methods wrote:Bulk charge to a comfortable level on a daily basis
Once a week/month/year use a cell level charger like the one Hyena is selling
Yep, this is what I've been recommending to people for the best part of a year since finding those chargers. I don't want to harp on about it because it probably comes across as a lame sales pitch but it really isn't. I used battery medics for a year or 2, and recommended them to others too. If I built a lipo battery for someone it would always come with a medic. But not any more. As methods said medics are slow and if you get a really out of balance pack it's going to take a month of sundays to sort out. These 168 chargers are the shizzle and make short work of any imbalanced lipo pack. And if you're not in a hurry or paranoid you can use them as your sole/primary charger. I've always bulk charged with little regard for balance but for noobs it's a case of 'do as I say and not as I do'. In reality unless your pack is old and tired balance charging every time is just not necessary. I normally check the balance on my bikes about once a month and have never seen a difference between cells of more than 0.04v. This alone is balanced enough for routine use IMO.
I've said this before elsewhere but I'll say it again here because it's relevant. After using these 168 chargers it gives you a better appreciation for how trivial balancing to the nearest nanovolt really is. These chargers whack 8 amps into the cells through the balance taps which makes topping up lazy cells a snack. One thing that surprised me is how quickly a cell tops up from say 4.17v to 4.20v
Those with lipo OCD might get up tight about that sort of delta V but in the real world in makes little to no difference. To top up such a cell to 4.2v it takes around 1 minute at 8 amps. So that means if you had of left it the discharge would have been 1 minute less if you were drawing 8 amps. Most of us would be drawing double that sort of power at any give time - so that time is cut in half to 30 seconds. So but having an "imbalance" of that order you short changing yourself by 30 seconds of ride time. And that's only if you're discharging right down to LVC which is not recommend for longevity of the pack anyway. So really, big deal.
Anyway back on the topic of the new medics, I haven't bought one in probably 6 months but the last time I did I got the blue "150w" ones. I was curious as to how they were claiming such powerful balancing power but it turns out it's only a bulk discharge. It uses 3 x 50w halogen globes which runs through a circuit which must pulse more juice into them because they pull nearly double that power happily. I use them just for cycling packs now and it's handy because it'll sit there pulling 10 amps through the main discharge leads but when any cell hits the programmed discharge cut off it'll cut the power. So you can walk off any leave the packs discharging safely without the risk of forgetting about it killing them (as is likely with other DIY high current loads)
I think I posted a bit of a review about these a while back, I'll go dig it up
edit: here it ishttp://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 15#p617708