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Re: Sovereign and Excal battery information 101. We need all your information.
Posted by: Critterhunter
Date: June 29, 2012 03:43PM
Rick, higher charge rates are harder and harder on a battery of course, but the general line to cross in that respect is about 1C (1 hour charge). That said, I usually won't charge a pack that fast, but I have charged the stock GT pack at that rate and it never got hot. There are some Excal guys I've seen using an Ebay charger sold for it that I think charges even faster than 1C. It's a plug in and charge charger with no settings that I remember. Now, I don't recommend charging faster than 1C as for sure the pack might get hot and that destroys a battery over time. I tend to push my packs no faster than about 1/2C if I'm in a hurry but not too big of a hurry, or 1C when I am here and there. But, yes, in general the slower the better. But, at the rate of the Minelab wall transformer there is no need to go that slow at 50 or 100ma. It's not so much about that slow of a rate treating the battery less harsh than say 300 to 500ma would, but more to do with the limits of cheap wall transformers like that IMO. They are very limited in output current, and as we know Minelab is trying to save a dime where they can. Otherwise why put Sub A heavy nimh cells in the rechargeable pack? Those style cells are ancient technology, and the 1000ma capacity (or is it 1100ma?) is very low compared to modern nimhs.

Regardless, opinions vary so take your choice. The only thing I'll say for sure is that if I was using the stock charger I would NOT trust leaving a nimh on it for endless hours. If it isn't cutting off that slow trickle charge rate it will destroy a nimh over time. Not sure if it is cutting off at peak on the Elite or GT, but I think (?) the old Sovereign packs had no such charge circuit between them and the transformer, and I'm pretty sure the Excalibur's are the same. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. I wouldn't worry so much about older Nicad packs, but if you put Nimhs in it or buy one of the newer nimh packs made for Excals or older Sovereigns that are floating around out there, I wouldn't leave them on the stock transformer for days on end. Divide the capacity of the pack by the output current of the transformer and then limit it at least to that many hours max, or perhaps a few more hours if the pack was dead as the actual charge takes longer than what the math says.

I do know the Excals have a thermistor in the stock packs if I remember right. If that's the case, you are limited by the charging rate due to the thermistor popping from too much heat, but when it cools down it will re-make the connection. I remember Kered saying he could push the charge rate of the Excal packs to a certain amp rate and beyond that the thermistor would pop. There is no difference in the transformers being used to charge the Excal nimh or older nicad packs as far as I know since it's just a transformer. With chargers, though, never mix nimhs with nicad chargers or vise versa, as the charger won't see a nimh has peaked since nicads drop more in voltage when done. So, if somebody out there re-builds a pack using the stock Sovereign or Elite pack, or any other pack for that matter that does have a charging circuit, make sure you use the same cell chemistry of nimh or nicad. Using higher capacity packs is fine (they'll just take longer to charge with the stock charger). But, as said, when I think the old Sovereigns and the Excals I've never seen or heard of a charge circuit between the transformer and the battery. If there isn't, you're OK to use nimhs instead of nicads or vise versa, but don't leave that nimh on the transformer for hours and hours after you think it's charged.

My point is that I think the aftermarket new Excal packs sold are all nimhs these days, so *if* the Excal only has a wall transformer and no charging circuit on the pack (I don't think they do) then make sure you are aware that nimhs do not like being trickle charged after the pack has peaked while nicads are OK with it. And, also, as said, never replace nicads with nimhs or vise versa if there is a charging circuit involved other than the simple wall transformer. For instance, don't put nicads in the stock GT rechargeable because the charging circuit is meant for nimhs. That said, I don't even think (?) the charging circuit in the GT shuts off after the pack has peaked but am not positive. I glanced at that circuit once and I think it's just a thermistor in there with a diode in case the pack gets too hot and doesn't really do anything else but am not sure as I didn't take a close look. I just know you can't charge it through that port using an aftermarket charger as it won't be able to read the voltage level due to the diode at least, so you have to use the main battery clips.

The Accucel 6 charger isn't super hard to use with a little reading and understanding. There is a manual for it on the website to print out, and numerous threads on RC groups .com to more clearly understand the settings. I also wrote a lot of extensive details on set up here in this forum, but I'll not re-post that info. Anybody can search and find the numerous threads on it, as well as further battery charging info, as well as Kered's info on charging Excal and other packs with it too. But, like you said, this charger is not for the novice. Most people would be MUCH better off buying a plug and charge simple charger. Just make sure it isn't charging any faster than 1C, and I'd rather be able to set it at 1/2C or less for most charges myself.



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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/2012 03:58PM by Critterhunter.


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Sovereign and Excal battery information 101

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Re: Sovereign and Excal battery information 101. We need all your information.

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