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Reviews Categories | Batteries & Chargers for amateur radios. | West Mountain Radio Computerized Battery Analyzer Help


Reviews Summary for West Mountain Radio Computerized Battery Analyzer
West Mountain Radio Computerized Battery Analyzer Reviews: 9 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $119
Description: Tests virtually any type or size of battery and displays the results graphically. This is a USB device that comes with matching Windows software.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.westmountainradio.com
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VE3GIH Rating: 4/5 Nov 30, 2008 13:02 Send this review to a friend
It Works  Time owned: more than 12 months
The CBA does it's job. The only problem is with the defination of it's maximum power load. When I called them to get a better defination of the spec., I got a very rude and incomplete answer. I'd like to recommend the idiot answering their tech. support line for a position testing land mines in a war zone.

The product works as advertised for loads under 50W, and it is worth the cost. However, I'd rate their tech support as a zero out of ten.
 
KB3OGN Rating: 5/5 Oct 25, 2007 12:26 Send this review to a friend
Very informative  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My CBA-II arrived this week. So far I've tested my lead acid go kit backup battery and two 9v alkaline batteries.

The most interesting result was graphing a normal Duracell with a Procell. The discharge curves were identical.

I guess I was expecting some magic out of the Procell.

Tonight I'm going to start looking at a few AA brands and check out my camera batteries.
 
K4SV Rating: 3/5 Mar 2, 2007 07:42 Send this review to a friend
Slick product but Watch the Ratings  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just purchased the CBAII for testing my batteries.

The advertising says "The CBA is capable of higher test rates than other testers: up to 40 amps or 150 watts, whichever is higher."

So I wanted to discharge a 75 AH battery but the software limits this to 100W max.

The WEB site shows "Maximum continuous discharge rate: 100 watts, Maximum limited term discharge rate with < 3500 ma-hour battery: 125 watts, Maximum limited term discharge rate with < 1000 ma-hour battery: 150 watts "

So at the end of the day this product can ONLY do 100W and with unspecified times for higher discharge rates up to 150 watts.

A call to Ed Jones at WMR left me feeling like I had done something wrong in buying the CBA II.

Perhaps I did, I took the advertising as being accurate.

Other than the dratted power levels, it seems to be well built and the software works OK for small discharge jobs well under 150 watts.



 
G4AON Rating: 4/5 Feb 27, 2007 10:13 Send this review to a friend
Good but needs careful use  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There are a few areas where I think it could be better:
1. The cut off Voltage is measured at the CBA2 end of the cable, when I discharged a battery at 5 Amps there was approx 0.4 Volts difference between the CBA2 and the actual battery terminal voltage. It's easy to set the cut off Voltage lower, but needs to be set to match the cable length and discharge current.

2. For some odd reason the red and green LEDs do not always indicate correctly and I've not worked out why. The unit still works when they are not illuminated.

3. I had to buy a bag of Powerpole connectors as there are none supplied. Given the high price of the unit it wouldn't be expecting too much to include at least one basic wire ended lead in the box.

4. The user manual doesn't give much in the way of practical hints and tips, for example NiMh cells need to be charged and discharged over at least 5 cycles before they reach "full" capacity, although I am struggling to find any that do.

A brand new "Leisure" battery of 110 Ah only gave 69 Ah when discharged at 5 Amps down to 11.4 Volts on the terminals, it's proving it's worth in sorting out what is worth avoiding in the way of "bargain" batteries. Some deep discharge batteries cost as much as the CBA2, so while it's expensive for what it is, in relative terms maybe it's not so bad.

I've checked the current drawn and the display matched my digital multi-meter. So my findings with regard to finding many poor performing batteries stands!
 
N4DBC Rating: 1/5 Oct 27, 2006 12:00 Send this review to a friend
Careful, surface mt chip burns out  Time owned: more than 12 months
We had one to use at work, mainly checking 7AH to 30AH batteries for UPS, mobile computers (COWS), etc.

One of the surface mount chips 'fried' because the factory installed fuse was too high capacity. When customer service was called, they recommended that the fuse be changed from 40A to 25A. Thanks for telling us 'after' the fact.

Of course, it would cost a high percentage of the original price for the factory to repair it, and I don't have a surface mount soldering/heating unit to attempt it myself.

When it did work, the software wasn't that great. It should at least recommend the tester "ampere" setting depending upon the capacity of the battery being tested. Most of the time the amp setting was either too low (would take forever to get meaningful graph), or it would be too high and the software would not allow it (to start the test).

Being completely honest, we did not use the factory test leads because we thought for what they were, they were expensive. The leads that we used were homemade, and did not use powerpole connectors (but still fit inside the factory powerpole connectors that came with the unit), but the polarity was easy to see and the connectors had a solid physical & electrical contact. The non-standard leads may have somehow got shorted or reversed by other personnel who are sometimes in our workarea, but that's just speculation because we never saw anyone else with the tester.

If you have one and it is working, I would immediately check the rating of the fuse that is in it. If it is a 40A, you might want to consider changing it to a 25A. A lot cheaper to replace a fuse than a chip!
 
N4OYO Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2006 08:28 Send this review to a friend
Great tool to monitor battery condition  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Works well, have encountered no problems yet. The only thing I'm disappointed in is the capacity of some of my large storage battteries, but hey, thanks to the CBA, I can identify the weak ones and replace them.

There is also a high fun factor in using it!
 
AE5X Rating: 3/5 Jun 9, 2006 03:28 Send this review to a friend
Good but could be better  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This gadget works as the other 2 reviewers have described but I would like to see a software upgrade that would display elapsed time along the X-axis of the final graphs, in addition to Ah which is currently displayed.

Also beneficial would be a hardware upgrade where the user's load (ie, a QRP rig) could be used instead of the CBA's built-in load. The current & voltage measurements would still be taken and plotted but now the user would get an accurate representation of how a given battery performs with a specific item.
 
K2GW Rating: 5/5 Feb 20, 2006 13:31 Send this review to a friend
Good product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Works very well and really lets you look at your batteries actual performance. I really like to print out the summary labels and tape them to the batteries.

It can also pay for itself. In my case, I had the opportunity to get two expensive rack mounted UPS's that someone was throwing away because they were "worn out". Inside each, I found 4 Yuasa 7 amphour 12 volt gel cell batteries. Taking them out and testing them showed me that 6 of the 8 batteries still had 7 amp hour capacity. 2 $15 dollar batteries brought every thing back to spec!
 
K6LCS Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2005 15:58 Send this review to a friend
Impressive!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
See the QST Magazine review of February, 2005, for a more in-depth review. But if you have a pack that just doesn't seem to be working up to par, then this is a tremendous tool.

See if you can find one of the Maha MHS-C800U flatbed trays to use with this analyzer (HRO is blowing them out at five bucks each). The analyzer is set up to accept PowerPoles for the input - so wire up this Maha dummy tray with PowerPoles, and you're all set to analyze just about any pack you own.

Software installation was painless. The unit requires USB. There's even a routine to print battery labels (Avery 5160 or equivalent) - to help you stay organized.

West Mountain doesn't necessrily recommend that you immediately test all your packs...and you should realize that each test takes a discharge/charge cycle's life from your pack. But for cases where you're not sure about a pack...or for questionable packs - this unit provides all the info you require regarding the health of your packs.


 


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