Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

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andrew
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Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

I bought two of the VEC1087CBD 12v 10/6/2 amp chargers at a local Lowes, and another six from Boat and RV Acessories. Two of the six I bought from Boat and RV Accessories are not performing like the others, and I'm warrantying them. It's not the distributors fault, they just had them drop shipped to me, and I'd do business with them again. I'll give more detail below. This is only a preliminary review. The chargers have not been tested for a long period.

*Note: The ones I bought appear to have silver colored smaller clamps, so appear to be an update from the older ones sold with the same model No.

Here's one of them (actual unit):
Vector_1087CBD.jpg

The Good

I like these chargers. They are quiet, have a fan to stay cool, and seem to have a very good charging algorithm (more detail below). The initial apparent quality is good, and they appear to be rugged. I wouldn't expect them to fall apart.

They come with the power cord, and battery cables nicely bundled in the plastic tray. I didn't care to rebundle them though, and just wrapped the cords around the charger. All of the plastic is nice for carrying the charger around, but I'll remove it all when I mount them on my bike. Actually, the plastic is a really nice feature, it gives us flexibility to downsize the charger easily. The orange thing contains the electronics and can be separated from the rest.

The display is a very nice feature. It displays charging current by default, and voltage with the push of a button for 3 seconds. But the what's really useful is that it gives more detailed in the form of fault codes if something is wrong. B&D included a nice little card for quick reference of the fault codes so you don't have to go digging for the manual. It properly detected that a bad battery of mine has an open cell.

The fan speed is controlled which helps keep the charger cool, and probably cuts down on fan bearing wear if the charger is left connected indefinitely. It also keeps the charger cool when pumping full amps.

The CV stage current tapers to about .33 amps (average of my working chargers), which is low enough to fully charge most batteries in cycle use.

According to the spec of 190 watts max, the charger is efficient at about 80% efficient.

These chargers don't hold a constant float voltage, instead they pulse a float charge when the battery voltage drops too low. Why is this good? Because a constant float charge can potentially slowly cook batteries if the voltage is just slightly too high (or the ambient temperature rises). This means these chargers can be left connected to the batteries with no potential to damage them, provided the chargers are working properly.

The chargers do diagnostic tests during charging, at which point they beep and stop charging momentarily. They don't do this excessively.

If the power is interrupted the charger will reset itself and charge at the lowest rate after a few minutes.

The chargers have a charging time limit to 18 hrs, meaning they won't cook batteries indefinitely.

Charger has overheat protection circuitry, and displays fault code.

Short circuit protection---No need to worry about touching the charger clamps when the charger is not connected to a battery.

Vector or B&D must of made an improvement without changing the model number. I used an older 1087CBD (same exact model number) which had copper colored clamps, and the fan makes a loud noise sometimes. All of the new chargers are quiet. They have smaller, silver colored clamps than the older one.

The Bad

2 of 8 chargers need replacement, that's 75% chance of getting a good charger. Not very good, and it may take careful testing to determine which are good/bad. And B&D is a proving to be a pain to deal with.

There is a considerable variation between each charger's CV, and what the CV stage current tapers to(more detail below).

B&D or Vector don't provide any spec sheets (or I couldn't find them), and don't define what the CV should be, or what the CV stage current tapers to.

The displayed current reading is inaccurate below an amp or two.

When the charger displays "Full" it is still finishing the CV stage. If you hit the display voltage button than it usually stops finishing prematurely.

The fan never stops running. This means the charger will always make noise if left on the battery for long periods.

Having to push the current selector button every time for charging can be annoying, especially with 6 chargers.

Beeping can be annoying.

More Detail

Here's a listing of each charger's CV, and what the CV stage current tapers to before the charge current stops (finished charging).

No.1: 14.81v, .34 amps

No.2: 14.9v, .19 amps The CV is higher than the others, and the current is considerably lower. I'm warrantying this one.

No. 3: 14.75v, .3 amps

No. 4: 14.8v, .42 amps

No. 5: erratic, 13.75v, 1.25 amps one test, 13.6v, .4 amps another test. The display is also messed up, and the fan runs slower. Warrantying this one.

No. 6: 14.74v, .27 amps

Lowes No. 1: 14.68v, .35 amps

Lowes No. 2: 14.56v, .31 amps

Average of Chargers (except 2 & 5):
14.72v, .33 amps

The CV, and CV final current appeared to be the similar for all of the charge rates selected (2, 6, or 10 amp).

andrew
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

Here's the insides of the charger. I can take all of the black outer plastic off without cutting anything. This way I can return the chargers to their original condition without too much work so I can sell them if I switch to a different charging scheme.

Vector_1087CBD_insides.jpg
(click on image for larger version)

Also note the thick orange plastic case. I can drill holes and tap it to bolt the display right to it on the side. I'll probably use some rubber or foam backing to cushion the display. I can fabricate a new top cover pretty easy to bolt right on. Finally, I'll move the fan from the black plastic case, and mount it somehow. Once I'm done I'll have a charger that can fit in a small pack and strap it to my bike. I'll use a custom 7-pin connector constructed with Anderson Powerpole connectors, to plug it into my bike. I'll use Astar's wiring configuration, just with an extra wire for 6 batteries. I'll also install blade fuses with holders right next to the battery terminals for each of the 7 wires to be safe.

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
Pic from http://www.electri

astar
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

Thanks Andrew. It would be really nice if we could figure out a way to adjust the CV stage to make the chargers all the same. Do you see any pots on the board that might be able to accomplish this? I have the 2/4/6 Charger, maybe I'll look at mine.

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

andrew
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

astar, I uploaded a higher resolution image of the charger insides. Click on the above image.

I don't see any pots, and don't remember seeing any, though I wasn't specifically looking for them when I had the charger apart. I'm not sure if there could be one on the underside of the main board. The charger is easy enough to take apart and put back together.

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
Pic from http://www.electri

NovaScooters
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review
fisher727
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

I just ordered a Tender plus 12 volt 5 amp. charger from JS marketing & Boat and RV accessories. I bought it cause it weighs only 4 pounds, has temperature compensation and does not need to be programed after turning it on. Does the vector have temperature compensation. Also the charging voltages seen a little high to me.

Eric Fisher

andrew
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

fisher727, here's what I posted on the above Voltsrider thread.

I have it open now. I'll clean it w/alcohol first, then retest it, then begin experimenting w/R22.

Click image to enlarge, please note: 2.4 mb size!
//home.comcast.net/%7Eawowk/Vector_1087CBD_insides_reverse.jpg)

Something unexpected happened after the alcohol cleaning. The charge voltage dropped to about 14.71v. I was surprised, and thought the alcohol did the trick, but it turns out I used a hair dryer to dry the alcohol, which raised the temperature.

And, when I was doing the test, I had the board out away from the fan that normally keeps it cool. I put the board in the housing with the fan and noticed the charge voltage rose gradually back to what it was before. I used the hairdryer, and found I could lower the charge voltage by heating up the board.

Do you know if these chargers have temperature compensation, or was the temperature just influencing the resistance somewhere?

Also, the current at the cutoff point is lower for this charger than normal (about .19 amps). Any idea how to adjust the current at which point charging ends?

As this point, I really don't know if these chargers have temperature compensation.

ScooterTech doesn't think so: Vector and B&D chargers WILL start automatically

Eric Fisher asked if they were temp comp, I dont think they are.

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
Pic from http://www.electri

pchilds
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

Charge voltage does go down when the temperature goes up.

http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm#Temperature%20Effects%20on%20Batteries

Battery charging voltage also changes with temperature. It will vary from about 2.74 volts per cell (16.4 volts) at -40 C to 2.3 volts per cell (13.8 volts) at 50 C. This is why you should have temperature compensation on your charger or charge control if your batteries are outside and/or subject to wide temperature variations.

Philip

Philip
2011 Nissan Leaf SL

frodus
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

I also got one at Fred Meyer's when they were on sale... not a bad little charger.

I want to try and get the pinout so we can make our own controls for it. Its a nice switching power supply, maybe we can figure something out. The microcontroller on it is a Microchip PIC, but its unlisted and custom... and it gives you an idea of where to start. I want to be able to defeat the faults when you disconnect so I can use my relay charge balancer. Also, to default at 10A Gel would be nice.

____________

Travis Gintz
1986 Honda VFR Conversion
www.evfr.net

astar
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

I don't see any pots, and don't remember seeing any, though I wasn't specifically looking for them when I had the charger apart. I'm not sure if there could be one on the underside of the main board. The charger is easy enough to take apart and put back together.

I wrote to Black & Decker via their web site to ask about this, and suggest they make a change to their product to allow for tuning the units to be exactly the same. I think it would be a really small change to their product. They wrote back a form letter telling me I should send my suggestions in writing:

Thank you for your suggestion to make a change to our chargers. In order for your suggestion to receive consideration, please send your suggestion in writing to Ms. Barbara Davis, Black and Decker Corporate Headquarters, 701 East Joppa Rd., Towson, Maryland 21286.

Your suggestions are appreciated.

I sent a letter yesterday. I don't know if anyting will come of it, but maybe if they get enough letters, they will actually take the suggestion seriously. Here is what I wrote to them:
-----------------------------------------

Dear Ms. Davis,

I wanted to let you know that there are a lot of Electric Vehicle (EV) early adopters using the Vector/B&D battery chargers to charge up their batteries. Many are using 5 or more battery chargers to charge each battery in an Electric Scooter individually. By charging individually, it keeps the batteries in the string balanced, which extends battery life. There is also some use of individual chargers in Electric automobiles.

There are small variations in the CV voltage stage for the cut off voltage and amperage from charger to charger. These variations are probably fine when charging a single battery, but become troublesome when trying to charge multiple batteries in a string and keep them in perfect balance.

Because EV’s are a small but growing market, I thought it might be mutually beneficial for you to make a small change to your charger to allow the output to be finely adjusted to keep each charger output the same. Perhaps the capability is already present, and we just need to know the correct adjustment procedure. Please consider making this change for the series of smart chargers, including the 2/4/6 and 2/6/10.

If you are willing to go further in your engineering efforts, I believe there is a market for an integrated “bank” charger that is set up to charge multiple batteries in a string. It would make installation of individual charges much easier on an EV. For electric scooters and motorcycles, a 6 battery system would probably be sufficient. For Electric cars, it may require 10 or more batteries. Another possibility is to make them modular so that they can plug together. For us those of us doing this type of battery charging, even finding an appropriate connector for plugging and unplugging the chargers can be problematic.

There may also be a market for charging individual cells within a LiFePo4 battery pack, but this would require a lot more individual chargers, and require a different charge profile I believe.

I would be happy to provide more information if this will help you. You can see what some people are doing on the on-line forum www.visforvoltage.org.

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

sgmdudley
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

I have 5 Vector 1086B which is the same as the B & D 1086BBD, only $5 cheaper. Who really makes the chargers? Shouldn't your letter go to the manufacturer? I think B & D only puts their name on a Vector.

Robert Dudley
E-Scoot Tech

frodus
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

B&D bought Vector last year.

I called thurs to talk to someone at the vector website, they were just a distributor's number, and I got forwarded to B&D tech support. I didn't get anywhere there. I just wanted to see if they could offer a chip that defeats some of the faults... maybe next revision a programmable version?

Maybe try and track down the original owner of Vector company and see where that takes you.

____________

Travis Gintz
1986 Honda VFR Conversion
www.evfr.net

astar
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

I got a form letter reply from Barbara Davis at Black and Decker: "Various design changes and improvements are regularly under consideration. We will be sure to consider your suggestion in planning these future improvements."

If I'm a lone voice on this, it will most likely be ignored. Collectively we have a lot more power to influence, so I encourage others to write to B&D at the address above.

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

jdh2550_1
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

I'll send a similar letter to B&D.

BTW, I've made a new friend who runs a small race car data acquisition business here in Ann Arbor and is an EE (or he might be Mech Eng but with lots of electrical experience). I was talking to him about finding an 84V power supply that I could use for my "string + bank" charging set up for the CB-750.

He's still bouncing ideas around - but currently the thinking is around modifying one or more PC power supplies to do the trick. I don't pretend to know what would be involved - but he mentioned that a 300W PC power supply could be made into a 20A 14.4V supply. Combined with what Bob & Gary over on endless-sphere have done with their CMS for Lithium I think one could make their own modular charging system based on buying and modifying however many separate supplies are required and then having a single controller. I'll keep you posted if this goes anywhere. If anyone wants to collaborate on this then let me know.

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

fisher727
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

I was looking around the web to find information on temperature compensation on battery chargers and found that the 15/10/2 Vector charger has that feature I don't think the 10/6/2 charger has this feature. I have included the link I found this information at.

http://www.battery-rechargeable-charger.com/vector-VEC1089A-car-battery-charger.html

Eric Fisher
www.Siliconebatteriesusa.com

reikiman
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

There's a little bit of difference between a power supply and a charger. The charger needs to follow an algorithm that's correct for the battery.

In the handbook section we have a link to: B&B Batteries for Electric Vehicles ... their technical manual has a lot of detailed information about proper charging techniques.

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra To

fisher727
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Re: Vector B&D 10/6/2 Charger Review

I purchased a B&D 6/4/2 Charger 2 days ago at Walmart for $26.99. I charged a 70 amp hour battery that was at about 80% charge. I used the 6 amp setting. The voltage came up to about 14.0 volts initially and continued up to 14.8 volts but never went higher. At this point the Kill-a-watt meter started to drop from 140 watts until it got to 26 watts over a period of several hours. Moments after the watt meter reached 26 watts the charger beeped and showed a light that indicated that the charge was complete the watt meter went to 3 watts which was the power to run the fan that does not turn off. After about 5 min. the Voltage dropped to 13.35 volts. At that time the charge complete light went out and the charger started charging again. Within about one min. the voltage rose to 14.1 volts and the charger beeped and the charge complete light came on again. The cycling continued in this same pattern. This is how the float cycle works I guess.
I tried this on another battery but with the 2 amp charge setting. The results were similar with the cut off point at 26 watts.

Eric Fisher
www.Siliconebatteriesusa.com

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