AC battery charger

nickdearing88nickdearing88 Posts: 96Registered Users ✭✭✭
Hi everyone.

I'm looking for a recommendation for a good quality, reasonably priced AC battery charger with customizable settings. I'd like something that could charge at a range of custom voltages and currents for use with FLA, SLA, Li, etc and include three stage charging. It would also be nice to have a built-in meter to watch end-amps, voltage rise, etc. I'd be looking for output currents only in the 10 - 30 Amp range.

Any Amazon or NAWS recommendations?

I just ordered two BattleBorn LiFePO4 batteries to test after many great emails with the manufacturer. They recommend charging the two batteries in parallel prior to series connection to allow for proper balancing, as I assumed.

I wouldn't use the charger often, especially with Li's agreeability with partial SOC.

Thanks!
Current test system: 4-100w Renogy panels mono/poly, 1 string of 4 panels in series - 24v 100Ah AGM Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries - Morningstar MPPT40 CC - 1500W Samlex PSW inverter
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Comments

  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,681Super Moderators admin
    What dc battery bus voltage?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nickdearing88nickdearing88 Posts: 96Registered Users ✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    What dc battery bus voltage?

    -Bill
    The bank will be 24v nominal, each battery is 12v nominal, so I'd like to find a charger range to accommodate both. It would be nice to find one that supports a wide voltage range ~ 2v - 70v and adjustable current but I haven't found anything like that. I'd prefer simple clamp connectors rather than something hard wired, since it's really only for a commissioning charge.
    Current test system: 4-100w Renogy panels mono/poly, 1 string of 4 panels in series - 24v 100Ah AGM Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries - Morningstar MPPT40 CC - 1500W Samlex PSW inverter
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,589Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    Especially for a commissioning charge, I'd be wary of clamp on connectors. It seems to me you'll want a pretty accurate sense of voltage, and clamp-ons might not do the job.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • SolraySolray Posts: 246Registered Users ✭✭
    Why not charge them with your charge controller?
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,681Super Moderators admin
    The problem with a 2-70 volt charge controller--They generally are lab bench top power supplies and not really optimum for charging.

    At 2 volts and 30 amps, that is only 60 Watts.

    At 70 volts and 30 amps, that is 2,100 Watts.

    Here is a typical (larger) 0-30 volt @ 10 amps (most are 5 amps):

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HKRRCGU

    And a 50 volt @ 20 amp supply (much more expensive):

    https://www.amazon.com/Dr-Meter-SWITCHING-Single-Output-Alligator-Included/dp/B006W1TZCA

    And another website with a wide variety of bench power supplies (including a wide range of prices):

    http://www.volteq.com/power-supply-for-charging-and-equalizing-batteries.html

    I don't anything about the above products--Just some links for you to look at.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nickdearing88nickdearing88 Posts: 96Registered Users ✭✭✭
    Solray said:
    Why not charge them with your charge controller?
    That is a possibility @Solray but I was hoping to to have to reconfigure the charge controller settings multiple times just for a one-time charge. I'd also like to change out the batteries at night, and watch the battery charging profile with a non-variable source of current.
    Current test system: 4-100w Renogy panels mono/poly, 1 string of 4 panels in series - 24v 100Ah AGM Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries - Morningstar MPPT40 CC - 1500W Samlex PSW inverter
  • nickdearing88nickdearing88 Posts: 96Registered Users ✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    The problem with a 2-70 volt charge controller--They generally are lab bench top power supplies and not really optimum for charging.

    At 2 volts and 30 amps, that is only 60 Watts.

    At 70 volts and 30 amps, that is 2,100 Watts.

    Here is a typical (larger) 0-30 volt @ 10 amps (most are 5 amps):

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HKRRCGU

    And a 50 volt @ 20 amp supply (much more expensive):

    https://www.amazon.com/Dr-Meter-SWITCHING-Single-Output-Alligator-Included/dp/B006W1TZCA

    And another website with a wide variety of bench power supplies (including a wide range of prices):

    http://www.volteq.com/power-supply-for-charging-and-equalizing-batteries.html

    I don't anything about the above products--Just some links for you to look at.

    -Bill
    Thanks @BB. I will check these out, but since they are intended for lab use, I assume they don't offer 3 stage charging. What about just a plain 12v charger (to cover my current situation) with customizable voltage settings? That seems to be hard to find, rather than just pre-built settings for FLA, AGM, GEL.
    Current test system: 4-100w Renogy panels mono/poly, 1 string of 4 panels in series - 24v 100Ah AGM Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries - Morningstar MPPT40 CC - 1500W Samlex PSW inverter
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 429Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #9
    I have not tried one yet, but I do know that Fullriver sells a lot of this model that will provide 12v, 24v, 36v and 48v in 10A to 30A. (20A at 48v)  

    It does have a display, it is multistage and has profiles for different battery types. Data storage for the previous 10 charge cycles caught my attention for battery analysis here in my shop. Also important for me, is the ability to charge a deeply discharged battery, it has a 2v threshold.

    http://www.fullriverbattery.com/series/chargers/fullriver-fr1-chargers

    Marc

    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,681Super Moderators admin
    Xantrex makes a pretty nice battery charger:

    http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/battery-chargers/truecharge-2-2.aspx

    It is somewhat configurable (for lead acid type batteries). For Lithium batteries, LI typically do not use temperature sensors/temperature corrected charging voltages--You would have to check with Xantrex customer support about configuring for non-Lead Acid battery banks (if you do not use the remote temp sensor, it appears the Xantrex may have a fixed temperature offset mode).

    You are correct... Finding adjustable battery chargers is not easy. The old design Iota chargers have a fixed output (if you do not use the IQ4 module). They have a jumper that you can "short" or "open" which gives a ~ 1 volt change in output (jumper or switch shorted for bulk/absorb charging, jumper out/open for float). The typically have a 10 turn put (have to open the supply) to adjust the pot (not user friendly).

    The Iota are cheap and rugged--And the older models (don't know about new models) are NOT very generator friendly (they have a poor power factor on the AC input).

    https://www.solar-electric.com/iota-engineering-dls-55.html

    There are some pretty configurable Inverter-Chargers out there (including battery charging settings)--But buying the "inverter" part may not be of any use for you (12 volt charging of individual batteries, what good is the Inverter to you).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 429Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Bill,

    I am a Xantrex TrueCharge 2 fan. I have two of the 60a 12v version and they are heavily used here in my business  After several years, they just keep working. As I have mentioned, I picked this model because it works well with the Honda EU2000i generator, even in "eco" mode.  This makes a great field service kit for me.

    I will likely order the Fullriver FR-1 that I linked above, primarily to get the multi-voltage capability.

    Marc
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • jonrjonr Posts: 1,025Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #12
    There is an odd lack of programmable chargers out there.  I wanted to program my own reconditioning profiles and ended up getting a ZXY6005S  (a $50 USB programmable current and voltage, 5A regulator).  But you have to write some software to get profiles.

    I suppose one could run a normal, current and voltage regulated power supply (simulating panels) into a programmable PWM solar charge controller (like a Morningstar).  Or a fixed voltage power supply into a programmable MPPT solar charge controller.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,681Super Moderators admin
    edited July 2017 #13
    Marc,

    I missed your FullRiver charger link (we posted at the same time)... It looks very interesting.

    I wonder if it has other than IOS/Android support. While I like phones, things change so quickly I fear that your (future) 10 year old battery charger may become an anchor (software application goes obsolete).

    The TC2 (and the TC before it) has always been a favorite around here. The wide input voltage range and "Honda EU2000 friendly" (generator friendly) AC input is wonderful too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nickdearing88nickdearing88 Posts: 96Registered Users ✭✭✭
    I have not tried one yet, but I do know that Fullriver sells a lot of this model that will provide 12v, 24v, 36v and 48v in 10A to 30A. (20A at 48v)  

    It does have a display, it is multistage and has profiles for different battery types. Data storage for the previous 10 charge cycles caught my attention for battery analysis here in my shop. Also important for me, is the ability to charge a deeply discharged battery, it has a 2v threshold.

    http://www.fullriverbattery.com/series/chargers/fullriver-fr1-chargers

    Marc

    Thanks Marc. This looks like the best option but not so price-friendly. However, like anything else, you get what you pay for.

    I did look at the Xantrex but I didn't see anything in the manual about disabling temp comp -- @BB. I had a bad experience with an Iota charger and don't think it's the right fit for my needs.

    Thanks for everyone's suggestions.
    Current test system: 4-100w Renogy panels mono/poly, 1 string of 4 panels in series - 24v 100Ah AGM Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries - Morningstar MPPT40 CC - 1500W Samlex PSW inverter
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 429Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I'm going to put an Fullriver FR-1 charger on my stock order Friday, so I should have one to test next week. Now I'm curious.......

    Marc
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,681Super Moderators admin
    The unit has, what maybe, a manual cold, warm, hot battery temperature selection. But that may still have a local TC2 thermister offset.

    Another way would be to use a fixed resistor with the TC2 instead of the remote thermister. I.e., if the variable resistor is 10.2kOhms at 70F, then a fixed resistor will disable temperature offsets.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 429Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    The unit has, what maybe, a manual cold, warm, hot battery temperature selection. But that may still have a local TC2 thermister offset.

    Another way would be to use a fixed resistor with the TC2 instead of the remote thermister. I.e., if the variable resistor is 10.2kOhms at 70F, then a fixed resistor will disable temperature offsets.

    -Bill

    Bill,

    Mine default to no temperature offset when no temperature sensor is plugged into them.

    In fact, I use that as a tool to fine tune voltages depending upon what I am doing. The Cold, Warm and Hot settings coupled with the battery type settings, allow me enough latitude to do what I need for most situations.

    I do have an expensive (aircraft certification) BC8000 from Concorde that allows extreme customization in 0.10 increments for both charging/discharging voltage,current and time - in both constant voltage and constant current modes. But the Xantrex chargers get used almost daily.

    Marc
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,083Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #18
    Marc, is that a Trucharge model?
    I have a 12 v 40A and it works very well, imho...  pretty bullet proof
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 429Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #19
    Yes, Sir. Both are the Xantrex TrueCharge 2 in 12v 60a.

    Edit to add: I did test their short circuit protection and had to replace an output fuse on the second channel once :)
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • nickdearing88nickdearing88 Posts: 96Registered Users ✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    The unit has, what maybe, a manual cold, warm, hot battery temperature selection. But that may still have a local TC2 thermister offset.

    Another way would be to use a fixed resistor with the TC2 instead of the remote thermister. I.e., if the variable resistor is 10.2kOhms at 70F, then a fixed resistor will disable temperature offsets.

    -Bill
    I'm sure that's a great idea but totally above my head. Electronics (detailed) are not my strength. I'm very comfortable with the basics: voltage, current, and power, etc but I get lost getting into frequency, resistance, capacitors, etc.

    But I always learn a lot from everyone in the forums.

    Now databases, networking, data analysis -- I'm your guy....lol. 
    Current test system: 4-100w Renogy panels mono/poly, 1 string of 4 panels in series - 24v 100Ah AGM Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries - Morningstar MPPT40 CC - 1500W Samlex PSW inverter
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,681Super Moderators admin
    Nick,

    You should be ok with the TC2 and lithium batteries. Marc says there is a fixed output voltage regardless of temperature if you do not use the external temp sensor.

    Just use a good volt meter as you adjust/program the charger.

    - Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,083Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Nick , the rest will come, mine was DB and DA plus a lot of forestry stuff.... now I have to get into NW out here at the lake....  want to add a server, some cameras, and access to my Classic, etc...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 429Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Now you have me second guessing myself!  I tend to keep my shop at "reasonable" temperatures so I may have made some bad assumptions.
    Tomorrow will be about 102F here so I will test the voltage output inside and outdoors.

    Marc
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • SolraySolray Posts: 246Registered Users ✭✭
    102? ouch.
  • fratermusfratermus Posts: 22Registered Users ✭✭
    jonr said:
    There is an odd lack of programmable chargers out there.
    ...
    I suppose one could run ...
    ... a fixed voltage power supply into a programmable MPPT solar charge controller.

    That's how I'm doing it, first ran across the idea in this YT video.

    Running a plain 24v power supply (often listed as "led driver") into a spare MPPT controller.  Works great as a DIY "converter", as they call such shore power chargers in the RV world.  Mine is a small setup, meant to augment alternator and solar charging when shore power is available.



    2017 Promaster 159" DIY camper
    570W mono / 220AH GC
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 429Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    For what it's worth: I received a Fullriver FR-1 charger Monday and I have been giving it a workout on 12v, 24, and 48v battery banks.

    Programmable for 12v, 24v, 36v and 48V with 30 amp output at 12v and 24v, 20 amps at 48v and it has 15 different charge profiles to select from. (I have requested a copy of the 15 algorithms) The charge rate can be programmed to limit at 15, 20, 25 and 30 amps.

    With a 12 amp rms input at 120vac, it has a decent power factor. The dynamic display can be toggled between charging voltage, current, charging time, amp hours and KW to battery bank while charging.

    Programming and data logging is accessed via direct Wifi with their free app - no router needed.
    Logged data for each charge cycle includes:
    Min/Max voltage per charge cycle
    Total AH to batteries per charge cycle
    Any error codes
    Bulk time, Absorb time, Float time and total charge time per charge cycle
    I don't know how many cycles it records because I have only used it 10 times so far and it is still logging charge cycle number 10 as I type this.

    It seems to be expensive unless you need all of the capabilities or it fills multiple roles. (I don't know the dealer cost because I don't have the invoice yet) For me, it is looking like a useful multipurpose shop tool and in the field coupled with my Honda eu2000i. Importantly for me, this charger has the advantage of letting me set the charge profile that the customer cannot change without the Wifi dongle. Valuable feature for OEM and many "end user" applications.

    I will post more when I have really rung it out, but it hasn't skipped a beat with intentional abuse like wrong polarity, connecting disconnecting under load, dead short of the output leads and rapid cycling of 120v input, connecting a 12v configured charger to a 48v bank, etc.

    I'm an old school iron core transformer kind of guy, so I will reserve judgement about the longevity of this modern 7.5 lb. high frequency charger...........

    Marc
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • jonrjonr Posts: 1,025Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    What is the power factor?
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,589Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    @Marc Kurth - sounds like something I wouldn't mind having around. Look forward to hearing more.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 429Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    @jonr http://www.fullriverbattery.com/product/chargers/FR1-SB50

    This links to the version that I ordered with an Anderson SB50 connector because that's what my other chargers and test equipment use. They show .99 PF for the 120vac and .98 for the 230vac models.
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • VicVic Posts: 2,907Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭

    Hi Marc,

    This Charger does look interesting,   can you tell us the List price?

    Thanks,   Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 429Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Vic, I honestly just don't know yet - because I don't deal with MSRP type numbers. I called them and asked that they send me one with a load of batteries so that I could evaluate it, to see if I want to stock them.  The invoice for mine should show up tomorrow or Friday latest. Then I WILL know!  

    I just Googled it and found this retail price: http://www.evdrives.com/product_p/cgr-fr1-rt.htm

    Marc
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
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