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Automatic cell testing
#1
I am starting to design a machine that can autonomously test 6 18650 cells at a time with minimal interaction. There will be a hopper on the top to store the cells, a wheel to collect and place the cells in charging/discharging slots, and a hopper below to store the tested cells. My goal is to have multiple charging "pods" at the top, with a hopper system to sort the cells by capacity. Most of the parts should be printable, with the exception of electronics, bearings, screws, and gears etc...






I plan on designing it in stages, my first step is to get the hopper working correctly. The holes around the bearing are for a IR position sensor and the grove in the middle is for the drive belt. Once I have a hopper that is working well I can get started on the charging electronics. I would want something intelligent for the charging/discharge/charge cycle so it can be recorded. Eventually I would like to figure out a way to autocratically mark each cell with its data and/or a serial number for later troubleshooting if I get a bad cell in a pack.

I am thinking about calling the project "The Revolver"

More images can be found here.
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#2
Very good, Mr Nerd is wanting to do similar .....

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#3
Looks like your onto something here..
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#4
does it all get open source?
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#5
I do have plans on releasing all of the files once I have a working prototype. Here is my progress so far designing it:

   
   

I'll be printing the next part tonight and will be seeing how well the cells travel through the device. My current concern is the mouth to accept the next cell, I could get a group of cells stuck. I'll include a few IR sensors to make sure all the slots are filled and to detect a jam or an empty hopper.
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#6
Looks nice did you design it in fusion 360?
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#7
I've been using Autodesk Inventor.

   

I've been adding more detail to the model. There is now a rail for the batteries to run against so they don't get stuck between charging contacts. I've induced two spots for IR diodes to detect the position of the wheel and that a new cell is present at the start of the wheel. I still need to add a mount for the stepper motor.
   

I've been printing out the slot where the charging contacts will slide in. I haven’t found a source for them yet so I have been removing them from some battery holders I bought from ebay. With my printer the overhang droops down and make the slot really snug. I had to apply heat for it to fit in, but now it is permanently attached and will never move.
   

I printed a test version of the shell a few days ago and so far the cells travel smoothly.
[Image: 8x6Yp8.gif]

I still haven’t figured out what I am going to do about the charging electronics. I want something intelligent so the system can decide if the cell is good compared to a set of parameters. What would work well is something like a iMAX B6 charger, but in module form. Disassembling a Charger such as the SkyRC MC3000 or the Efest LUC Blu6 would also work, they can be hooked up to a computer via a serial interface.

I also need to start sourcing some batteries locally, I put the cart before the horse.
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#8
If you are in the UK I have a large quantity of cells which will not be used , I'd be happy to send you a quantity foc if it helps progress your project.

Battery contacts are easy to find, again a UK supplier (and AA) Big Grin but they are universally available.

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#9
Sean Wrote:If you are in the UK I have a large quantity of cells which will not be used , I'd be happy to send you a quantity foc if it helps progress your project.

Thanks for the offer, but I located in the Western New York area.
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#10
Sean Wrote:If you are in the UK I have a large quantity of cells which will not be used , I'd be happy to send you a quantity foc if it helps progress your project.

Battery contacts are easy to find, again a UK supplier (and AA) Big Grin but they are universally available.

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Is that offer open to anyone else lol :-)
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