STEEM Cycle Update: Upgraded Charger

The black charger in my hand is the old one. The shiny blue box inside the bike is the new charger. What are the improvements over the old charger, you ask? Oh, you didn’t ask? That’s fine, I will tell you anyhow.

  1. It can automatically charge only up to 80, 90 or 100% depending on the setting. Charging only to 80% can double the lifespan of a lithium battery.
  2. Lithium batteries take nearly as much time going from 80% to 100% as they take to go from 0% to 80%. This means it will charge noticeably faster even though the current is the same.

Why are lithium batteries like that? Well imaging charging a battery as if it were a spring that you’re trying to compress as much as possible. Squeezing the spring is easy and goes quickly at first. But the more you compress it, the harder it becomes to compress it any further and the more time it takes to get it to 100% compression.

There are two downsides to this charger, however.

  1. I will need to open the bike up and set it to charge to 100% once every six months to make sure the cells are balanced. They cannot balance unless charged all the way up.
  2. It is a parasitic load. That means unlike the old charger, this one is constantly using a small amount of power from the battery to check on how full it is. This means I can’t leave it unplugged for long periods without opening up the bike and disconnecting the charger from the battery.

Overall I think this was a worthwhile upgrade. I may install an external switch that will let me connect or disconnect the charger from the battery without opening up the bike, but that’s for another day. Hopefully the addition of this charger will save me from having to buy another big, expensive battery pack too soon.

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