This charger accepts a range of input voltages from 10V to 18V of DC power only. You can charge your pack from 120VAC house-current by adding a power-supply. The one shown is very similar to a laptop computer battery charger. Some laptop chargers provide more than 18V, so exercise caution. The unit pictured provides 15V at a max 5-Amps, and even adjusting the charge down to a modest 2-Amps of current, the power supply got quite hot during charging, and I do not expect it to last long.
I have recently read in the customer feedback section of the Hobby-King power-supply that I selected, that some customers were disappointed. I suspect these power-supplies are often used beyond their actual capabilities, and for this charger, I recommend sourcing a more robust power supply.
The 10V-18V input voltage range was determined by customer requests, because RC-model enthusiasts like having the option to charge their packs in the field from a 12V car system. If charging system bulk is not a concern, a very robust and affordable 12V Ã¢â‚¬Å“dumbÃ¢â‚¬Â car-battery charger can be used. If you use a car-battery charger that is Ã¢â‚¬Å“smartÃ¢â‚¬Â, it may cycle and vary the voltage and current, which will cause the LiPo charger to reset.
I purchased an inexpensive socket for a laptop battery charger from Radio Shack (since this is only a low-amp charger), and unscrewed the two pieces. (I cut off the alligator clips and left some wire on these clips for later use. I now wish that when I had cut the charger input leads, I would have left them as long as possible) Slide the socket shell onto the wires before soldering.
Separate a couple inches of the red/black wires, and strip the tips, then slide on a section of HS over the red wire. Open the CENTER post mounting hole with a small drill bit if it is not big enough, and/or thin the wire tip, until it can be inserted. Then bend the wire tip into a Ã¢â‚¬Å“JÃ¢â‚¬Â, and tin the tip. Insert, crimp, and solder the RED (POSITIVE) tip to the CENTER post of the socket. I find it helps the start-up heat transfer if you first dab a tiny spot of solder onto the iron tip on the spot where the wire will touch it.
Once soldered and then cooled, slip the HS section over the finished solder joint, and heat it until it shrinks enough. Repeat the previous steps to solder the BLACK (NEGATIVE) wire onto the OUTER SHELL mount.
Another option for the input is a cars Ã¢â‚¬Å“cigarette lighterÃ¢â‚¬Â accessory extension cable (as long as the wire gauge is thick enough). It is simply a long two-wire cable with a male plug on one end and a female on the other. Cut the extension cable in half, and with the male plug end properly attached onto the chargers input, It can be plugged in directly to a cars 12V (dumb) accessory socket, and the female socket with leads can then be attached to any other power supply output that you might get.
Ebikes.ca uses 3-pin XLR connectors (a male-female set, of course) on their battery packs and chargers. The rubber fill inside the socket makes these more splash and weather-resistant.
Some builders like Anderson-Power-Poles (APP)
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 14&t=24666
I have no experienced opinion to give, other than to say that it is VERY important to put the FEMALE socket on the BATTERY pack to reduce the probability of a short, from exposed male prongs touching something metal by accident (put the male plug on the charger output). LiPo packs are capable of unusually high and sudden amp discharges when shorted, and this can start a fire. Also, a short can immediately ruin your expensive pack in only a moment of distraction.
Also, it is VITAL that for any connectors used, they must be physically polarized in some way to prevent them from being accidentally plugged in backwards. Some chargers and controllers are diode-protected, but do not count on this to save your system from damage. APPs are symmetrical, so I would recommend to mount them in a "T" orientation. Either that, or the chargers APPs should be back-to back, and the batteries APPs should be face-to-face. Several builders have relied on the red/black color to protect them, and have plugged them in backwards (when red/black are oriented the same), when in dim light or when distracted.