Battery Charging Station
Norm Styer, AI2C - Clarkes Gap, Virginia

Friday, May 9, 2008

Closer view of battery station. Photograph by Norm Styer - AI2C de Clarkes Gap, Va.

        A little background. You never know when you have to roll. You always wonder whether those batteries still have a charge. Can I get 18-hours of station operations out of each of them? I try to keep at least one up just in case. But about this time each year, I try to hook them all up and decide whether they'll get me through another June Field Day. I have a bunch of batteries - some several years old - and a bunch of chargers. This stuff sorta sits around the barn. All this convinced me that I should try to organize all this.
The bench frame stated this way. Photograph by Norm Styer - AI2C de Clarkes Gap, VA.
        I started with one of my rolling work table on 2-inch casters that is made with 2x4's and 1/2-inch plywood. I added a 32-inch high back and two shelves for chargers and instruments. On the right I added a small platform for the bigger tractor/automobile charger. Everything seems to fit. This keeps everything up and I can move it around to clean. However, by the looks of final loaded table, I should reinforce the 1x5's by adding a horizontal 2x4 under the table top before it sages too much.
        The electrical wiring was next. I wanted to know at a glance what was 'hot' and the charging current and voltage for each setup. There are controls for three sets of charging systems. Each setup has a sub-master switch with switch-hot pilot lamp that controls a 2-outlet receptacle. A green neon lamp to the right of each receptacles glows when hot. These three sub-master switches are controlled with the master switch that's wired like the others. It's located in the upper left. Holes are provided to route ac and charger cords. I added a lamp to help look down into the batteries. I'm still working on adding current and volt meters for each setup. Right now, I move a multimeter and panel--mounted current meter around to the setup of interest. Hopefully, I'll find some good meters at Dayton 2008.
Final battery station configuration. Photo by Norm Styer - AI2C de Clarkes Gap, VA.

        The electrical wiring is all mounted on the rear. The main feeder cord is 3-14 stranded power cord and 3-14 stranded power cord feeds each sub-master receptacle. The 120-volt green neon lamps are wired into the receptacles with #16 wire which is covered with the outer cover of RG-6 coax cable. The lamps are mounted through the plywood with Radio Shack RG-6 cable wallboard feed through's. Various charger and instrument cords are routed through holes in the plywood to reach the receptacles

Rear view of station.

        Here are some of the major components used for the three charging station setup.

        I like this one the best. It handles 6 and 12 volt batteries and has (1) a manual - always charging, (2) an automatic conventional battery maintenance and (3) a maintenance free, deep cycle automatic battery charging modes.
Sears DieHard Charger

        This one has 10A and 2A charging rates for 12-volt batteries but has no automatic feature. You have to keep an eye on it.

HeathKit IM-19 Multimeter.

        The HeathKit Solid-State Voltmeter, Model IM-16, measures ohms, and DC and AC in several ranges from .5 to 1500 volts. Larry McCaig - KC1AT, past this on to me several years ago when they still lived in Leesburg.

EverStart Trickle Charger.

        This is a simple 12-volt 1.5A trickle charger with automatic monitoring and start-restart. Sometimes it's useful for topping off highly charged units. But, don't expect it to renew an old battery.

ere are examples of the current hook ups. The Multimeter is Commercial Electric Model HDM 3300. I hope to add permanent amp and volt meters for each setup.
Charging hook up. Charging hook up #2.


Schumacher Model

        Finally, if all else fails, then I roll out this baby. It's been used more than once on the farm equipment. I like the timer that runs from 0 to 135+ minute. You can read the numbers.


I hope you found this interesting and helpful.
Best Regards, Norm Styer - AI2C de Clarkes Gap, Virginia