, so I am asking a simple question:

What is the absolute maximum voltage that may appear on one Lipo cell at any time during charge, including voltage under any current flow?

If it is higher than 4.20V, I request throughout investigation of results of such charge, effect on cell lifetime and possible Lipo damage.
Nov 18, 2007, 07:29 PM
Only electrons, Martha
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Charging Voltage and Battery Voltage - 6S


Charging Voltage and Battery Voltage - 3S


I'm not an electrical engineer so my explanation is in laymans terms. I'm sure it could be explained better by a real expert but I'll give it a go:

Charging Voltage
The number of volts that the charger is applying to the pack through the main battery plugs (possibly calculated).

Battery Voltage
The real-time sum of the voltage of all cells in the pack as measured through the balancing taps.

The software doesn't distinquish between the two in the cell specific data. As best as I can tell it shows the "Battery Voltage" as I've never seen the per cell values higher than 4.20V.

I could hook up my multimeter between the charger and a pack to measure the actual voltage there.
Last edited by ShellDude; Nov 19, 2007 at 12:04 AM. Reason: added notion of using a multimeter & updated definitions based on tests
Nov 18, 2007, 08:00 PM
Registered User
Thank You for the response.
I think that I understand the reply, but So far, I am not happy with it.
Well, since charger firmware is upgradable at home, this point could be open for discussion.
Perhaps there are selectable modes of operation..

To explain my opinion, I am sure that Lipos are damaged by overvoltage, even if they are still not full. I mean that 4.3V is harmfull even if no-curent voltage is below 4.0V. That is why we have to slow down the charge and wait much longer time for CV phase, instead of just charging at constant current until cell voltage measured while current is paused shows the cell completely full.
Once upon a time we had a charger that measured no-current voltage of lipos, and if it was below maximum, it did applied 10 seconds of constant, 1C, charge current. Results were bad, new Lipos did mostly accept such charge, but many of them did puff too soon to be acceptable..
Time will tell.
Nov 18, 2007, 08:03 PM
Only electrons, Martha
ShellDude's Avatar
Thread OP
Coro,

My definition(s) are based more on assumption than anything else. Let me drop the distributor a line to see about having the actual charger maker answer this question fully for us.
Nov 18, 2007, 08:12 PM
Registered User
Thank You.
To ask technician, I would ask whether "Battery voltage" is really measured without current flow, (that is wrong in my opinion, but Your reply seems to tell that: "Battery Voltage - The number of volts that the pack would output on its own." ),
or it is preset value, and charger output voltage is increased by computed voltage drop on circuit impedance, measured by charger.
Nov 18, 2007, 10:42 PM
Only electrons, Martha
ShellDude's Avatar
Thread OP
I'm in the process of doing some additional measurements with an Astroflight Micro Whattmeter and my Radio Shack Multimeter.

So far I have determined that "Battery Voltage" as reported in the Monitoring application is the real-time sum of the voltage of all cells in the pack.

Some additional data I've noted thus far.

Using a discharged 880mAh PQ 2S Pack (Standing)

Pack Voltage
AF Micro Whatmeter - 7.44V
Charger Faceplate - 7.33V
RS Multimeter - 7.36V

Voltage Per Cell
Charger Faceplate - 3.68V / 3.69V
RS Multimeter - 3.679V / 3.686V

I'm about to start a 1C charge session and will report the results shortly. I believe when I'm done we should have a definative answer as to what Charge and Battery Voltage represent.
Nov 19, 2007, 12:00 AM
Only electrons, Martha
ShellDude's Avatar
Thread OP
Interesting results thus far.

The PQ 2S 880 pack is at about 90% charged now. My Whattmeter is reporting a voltage of 8.64V through the main battery leads but the charger's faceplate is reporting 8.24V for the pack and 4.1V / 4.14V for the cells.

The monitoring software is reporting a Charge Voltage of 8.820V and a Battery Voltage of 8.24V (consistent with the faceplate and the sum of the cells voltages).

Now here's the kicker... It's actually discharging the higher voltage cell through the balance tap as the other is catching up... I know this because of two signs. The first being the Data grid in the monitoring application and the second being the * next to the higher V cell on the faceplate.

I can't speak for the difference in "Charge Volts" between my Whattmeter and the Monitoring software but I do tend to believe my Whattmeter with a variance of +/- .1 V so it is probable this number is being calculated.

I can answer your question with a high degree of confidence now though.

Q: What is the absolute maximum voltage that may appear on one Lipo cell at any time during charge, including voltage under any current flow?

A: 4.20V

Cell Voltage Graph @ ~90%


Data Table @ ~90%

I will provide a follow-up post with the final charge numbers when the charge is complete (I just noticed that it switched into a finalization phase and the Whattmeter is reporting 8.51V +/-.10V through the main battery plug).

I will also be updating my original definition of the Battery Voltage to be the real-time sum of the voltage of all cells in the pack as measured through the balancing taps.
Nov 19, 2007, 01:20 AM
Only electrons, Martha
ShellDude's Avatar
Thread OP
Here are the post charge numbers. I highlighted the handful times I saw the voltage for any of the cells go above 4.20V. This happened a number of times in the finalization stage but never exceeded 4.21V for more than a couple seconds. I also only saw this in the monitoring software.

Also, bear in mind that this is a 2 and half year old pack that hasn't had any real service in over a year. Try as it may, X6 couldn't get the 1st cell up to 4.2... and believe me, it tried

Nov 19, 2007, 03:34 PM
Registered User
lost's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by coro
Nice set of features.
Can I ask a question about "Charge voltage" and "battery voltage" ? Could You explain them, please?
Counting this values and even making difference between them is not ordinary. I am appreciating this.
However, anything may be done wrong - I see allmost 13V on the graphs, so I am asking a simple question:

What is the absolute maximum voltage that may appear on one Lipo cell at any time during charge, including voltage under any current flow?

If it is higher than 4.20V, I request throughout investigation of results of such charge, effect on cell lifetime and possible Lipo damage.
I am not sure which screen you are talking about, but I have the same charger and the Charge monitor screen that ShellDude is showing is less accurate than the next screen. Perhaps he could show the "Details screen"
Also the Charge voltage is the Voltage supplied from your power source and the battery voltage on the screen shows about 12.5 volts which is right for a 3 cell. Again the second screen of the Charge Monitor would explain better


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