Unique Li-Ion battery tester

battery

[moris_zen] found himself with a hand full of Li-Ion batteries and no good way to see what their capacities were. He built a this unique tester really quick to get the job done. He’s using off the shelf components and a cheap pocket watch which he bought in Taiwan for $1. You hook the circuit up to your battery, click the button and the watch starts working. When it stops, you multiply that number by .38 to get your amp/hour results. Sure, he could have just used a counter, but this is an interesting approach. All he needs to do now is make a nice container to hide all of the circuitry. How could he change the circuit to make the end multiplication unnecessary?

Comments

  1. If he changed the circuit to “make end multiplication unnecessary”, he’d likely be losing accuracy, as all of the sudden a change in the amount of amp/hours would correspond to much smaller amount of change…

  2. Man On Fire says:

    yeah. just use a calculator. he’s either have to change the crystal oscillator, or re-gear the watch, depending on its movement. not easy.

  3. atrain says:

    Or he could just change the numbers on the face of the clock…

  4. raged says:

    @atrain – bingo

  5. Till says:

    a deep discharge protection should be implemented or it might be the last cycle of the battery ;)

  6. andre says:

    i saw something like this on Sam Goldwasser’s RepairFAQ, he was using NiCd’s though. Yet another use for those cheap Pound World/etc clocks :)

    Also, another approach would be a “step” timer with the input hooked up to a 555 timer set to pulse once every n seconds, so you can read the capacity in Ah directly off the clock’s dial.

  7. greg says:

    I would use an arduino to do the math and then have it twitter the test results from each battery. c’mon hackaday, get on the ball!

  8. pdx says:

    Can’t you just go through a resistor? Or am I being dumb… (it’s that second thing isn’t it).

  9. Skyler Orlando says:

    @pdx: A little of both. Yes, you can go through a resistor, but this way you can reliably time the discharge with a given current draw. Otherwise, you’d have to sit there and watch your meter the whole time, noting down when the battery died.

    ;)

  10. Micheal Smith says:

    @greg

    Hack-a-day seems to be dyin’ a horrible death.

  11. billhates says:

    Wtf….. I just use a capacitor and a poteniohmer to calculate the end of the universe for my lipo’s

  12. billhates says:

    @ mike smith… what the hell is your problem. You dont want to find out how to check a battery!

  13. Wazzup says:

    Hmmm.. I have a watch EXCCTLY like that one and it is all analogue, no batteries inside, only an old school proper wind-up mechanism.

  14. Wazzup says:

    Hmmm.. I have a watch EXACTLY like that one and it is all analogue, no batteries inside, only an old school proper wind-up mechanism.

  15. Tetrafluoroethane says:

    It would be simple to measure the time with any other device, but the circuit itself is simplicity at it’s best. Though if the “true” mAh rating is what you are after I don’t think you are going to get it with this since the “true” rating is usually done at a 1/5 C discharge rate. By “true” I mean what the factory puts on the label… you know, marketing crap.

    @till: a pseudo deep-discharge is already in place: the white led. Of course you will still have leakage current through the PNP transistor, but that should be negligible unless you leave this thing hooked up for weeks.

    As for making the calculation unnecessary, make it draw 1mA (yes, impossible with this circuit). Then see the number of hours it runs. :D You could make it easier though: change the total resistance (including parallel relay coil) to about 37.5ohms (drawing 100mA) or 3.7ohms (drawing 1A). A 1A draw should be well within the 1C discharge limit of most LiION laptop cells and give more of a “real world” capacity, just make sure your resistor(s) can dissipate that kind of power.

  16. khordas says:

    Just glad to see that it doesn’t use an arduino in a switch simulating role. This is a pretty clever way to find the amp hour rating. Might be a bit nicer to change the current draw to simplify the calculation, but the principle is sound and the use of the pocket watch is clever.

    K.

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