JST Parallel Charging Board 2-3S
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A parallel charging board puts an end to spending hours taking one pack off charge to then hook up the next one, to start the charge cycle all over again. In combination with a balance charger, a parallel charge boards can simultaneously charge multiple LiPo batteries reducing the overall charge time significantly. For example, if you have three 2,200mAh 3s Li-Po batteries which you charge at 1C (2.2A), this would usually take approximately 3 hours to charge each pack individually. With this balance board you can charge all three packs in about one hour - assuming your charger is capable of charging at 6.6A.
This charging board is designed for charging JST 2-3S batteries with enough plugs to support charging up to 8 packs at the same time. Since the connections are already wired in parallel, all you need to do is plug your batteries' charge and balance connectors to the board - ensuring that all the batteries are the same cell count. The board is equipped with standard 4mm banana plugs, an XT60 female and includes a 3s and 2s JST-XH type balance connector for connecting to your charger.
IMPORTANT: When attempting parallel charging, the important thing to remember is that the battery packs all have to be the same cell count and therefore the same voltage rating. You CANNOT parallel charge a 6S pack with a 4S pack. This is an advanced method of charging and requires a certain level of electrical understanding. If you are not comfortable with charging calculations or wire sizing, please don’t attempt it.
Parallel Charging FAQ: What is it all about? Parallel LiPo charging allows you to charge more than one battery at the same time (with a computerised charger). The big advantage of parallel LiPo charging is it saves time. You can charge your entire collection of (same cell) LiPo batteries on one charge cycle. For example, if you charge four batteries, the charge current is four times of that you used for a single pack, and you need only approximately 1/4 of the charge time to charge every battery separately.
Is parallel charging safe? It is as safe (or dangerous) as charging a single lithium battery pack, indeed many argue that it's kinder and indeed safer on your batteries than serial charging (one pack at a time). The drawback is if something were to go wrong during the charge cycle it could affect multiple packs; lithium battery chemistry is a volatile mixture - one battery setting on fire because of unsafe/improper charging is bad enough, never mind several batteries all hooked up in close proximity! Charging your LiPos, in fireproof containers and monitoring the process is therefore imperative.
Can I mix and match my batteries? Parallel charging will only work on same cell count batteries, but they can have different capacities (within reason). They can also be at different states of discharge - again within reason. It isn’t advisable to parallel charge a pack that was 5% discharged with one that was 80% discharged. As a rule of thumb, don't charge batteries with more than a 0.1 volt maximum difference. This for example would be very close to the voltage difference between a cell that is 80% discharged (around 3.75V) and cell that is in a 50% storage state (about 3.85V). The larger the voltage difference between packs hooked together in parallel, the greater the amount of current that flows between packs as they all equalize.
What voltage and charge rate should I set for parallel charge? Think of charging multiple packs in parallel as similar to charging a single large capacity pack. The cut off voltage remains the same as that of your single pack since they are connected in parallel. The capacity becomes the sum of all your batteries. Because of this you can increase charge rate according to the total capacity. For example, if you charge one 3S (11.1 V) 2200 mAh LiPo battery at 1C, the charge parameters you set should be 3S (terminated at 12.6 V) and 2.2 A. For six of these packs, they should be 3S and 13.2 A (2.2 A × 6 = 13.2 A).
Is my charger up to it? High power chargers are generally required, especially when charging multiple high voltage batteries, as the wattage requirements are typically high. For example, charging 6, 3S batteries at 13.2A will require 166.32 Watts, and that's only at 1C. Hence just because your charger might boast a maximum current of 10 amps or even 20 amps, if it doesn’t have the adequate power potential, it will never be able to provide that current to your battery during the whole battery charging process. As a consequence your overall battery charging time will be much longer than expected.
To summarise some general do's and don'ts:
For further guidance, check out this helpful video
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