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Author Topic: Yaesu VAC-370 rapid charger alternative  (Read 5870 times)
KB3SYS
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Posts: 9




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« on: October 22, 2009, 11:10:51 AM »

I just bought a Yaesu FT-60R. It is my first radio.  I was looking at the price of a VAC-370 rapid charger--it's very expensive.

Can I just use any 12v transformer with the correct size jack and voltage (assuming 12v + center tap). I noticed the charging current on the Yaesu model VAC-370 is 900ma (1.5 hour recharge). I have a transformer that is 1000ma. I am assuming there is no problem but was wondering if anyone has any experience doing this.  

I also wanted to use it on a 2400ma after-market Lith-Ion Battery. The same company's after-market rapid charger is only 500ma with a 3 hour recharge. The input voltage (presumably input to the FT-60R) is 12-16V. I would prefer the faster recharge of 1.5 hours and assume the 1000ma will do that. The wattage on my 1000ma transformer is 23w.  The wattage on the overnight charger that comes with my FT60-R is 6 watts (200ma).

Any insights appreciated.

Thanks,
Frank
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K0BG
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2009, 02:52:18 PM »

It's a bit late now, but most folks, especially me, don't recommend handhelds as a first radio. The main reason is, they are very limiting!

The current street price for the HH is $190, and the charger is $80. Yes, it does sound like a lot of money, and yes you could use some other PS. Wire it wrong, and ZAP!

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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K5LXP
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2009, 03:36:29 PM »

If you're asking that if by changing the size of the power supply from the one supplied with the radio to a larger one, will this will be equivalent to the external rapid charger, the answer is no.  The charging current is limited to a preset value inside the radio.  It would work, but it won't be any faster.

The same goes for external rapid charger units.  The charge current is determined internally and not by the external supply.  If the external supply is too small it will not work properly or at all, if it's larger than necessary it will only draw the current it is programmed for.

If you'd like to discover the failure modes of lithium batteries, just charge them outside of their prescribed limits.  Fire supression equipment should be kept handy.  The R/C model forums discuss many of these adventures.

Rather than wish your battery charged faster, rather than buying a rapid charger, buy spare batteries.  You spread your charge/discharge cycles across multiple units and you'll always have a good battery ready to go.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KB1LKR
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Posts: 1898




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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2009, 07:45:12 PM »

Just use the supplied slow charger for the factory NiMH pack.

Skip the aftermarket Li-Ion battery and buy the Yaesu 6 AA battery holder and some Sanyo or other NiMH AA cells and a moderately fast (1.5-3 hr) charger. Avoid super fast (< 1.5 hours) chargers if you can, they're tough on the cells. A set of 2200-2700 mA-hr NiMH's will last a long time on the FT-60r. Alkalines, while okay for listening, will get killed fast in Tx service.

I've had good luck w/ this charger (I have two of them): http://www.greenbatteries.com/tu40smbach.html though this site offers quite a few others.
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KB3SYS
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2009, 08:26:28 AM »

Hi Alan,

Thanks for the post.

I know it's not the ideal radio for a first timer... but I think it will be OK for me, since I am quite confident I will be making use of a handheld even after the purchase of a base station.  I consider it a moderate risk/expense ratio to buy the FT60-R since it gets such good reviews--especially for new comers. It also seems to hold it's value if it doesn't work out.  Then there's always passing it on to my wife who is studying for her license. Smiley
Frank KB3SYS
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KB3SYS
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2009, 08:53:51 AM »

I thought that clicking on the "reply" button for an individual post would insert my reply after that person's comment... not so, I see.

Anyway, Thanks for the responses.

I got the idea to call Yaesu and ask their advice... just to see what they'd say.  Here is what I learned:

The charge speed is built into the radio, or the rapid charger cradle (VAC-370), depending which way you are going. So the bottom line is, that if you want to rapid charge the NiMh battery (that comes with the radio), buy the VAC-370. If you want to use an aftermarket Li-Ion battery, use the charger cradle they sell.  After talking with two Yaesu techs, neither has warned against using these after market batteries, but putting a 1000ma transformer onto the radio to charge the battery will not speed it up, since the radio regulates the voltage and charge speed.

This is basically what Mark was saying.

KB1LKR, Hmmm, that may also be a good solution. I already have a bunch of 2000mh Sanyo Envolope batteries. Not the same spec you mentioned, but worth trying since I own them already.

Thanks to all for the input.

Frank KB3SYS
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N0FPE
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2009, 02:43:03 AM »

A VAC-10 is the better choice for a desk charger and a LOT cheaper. Look on eBay as they are sold there all the time. Some even have a deal as they come with an extra battery. I have 2 of the VAC-10 units and they work just fine. I picked mine up for abt $15 each.

VAC-10  VAC-10  so you have the right model number
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KB3SYS
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2009, 01:37:53 PM »

Thanks N0FPE,

I had been looking at those.  I just ordered one with a lithium ion battery as well.

Thanks for the input.

Frank
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AA4PB
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2009, 05:53:37 PM »

Rechargeable batteries require a circuit to limit the current during charging. If its a fast charger then it also must monitor the charge level in some way and reduce current as the battery reaches full charge. Failing to do this will result in over charging and damaging the battery.

The actual charging techniques varies with the chemical makeup of the battery so you can't assume that a charger designed for an SLA battery, for example will be okay to use with a battery using a different chemistry.

For these reasons it is never a good idea to just hook a bigger transformer to the charging circuit in an attempt to charge the battery faster. You have to know the charging requirements and limitations for the particular battery type that you are using.
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