iCharger 4010 Went Poof!!!

Leejax01

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I was storage charging a battery and the iCharger 4010 Duo started to make the hissing & electric burn smell. Never an issue prior. I was doing typical battery maintenance and was on the last pack of the evening when it happened. Any idea on repair? It’s almost 2 years old.
 

RedOctobyr

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Oh no, I'm sorry! To understand what happened, was this while charging up, or discharging down?

Not sure on repairs. I bought my iCharger 308Duo a long time ago (2013?). As I recall at the time, there was some discussion of avoiding the max internal-discharge watts, to help reduce the risk of charger damage due to heat.

I built an external discharge load, so that I could discharge faster, and also minimize the heat dissipated within the charger. I also reduced the internal-discharge-limit setting on mine from 80W to 40W, so that when I'm using that feature, I keep the charger cooler.

I know there is at least 1 long iCharger Duo thread on RCGroups, started a long time ago. There might be info in there:
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/sho...rger-4010DUO-308DUO-406DUO-Have-Been-Released!!!

Otherwise I'd open it up and look for burned stuff, as a starting point. Perhaps it's components that can be un-soldered, and replaced.

Edit: I think you can use light bulbs as an external discharge load. Like 12V bulbs, maybe in housings, to help make them easier to manage. I modified a cheap hair dryer, which can handle about 500W of discharge.

Also, if discharging on both channels in parallel, that might help spread out the heat within the charger. Mine can do 80W per-channel, or 120W total. So presumably if you linked both channels in parallel, it might help spread the heat across more components (the 120W limit in my case, vs 80W). Though I'd still probably use maybe half of the discharge power, to go easier on the charger.

Plus, these days there are dedicated dischargers available, if that was preferable. Like this 200W unit from ISDT, $80: https://www.amazon.com/ISDT-Discharger-Wireless-Capacity-Discharging/dp/B07VS2JSN9
 
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I was also going to ask if you use it to discharge packs frequently? If so the heat probably did it in.. afaik ichargers are better than most. 🤷‍♂️
 

RedOctobyr

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Geez, that sucks! And it's surprising, sorry. Any chance it's worth trying to warranty coverage?

I was on ProgressiveRC's site earlier today, and noted that they sell a whole bunch of iCharger Duo replacement parts, which I thought was interesting. I don't know if you can replace stuff like the main control board or whatever, but maybe. It's at least worth a look.

Any instability in the power supply you're using? That was the other main reliability concern I remember at the time, was them being sensitive to abrupt changes in the incoming voltage. Like if using a pair of 12V server supplies in series for 24V, and then having one supply shut down, and instantly dropping the incoming voltage to 12V. Apparently that can damage the charger before it can react.
 

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Question I never asked before but now seems like a good time ..I don't believe my sigma charger discharges so I before I store a lipo I just drop it in one of my RC's and use it untill I hit that 3.7 then store it..been doing that for years and my lipos seem ok..is it bad to do it this way?
 

Leejax01

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I plugged my 406 duo into the power supply and it didn’t have an issue, but you never know right. I emailed progressive and should hear back something on Monday or call them and see if they have a repair/replacement program
 

RedOctobyr

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Question I never asked before but now seems like a good time ..I don't believe my sigma charger discharges so I before I store a lipo I just drop it in one of my RC's and use it untill I hit that 3.7 then store it..been doing that for years and my lipos seem ok..is it bad to do it this way?

No worries, that's fine. It's effectively no different than discharging "directly" down to storage.
I plugged my 406 duo into the power supply and it didn’t have an issue, but you never know right. I emailed progressive and should hear back something on Monday or call them and see if they have a repair/replacement program
Good luck! For curiosity (not that it may actually have anything to do with the problem), what supply are you using? And how old is the charger?

I hope Progressive can help. Worst-case, you could also try contacting Junsi, the manufacturer.

I've been very happy with my Duo charger, but it has admittedly sat for a long time, while being out of the hobby. So it doesn't actually have ~10 years of continuous use.
 

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Oh no, I'm sorry! To understand what happened, was this while charging up, or discharging down?

Not sure on repairs. I bought my iCharger 308Duo a long time ago (2013?). As I recall at the time, there was some discussion of avoiding the max internal-discharge watts, to help reduce the risk of charger damage due to heat.

I built an external discharge load, so that I could discharge faster, and also minimize the heat dissipated within the charger. I also reduced the internal-discharge-limit setting on mine from 80W to 40W, so that when I'm using that feature, I keep the charger cooler.

I know there is at least 1 long iCharger Duo thread on RCGroups, started a long time ago. There might be info in there:
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/sho...rger-4010DUO-308DUO-406DUO-Have-Been-Released!!!

Otherwise I'd open it up and look for burned stuff, as a starting point. Perhaps it's components that can be un-soldered, and replaced.

Edit: I think you can use light bulbs as an external discharge load. Like 12V bulbs, maybe in housings, to help make them easier to manage. I modified a cheap hair dryer, which can handle about 500W of discharge.

Also, if discharging on both channels in parallel, that might help spread out the heat within the charger. Mine can do 80W per-channel, or 120W total. So presumably if you linked both channels in parallel, it might help spread the heat across more components (the 120W limit in my case, vs 80W). Though I'd still probably use maybe half of the discharge power, to go easier on the charger.

Plus, these days there are dedicated dischargers available, if that was preferable. Like this 200W unit from ISDT, $80: https://www.amazon.com/ISDT-Discharger-Wireless-Capacity-Discharging/dp/B07VS2JSN9
I cooked an ISDT charger a while back discharging a battery. It was no doubt too much load and it went into the trash. You would think the stupid thing would monitor the wattage and/or heat and shut it down. Just a bit of self preservation would be nice.

+1 on the dedicated external discharger. The only issue the battery voltage sags a bit under load, so if I set it for 3.7V, I get more like 3.8V. I run the voltage down to ~3.6V in 10-15 mins then do a storage charge by adding charge and not over heating my charger.

I also pulled apart a hair dryer and pulled the heating coil, but it's too resistive and I can get better results from my discharger. I do have some high wattage resistors for completely discharging a battery if i need to.
 

RedOctobyr

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I cooked an ISDT charger a while back discharging a battery. It was no doubt too much load and it went into the trash. You would think the stupid thing would monitor the wattage and/or heat and shut it down. Just a bit of self preservation would be nice.

+1 on the dedicated external discharger. The only issue the battery voltage sags a bit under load, so if I set it for 3.7V, I get more like 3.8V. I run the voltage down to ~3.6V in 10-15 mins then do a storage charge by adding charge and not over heating my charger.

I also pulled apart a hair dryer and pulled the heating coil, but it's too resistive and I can get better results from my discharger. I do have some high wattage resistors for completely discharging a battery if i need to.

From what I gather, the heat damage (to the charger) from discharging may be kind of cumulative. Like, if the ISDT died the first time you discharged with it, maybe it was defective. But if it was after a year or so, maybe the manufacturer pushed things a bit too-far. Like allowing 30W, but maybe it can really only handle 25W long-term.

Like I'd mentioned, I reduced the discharge-wattage limit on my Duo charger, to go easier on it (though on my smaller iCharger, I use the full 20W, and haven't had an issue yet). And you can adjust the temperature threshold when the fans come on, I think I lowered that threshold some (this was a long time ago), to try and help. I'd rather have extra noise, and try to keep it cooler, to go easier on the electronics.

I think that's a great idea, to discharge too-far with the external discharger, and then charge it back up again to storage! And if you can select a target voltage, you could of course adjust the selection to end up close to where you want (like discharge to 3.75V, to actually end up around 3.85V for storage). That sag will likely depend on the packs, and the discharge current. But I don't think we really need the packs to be exactly at 3.85V, it sounds like 4.2V is bad, but really we just want them around half-charged. So 3.8 or 3.9V are probably fine too.

For my discharge-load purposes, yeah, the hairdryer resistance was too high for what I needed. So I kind of re-tapped the hairdryer, soldering the leads onto an appropriate location on the coils, to get the resistance I wanted. I had started with some aluminum high-power resistors, but I must not have been keeping them cool enough while discharging, and some died. But they (or a 12V light bulb, etc) *would* be a nice way to run a pack down to 0V. When I've needed to do that, I put the charger in NiCad mode, I think, and had it discharge the pack to 1V.
 

Leejax01

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Got word back from progressive RC and said they don’t do damaged chargers to that extent. I will have to contact the manufacturer. I’ll probably just end up buying another one and figuring it out down the road. Again it was never used for discharging as I used separate dischargers for that.
 

RedOctobyr

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Got word back from progressive RC and said they don’t do damaged chargers to that extent. I will have to contact the manufacturer. I’ll probably just end up buying another one and figuring it out down the road. Again it was never used for discharging as I used separate dischargers for that.
That sucks, sorry. Would you buy another 4010? I think the 308 Duo was the second one to be released, then the 406 Duo was after that. It would seem to me that, for most people, the 308 or 406 (currently shown as sold-out on Progressive's site) are probably a good choice. You can still get 30A or 40A output, but they're less expensive and more compact than the 4010.

Or they have newer models too, like the DX6.
 
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