5326Re: Charger options?
- Jun 1, 2009My NLG5 Brusa charger is becoming flakey and I have been considering going to individual chargers. I am including a past note posted by Allan Poulsen (see below). Note that he uses the individual chargers as a complement to his existing bulk charger, whereas I would use them in a dedicated manner. Soneil chargers can be purchased for $87CDN each (see http://econogics.com/Soneil/pricelst.pdf) however they need to be individually calibrated and many not be able to go up to the Deka recommended 14.1 volts, which is a worry, as I observe that the car really loves that little overcharge burst at the end of the charge cycle.
*** Does anyone know is Deka/East-Penn recommends specific individual chargers for their Gel batteries? ***
I have also seen the warning that with individual chargers batteries must be monitored individually after the charge to ensure that they all completed the charge (i.e. one charger did not go defective during the night) because using the pack in that state would cause serious problems.
Insights appreciated! Thank you.
1998 Solectria Force
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Allan Poulsen <sparkyev_ca@...>
Sent: Friday, April 3, 2009 6:13:36 PM
Subject: [solectria_ev] Notes on using individual battery chargers
I've had success with balancing batteries in my truck conversion using
Soneil 1212SRs, one per 12V segment in the string. You should be able
to put 13 of these (total 156VDC nominal, 5A output) on a 15A 120VAC
circuit without blowing a fuse, as I've used 12 easily. They are a
As my truck is using 6V GC batteries, I will be further optimizing to
use individual 6V chargers (Soneil 604CC) and adding a Paktrakr. I see
that Soneil also has smaller 12V chargers (1A and 2A) if all you want
to do is balance batteries after using your bulk charger, and when
idle. The advantage of 5A was that I then rarely used the bulk charger.
http://www.soneil com/12_volt. html
This method is also allowing me to more easily mix older and new
batteries, and thus make each battery last longer. I have experienced
a 30% improvement in battery life using the 1212SRs over just using my
I have no connection with Soneil or Paktrakr - it's just the products
that I use. Other brands may also be suitable for use in series strings.
Tips on using Soneil 1212SR, and other 12V chargers connected to a
1) Double check each charger that the outputs are isolated from both
ground and input leads before connecting to the pack. I had 2 shorted
units with negative output shorted to the metal case - see #2! Soneil
was notified and I've been assured this was corrected in their
2) Fuse all connections (max 20A) to the battery as close to the
battery terminal as possible. If any chargers have ground shorts, you
will really appreciate this! There is no fuse in the 1212SR!
3) If using extension wiring from batteries to a terminal block,
again, use a fuse as close to the battery terminal as possible, and
suitable gauge wire (I used 12 guage). Also, as these are "smart"
chargers that occasionally read the voltage of the battery, and have a
"pulse" phase (see specs), you don't want to share a wire between 2
chargers (eg. positive of one charger and negative of another charger
on the same wire to the same point in the pack) since a wire has a
resistance and thus a measurable voltage when current is flowing. If
you want each charger to truly maintain the battery it is connected
to, use dedicated wiring from both charger outputs to both battery
terminals without sharing these wires with other chargers/batteries.
4) Check calibration periodically - best done with a Paktrakr or other
monitoring device to ensure each battery/charger completed the
expected charge cycle. Note that having separate chargers also helps
deal with the imbalance that a Paktrakr can cause (sucks a small
current from first battery in the string monitored by a remote).
5) If mounting the charger bricks together, use a 1/2 inch spacer of
some type, and provide a fan to circulate air around the chargers. If
they get too hot by being packed in too tightly, they will power down
(and appear to have completed the cycle). Again, use a monitoring
system to ensure each battery completed it's charge cycle.
--- In email@example.com, Ken Olum <kdo@...> wrote:
> I was not able to fix my Brusa NLG4, so now I'm looking for a new
> charger. I need to be able to charge on both 120V and 240V. The
> choices seem to be these:
> Brusa NLG5: A straightforward replacement of the NLG4. There is even
> an adapter cable so you don't have to make new wires. Presumably it
> would treat my batteries very well, just like its predecessor.
> However, it costs $4000 and does not charge very quickly on 120V
> (albeit better than the NLG4). Probably 6A output current.
> Zivan NG3: Sadly, these chargers take a fixed input voltage, so I
> would need 2. Even so, they are available for about $1100 each, so
> this is still cheaper than the Brusa. The 120V Zivan charges more
> quickly than the Brusa, but it draws 18A, raising a possible issue of
> blowing circuit breakers. This is particularly an issue because my partner
> works in a building whose garage is very well supplied with 120V
> outlets, but we have not made any arrangement with the owners of that
> building, and so would not have any way to reset a circuit breaker.
> The Zivan has a single temperature sensor, so I would have to either
> guess which battery compartment is hotter, or devise some plan for
> automatically switching to the hotter sensor.
> Manzanita Micro PFC-20, plus 13 individual bypass regulators: Since
> the charger itself is not temperature compensated, the regulators seem
> mandatory. The entire package costs about $2600. I wrote to Rich
> Rudman and he does recommend this charger for gel batteries.
> This charger has exactly the input stage I want. It can charge on any
> voltage (60-240), and the input current can be throttled down with a
> knob. I don't know if this would do a better or worse job than my
> Brusa. The procedure is very different, but the batteries would have
> individual regulators, so perhaps it would be better.
> If I used a PFC-20 I think I would have to shut down the charger when
> the batteries were charged, rather than floating them. Again, I'm
> not sure if this is better or worse, although there is the issue that
> if you don't use the car for several days there is some drain.
> The PFC-20 is not isolated. This poses a danger if there is a current
> leak to the frame of the car. In fact, I have such a leak, but it has
> a very high resistance, and any case I ought to fix it. This danger
> can be ameliorated by installing a GFCI, which I don't have now.
> (There was a long discussion on this subject on the EV list in 2002,
> under the title "Yet another charger question". See
> I don't see any option I really like here. I'm leaning toward the
> PFC-20, but I'd be interested in hearing opinions. Especially I'd
> like to know if anyone has a PFC-20 on a Force.
> Thanks very much.
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