Author Topic: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.  (Read 8424 times)

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Offline FraserTopic starter

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The official FLIR external charger for the Ex series is anything but cheap. In the UK it costs something like £130  :(

I was fortunate enough to be gifted an additional battery and external charger when I reviewed the E4 for a company.
Having had a look inside it (teardown is on this forum) I cannot see why it should be so expensive as it is nothing clever or special for the task.

I have been looking at universal Lithium Ion chargers for a while now. I am interested in them for two reasons...

1. As a charger for the various Li-Ion battery packs that I have collected that do not have a dedicated charger or the original host equipment.

2. As a source of universal battery holders for use with battery discharge analysers that I own.


Having used these units to maintain my orphan Li-Ion batteries I decided to try one on my FLIR E4 battery. The Ex series battery is just a standard 18650  cell with a protection PCB. There is no 'gas gauge' in this battery as that is inside the camera.

The Universal Li-Ion battery charger that I have been using is the INOV8. This has a spring loaded clamp that holds the battery in place, and the contacts are adjustable to match the battery format and contact positions. The contacts are blades to enable use with batteries with fully enclosed blade type receptacles.

Whilst the INOV8 has performed well, its contact positioning system is a bit 'agricultural' in its design. I was looking for other universal Li-Ion charger options and found the products made by Hahnel. These are named the UniPal and the UniPal plus. Both will charge single or dual cell Lii-Ion batteries and one or two AA/AAA Ni-Mh cells.The units come supplied with a mains power pack and car adapter.

The adjustment of the contacts on these Hahnel products iw quire well engineered, much better than the INOV8. A pair of thumb wheels drive worm feeds to position the contacts independently of each other.

I have been testing the UniPal and UniPal plus today and both work well. The 'plus' model includes an LCD battery state display that can both show remaining charge and the charge state during the charging process. I also found the contact positioning mechanism of the 'plus' model to be smoother in operation.

The Ex series battery fits into the Hahnel charger very easily and neatly and the charger automatically detects contact polarity, battery type and charge state. The standard model uses a pair of LED's to indicate its state.

I prefer the ergonomics of the Hahnel plus model over the INOV8. I bought my Hahnel plus on ebay for £22.95 delivered from Ireland. I see that Maplin sell the INOV8 for just under £30.


Hahnel plus:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/281664484349?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Inov8:

http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/universal-lithium-battery-charger-n46jt

The UniPal and UniPal plus both provide a USB port for charging USB devices at up to 500mA.


Pictures attached of all three chargers I have been testing.

Fraser




« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 07:22:13 pm by Fraser »
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Offline FraserTopic starter

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2016, 07:08:15 pm »
E4 Battery charging  using the Hahnel UniPal plus and standard models.

The battery is held in place by the cover using rubber grip pads and strong springs.

Fraser
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 07:14:22 pm by Fraser »
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Offline roli_bark

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2016, 07:31:38 pm »
As a follow up - I'm planing to hack an expired Flir E4 battery casing, and replace its 18650.
Before I start, any hitches here ?
TIA
 

Offline FraserTopic starter

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2016, 09:38:54 pm »
Search the E4 teardown thread. It contains the details and pictures you require.

The battery does not contain any 'gas gauge' electronics, only the cell protection that such batteries normally have. Others have fitted a replacement Li-Ion cell without problems.

Fraser
« Last Edit: September 18, 2016, 09:45:05 pm by Fraser »
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Offline roli_bark

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2016, 08:10:19 am »
I have searched and finally found the postings on replacing the E4 Battery Cell (18650) - thanks to member "pomonabill221" !

So for the benefit of others, here is the starting point:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/thermal-imaging/flir-e4-thermal-imaging-camera-teardown/msg385379/#msg385379
 
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Offline roli_bark

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2016, 08:20:17 am »
I just couldn't find how he broke the battery plastic casing open ?
 

Offline OrBy

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2016, 12:55:38 pm »
Yeah I never could get a clear picture of how the battery case came apart as well. Having a working battery and not wanting to mess it up I never looked further into it but it would be nice to get a few more details just in case.
 

Offline roli_bark

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2016, 01:02:47 pm »
I have seen people loosening up an off line SMDS plastic casing by simply taping it around its glued sim (with a soft screwdriver handle).

May be that's a hint.
 

Offline nowlan

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2016, 01:14:45 pm »
I am expecting some $4 ebay lipo charger pcb & 3d printed cradle would be very popular around here.

I found my flir e4 managed to drain the battery sitting on shelf. Not sure if goes to sleep or full off.
My bosch drills been holding up for years.

Also, was the flir charger that comes with the unit special? Seem to recall apple charger & being plugged into pc never did anything.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2016, 01:38:48 pm »
Should not be any special. Check the E4 charger for current rating and should be able to use a 3rd party charger with same or higher power rating. I recall a discharged E4 takes 800-900mA charging current. USB cant provide that much, or E4 charging circuit is not that good in negotiating required power with the PC. In my case the E4 just shuts down after a brief charging attempt when it is discharged more than a half or something, if i connect it to the PC. I have to use the charger. If the battery is over 50% the PC charges it just fine, though a heck of slower compare to the charger.
I recall there is a button combination on E4 to display charge current, i think it is left+right buttons together, while the camera is turned off, but cant remember for sure. Try next time you connect it to the charger.
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Offline roli_bark

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2016, 03:18:39 pm »
I am expecting some $4 ebay lipo charger pcb & 3d printed cradle would be very popular around here.

I found my flir e4 managed to drain the battery sitting on shelf. Not sure if goes to sleep or full off.
My bosch drills been holding up for years.

Also, was the flir charger that comes with the unit special? Seem to recall apple charger & being plugged into pc never did anything.
Another option is the "LiPro Balanced Charger"
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-NImax-B6-LCD-Screen-RC-Lipo-NiMh-Li-io-n-Battery-LiPro-Balance-Charger-QX42-/181988088261?hash=item2a5f55d9c5:g:9AoAAOSwZG9Wk0nF

 

Offline FraserTopic starter

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2016, 03:32:07 pm »
Flir camera charger is nothing 'special'. IIRC it is rated at 2A and I recommend using a charger that is rated similarly. I have used a Sony 1.75A mobile phone charger and my HUDL tablet 2A  charger and both worked fine.

The FLIR external charger was torn down by me and is documented in the FLIR E4 useful information thread. It is decent quality but any decent Li Ion charger for a Single cell should work fine provide a sensible charge current is used.. I have previously repurposed old camera Li  Ion battery chargers. The FLIR battery thermistor is IIRC a 10K type.

Fraser
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Offline roli_bark

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Re: FLIR E4 + others - external battery charging - Hahnel UniPal plus.
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2016, 05:51:34 pm »
 


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