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Old 12-20-2011, 02:33 PM   #1
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Battery charging question

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Hi Folks

So I just back back into the hobby after a 7 year hiatus. I was able to fly this past summer using a old NiCad Tx pack that somehow was actually still really good and a new 700mah NiCad Rx pack. I only run glow planes and don't use digital servos with my old equipment (receivers are JR R600 and a JR XP642 transmitter), therfore I don't see a need for that lipo stuff.

Now if I want to buy a larger capacity 4 cell NiMh Rx pack will the simple old charger that came with the radio work to charge it or will I have to buy one of those expensive digital chargers?
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:23 PM   #2
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Re: Battery charging question

You can still use the same charger but it will just take longer. Take the capacity of the battery pack and divide by the output of the charger to get your charge time.

For example, a 2000mah pack charged with a 500ma (0.5a) charger will take 4 hours to charge.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:36 PM   #3
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Re: Battery charging question

most wall charger are 50-80 mah output
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:42 PM   #4
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Re: Battery charging question

You can get a charger for under $30 these days that will charge any kind of battery you want.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:55 PM   #5
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Re: Battery charging question

I would say you have 2 options;

If you want to use the same charger you have today, then just buy another 600mah nicad pack and fly (and charge) the same way you have always done. No headaches. [you did say you used standard servos and a standard receiver. 500 and 600mah packs have served the RC indstry faithfully for over 30 years before NiMh came out.]

If you want to buy NiMh, then get yourself a smart charger from Hobby King. Get one with a built in power supply for 40 bucks

In addition to doing your Nicads and Nimh, it will also charge your lead-acid field box batteries and your Lipos, if you ever do decide to get into electrics. 40 bucks isn't a lot of money to cry over, and the fact that it is an intelligent charger means you set your charge rate, turn it on and walk away. You dont have to worry about remembering to unplug a battery after having it on for xx hours. Trust me, I have done this in the past where I used an older dumb charger charging at high rate and I forgot to unplug it after a couple of hours. A day later, it is cooked to death and the battery is dead. This never happens anymore using one of these chargers
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:39 PM   #6
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Re: Battery charging question

Your old battery would take a full charge from flat in 14 hrs with the stock charger and you would very seldom use it all. The capacity of the NiMH batteries is much greater but you only use the same amount per flight. The normal charger will do fine. If it is a non computer radio recharge two hours per flight and if it is a computer radio charge four hours per flight, note the airborne pack will not need the extra charge. When these batteries get to full charge they get warm and the faster you charge them the hotter they get. When these batteries get old they "LOOSE THEIR CAPACITY' not their voltage. My scanner has a couple in it and they have lost about 80% of their capacity but the voltage still comes up.

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Old 12-20-2011, 10:46 PM   #7
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Re: Battery charging question

My own advice regarding NiCads and NiMH batteries is to invest in a battery charger/cycler capable of working with both chemistries.

Over time the investment will pay off as NiCads and NiMH require different charge profiles and in the case of NiCads you can minimize any chance of imposing a memory on the cells. What that means is the battery starts to remember how much you ask of it. For example, if you continuously only discharge the pack to 80%, over several cycles the battery will think that 80% is all it will ever need to give you and henceforth your voltage will practically fall off the cliff once discharged to that amount, (what is called the "Knee Point"). By cycling NiCads you remove that little quirk and can not only get back full useage, if you record the amount it takes to get down to the recharge point you can accurately build a trend of battery health and the demands your flying puts on the Tx and Rx packs.

NiMH batteries do not seem to suffer this malady, but I find their self-discharge rate much higher.
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:28 AM   #8
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Re: Battery charging question

You can avoid the memory problem of NICADS by charging them up as soon as you can after their use. When you cycle a nicad you take away one full cycle of the thousand they promise and effectively shorten the life of the battery. The worst thing you can do with NICADS is leave them partly discharged. That is when they pick up the memory. By the way I have one cell of twenty for that I bought in 1964 that still works. So I know that this also works.

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