Capacitive Battery Chargers

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Capacitive Battery Chargers

Postby dave brenneman » Sat May 19, 2012 5:31 pm

Many of you will remember [Mikey Sklar] from the multitude of times he’s been on hackaday. What you may not have noticed is that he is an ubergeek, living off the grid.

He has Solar PV battery bank, three electric vehicles, a shipping container loaded with battery powered tools and a small army of iRobot Roomba’s for cleaning. Getting the maximum lifetime out of a battery by removing sulfation is essential to keep expenses down.

Keeping expenses down is nearly a full time job when trying to live the homestead lifestyle. Our current culture makes it extremely difficult to survive completely on self made/grown things and bartering. They seem to be doing pretty well though. One way he can reduce his costs while still getting to enjoy some modern gadgets is to get longer life out of his batteries. He does this by using a capacitive battery charger and desolfator that he designed and affectionately calls “Da Pimp”. He also brings in a little bit of income by selling kits!

A capacitive charger behaves like a constant current power supply dynamically adjusting the voltage to get over the batteries internal resistance. Plus there is a pulse from the AC/DC conversion. This allows for old batteries to last longer and for dumpster dived to be used as replacements. Capacitive chargers are small, silent and super efficent (up to 60% more so than cheap transformer based chargers).

Of course, [Mikey] is a supporter of sharing information so you can also go to his site and download the schematics,bill of materials, gerber files, and files for the housing, to build one yourself. ... /#comments

Da Pimp is a extremely portable battery tester / desulfator / charger.

It uses capacitors instead of a transformer creating a highly efficient conversion of AC to DC voltages. It is available fully assembled with all accessories or as a complete kit that requires soldering. Da Pimp is ideal for the following:

rapid testing of batteries to determine how sulfated they are
recovering lead-acid car starting batteries
recovering marine boat batteries
recovering entire sets of lead-acid deep-cycle battery banks ( golf carts, forklifts, other electric vehicles and pv solar systems )
recovering power tool batteries (drills, weed wackers, saws)
recovering iRobot batteries (vacuum / mopper)
The design is completely open with source code, schematics, circuit layout and bill of materials all made available.

The comments from the Hackaday link indicate there are some improvements that could be made to the circuit, but something like this might prove useful as a starting point for homesteaders/reusers/recyclers
dave brenneman
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:48 am

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