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Re: Sovereign and Excal battery information 101. We need all your information.
Posted by: Critterhunter
Date: June 29, 2012 11:21AM
Here's my bit...The wall "charger" on the Sovereign is not really a charger but rather just a DC transformer. The actual charging circuit for the GT is inside the rechargeable pack behind the charging plug. For that reason, if you decide to charge the GT's battery pack with an aftermarket charger for faster charging times, you have to hook it up via alligator clips to the two main battery leads that make contact with the GT when the pack is installed on the control box. I can't remember which terminal is the positive or the negative, but many aftermarket chargers will tell you if the polarity has been reversed and to correct it. Another way to tell is via a volt meter that will show negative (-) voltage if the polarity is reversed.

If you do decide to use an aftermarket charger for the GT, make sure not to charge the pack too fast. The GT's pack says either 1000 or 1100ma (can't remember but it's on the pack). The fastest I would push charging the pack is at 1C, meaning 1 amp if it's a 1000ma pack, or 1.1 amp if it's 1100ma. Charging at 1C, a completely dead pack will take roughly an hour to charge. In reality the charging process is not very efficient, so usually a completely dead pack will take a bit longer than that.

The advantage of using a good aftermarket charger, besides being able to charge faster, is that many will clearly say that the pack is charged when done. Since I haven't used the stock pack or charger in a long time (I prefer using a 3 cell lipo for lighter weight in the 8AA holder), I'll let others tell you how the light on the pack should act when charging is complete. I forget...It either goes out or it gets dimmer when the charge is complete. I think it just gets dimmer. Another perk of a good aftermarket charger is it will tell you how much capacity has been put back into the pack so you can monitor the battery's health over time.

Now, for the stock wall transformer, look at the output it says on it. I think it's either 50ma or 100ma from memory. If the pack is 1000ma then divide that by the output current of the wall transformer. 50ma into 1000ma would mean 20 hours roughly to charge a completely dead pack.

For a good aftermarket charger I recommend the Accucel 6 from Hobby City at only about $20. But, make sure you are willing to read online about using this charger because there are many settings to set up and use. It will charge many battery types but is not intended for the novice who just wants to plug in a battery and have the charger do the rest. It is a computerized charger with many settings and the ability to save them for various packs and battery types. It also requires a 12V power source to power it, which means you have to buy one of their 12V inverters for around $10 or so or hook it up to a car battery or something to power it. It's a very popular charger in the RC electric plane world for it's adjustments and cheap price, but again NOT for the novice who doesn't know anything about battery charging.

My biggest advice when considering an aftermarket charger is do not charge any pack faster than 1C or it could very well shorten it's life. If a pack is getting hot during charging you are slowly killing it. I even recommend you charge at a slower rate than 1C whenever possible. It's needless to charge as slow as the stock "charger" does though. I recommend 1/2C (500ma for a 1000ma pack), which will take about 2 hours, but even a slower rate is good too.

One tip I will give you guys about storing your battery packs for the GT. Put them in a plastic bag. Even the regular 8AA holder when batteries are in it. If those two main battery leads were to short out on some metal without you knowing it and leaving it sit that way, you could easily have a fire on your hands.

From memory I think the Sovereign drains roughly 50ma per hour, so roughly it gets about 20 hours on say a 1000ma pack. If the wall transformer says 50ma then figure about the same amount of time to charge the pack as it was drained during use. Obviously if the wall transformer says 100ma then figure about half the time you were hunting it will take to charge the pack full again. That's just a rough rule of thumb, as charging often takes an hour to three or so longer than the math says because the charging process is not very efficient.

If you have a pack that no longer holds a charge well or won't take one, here's the way I've recovered nimh or nicad packs in the past. Hook it up to a aftermarket charger and blast charge it at say 1C (1 hour charge). This will break down crystals of resistance that can form in the pack that the normal slow charging process doesn't get rid of. In fact, many cheap chargers that come with detectors or such won't even charge a pack that is this way, while a good aftermarket charger will force it to take a charge. Some guys will even blast charge at say 2 or 3 times C to insure the crystals are broken down good. I do NOT recommend doing that because you could easily have the pack explode or catch on fire. If anything, if I risk doing that high of a charge rate to break down any crystals I only do it for a couple of minutes and then stop, because you are asking for trouble IMO at that fast of a charging rate.

After charged then hook a car tail light bulb to the pack to drain it. After the light goes out let it sit hooked up to the bulb for another 30 minutes or so. This will insure all cells are at equal discharge. Re-charge the pack again at 1C. Repeat the process 3 to 5 times or so. Now charge the pack a bit slower, 1/2 C or even use the stock even slower charger to charge it. Chances are that now the pack will have good capacity again, or at least increased capacity, and will work well again. I like to do this charge/discharge exercise 2 or 3 times to my nimh or nicad packs about once or twice a year to exercises them as it increases their capacity.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/2012 11:23AM by Critterhunter.


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