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Old 07-20-2016, 01:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Grid Charging in Q3 2016?

I am seeing a lot of new commentary on Grid Charging that seems to counter methods used over the years. This makes for a very confusing mix.

It seems that the initial process stemmed from the R/C crowd's experiments and apparatus for small battery packs in radio controlled cars and planes.

Can we use this thread to work out what the most optimal current procedure should be for grid charging and discharging of Gen 1 Insights at this point in time?


Some suggested parameters & topics:

- Consideration for battery pack's age & condition
- Grid Charge Current
- Grid Charge Start Voltage
- Grid Charge End Voltage
- Grid Charge Duration
- Grid Charge Frequency (schedule)

- In-Car discharging pack (by driving) before grid charging
- Preparing pack for load discharging
- Discharge Load : Incandescent Bulbs vs. Resistors
- Discharge Current
- Discharge Start Voltage
- Discharge End Voltage
- Discharge Rate
- Discharge Frequency (schedule)

- Natural Discharge (unattended packs for weeks/months)

- Stepped Discharge/Recharge process

- Pack Cooling

- Compare & Contrast Stick Level charge/discharge vs. Pack charge/discharge

- Commentary on climate, ambient temperature and pack life

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Last edited by Silver; 07-21-2016 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 07-20-2016, 04:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Just my 0.02$...

Grid charge frequency: once a year ore more often when your battery is weak and gives IMA light or recals frequently.

Grid charge end voltage: does not matter. What matters is: when voltage has not changed for 1-2 hours while still charging or when it even drops a bit, keep it going for 2-4 hours or so.

About discharging pack (by driving) before grid charging: it is even better to let the car do auto stop with headlights on and fan on (A/C off). The only problem: when the HV battery is empty from the car's point of view, the 12 V battery feeds it all. I have not checked that exactly, but it was no longer than 1,5 hours of auto stop on my last (and first) discharge session.

This was followed by single bulb discharging. Stage 1: 100 W/230 V down to 135 V or so. Stage 2: 18 W/230 V down to 70 V.

YMMV, but I thing that this helped in keeping my battery healthy. Besides, my pack is in good condition. I have never seen IMA codes.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good luck with getting that list filled in,theres way too many personal options,the newest one going around is now after a 24 hour charge which is been the common theme,now suggesting that it takes closer to 36 hours to get a good charge,
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, please. Let's start another thread so we can repeat ourselves.
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Old 07-21-2016, 08:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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gone daddy gone

Last edited by Silver; 07-21-2016 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think the big issue is there is no wiki or faq, so instead one must sift through 35 pages of opinions and discussion. It's hard to distill actual answers. Even if there were 3-4 differing opinions, it'd be nice to have them in one spot. I'm not knowledgable enough about them to compile it.
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Last edited by Rainsux; 07-21-2016 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 07-21-2016, 12:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree. Unfortunately there are multiple projects with huge amounts of discussion, i.e. OBDIIC&C with 247 pages or IMAC&C aka IMA Control with 47 pages. I don't know what to do about such threads because to distill them down to pertinent info and instructions takes a great deal of time. I'm going to IF to find out the answers.
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Old 07-21-2016, 01:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I know my answer was a little dickish... at least I felt that way when I typed it due to frustration at the idea that anyone can give definitive information on the vast majority of it. There are too many variables.

TL;DR
Buy a Hybrid Automotive grid charger and follow Jeff's directions

https://hybridautomotive.com/pages/recon

Long version:

Here's my asshole, erm... opinion (YMMV):

Charging:

  • The WHY of charging: Grid charging is the single most important aspect and essentially the ONLY way to actually "balance" a pack. By "balance", I'm referring to each and every single CELL in the pack being at the SAME state of charge (SoC). When you've fully balance charged your pack, all cells will be at or so very near 100% SoC.
  • Preventative maintenance on a healthy pack should only be done every 3 to 12 months depending on circumstances. If the car sits a lot or is highly cycled due to hilly terrain - 3 months. If the car is in a mild climate and driven normally without exceptional hardships - 12 months. Extreme environments (Phoenix): once in April to prepare for summer, once in October to recover from the summer.
  • Grid charging as a preventative maintenance item on a pack that has thrown codes or is regularly recalibrating should only be done frequently enough to restore acceptable performance, e.g., the first recal witnessed 30 days after the last grid charge, two recalls within a week, one recal per day, etc.
  • Force charging within the car's normal operational range is an acceptable option to reduce grid charge time.
  • On a pack in an operational state (presumed 60-80% SoC), charge to peak voltage for 2-4 hours, 10 hr max @ 500mA max.
  • On a healthy pack from a discharged state, 10,400mAh input limit at 500mA max (based on 0.1C charge for 16 hours)
  • On a deteriorated pack from a discharged state, 8,450 mAh input limit at 500mA max (based on 30% charge inefficiency on a deteriorated pack).
  • Periodically recording total voltage as well as tap voltages is a very useful tool in determining when the pack is full. Constant voltage for 2-4 hours has you close enough to 100% SoC.
  • NEVER EVER EVER NEVER EVER NEVER grid charge without cooling. With a 350mA charge and no cooling, I've seen pack temps at 130F when ambient was 37F. Note that if you can monitor temps, cooling is not necessary provided no cell exceeds 110F.
  • Precaution: extended charging of NiMH at low currents induces voltage depression with subsequent capacity loss. The practice of grid charging eventually necessitates the need for a deep discharge.

Discharging:

  • The WHY of discharging: Is done to eliminate "memory" associated with voltage depression. Voltage depression: Every time a NiMH cell is charged without being FULLY discharged, the phase of the terminal is altered. This altered phase produces current at 0.8V (depressed) instead of the nominal 1.2V. Deep discharging "consumes" the capacity stored at 0.8V. When the cell is recharged following a deep discharge, the proper phase is restored at the terminal and that capacity is again available at 1.2V. It's not uncommon for a deep discharge to restore > 25% capacity.
  • Should be done only when grid charging does not produce the desired results.
  • Current should be monitored ($5 harbor freight multimeter in 10A current mode in series with the load).
  • Time, Voltage and Current should be periodically recorded during a discharge (every 5 minutes for the first 30 and every 30 minutes thereafter).
  • The above record of time and current can be used to compute actual capacity. This can be compared between discharges to assess pack deterioration.
  • Tap voltage snapshots at 144V and 120V while UNDER 25W load can give insight into stick health.
  • High current (>25W) discharging should be limited to >1.2V/cell.
    Below 1.2V/cell, discharging should be limited to about 200mA (25W).
  • Capacity extracted below 144V should be limited to 1000mAh (about 5 hours on a 25W bulb).
  • Initial discharge target voltage should be 0.8V/cell, but the 1000mAh limit is more important. When capacity is computed, one can actually see the improved capacity above 144V on subsequent discharges. If there is a 20-25% improvement after the first cycle, subsequent cycles are likely not needed. If a second cycle only produces <10% improvement, a 3rd is likely unnecessary. If the computed capacity of a discharge to 144V @ > 25W is > 80% of rated, subsequent discharges are unnecessary.
  • Bulbs or resistors may be used. It doesn't matter which provided the voltage and current limits are respected. Bulbs behave a little more like constant current loads and resistors taper current linearly with voltage drop. Resistors will take longer.
  • Discharging in-car within the car's normal operating range is an acceptable option for reducing discharge time; however without current monitoring, the ability to compute actual capacity is lost.
"natural" discharging:
This encompasses MANY months and even a year or more of sitting. NOTE: A truly healthy pack WILL NOT DISCHARGE much BELOW 144V OVER MANY MONTHS. Yes, for deteriorated cells, extended self-discharge is very effective at eliminating voltage depression and restoring the capacity of cells/sticks/packs to their full potential, but a pack that self-discharges below 1.2V/cell is an unhealthy pack. My personal experience with extended self-discharge was an HCH2 pack (in NH, 110K, IMA light) that sat for 2.5 years ending at 0.45V/cell. The sticks all tested at 90% rated capacity, and the pack performed well in-car for 10 months. Note there is evidence that extended self-discharge improves IR measurably.

See my sig for stick level reconditioning.

Tidbits:
  • ANSI standard for NiMH capacity testing: 0.1C charge for 16 hours, discharge at 0.2C.
  • Per Energizer, NiMH cells are polarity reversal tolerant up to 50% extracted capacity, i.e., if you have a battery pack and one cell reverses polarity after 2000mAh extracted, significant cell damage should not occur until an additional 1000mAh is extracted. This must be done at low current. High current can force electrolysis in the reversed cell and destroy it prior to the 50% limit being reached. Momentary reversals of cells for short durations do not cause measurable damage. I've done it at 20A for about 5 minutes, and there is no measurable decay over the next few test cycles. I would not deliberately repeat the reversal for any reason but data gathering on a stick that I would never put back in a car.
  • Tap variations at rest and under moderate load (13A or less) should be less than 0.2V from Max to Min. A truly healthy pack will be < 0.1V min/max variation at rest.
  • Tap variations under max load (>80A) are typically 0.4-0.6V.
  • Cell variations within a fully charged stick should be less than 0.03V, >10 hours after charging.
Steve
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Last edited by S Keith; 02-02-2017 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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^^^^ like ^^^^
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Lightbulb FYI As per S Keith's first suggestion above: HA (Jeff's) Recommended Stepped Process

Source:

overview: https://hybridautomotive.com/pages/recon

charge: https://hybridautomotive.com/pages/guide

discharge: https://hybridautomotive.com/pages/sd#termination


00-06 Insight

Charge
Number of cells in battery pack 120

Normal Operating Range
(Filling Phase) 144-168V

Peak Voltage Range
(Approx. voltage of balancing phase) 168-172V



Discharge
First Discharge 96V
Second Discharge 60V
Third Discharge 12V

Last edited by Silver; 07-21-2016 at 03:49 PM.
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