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Turnigy Accucell 6 Multi-Chemistry Charger

Accucell 6
Accucell 6

A lot of the electronics I use & projects I construct use batteries, mainly of the lithium variety. As charging this chemistry can be a little explosive if not done correctly, I decided a proper charger was required. This charger is capable of handling packs up to 6 cells for Lithium, and up to 20v for lead-acids.

External Connections
External Connections

The usual DC input barrel jack on the left, with an external temp sensor for fast charging NiCd/NiMH chemistry batteries. The µUSB port registers under Linux as USB HID, probably so drivers aren’t required. Unfortunately the software is Windows only, but it doesn’t provide anything handy like charging graphs or stats. Just a way to alter settings & control charging from a PC. On other versions of this charger there’s a setting to change the temp sensor port into a TTL serial output, which would be much handier.

Output & Balance
Output & Balance

The other side of the charger has the main DC output jacks & the pack balancing connections.

Cover Removed
Cover Removed

Here’s the top cover removed from the charger, showing most of the internals. A standard HD44780 LCD provides the user interface, the CPU & it’s associated logic is hidden under there somewhere.
The PCB has nice heavy tracks to handle the 6A of current this charger is capable of.

Balancing Network
Balancing Network

The output side of the board. Here the resistive pack balancing network can be seen behind the vertical daughter board holding the connectors, along with the output current shunt between the DC output banana jacks & the last tactile button.

Main Logic
Main Logic

Unfortunately the LCD is soldered directly to the board, and my desoldering tool couldn’t quite get all the solder out, so time to get a bit violent. I’ve gently bent the header so I could see the brains of the charger. The main CPU is a Megwin MA84G564AD48, which is an Intel 8081 clone with USB support. Unfortunately I was unable to find a datasheet for this part, and the page on Megwin’s site is Chinese only.

I was hoping it was an ATMega328, as I have seen in other versions of this charger, as there are custom firmwares available to increase the feature set of the charger, but no dice on this one. I do think the µUSB port is unique to this version though, so avoiding models with that port probably would get a hackable version.
There’s some glue logic for controlling the resistor taps on the balancing network, and a few op-amps for voltage & current readings.

Power Switching Devices
Power Switching Devices

All the power diodes & switching FETs for the DC-DC converter are mounted on the bottom of the PCB, and clamped against the aluminium casing when the PCB is screwed down. Not the best way to ensure great contact, but Chinese tech, so m’eh.

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Baofeng Battery Capacity Lies

I’ve had a couple of larger batteries for my UV-5Rs for some time now, and decided to do a quick teardown to see if they’re actually the capacity claimed.

BL-5L Battery
BL-5L Battery

Here’s the label, claiming 3800mAh (3.8Ah) of battery capacity.
These batteries are held together with glue, but a good way to get these kinds of things open is by whacking the seams with the handle of a screwdriver. This cracks the glue without damaging the casing.

Battery Cracked Open
Battery Cracked Open

After a few minutes of cracking the seams, the battery comes right open. The pair of wires link the protection board on the cells to the DC terminals on the top of the pack. The charging terminals are under the cardboard insulator on the right.

Cells
Cells

Here’s the other half of the case, with the cells themselves. These are wired in series for a 7.2v pack, and at a capacity of 2600mAh (2.6Ah) printed on them, the label clearly lies about the capacity.

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Wearable Raspberry Pi – Some Adjustments

USB Hub
USB Hub

As the first USB hub I was using was certainly not stable – it would not enumerate between boots & to get it working again would require waiting around 12 hours before applying power, it has been replaced. This is a cheapie eBay USB hub, of the type shown below.

These hubs are fantastic for hobbyists, as the connections for power & data are broken out on the internal PCB into a very convenient row of pads, perfect for integration into many projects.

Breakout Hub
Breakout Hub

I now have two internal spare USB ports, for the inbuilt keyboard/mouse receiver & the GPS receiver I plan to integrate into the build.

These hubs are also made in 7-port versions, however I am not sure if these have the same kind of breakout board internally. As they have the same cable layout, I would assume so.

 

Connector Panel
Connector Panel

Here is a closeup of the back of the connectors, showing a couple of additions.

I have added a pair of 470µF capacitors across the power rails, to further smooth out the ripple in the switching power supply, as I was having noise issues on the display.

Also, there is a new reset button added between the main interface connectors, which will be wired into the pair of pads that the Raspberry Pi has to reset the CPU.
This can be used as a power switch in the event the Pi is powered down when not in use & also to reset the unit if it becomes unresponsive.