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Airstream batteries......?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by odie, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. odie

    odie

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    Is it best to let these Ni-Cad batteries run completely dead before recharging......or, does it matter?

    -----odie-----
     
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  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    No, do not let them run completely dead because you run the risk of a condition known as cell reversal. If that occurs then the cells can't be charged. 3M recommends recharging the battery at the end of every day that It is used even if it is barely used. There are some types of batteries that may develop a "memory", but that is not the case for NiCad batteries according to the GE NiCad Engineering Reference Handbook. However, empirical data* shows that occasional deep cycling (not complete discharge) improves charge capacity.

    * http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a105418.pdf
     
  3. odie

    odie

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    OK, Bill.....I figured you'd respond, since you have an Airstream helmet, and also because of your electrical background.

    Airstream Helmet and respirator (2).JPG

    After several years of storing my 1991 vintage AGH1 Airstream helmet, I pulled it out, and used it yesterday. Everything seems to be working properly. There are three batteries. One is the old style dated May 1991. (That's the old style shown in this pic....it's a bit smaller in height than the new style.) The other two are newer style, and dated Sept and Oct 2004.The older battery was completely dead, but appears to be taking a charge. The two newer batteries had a slight charge (Enough to run the helmet for a couple hours, but not much power left.) I did charge one of them for about a half hour, and used it. That short amount of charge time did wonders! ;)

    Is there any problem with not fully charging these batteries, then running them? How long do you charge your batteries? Is it a good paradigm to charge 1:1, hours used to hours charged?

    My intent is to return to using the Airstream for most sanding operations, and using the Resp-o-rator for some turning operations where dust is created. (I'm getting a little frustrated dealing with the nose plug......that's the only real drawback for me using the Resp-o-rator. :( I can deal with scuba diving in the shop, though! :D
    [​IMG]

    -----odie-----
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  4. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

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    I have used my Air Mate for 20 years. When the batteries where done I cut off the top of the battery case and saw three Ni-Cads. I took it to Batteries + and they replaced them for $29 total instead of $100 +. Next time I'm going to change to Lithuim Ion of the same voltage
     
  5. stu senator

    stu senator

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    The Ni-Cad charger may not be right for a Lithium Ion battery as the voltage per cell is different. The change may not be straight forward as it seems.

    Stu
     
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  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I have the Smart Charger so the batteries are fully charged when the little green light comes on. I don't know if the Standard Charger has something similar. With the smart charger you can leave the battery connected and it will trickle charge as needed to keep the battery fully charged. If you have the standard charger then you have to disconnect it from the battery when fully charged to prevent overcharging. If I have used my Airstream all day then it may take as much as six hours to charge the battery, but I always fully charge it. My understanding is that you get the maximum battery life when you fully charge them and store them in a fully charged condition. My first battery lasted more than eight years which isn't too bad.

    The batteries are expensive, but not all that bad when compared to some of my other rechargeable batteries I have. I recently replaced a couple DeWalt drill batteries that were nearly dead after only three years. They were $80 each or two for $130. The batteries for my Canon cameras are also around $80 apiece and they seem to last about four years on average.
     
  7. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    I rebuilt one of my Trend batteries with 3 AAA and it only cost 18 for the batteries.
     
  8. odie

    odie

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    OK, thanks Bill.....:D

    I was able to locate the original receipt and instructions I don't think the smart charger was available when I bought mine.....so, what I have is the dumb charger. The directions say there is a red light on the charger that reduces in intensity as the battery is charged. It says to check the voltage so the battery is above 5.0v to insure the battery is fully charged. It doesn't look like the red indicator light is working at all. After charging, both newer batteries are showing about 5.7v. Looking at the battery recepticle with the flat spot on the top, I'm putting the red positive probe on the bottom connector, and the black negative probe on the connector on the right side. Meter is set to "10" on the DCV setting in the multimeter.

    BTW: I purchased this helmet directly from Racal Nov 1991. The price at that time was $299.

    Any further assistence, or suggestions are appreciated.

    -----odie-----
     
  9. odie

    odie

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    Well, obviously electrical stuff isn't my best area of expertise! :eek:

    -----odie-----
     
  10. AlanZ

    AlanZ

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    You might want to consider using a 5 volt lithium ion battery (2 amp)... the type used to charge tablet computers. They are lightweight, charge quickly and are inexpensive. I haven't used my 3M NiCad or NiMH batteries for years.
     
  11. Hy Tran

    Hy Tran

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    • Ni MH (Nickel metal hydride) batteries are generally interchangeable (on a voltage basis) with NiCad. If your batteries are 2004, they are more likely to be NiMH than NiCad.
    • Regardless of Ni MH & NiCad: Do not run to 0%. Run down to 10% or 20% (but it's hard to say what that is with consumer electronics).
    • Heat is the enemy of batteries, rechargeable or not. Heat during recharge is an especially bad enemy. But I suspect even in the heat of summer, your shop location does not run miserably hot.
    • If dumb charger: Charge up to 20 hrs for a full charge, then, disconnect the charger. There's a trick you can use with a wall timer: Just put in the "off" pin. Manually set the timer, put on the manual on, and when the timer hits the off pin, it will turn off. You can ensure no more than 24 hrs (or whatever you set with the wall timer manually) charging.
     
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  12. odie

    odie

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    Thanks Alan and Hy....:D

    At the moment, I think I'll use the batteries I have.....mainly because they're here on hand. I haven't tested them with a full work load yet, but if they don't work out, I'll be sure to look into the lithium ion option.

    Hy.....Yes, I'm using the off pin only. Thanks for suggesting this. This is an older lamp timer, and some of the newer ones don't have removable pins. I guess that makes this one valuable like gold!:D

    ------odie-----
     
  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that you typed one thing and meant the opposite. While some batteries have evolved such as is the case with camera batteries evolving from NiCad to NiMH to Li-ion, the Airstream battery has always been NiCad. Part of the reason could be that intrinsically safe certification of new batteries would involve expensive test lab time. Since 3M is pushing their line of Versaflo respirators, they may not want to put any more money into supporting an older design. Another reason is that there is no real need to go to newer technology batteries for the Airstream because the existing NiCad battery has plenty of stored energy to run the Airstream for at least nine hours. A battery with a higher Ampere-hour rating and bigger price tag doesn't scratch any itch.

    My memory is a bit rusty (or maybe it needs charging), but I think that NiCad cells have a rather abrupt "knee" in its stored charge somewhere around one volt. For all useful purposes, that could be considered fully discharged although there is still some (mostly useless) charge remaining. With the Airstream it's pretty easy to tell when the charge hits the "knee" because you won't be getting enough flow of filtered air.
     
  14. Hy Tran

    Hy Tran

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    Hi, Bill,

    I was speculating NiMH because of cost considerations--Cadmium cost has gone up dramatically, in part due to environmental concerns. NiCad is a deprecated technology, and is almost never seen in new designs.

    NiMH also has a bit of a knee in the discharge curve.

    No, I don't own an airstream device, so I thank you for your corrections. Regardless, the advice for not discharging to full discharge and charging only for a limited amount of time stands; this is good practice with either NiMH or NiCad technologies.
     
  15. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    To add to the empirical data...when I was a full-time contractor the largest battery failure I saw happened right after a tool had been left on the charger after the charger had been unplugged for a few days or more. I've seen it happen many times...so I make sure to not leave charged batteries on the charger for very long, just in case.
     
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  16. odie

    odie

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    Interesting.....I didn't know that.......so, how come AA, AAA, 9v battery chargers have a ni-cad and NiMH setting?

    -----odie-----
     
  17. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The main problem is detecting 100% charge. Here is a little video that may be a bit TMI for the average guy, but it explains the ways that end of charge is detected and the difference in behavior of these two battery types.


    View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_ROhH9EkhtU
     
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