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 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang 
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Post 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang
Earlier this year, I replaced my SLA batteries (for MX-2, SZ) with the mega affordable Aluratek 1.3aH 12v Li-Ion batteries from Geeks.com. Considering they have been sold out for some time now, I assume a majority of Timescape users are also utilizing these awesome little batteries. :D

I'm currently using 4 of these batteries when traveling into the back-country for multi-day shoots with the MX-2 and SZ dolly. For recharging, I'm using the Goal Zero Sherpa 50 / Sherpa UI (AC inverter) + Nomad 27 solar panel. Currently, the Aluratek batteries charge very inefficiently because I have to use the SherpaUI to charge them via the AC to DC charger that is supplied with the batteries.

I have been searching the depths of the internet trying to find a 12V(input) to 12V, 1000mA (output) Li-Ion charger for more efficient charging. Zero luck so far. I even went as far as attempting to reverse engineer the AC/DC Lio-Ion charger, but quickly deemed that impossible since it's a switching power supply that must use some type of PWM and feedback to know when the charge is complete and switch the red LED to green.

Does anyone have any ideas how I could eliminate the AC / DC charger for more optimal DC / DC charging in the backcountry while off the grid?

One option is simply using the Sherpa 50 as my 12v power source for the MX-2/SZ dolly, but I would prefer to only use this method as a last resort. Keeping the Sherpa50 charged is crucial for over-night Canon battery charging (using a 12v dual charger) x2.

While I'm positing, this I'll also share a little upgrade I built for these batteries. Since they do not have any type of indicator to alert you of charge level, I spliced a light-weight, water resistant 12V volt panel meter into the connection cable that is included with the Aluratek batteries. When the batteries are fully charged they stay well above 12v. When they are beginning to loose charge, they drop into the 11V range-- alerting me to swap to a new battery. You might have seen my older post in which I used this same LCD panel meter for 12v SLA batteries. After shifting away from my collection of heavy SLA batts, this little LCD had been collecting dust... until now. ;) Works great.


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Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:26 am
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Post Re: 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang
Okay, I have come to the conclusion that rigging a DC to DC charger for these inexpensive batteries is not going to happen. Oh well, time to move on.

Does anyone have suggestions for other small, light-weight (no SLA) 12v batteries that would charge via DC and AC power? The DC charging is the crucial requirement, however, ability to charge via AC is also important to get everything juiced up prior to heading into the field.

Thanks!

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Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:05 am
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Post Re: 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang
I'm not sure what to suggest to help your current charging situation, but if you're after some inexpensive larger capacity batteries, I just picked up one of these recently and it seems to work quite well.

http://cgi.ebay.com/DC-12V-4800mAh-Supe ... 0522024195

I didn't buy from that seller, I bought from somebody already in the UK, but it's the same battery.

They're also available up to a whopping 18000mAh (and other capacities, just search for "li-ion CCTV battery").

http://cgi.ebay.com/DC-12V-18000mAh-Sup ... 0546784021

My project's needs are fairly modest at the moment (5v drawing a max of around 200mA - so with a switching buck converter, 4800mA @ 12v lasts for ages), but I'll be looking into the 18K version once I start getting my slider built up.

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Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:35 am
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Post Re: 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang
Thanks for the insight. I have seen those batteries discussed on here before, but never made the jump due to the long shipping times from China. I will say, I'm impressed with the 18aH unit-- weighing in at only a little over 2lbs (925grams). That's impressive.

Now, if only these had a 12v charger option!!!

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Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:42 am
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Post Re: 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang
Just checked the label on the battery and it says it's a 12v output, and requires a 12.6v input from the charger. I ran my multimeter over it and both the charger output and the battery's output show 12.33v

The battery has a standard 2.1mm socket on one cable and, and a 2.1mm plug on the other. Whether you could use this to charge your other batteries, I'm not sure.

I was rather impressed by the size too. The 4800mAh version is MUCH smaller than I'd expected, about the size of a pack of cigarettes. As the seller I saw already had the items in the UK, I figured it was worth a go for what it cost. Chinese shipping is weird. I've had some stuff arrive in as little as week, but I've had just as much stuff take 6-8 weeks.

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Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:54 am
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Post Re: 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang
Has anyone found a North American resource for these 12v Li-Ion batteries?

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Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:55 am
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Post Re: 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang
I quite like the 18ah 12v batteries mentioned above. They can be plugged into each other for extra capacity.
In theory to charge them off another 12v supply all you would need would be a simple regulator circuit to prevent excessive power.
There are a few cigarette light adapters I have seen about, or potentially just make one based on something like this...
http://www.national.com/ds/LM/LM2940.pdf
http://www.reuk.co.uk/LM2940-12V-1A-Low ... ulator.htm

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Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:48 pm
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Post Re: 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang
Hi Antz,

Thanks for your input. I'll ordered one of these batteries this afternoon (as a back-up power source), but it will be a gamble getting it in time with delivery from Hong Kong. I'm headed on a big shoot mid-July. Fingers crossed.

Even with a voltage limiting diode, it seems as though fire would be a huge risk if you left one of these batteries unattended while charging with a constant 12v input and no real charging intelligence on-board. I could be wrong, perhaps those batteries do have internal circuitry to prevent over-charging. ? I imagine a more detailed set-up would be required, something with feedback to the power source that could cut it off after the battery reaches a certain voltage (indicating a charged battery). Along the lines of how a trickle charger (used frequently with 12v solar rigs) works on a 12v SLA battery.

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Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:14 pm
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Post Re: 12V input / output Li-Ion Charger - Aluratek / Fuyuang
That LM2490 looks interesting, but with a 0.5v drop, you'd have to be putting in at least 12.5v to get a regulated 12v output. The specs for the battery say it's a 12v output, but my multimeter says 12.33v on the battery's output.

It may not have enough juice to do it unless you up the voltage first through something like an LM2577 to 15v. Of course, then you're converting the voltage twice and your mA are dwindling.

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Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:09 pm
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