iCharger X8 Died - Took it apart

Announcement - Help us fight the BOTS! Please report all spam including stuff in your inbox!

OffGridInTheCity

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Messages
1,657
My iCharger X8 died today - cell 1 voltage sense wiresstarted reading 2v when pack was 4v AND the sense wires started heating.... as if it was shorting somehow. Could not recalibrate, fix, bang it, or get it to work at all - so I took it apart. Have no idea what caused this unit to fail! Expensive.

image_exbald.jpg

Here's some pics. The key is that under the top panel there are 4 screws holding the top (screen) panel on that you can't see from outside - but once you know they are there, one could punch thru with a small phillips head and probably remove it nicer than I did.

image_xmozzs.jpg



image_ruuosx.jpg


image_bjiqwm.jpg


image_fqbviy.jpg



image_qvwyhx.jpg
 

floydR

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
1,223
Ouch, I am always afraid of something like this happening. usually in my case is I didn't read that part of the manual or couldn't comprehend the poorly translated manual.

later floyd
 

Crimp Daddy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
965
floydR said:
Ouch, I am always afraid of something like this happening. usually in my case is I didn't read that part of the manual or couldn't comprehend the poorly translated manual.

later floyd

I've been using their 4 button chargers for like 10 years... and their manuals are done quite well. That said there is a ton of information in them regarding operation.

I don't own one of the x6 or x8 models., butI own have like $500 worth of stuff from them, and id be pretty pissed if any of them died on me.

Do you know what the cause might have been? How have you been using that unit? Over current for input voltage, pushing it a lot, lots of discharging?

Thanks for opening it up, I haven't seen inside before.
 

OffGridInTheCity

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Messages
1,657
CrimpDaddy said:
floydR said:
Ouch, I am always afraid of something like this happening. usually in my case is I didn't read that part of the manual or couldn't comprehend the poorly translated manual.

later floyd

I've been using their 4 button chargers for like 10 years... and their manuals are done quite well. That said there is a ton of information in them regarding operation.

I don't own one of the x6 or x8 models., butI own have like $500 worth of stuff from them, and id be pretty pissed if any of them died on me.

Do you know what the cause might have been? How have you been using that unit? Over current for input voltage, pushing it a lot, lots of discharging?

Thanks for opening it up, I haven't seen inside before.
Been using the X8 for about 6 months. Specifically, discharging new 1s50p packs down to "Storage" at 3.6v with max amps (50w) so they're ready for hookup into the powerwall.So I've discharged 20 of them so far for a total of 40 * 80ah = 3200ah of discharge. Fan running full bore - hot air coming out :)

Somehow, I shorted the cell 1 sense leads at some point. I had a 8 pin connector in with 'dangling wires' but only using 2 wires for each pack/discharge (1 cell)... but crossed wires at some point. But it seemed to continue to work for another 8 packs.

I took it apart looking for something 'burnt' on the circuit board etc... but nothing was visible at all. And the symptom of cell 1 pins reporting 2v *and getting hot* like a short where as cell 2 pins reported correct 4v. But of course it won't discharge a 1s pack unless cell 1 sense leads are hooked up.

I've heard nothing but good things. So it's probably my fault. New one arrived today - and I'm taking much better care... so we'll see.
 

Crimp Daddy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
965
Thanks for the update. Sounds like you have been putting it through its' paces haha.

I'll make a video on this in the future, its been on my list of things to do... but I highly recommend you setup the "external discharge" feature.

You can use a resistor bank or some other supported load (RTFM) and do two very useful things. You can increase the discharge wattage capacity of the unit so what you are doing will go MUCH faster, and you will put less stress on the unit as it wont be having to dissipate all that energy as heat.

While this works a bit better on the larger iChargers like the 4010, the other option that is supported is "regenerative discharge" where you move the power from one battery to another. So instead of dumping the power out as heat, you can just move it somewhere else. Its literally the equivalent of pouring water from one cup to another, vs down the drain.

Because you only have one channel, you have to regen back to your source, and your source needs to be a battery.

Manual
https://www.progressiverc.com/media/iCharger X8 Manual.pdf

1100W (regenerative)
1000W (external / extra)

Since you are doing a 1s pack, you will likely hit your current limit (30A) beforegetting to that power, but its still more than the 50W internal. I also set my current limit in software, lower than its max just to be nice to my charger... I would probably do a 20-25A max on the x8 just to keep the heat down, but that's just me being extra careful.
 

OffGridInTheCity

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Messages
1,657
CrimpDaddy said:
Thanks for the update. Sounds like you have been putting it through its' paces haha.

I'll make a video on this in the future, its been on my list of things to do... but I highly recommend you setup the "external discharge" feature.

You can use a resistor bank or some other supported load (RTFM) and do two very useful things. You can increase the discharge wattage capacity of the unit so what you are doing will go MUCH faster, and you will put less stress on the unit as it wont be having to dissipate all that energy as heat.

While this works a bit better on the larger iChargers like the 4010, the other option that is supported is "regenerative discharge" where you move the power from one battery to another. So instead of dumping the power out as heat, you can just move it somewhere else. Its literally the equivalent of pouring water from one cup to another, vs down the drain.

Because you only have one channel, you have to regen back to your source, and your source needs to be a battery.

Manual
https://www.progressiverc.com/media/iCharger X8 Manual.pdf

1100W (regenerative)
1000W (external / extra)

Since you are doing a 1s pack, you will likely hit your current limit (30A) beforegetting to that power, but its still more than the 50W internal. I also set my current limit in software, lower than its max just to be nice to my charger... I would probably do a 20-25A max on the x8 just to keep the heat down, but that's just me being extra careful.

Regenerative - I've used this with7s7p in an APC... where I tap into the 24v for the X8 and run a power load on the APC to keep the battery from charging up too fast. Have done it but it's noisy as APC beeps running load/pulling down the battery and I have to fiddle the load (variable halogen light) to keep the battery in line :) So I started using the X8 directly even though it takes much longer (6-7hrs for each pack) as I can set it and walk away.

External - Didn't know about this. I have the math right... at 20a discharge.... then 4v(pack)/20a = 0.2Ohm resistor @ 4v*20a = 80watts.

SO, a .2 Ohm reistor @ 100w should work for 20amp discharge? - Like this on ebay?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/100W-Watt-Shell-Power-Aluminum-Housed-Case-Wirewound-Resistor-1-2-4-8-1000-Ohm-/192401667448?_trksid=p2385738.m4383.l4275.c10&var=492385156663

image_xcxpng.jpg



And all I have to do is hook it up on the + side of the power wires and set discharge to 20amps?
 

Crimp Daddy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
965
That is what I have, but I can't recommend them. You have to buy a ton of them and set up a fan or cooling system... At 100 watts they get really got real fast. Its more like a 25 watt resistor with how it handles heat.

I haven't built a new setup yet, but I have been looking at wind and solar dump load resistors. This is a vendor I am looking at, they seem to have some nice stuff at a fair price. They offer resistor in different values in their store and also sell them in pre-packaged saftey cages that will make it WAY easier to setup and use.

Its been a while since I set mine up and I haven't had my morning coffee so i'm not doing any MATH right now lol. Consult the manual, I think its detailed enough. It put in series with the positive line. Resistance you need will be dependent on pack voltage.

Check these out...
https://www.ebay.com/str/Missouri-Wind-and-Solar/Divert-Dump-Loads/_i.html?_storecat=2014760011



[img=400x400]https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/-mQAAOSwo4pYUB~m/s-l1600.jpg[/img]
 

floydR

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
1,223
sorry I don't, and at the moment I can't find it. so I can't even measure the ohms.
Email sent to the seller. When I hear back or find it and measure I will post what I find out

later floyd
found the element 1- 1.2 1.0-.80 ohms
I got it because it was for 24 volt.
 

Crimp Daddy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
965
floydR said:
sorry I don't, and at the moment I can't find it. so I can't even measure the ohms.
Email sent to the seller. When I hear back or find it and measure I will post what I find out

later floyd
found the element 1- 1.2 ohms does that sound right?
I got it because it was for 24 volt.

Doesn't seem that accurate based on the description... at 24 volts and 1ohm it would draw 24 amps, which is 576 watts. 1.2 ohms would be even less at 480 watts.

This is why I like those resistors I linked... they have published resistance values which allows you to just do the calcs and figure out the best setup for your needs.

You can also just get a bunch and arrangement them in series or parallel to accommodate different voltages / watt load for the charger.


OffGridInTheCity said:
External - Didn't know about this. I have the math right... at 20a discharge.... then 4v(pack)/20a = 0.2Ohm resistor @ 4v*20a = 80watts.

SO, a .2 Ohm reistor @ 100w should work for 20amp discharge? - Like this on ebay?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/100W-Watt-Shell-Power-Aluminum-Housed-Case-Wirewound-Resistor-1-2-4-8-1000-Ohm-/192401667448?_trksid=p2385738.m4383.l4275.c10&var=492385156663

image_xcxpng.jpg



And all I have to do is hook it up on the + side of the power wires and set discharge to 20amps?

As you can see I have had my coffee... your math looks correct. You need 0.185 ohm resistor set for 74 watts of discharge current.

Note: Always use the pack/battery nominal voltage when doing the calcs. But do check it againstthe max charge voltage to make sure you are not going to exceed what the charger is capable of handling.
 

floydR

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
1,223
Up dated the post, the second reading has in between .9 and .8 ohms
Wind turbine dump loads are calculated at the max voltage of the turbine 29v for a 24volt turbine
latter floyd
 

Crimp Daddy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
965
floydR said:
Up dated the post, the second reading has in between .9 and .8 ohms
Wind turbine dump loads are calculated at the max voltage of the turbine 29v for a 24volt turbine
latter floyd

That makes perfect sense considering dump loads are not activated until the batteries are full and power needs to be diverted. In that case with the updated resistance, its correct as advertised.

You could always get two of those... in series it would be good for 1000 watts of48 volts, and in parallel 2000 watts for 12.

The mix and match was my plan to expand the capability for the iCharger. Capacity testing in the winter this year is going to make a lot of sense considering I have a bunch of EV cells I need to test.
 

OffGridInTheCity

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Messages
1,657
2nd one just died. I purchased the 2nd one about 3 weeks ago- discharged 4 x 1s51p packs to storage (3.6v) with no trouble.

Yesterday I charged up (1/2 of) a Lead Acid APC UPS battery using Pb mode @ 2.30v/cell * 6s = 13.8and it started having trouble booting. I had to remove the +/- power leads from the batteryto get it to boot - it would just boot/flicker/boot/flicker etc... (not good). I did get it to boot by turning it on with nothing attached and charged a 2nd one OK. I did try the sense leads - but unit didn't like it and just stopped using them (and read that you shouldn't use them) so maybe once again the sense leads 'broke something'?

Today - it won't turn on or boot or do anything. My bad luck - but that's the 2nd one that's died for no good reason I can see -so I'd better get the message and move on. Kind of frustrating and these things are pretty expensive. Sigh....

Going to try an ISDTQ8. Not as detailed options- but maybe it will work longer. I'll post back after a while and say how it went.
 

Crimp Daddy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
965
Sorry to hear about that... Is it possible to return it?

I buy all my stuff from Progressive RC which is a good state side distributor.

Your experience is concerning to me... iCharger makes good stuff, but perhaps the x6 and x8 line isn't what it used to be? The sense leads is something I have been using with my 206B+ and 4010 Duo since I got it.
 

OffGridInTheCity

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Messages
1,657
CrimpDaddy said:
Sorry to hear about that... Is it possible to return it?

I buy all my stuff from Progressive RC which is a good state side distributor.

Your experience is concerning to me... iCharger makes good stuff, but perhaps the x6 and x8 line isn't what it used to be? The sense leads is something I have been using with my 206B+ and 4010 Duo since I got it.
Yea - its not my intent to bash ICharger but rather to share for what its worth...wondering if 'sense leads' are perhaps an achilles heal? In the first failure - a couple of sense leads shorted at the battery, which may have affected the iCharger itself. In the lead acid - I hooked the sense leads (in addition to power leads) to the battery a couple of times before I read that you don't use them for PB. So maybe I'm harming the units by mis-use of sense leads?
 

OffGridInTheCity

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Messages
1,657
OffGridInTheCity said:
CrimpDaddy said:
Sorry to hear about that... Is it possible to return it?

I buy all my stuff from Progressive RC which is a good state side distributor.

Your experience is concerning to me... iCharger makes good stuff, but perhaps the x6 and x8 line isn't what it used to be? The sense leads is something I have been using with my 206B+ and 4010 Duo since I got it.
Yea - its not my intent to bash ICharger but rather to share for what its worth...wondering if 'sense leads' are perhaps an achilles heal? In the first failure - a couple of sense leads shorted at the battery, which may have affected the iCharger itself. In the lead acid - I hooked the sense leads (in addition to power leads) to the battery a couple of times before I read that you don't use them for PB. So maybe I'm harming the units by mis-use of sense leads?

Mystery solved! The ISDT Q8 arrived today - and it wouldn't turn on!!! I feel like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation trying to turn the lights on.

Turns out - my cheap circuit breaker (circled red in picture)was working intermittently / low voltage to 0 voltage. I used this as on/off switch - so its been turned on/off 50 times now over last several months. Yes I measured the voltage at the iCharger X8 plugwhen this happened and it showed 24v but it goes crazy up/down to 0 volts with load / flipping circuit breaker on/off. This explains the screen flashing when it was trying to boot.

image_bsevbq.jpg


Replaced it with a Midnite Solar 20a breaker - and wa la - its working again. Didn't expect the cheap 30a circuit breaker to fail intermittently, but maybe I should have as its just a cheap item and not built to be an on/off switch in the first place. Oh the joys of being a DIY'er and blaming the wrong equipment.

Now I wonder if that was the problem with the 1st one... but alas I took it apart so no way to tell now.

Sorry ICharger! :)
 

Crimp Daddy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
965
OffGridInTheCity said:
OffGridInTheCity said:
CrimpDaddy said:
Sorry to hear about that... Is it possible to return it?

I buy all my stuff from Progressive RC which is a good state side distributor.

Your experience is concerning to me... iCharger makes good stuff, but perhaps the x6 and x8 line isn't what it used to be? The sense leads is something I have been using with my 206B+ and 4010 Duo since I got it.
Yea - its not my intent to bash ICharger but rather to share for what its worth...wondering if 'sense leads' are perhaps an achilles heal? In the first failure - a couple of sense leads shorted at the battery, which may have affected the iCharger itself. In the lead acid - I hooked the sense leads (in addition to power leads) to the battery a couple of times before I read that you don't use them for PB. So maybe I'm harming the units by mis-use of sense leads?

Mystery solved! The ISDT Q8 arrived today - and it wouldn't turn on!!! I feel like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation trying to turn the lights on.

Turns out - my cheap circuit breaker (circled red in picture)was working intermittently / low voltage to 0 voltage. I used this as on/off switch - so its been turned on/off 50 times now over last several months. Yes I measured the voltage at the iCharger X8 plugwhen this happened and it showed 24v but it goes crazy up/down to 0 volts with load / flipping circuit breaker on/off. This explains the screen flashing when it was trying to boot.

image_bsevbq.jpg


Replaced it with a Midnite Solar 20a breaker - and wa la - its working again. Didn't expect the cheap 30a circuit breaker to fail intermittently, but maybe I should have as its just a cheap item and not built to be an on/off switch in the first place. Oh the joys of being a DIY'er and blaming the wrong equipment.

Now I wonder if that was the problem with the 1st one... but alas I took it apart so no way to tell now.

Sorry ICharger! :)

Glad youfound the problem... I am also using a breaker as a switch, I wonder it the damage comes from repeated use from the inrush current when switched, or because its just cheap low quality stuff.

My 4010 Duo goes nuts when I use a 48v supply... the inrush current is enough to damage contacts on my connectors from sparking. I ended up buying some anti-spark XT90 RC connectors but never used them because I switched over to a breaker, but now I am rethinkiing that decision after you posted this.

I even used a resistor in the past to pre-charge the caps slowly before throwing the breaker when using a high voltage supply, but its pretty inconvenient. I guess I could wire it up with a switch. That said, it is a good quality Bussman Cooper breaker.


image_kqcodz.jpg


image_hdixgn.jpg


image_tlaqvu.jpg


image_nbodis.jpg
 
Top