Smart Charger? SC1000A Swanson Calls, You’re getting a little carried away…

Perhaps a picture is in order? Added Note: 11/29/2011, I’ve decided to put further testing of this product here. Scrolldown, and look at the comments and dates.

No so smart Charger?

No so smart Charger?

Yes.. I got a call from one of Techs I worked with starting when we were kids.. We worked on a system called #5XBAR, it was the most advanced pin ball machine Man ever created.  Some installations covered many floors in a building, bays of many kinds of relays  11 feet high, and tubes, lots of tubes 🙂

Jim calls to say.. “I’ve been reading your Utterpower posts, and perhaps you’re getting a little carried away over this battery charger deal? Jim being a polite guy didn’t go further, he wanted to say I was obsessive compulsive , maybe I needed to see a Doctor?  But we are old friends and know each other fairly well, so he knew I’d fill in the rest of what he wanted to say.., and ask all those questions of myself.

The above picture is less clear that I had hoped.  The selected battery type is AGM (right LED), next is  (2 amps) setting, the lone red LED is (connected) indicator, meaning it sees the connected battery, and the last and left most light says the battery is fully charged, and implies to me that the Charger is now in the float mode.

The charger was put on this AGM battery about 4PM yesterday.. it was perfect a few months back, but the parasitic load then attached, (a microcontroller and other periphery) has taken this small car sized AGM battery into the depths of a DEEP discharge.

Regardless of the Battery State, whether it’s now junk or not, we should ask.  Is it ACCEPTABLE than a smart charger tell us we’re fully charged at 11.71 volts? Yes, this Fluke Volt Meter Came from Boeing surplus, they bought hundreds if not thousands for their techs, and I have a long history with this one and know it’s accurate.

Yes.. I’m back to thinking about Erica’s review of this product, how I first read her review of the lowly 600 model charger, and how her wonderfully powerful compact 12 volt 6 amp battery charger could charge a big truck battery in no time. She can’t be expected to know her battery charger likely lied to her..

I sit here thinking about reality, I’ve learned not to trust anything a politician tells me, but I really didn’t understand that they were designing battery chargers now..

What’s Jim Going to say when he learns I just got started on this topic..

Parts are orderd to try and hack this thing into telling the truth..

This  battery charger managing your battery is like having Barney Frank manage your S&L.

Added Notes: 11/28/2011: After checking the status light again, and movign my volt meter to another AGM battery on the bench and seeing an unfloated 12.3 volts, I decided to push the next higher charge button, and see what the charger would do. The attached VOM quickly moved off the 11.71 volts and started to rise! I suspect that the 2 amp charge rate selected had something to do with this unexpected behavior as I did clean terminals,  checked connections and restarted the charger on the smae 2 amp setting with the same result. The higher charge setting IS providing a more desirable response, BUT some of these AGMs do not handle more than about 4 amps of charge (according to the manufactuers warnings on the battery).  This suggests that a six amp setting could damage the battery IF you can’t get the charger to perform at 2 amps.  As a technician, I always wonder what I over looked, and I even wonder if I got the only battery charger that lighted the fully charged LED when my more trusted FLUKE says different?

As I  sit here I wonder what a battery charger of the future looks like? I just now picked up my smart phone, and started the Walgreen app to fill a prescription, I scanned the bar code on the old bottle, the app confirmed the scan, displayed the default store near me, and said I could pick up my prescription this afternoon. From experience, I know I’ll get an email when the prescription drops into the ready for pickup bin.

I see the processor module in the charger having a blue tooth communications port, we fire up the battery charger app, scan a bar code on the battery, and all the factory parameters for charging and floating are down loaded. the internal micro also has an accurate voltmeter, and can display present voltage and current right on your smart phone, no need to put a panel and more buttons on the charger to break, just use the closest smart device for a display, and even email the results of your charge and the finished float voltage off to a file for future comparison. perhaps the smartest of processes will look for past charge info and make the comparison for you?

And of course, there’s the sales part of the smart app.. “I’m sorry you bought the bargain battery at Joey’s discount store, our database shows that all of these batteries failed in the first three months, here’s our reccomendation of the top three batteries for your application that are available near the GPS location of your smart phone, just check one, and we’ll have it delivered, if you have Triple A, let us know and we’ll send them out to install it..

I have an HD Contour Camera I love, the company has invested a lot in online services, a company who decides to make a smart charger would need a very small archives in comparison to store battery charging data, and perhaps manufacturers would voluntarily provide the charging profiles for their batteries, and this would facilitate an auto lookup of the required data. Of course we will all think about the data we could generate and deliver back to the battery charger builder, and what we might be able to do with the data we collect on batteries.

About now, I’m thinking about Erica’s battery charger and the instructions on the front of the charger.. ‘push this button if you were happy with the results of this charge session.”

Sure.. it’s all a matter of time, if we don’t blow ourselves up, or kill our own economy by killing energy supplies we need, a future battery charger WILL be smart enough to try and sell you stuff when you need it.. It might also keep track of the number of times you hook the charge cables on backwards.









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One Response to Smart Charger? SC1000A Swanson Calls, You’re getting a little carried away…

  1. Michael L says:

    Yes George it all makes sense. I posted on the, “look inside the sc1000a” article about my Harley charger not really charging the battery. It would show green that it was maintaining charge but the full voltage was never there. I never really measured the voltage and just assumed it is supposed to work.

    How do I know? Try starting a harley thats been sitting for 4 months on a battery tender that you assume should be fully charged. You get a slow kind of chug, chug, chug.

    Anyway now it makes sense why I have to through the big charger on the bring the battery up.

    Even when I first bought the thing I was thinking it cant work very well being a plug in wall type.

    Now I am thinking its 750 mA. I have a power pile boiler with a 750 mA gas valve. I wonder if my power pile ever goes on the boiler, in a emergency for heat I can hook this up to the gas valve to get it to open until I get a new part…. Hmmmm

    Mike NJ

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