Show off your DIY and modified tools!

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rebelrider.mike

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I know there's folks out there who have made or modified tools to meet needs, save money, or just make life easier. I'd love to see them!

I'll start with a simple mod that many of us have already done:

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Adding additional heat sink to a 30W soldering iron. Not a great solution, but there is some improvement. It still cold solders large joints, can't de-solder anything, and has to rest between uses to build heat back up, but It does give a little more heat transfer for the first few seconds. And its still good for finer work like sticking wires together.
 

rebelrider.mike

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Ok here's another. I guess it would be called a load tester. Pretty much unnecessary, but it gives a quick idea as to the health of the cells. I have a load testing section on my multimeter, and also a great big one for car batteries. So I figured it would be nice to have one for my 18650s as well.

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I even used my rudimentary carpentry skills to build a frame to protect the wiring.

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Who else has DIY tools or tool mods they'd like to share? I'd love to see 'em!
 

daromer

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Cable slicer i use to make up my busbar wires

Then I have the charging station but perhaps not as much DIY tool.
 

rebelrider.mike

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Each cell slot in the holder is wired to its own volt meter, so that is always on when a cell is installed. The resistor is wired to the cell with a momentary switch. So the load is only there if the switch is being pressed. Pop a cell in, get the resting voltage, press the button, get the voltage under load, release the button, see how well the cell recovers back to its resting voltage.
 

Korishan

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@Jeremy: How did you connect the thermistors to the TP boards? What modifications did you do?
 

daromer

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Based on above i add mine when i added temp logging to opus chargers. That must be somewhat DIY

 

Jeremy Choy

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Korishan said:
@Jeremy: How did you connect the thermistors to the TP boards? What modifications did you do?

just used ESP32 and 16 temp sensors, drilled holes in the middle of the battery holder and glued them in place. then used the Wifi capabilities so I can remote monitor it. TP boards have nothing to do with temp monitoring. no smarts.
 

Korishan

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Ahhh, was wondering cuz the the IC does have a temp pin. However, it's been grounded on the boards and I was wondering if you had de-grounded it and started using it.
 

rebelrider.mike

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Hey, that's cool you guys! Now I have to add temperature sensors to my chargers too, LOL.

Here's a couple little nothin things I did:

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The left one is an adapter for the Opus charger. I just added a couple wires to the ends of one of those dummy tubes that are sometimes found in laptop batteries.
The right one is an adapter I made from one of the protective end caps that came with my camera batteries. I have a charger, but that's boring and normal. Now I can charge them on any lithium charger I want to make a connector for. :)
 

rebelrider.mike

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Anyone else hate electric buzzers? I can't stand them. They're on everything! They seem tocome in two volumes: way too loud, and super loud.

In the case of my iMax clone, I wanted to keep the buzzer but reduce the volume, so I can still hear when its done charging. I was able to pop the buzzer open and fill in the empty spaces above and below the diaphragm with some non conductive material to muffle the sound. Still works but at about 1/4 the volume. Ah... much better.

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Incidentally, I also bought a genuine iMax, and it has a much quieter buzzer, which also is a bit musical. I mean it plays more than one note. So no modification was necessary for that one. Both units have On/Off settings separately for button-pushing and announcements. I have both set to button-off. I don't need the things telling me when I push the buttons. I can see myself doing it, LOL!

I also just got a CellMeter 8. Nice little portable battery checker that can read up to 8s batteries. It even does discharge balancing although very, very slowly. It also has a super loud buzzer. There is an off setting, but the unit "forgets" after a while, and the darn thing starts yelling at me again. >: (
One soldering iron later, and the noise maker is no longer an issue.

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I did the same thing the other month to an electronic desktop scale. Another super loud "I'M ON!!!!" buzzer. Of course you're on. I just turned you on. Why does a scale need a buzzer anyway?! Gone now.

Maybe this is just a pet-peeve of mine, but as a DIYer, I intend to win the battle with buzzers! :dodgy:
 

hbpowerwall

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HOt glue into buzzers done!
 

rebelrider.mike

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I've seen quite a few customized chargers that folks have made, which are all awesome, and I thought I'd share mine too.

I had trouble converting PC power supplies into power stations. Not sure why, but they work fine until I cut and solder the wires together, at which point it starts behaving weird. Voltages are wrong, or wildly fluctuating, and other strange things. I mean, its not hard right? Green goes to a black. All the blacks go together, Orange gos together, red, yellow, ignore the rest. Put a small load on it to stabilize it and you get 12V, 5V, 3.3V, and ground.

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I went through all my old power supplies (I'm a bit of a computer parts hoarder) and finally had to buy one. This time, I decided that no modification would be made to the power supply. Instead I made a little power distribution box and plugged the power supply directly into that. The green to black, small load, and the colored wires all happen inside the box. At any point I could take this PS and put it in an actual computer and it would still work.

For reasons I still can't figure out, doing it this way actually works. Though, I did have to add some 12V inputs on the back since the two yellow wires on the motherboard cable didn't seem to be enough.

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The next part was building charging panels. I like how the TP4056s charge cells better than the iMax or the Opus. Especially if they're under voltage. They're also super cheap, and easy to use, so they free up the more complicated chargers for doing testing on cells that have already been charged.

Anyway, The one thing I don't like about the TPs is that there's no indication of where in the charge cycle the cells are. Or if they're even making any progress at all. (Sometimes they don't.) So I wanted something with a Voltmeter, Ammeter, cell holder, and switch to give me all the info. This is what I came up with:

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I used a Voltmeter with an independent power in, so that it could run off the 5V supply regardless of whether the cells had charge or not. The Ammeter is analogue because I didn't want to be restricted as to where I could put it in the circuit. The switch is only for the TP4056. With that off, I can continue to monitor the cell voltage as long as the panel is plugged in. I chose the oversized knife switch style just because I thought it looked cool. :cool: The cell holder sockets are in parallel, so any from 1-4 cells can be charged on one TP.

The next part is putting it all together in some kind of thing so as to hide the cables and get some of my desk space back. I ended up making a table which rather than designing, I just made it up as I went. All made of scrap wood I had laying around the basement. I even found a nice piece of stair step which made a perfect table-top. Didn't have to cut it or anything.

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The power supply is secured inside, with the power cable and switch facing out. The distribution box is mounted to the top so I can get at it easy to add more wires. The panels are held in place by a notch on the bottom and magnets on the top. They are on long-ish cables and can be pulled out of the table-thing easily for whatever reason that might arise. Three 12V cables feed the Opus and the two iMaxs. I even found a little chest of drawers to store the cells in.

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So if any of this looks familiar, I have posted some of these pictures before in my cell harvesting thread. But here is a part that's brand-new: Thermometer-things! Well, its brand-new to me. I totally stole the idea from other folks here on the forum. :angel: The idea is, to put a sensor in between the sockets 1,2 and 3,4 of the 4-cell holder so each sensor can monitor up to two cells. I don't have the room or desire for 4 readouts on each panelso two will have to do.

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Added more wires to the mess behind the panel, and hot glued the sensors in place. Also, I discovered I didn't need the fancy square holes for the wire plugs to fit in. I thought they'd protrude into the panel more, but they don't.

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First one done. Seems to read ambient temperature ok.

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Got em all done. I went through my pile of rejected cells looking for heaters.

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Found a couple. Although, the temperature seems a bit off. Maybe because the sensors are not quite in physical contact with the cells?

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I've done a few tests after this picture, and it seems pretty consistent that ambient temperature is accurate, but when the displays read 30C the cells are more like 40C, and when the displays are 35C, the cells are more like 50C. Fortunately, accuracy is not as important to me as consistency. I can now look from across the room and see if a cell is above ambient temp, and keep a closer eye on it. Plus, more gadgets makes it look cooler, yeah? :D
 

rebelrider.mike

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Who needs a 3D printer when there's scrap wood laying around?

Inspired by the recent 3D prints of modified Opus backs, the ones where you can fit an extra fan, I decided to make my own out of stuff I found on the floor. I glued a piece of sawdust board (or whatever its called) to a thinner piece of plywood for thickness and strength. Then I hollowed out the middle to make room for the protruding bits of circuitry and the fan. I debated whether to power the second fan from the same socket as the regular fan,or directly from the 12V plug. Opted for the fan socket.

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Then I realized that I should not have hollowed out the corners because I need them for screw holes. Fixed that by drilling dowel-sized holes in the top board and gluing in some dowels. After that a lot of shaping and sanding happened.

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Then I found out that the dowels interfere with some of the electronic bits on the charger board, so I had to notch them out a little. I put some air channels in the bottom along with some feet to keep the whole thing slightly up off the work surface.

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Final coat of paint. I decided to leave the inside just with primer. Thought it looked cool that way.

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Found some tiny screws that were just barely long enough, and now I have an extra fan for my Opus. Its working good so far. The 40mm fan moves plenty of air, and I get my desk fan back. Everybody wins!

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I've got a couple other ideas for future projects. I just ordered a bunch of variable resistors to see if I can adjust my TP4056 Amp outputs on the fly. Also, I want to build a fuse tester similar to what AverageJoe has been using. Seems like a neat tool to have use of.

What kinds of DIY tools or tool mods are you guys working on?
 

daromer

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Woho.. My list of "want to build" is sooooo damn long.. I have no idea where to start but i need to build a couple of benches and then start to get the battery room done.
 

owitte

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wim said:
Those switches... great :)

yeah, love these switches, too. A little bigger and they can be used to revive Frankenstein's monster or shut down a nuclear power station :D .


btw, this is my diy power supply, made from a 500W pc psu, no voltage stability problems at all, powers 4 opus chargers and a diy 16xTP4056 charge bank at the same time without any problems:


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And the latest project: Just pimped my Dyson battery vacuum cleaner with high drain cells, it now hat 4500mAh (instead of 2100mAh before), good for an hour of usage. And it has a capacity gauge now, too:


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And of course, I also modified the wall mount for the bigger battery pack:

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WallBender

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Interesting projects so far on here =). Sadly most of my projects end up as code so not really much to show. I'm working on expanding to electronics and hopefully end up using a logic board of some sort to build my own BMS on the cheap with logging etc to detect packs that are lower capacity than others, heat per pack etc depending how big my system ends up being. Got a lot of hardware learning to do before that will really see the light of day though :(.
 
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