Smart Chargers - detection of battery type

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 11:06
ThreadID: 119129 Views:2596 Replies:3 FollowUps:9
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Hi all

Throwing a question out there to all, for no good reason I was pondering how the various smart battery chargers can determine the battery type electrically as they do (or claim to) rather than having a manual configuration according to battery type and other parameters that some of the "workshop chargers" do.

I am guessing there are some out there that know the answer to this.

Ken
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 12:00

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 12:00
Hi Ken,

I think you may be correct with your..... "(or claim to)".

The only parameters that a charger can possibly determine are the initial battery voltage, battery voltage under charge, and by inference, the battery impedance. All of these factors are a function not only of the battery size and construction but even more so of the battery condition.
Accordingly it would not be possible to determine the battery chemistry simply by voltage or impedance deduction. Although manufacturers may claim or allude to it as a feature of their chargers!

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Peter R (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 13:26

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 13:26
The ctek smart chargers need to be manually set.


Pedro
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 13:56

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 13:56
I purchased a Projecta charger over the others as you can manually select battery type and charging amps from 2 to 25amps
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Follow Up By: KenInPerth - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 18:14

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 18:14
Thanks all ...

Alan - the advice from Ctek was "the manufacturers seem to keep it a closely guarded secret" which may indeed mean there is no secret to keep. I would think someone would let the cat out eventually.

Peter R - just for info I have a D250S Dual and there is no manual setting capability on that - so did you mean they "don't have to be manually set" as I think that is the norm for Ctek - without going and checking the whole range.

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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 19:57

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 19:57
Ken,

I have both a Ctek 250S dual and a Ctek 240v 15A smart charger.
Neither of these chargers have a manual setting for different types of batteries. The "Normal" mode is suitable for all types of batteries according to the manual, with the exception clause stating and for "most GEL batteries".
They will both supply a maximum of 14.4 volts during the charging cycle, at varying current levels depending on the state of the battery to be charged, through the multistage charging cycle.

Some GEL batteries are stated to benefit from a higher charging voltage and in these cases, a charger should be selected that supports a higher charging voltage (I have heard 14.8v as one possibility) to suit the specific battery, but in all practical cases I would suspect a manual setting would be required.

I also have a Ctek 7A charger, which has a "Snowflake" mode which sets the input voltage to 14.7v.
"This setting is recommended for a battery at temperatures
< 5 degrees C. It is also recommended for many AGM batteries like Optima, and Odysseys. Consult your battery manufacturer when in doubt." (Stated in manual)
Bear in mind, this is a small 7 Amp charger.
The "snowflake mode is not on my newer MXS 15 I use for most charging at home. This charger, like the D250S Dual, has a temperature probe to measure battery temperature and provides an optimum charging resume for all types of batteries.



Bill


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Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 21:40

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 21:40
Allan B is correct, a "smart" charger isn't smart enough to know what type of battery it is charging..

If something like a Ctek claims that, they are wrong....what they do is set its parameters to suit a variety of battery types, which is not ideal compared to a manual set charger, but the Ctek's are still a good quality charger though.
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter R (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 22:09

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 22:09
KeninPerth,
I too have a 25am ctek and overlooked it.
My comments related to the ctek5 and ctek10 which unlike the 25 require manual setting to select the type of battery.

Pedro
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 22:48

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 22:48
Of the present listing of Ctek chargers, some have a manual "Mode" selection including "Normal, Recond, Supply, Snowflake and Small". Only one has "AGM" selection. No other has the facility, either manual or automatic, to select battery chemistry type including Gel.
There are some other brands of chargers that incorporate a facility to manually select a mode for differing battery types.

If anyone believes that any charger has the ability to determine the type of connected battery then I would really appreciate their technical explanation of how the charger achieves this.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: KenInPerth - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 22:58

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 22:58
Alan

What prompted me to start thinking about this was looking at various batteries for a specific project and found a manual workshop charger that had settings of 14.1V (Gel), 14.7V (SLA), 15.1V (Calcium). Accepting these are somewhat general and manufacturers will have their own recommendations per battery, they seem to be a reasonable guideline for the battery types based on other data I have read.

So then I went to the Ctek D250S Dual spec off their web site (ctek.com) and it states:

Battery types All types of 12V lead-acid batteries (WET, MF, Ca/Ca, AGM and GEL)

When I have had a Volt / Amp meter on my D250S Dual while charging various batteries I would almost be sure I have seen the same charging profile seems to occur all the time regardless of battery type.

Hence I was curious to see what the (Australian) support could tell me ad then I decided to start this thread and see what others thought.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 23:11

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 23:11
Yes Ken,

I too have read Ctek's..... "All types of 12V lead-acid batteries (WET, MF, Ca/Ca, AGM and GEL)" and certainly they will charge all those battery types........ just not with the degree of accuracy that some may expect.
With the exception of Gel types, it probably does not matter too much.

And I would expect to observe a common charging profile for your D250S.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - graeme W (WA) - Saturday, Jun 13, 2015 at 19:54

Saturday, Jun 13, 2015 at 19:54
Hi Ken.
Have a ctec 15amp charger in our van that has no facility to choose battery type allthough the voltage does get to 14.4 on occasion which is fine for the agms we have in the van. Do have a 40 amp xantrex charger however that has settings for all types of batteries as well as temperature settings. A great charger.
Cheers Graeme.
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Follow Up By: KenInPerth - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 20:57

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 20:57
Thanks Graeme

I have to agree with Allan B that they do not actually do anything special - just use a charging profile that suits the most common range of battery types. Otherwise why would others put the extra buttons on their chargers - certainly not to reduce price.



Ken
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