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NiCd numbers too low on Triton Jr.!

Old 10-10-2007, 08:23 PM
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CygnusX1
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Default NiCd numbers too low on Triton Jr.!

I am charging/discharging a very new Futaba Tx, NiCd, battery pack. I charged it twice with the Futaba wall charger by charging it, using it, and discharging it in the Tx. Then I bought the Triton Jr. I immediately cycled it three times at about 3/4 C and flew it another couple of times. I always discharge it at the end of the weekend on the Triton Jr. Last night I did a three cycle condition C>D, and by the third cycle, I am only able to get about 390mA into and out of, the 600mA battery pack? The C/D ratio is still good but the overall capacity is dramatically lowered.

I am discharging at about 0.5amps and charging at about 0.4amps for cycling. Unfortunately, you can't charge any slower or the Triton Jr. cuts into over time alarm after 1.5 hours.

Here is my possible issue. I am using a car battery as a power source and the battery is hooked to a car battery charger. The car battery voltage fluctuates alot during the charge cycles and that might be confusing the Triton Jr. Is this possible?

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:39 AM
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The car battery doesn't need to be on charge at the same time as you are charging your Tx pack. Since it has far more capacity than your Tx pack you won't run the car battery down in charging the Tx pack. Ideally for cycling your charge rate for the Tx pack should be C/10 - 60mA.
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:47 AM
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Well that is bad news for my Triton Jr. If the battery takes any longer than 1.5 hours to charge, the Triton Jr. spits it out as Time Limit Exceeded! This was forcing me to use higher amperages to keep the charge times under 1.5 hours. I wish I understood this before I layed out the money for the Triton Jr. What a bummer. :-(

Now I need to use the wall charger to charge the Tx, rendering the Triton useless for cycling NiMh batteries!
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:26 AM
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I should always follow my motto...spend more and get the right stuff the first time. My brand new Triton Jr. will be going right to ebay. The DuraTrax IntelliPeak ICE competition charger is on the way to my home.
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:43 PM
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While that is a limitation of the T Jr, you shouldn't be using a peak detection charger to slow charge. It wasn't designed for it. More than likely the charger has false peaked and never fully charged the pack.

There is no reason to discharge the pack after you are done using it. Just let it go until you charge it again.

As far as charging, just charge the pack at at 600 mah and it will be charged in a hour. That will not hurt the pack.

If you try to slow charge with the ICE, you'll have the same problem.

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Old 10-12-2007, 02:53 PM
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Matt Kirsch
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One more thing: Check your charge lead. Are they like 3 feet long and really thin? That will cause false peaks, guaranteed.

Get yourself a 12" Heavy Duty (22ga or thicker) servo extension from the hobby shop, and a set of banana plugs from Radio Shack. Cut off the male end, strip the red and black wires, and solder them into the banana plugs. Now you have a proper lead for charging both your transmitter and receiver packs that won't cause false peaks.

There's no reason to charge your transmitter pack at any less than 1C, or 600mA. All NiCds can easily take a 1C charge.

There's no reason to cycle it after EVERY weekend. All you're doing there is wearing out the battery prematurely.

Also, don't get to hung up on the amount of mAh put into, or taken out of, the pack. If you have a full 20 gallon tank of gas, then you pump 5 gallons out, and pump 5 gallons back in, is it not full? What I'm getting at here is that the mAh counter is not reading the "fullness" of the pack, only the amount of energy that's passed through the charger.
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:35 PM
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So then, conditioning a NiCd battery should NEVER be done with a peak detect charger?

I am using pretty heavy gauge cables that I made up to charge with. I took banana plugs and made a heavy harness with five different plugs on it so that the one harness can service all of my different connection styles. The wire gauges are at least 14g maybe even 12g and only about 8" long.

I have resorted to using the Futaba wall charger for the Tx pack. It outputs 40mA to the Tx battery but takes hours and hours. Thanks for the advice about NOT having to discharge the battery after each use. I thought that would keep the NiCd from dying early.
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Old 10-13-2007, 01:19 AM
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Form charging a nicad or nimh should be done at C/10 charge for 18-20 hours. A peak detection charger even if working properly will terminate the charge when the battery is full. It will never go long enough.
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Old 10-13-2007, 04:34 AM
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Thanks. That sounds like what you do with the low mA wall chargers. So then what function would the battery "cycle" function serve on a charger that will only go for 1.5 hours on NiXX batteries; such as the Triton Jr. It seems like it would be a useless, and potentially damaging feature? No?

-Dave
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