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Old 05-29-2018, 12:18 AM
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Default How to keep electronics charged and ready?



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I was using some radios with rechargeable batteries over the weekend, and I realized the batteries had gone bad from constant overcharging. They just sit on the charger when not in use, which isn't good for the batteries.

Has anyone come up with some kind of intermittent maintenance charging station, to keep everything topped off without overcharging? My thought was to find an outlet timer that could be set to only turn on infrequently (e.g. 2 hours per month?), and hook a plug strip to it with all the chargers connected.

Thoughts? I tried searching, but couldn't find anything either because it's not out there or I don't know the proper wording to search for.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:40 AM
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Most electronics these days have charging circuits that prevent overcharging. Everything rechargeable that I own does....all the batteries just live in the chargers when not being used.
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:08 AM
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I use three Li-Ion batteries in rotation for my hand held radios. Charge them until the green light comes on and then take them off of the charger. I charge batteries separated from the radio and I never try to charge a battery when it's connected to the radio and the radio is on.

Several of my batteries are + 4 years old and provide 24 hours of receive with short, necessary talk time which works fine for me.

YMMV.

Bob
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:17 AM
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Some chargers are better than others. My RS scanner just died. Display says its scanning but nothing comes out of the speaker. It was given to me about 10 years and it was likely 5+ years old then. It was on and plugged in 24/7. It had NiMH batteries. I tried a different charger for the batteries but they are dead.

One of my BaoFeng has set in the window next to the scanner also on 24/7 for 4 years now. The battery seems fine. I throw the extra battery in the charger for a few hours about twice a year.

I just bought a NiteCore I4 charger to do 18650's and D cells in the car, because I had no way to charge them in the truck; plus I can hook it up to solar.
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:54 AM
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I would absolutely NOT leave lithiums charging constantly, or unmonitored, due to risk of fire and also lowered performance/charge life.

This is one of my aggravations. Like most folks, I have a lot of rechargeable items (flashlights, cameras, power tools like drills, walkies, ipods, nook reader, etc.) that don't get used often, but when needed, they're needed.

I have learned that leaving things charging constantly can or does destroy batteries, and frankly lithium ions are prone to "self ignite" if overheated. Several documented fires have been started by lithiums so I am very cautious about not leaving them charging indefinitely. A house fire is among the pinnacle disasters to avoid.

So, that leaves one charging them on a rotation basis. Best thing to do is to estimate usage and recharging schedule, and put that on a auto-reminder, based on actual or anticipated usage or historical requirements. Drill might be once per month, nook once per week, flashlights once per week, etc.

Maybe designate a charging area, setting the items on a stone tile in the event of fire. Charge them all at the same time, while home and able to monitor them.
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Old 05-29-2018, 09:50 AM
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I'm looking for a way to automate the charging rotation. I agree they need to be rotated, but I have a lot of things that need rotation/attention/maintenance. So if there is a relatively inexpensive solution that would turn them on to top off the charge infrequently, I'm inclined to use it.

Any ideas?
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Old 05-29-2018, 10:40 AM
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Never leave a rechargeable battery on the charger longer than 12 hrs. They will hold enough charge to be at least 80% full after 6 months with most being over 90% charged after 6 months depending on battery chemistry.

Batteries that get cycled often (regularly used flashlights and trail cameras) have one "in use" and one "ready to go" set of batteries in rotation.

Every Spring spare rarely used batteries are rotated through the chargers. We keep a lot of spare batteries and find a bad D or AA (NI-MH type) Tenergy or Enloop battery every year. We never find a bad 18650 (Li-Ion) battery but we only use high quality Orbtronic 18650s. Even just sitting in storage sometimes a battery will go bad. But you never want to just leave a battery on the charger for days.
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Old 05-29-2018, 11:24 AM
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What rechargeable batteries are we talking about?

LiIon Lithium Ion
LiPo (Lithium Polymer)
NiCd Nickel Cadmium
NiMH Nickel metal hydride
AGM lead-acid (absorbed glass mat)
NiZn Nickel Zinc

Lithium Ion chargers are specifically designed to NOT overcharge.
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Old 05-29-2018, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
What rechargeable batteries are we talking about?
Good point. I assumed we where talking about modern devices but maybe not...that could explain why this thread feels like I've stepped into a time machine with peoples attitudes about chargers.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:36 PM
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I connected a T101 timer to several receptacles. My chargers are plugged into them and it runs for 3 hours every day. I have not had a problem with them. (yet)

South Jersey Boy
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awesomeness View Post
I'm looking for a way to automate the charging rotation. I agree they need to be rotated, but I have a lot of things that need rotation/attention/maintenance. So if there is a relatively inexpensive solution that would turn them on to top off the charge infrequently, I'm inclined to use it.

Any ideas?
I suppose you could get one or more of those inexpensive light/device timers and connect chargers to a power strip. Maybe one that is set to activate once per week. Maybe a garden sprinkler type has that type of setting.

Or, just connect them all to a central location power strip. Set an alarm to notify you once every week or month or set interval for on/off, and you just walk over and turn it on and off after a few hours. I click of the button, and all your devices on that power strip are charged.

And now that I've thought of that, that's precisely what I'm going to do. Set up all my devices for a power strip charge station, and an alarm that reminds me once per month to hit the button on and then off after 5 hours...
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Old 05-30-2018, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagnar View Post
What rechargeable batteries are we talking about?

LiIon Lithium Ion
LiPo (Lithium Polymer)
NiCd Nickel Cadmium
NiMH Nickel metal hydride
AGM lead-acid (absorbed glass mat)
NiZn Nickel Zinc

Lithium Ion chargers are specifically designed to NOT overcharge.
The goal would be a solution that could handle all of them, not just LiIon. I still have a bunch of devices that take NiCd / NiMH, or use AA/AAA (which means back to NiCd/NiMH for rechargeables).
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:16 PM
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I charge ours on the 1st and 15th of each month. I also run power equipment such as generators and lawn mowers at the same time, if they have not been used for seasonal work during the previous two weeks.
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Old 05-31-2018, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadcounsel View Post
I would absolutely NOT leave lithiums charging constantly, or unmonitored, due to risk of fire and also lowered performance/charge life.
The good news is that lithium's generally have a lower self discharge than other battery types. So you can store them for long periods of time and still retain a high percentage of the charge.
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Old 06-01-2018, 01:28 AM
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Find a smart charger. I use an Aker 6 port smart charger to charger everything.
4 years ago I've gave up a 35 smoking habit for vaping. I have three identical 2600 mah liIon rigs that I rotate thru 1 or 2 a day. One can easily be on the smart charger for days or even weeks sometimes and it's been that way for about 18 months and these batteries still perform great.
If you don't know anything about vaping, it pushes batteries pretty hard.
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Old 06-01-2018, 06:04 AM
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12 years ago I did exactly what the OP suggested. Had a timer hooked to a couple power strips that turned the chargers on for an hour a day. (lanterns, jump starters, a video camera, cordless tools).

Worked pretty well. Then I moved and never did it again. Also Lithium batts started coming out and the chargers said no harm would come of leaving them in the chargers. No harm. (Was that a line from a movie?)
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Old 06-01-2018, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awesomeness View Post
I was using some radios with rechargeable batteries over the weekend, and I realized the batteries had gone bad from constant overcharging. They just sit on the charger when not in use, which isn't good for the batteries.

Has anyone come up with some kind of intermittent maintenance charging station, to keep everything topped off without overcharging? My thought was to find an outlet timer that could be set to only turn on infrequently (e.g. 2 hours per month?), and hook a plug strip to it with all the chargers connected.

Thoughts? I tried searching, but couldn't find anything either because it's not out there or I don't know the proper wording to search for.
You can goto any hardware store and buy one of those timers that turn lights on and off at set times pretty cheap. Thatís what i use for my drill battery it kicks in for 15 minutes every day and is always charged. There is a switch to turn the outlet on full time for when you use the battery and actually need to recharge
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