Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Up In Smoke

Last month, after a test run on a fairly hot day, I plugged in my bank of ACI chargers and left them to do their job.  I returned a few hours later and noticed flashing red LEDs.  As I got closer I could see some severe distortion of the charger cases.
All of the chargers had blown thier fuses, and three of the six had significant heat damage.  I tried replacing the fuses but the damaged ones still did not function.  A quick disection reveals the transistors smoked themselves - note the burn marks on the heat sink.
I'm no longer a fan of the ACI chargers. In fact I was pretty upset at ACI for building such a crummy product, for a while.  But you get what you pay for and they are cheap. 

The bigger question was what am I supposed to charge my SLA's with?  I proceeded to plug in Ole' Reliable:  my Deltran Battery Tender Plus.  The Battery Tender only charges at 1.25A, so it's slow and I could only charge one battery at a time. 

The other question, is are the batteries still any good?  After two days on the charger, the 17AH batteries seemed to be holdin a charge OK and voltages looked almost normal, but two were slightly lower than the others. Suspect cells were at 12.7V and 12.9V vs. 13.1-13.3V for the others. 

A trip down the street and back, the bike seemed to run fine.  Then I took El Gixxer around the block a few times and the batteries started to feel sluggish - so I gave the throttle a little more wrist. Oops! A high pitched squeal pierced the air - I thought it was a controller alarm, so I let off the throttle and the sound went away.  Then I heard a sound like a pressure cooker belching steam and looked down to see the #5 cell spewing gas only inches from my knee.  The controller went into Limp mode and I barely made it back to the garage.


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