Lithium battery recharging can be a challenging business. Cheap chargers can brute-force your batteries causing premature failure or damage.
If you’ve never worked with multi-cell battery packs before, then “balance charging” might be a term you’re unfamiliar with. Due to the high capacity LiPo packs required for our drone project featured in this issue, so we went on the hunt for a quality, versatile balance charger. We found a relatively new example available at Jaycar Electronics. We picked one up and were thoroughly impressed with it, so we wanted to tell everyone about it!
Balance charging ensures that each of the cells in an individual battery pack are monitored and managed. It helps compensate for any differences in the individual cells, and can alert you to a problematic cell within the pack too.
The first observation we made is that there are plenty of cable adaptors included, to suit various battery pack connections, so it only took us a few seconds to figure out what we needed. It provides a set of gold-plated banana sockets, with two to six port connections for the balance charging connection. This unit can be run from mains power, or from a 11VDC to 18VDC, which means you can run it from a car or 12V battery too. Alligator clip leads are provided, but a cigarette lighter to DC cable could be used in place too, for a more convenient connection.
Charging can be set for up to 6A, which is loads of current! We weren’t in a hurry, so charged our pack at 2A instead. We followed the simple instructions to confirm the cell count and battery type, and off it went. The large LCD is informative and the controls are intuitive. It provides pack voltage and current charge duration, as well as individual cell voltages. This was more than enough information for us to be confident the battery was being recharged in the best way.
It only took a short time, for it to be fully recharged, at which point the system automatically shut off charging - easy!
As with many of these types of products, the accompanying software is Windows-only. Being a Mac-dominant environment here at DIYODE, we didn’t take the software for a spin, but honestly the interface on the unit was so good, we’re not convinced we’re missing out on anything anyway.
Overall, this charger performs brilliantly, and will provide your LiPo battery packs (also compatible with Li-ion, LiFe, LiHV, NiCd, NiMH and lead acid batteries) with the care they need for maximum life, while providing timely recharging up to 6A. You won’t be disappointed!
Want it now? Grab it online from Jaycar Electronics
- MB-3633 $99.95