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  1. #1
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    Review: New "Solarstorm" 2S2P 8.4V "water resistant" 4 x 18650 battery case for bicyc

    Finaly manufacturer of an old 2S2P battery case made a new improved one. The old one has virtualy gone out of stock at any known seller. I've got cases from two sources (Gearbest and Kaidomain) to see if there is any variance in the production. The case is mostly used to power bicycle lights with 4 Li-ion 18650 cells of your choice. Cells are set in a 2S2P configuration which gives double capacity and 8.4V or can be used in 2S1P configuration.

    The information about it has been already published in the thread here but I would like to make it in one place since I've done some important measurments.

    Pictures of the case:

     

    Electrical description:

    There is an arror in description under nr. 6  - it should write: "USB maximum current ...... 2000mA"

    The cells has to be inserted differently than with old case. It is marked in the case but I would advise you should mark it also on the cover near the springs so you can check again when you are closing the case. The cover is rectangular so it can't be placed in wrong direction. Cells are placed diagonaly so the cover can be inserted in any of two directions.

    In the bottom of the case there are two connectors to connect cells in series.

    What I don't like is that the all four are not cross connected like in the old case. That way electricaly looks like we would have two 8.4V cells in parallel. If they would be cross connected we would have like one big cell same as almost all welded 2S2P battery packs. What I'm also missing is the connection from the bottom to the protection circuit in order to check the voltage of each cell in series.

     

    Protection Circuit

    Big improvement in this new case is the protection circuit. I've made few measurments on different features.

    Overcharging cut off kicks in somewhere at 8.46V in both cases. So if the charger fails to stop charging protection circuit would cut it off. Big and the most important improvement over the old case. Next feature is overdischarge protection. There I've got mixed result depending on the case and the current. It was funny when running at low current ovedischarge protection kicked in quite late, to late for my opinion. I've got 4.60V at virtual no load (0.02A just light connected), but 5.05V at 2.4A load (regulated single XM-L driver). So the cut off would depend on the load and the light you are using. To me this is not that important as I've found 4 different 2 led lights starts dimming much before and you'll notice low voltage anyway. Underdischarge protection restores at 6.0V at both samples if the cells can regenerate to that extend.

    There are three status lights which shows the status (ie. voltage) of the pack when you push on the On/Off switch near to them.

    Frame sourceGearbestKaidomain
    3 status leds8.4V8.4V
    2 status leds7.45V7.60V
    1 status led6.95V7.10V
    1 status led flashing6.45V6.60V

    So the difference is constant 0.15V - not that much and probably due to resistors tolerance on the PCB. Showing status leds takes the 0.5mA current out of the batteries.


    Standby current

    Or in another words self discharging. By description it should be 10 microA. No way near the truth or it is just a mistake in the description: micro instead of mili. I've got 8.6mA with the Gearbest sample and 8.5mA with the Kaidomain sample. This can be of concern if you are leaving the pack uncharged for longer period. If we take the lowest 18650 cells capacity of 2200mAh we would use nowadays (ie. 4400mAh for the pack) it woud get drained in a 4400/8.5 = 518h or 21 days. This is bad news so be aware and take the cells out of the box when not used or recharged for more than 3 weeks or with higher capacities for a month.

    Latest test shows this parasitic drain stays active all the time even when the cells drain below overdischarge point. This is dissapointing to me. Yet I can recall the similar issue with Magicshine ALU pack with led display showing the status. They might clone their circuit, though

     

     USB Output

    Some would find it usable and some not. For the ones who would like to connet GPS/Phone in paralell to the light this would be usable. For the others this might be just unneded appendix. Anyway I've measure output voltage and got it 5.02V.  It could charged my phone so it delivers at least 1A.

    Pros:

    • protection circuit with overcharge and overdischarge protection
    • showing the stage of the pack
    • smaller and lighter than before
    • wide strap to fasten it to the bicycle frame
    • USB output (for some people only)
    • interchangable battery cells 
    • cells can be charged outside of the case - balancing possibilities

    Cons:

    • no cross connections in the bottom of the case
    • no connection from the bottom to the PCB
    • only Solarstorm type of connector (compatible somewhat with Magicshine, though)
    • no or bad water resistance (would need bit thicker o-ring)
    • no watter tight cover for USB connector
    • high standby current of 8.5mA


    Overall impression


    It is nice case and unfortunately the only one of that type I know.  This version is more usable than previos one and much more safe to use, just like welded battery packs we are mostly see in the bicycle light sets. To bad it doesn't have cross connections at the bottom and wire to the PCB. In this regard welded battery packs are still better. On the other hand you can charge cells individualy from time to time to get balanced, but you need additional individual (multibay) charger. To bad the case is not very water resistant. Using some silicone grease would help to solve that somewhat. Big issue that I see now is high standby current of 8.5mA. Be aware and take cells out of the case when not used for a longer period ie. more than 3-4 weeks.

     

    To test in the future:
    Would need to test also short protection and overcurrent protection. Actualy I would leave short test as a last thing to do and I don't have any high current drain device prepared right now. Would need to think of something....

    Max. USB current is also to be tested in the future.


    EDIT:

    Protection circuit pictures


      

     


    Any comments and suggestions to enhance the review are welcome.
    Last edited by ledoman; 06-20-2017 at 01:47 AM.

  2. #2
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    Good review, thanks for this.
    What kind of batteries do you recommend?
    With or without protection?
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  3. #3
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    Nice review. Two questions:
    Does using a box have an effect on runtimes? In other words given the same cells would output and runtime be similar to that of a welded pack?

    Understanding batteries can be charged in the box, would it be better especially long term to use a seperate smart charger, given that a Magicshine charger or Glowworm from Action led is just a few bucks less than a 4 bay smart charger. With Lipo's I'm always cautious

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    Quote Originally Posted by GJHS View Post
    Understanding batteries can be charged in the box, would it be better especially long term to use a seperate smart charger, given that a Magicshine charger or Glowworm from Action led is just a few bucks less than a 4 bay smart charger. With Lipo's I'm always cautious
    As pointed out, this battery case doesn't have wiring coming from the middle (bottom contacts), so it is not able to monitor the balance of the cells while they are being charged. This is potentially dangerous, especially with unprotected cells, if one cell of either of the 2S pairs starts off at a lower voltage the other cell could easily get overcharged before the total voltage of the pair hits 8.4v.

    In my opinion it is definitely safer to use a good quality 4 bay smart charger (and good quality cells like NCR18650). I'm currently using NiteCore D4 to charge the batteries used in these battery boxes.

  5. #5
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    Nice review! Does it has USB charging function?
    NITEFIGHTER BT40S 4xCree XP-G2 Neutral White LED 1600 Lumens Mountain Bike Light

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    Do any of our standard welded packs have that extra connection between the and the bottom of the pack that you list as a negative here? Am I correct in assuming that's for balancing?

    I don't know what I'm talking about electrically, but could the cross connection between the two sides of the pack be done via a trace on the PCB? If so, is it?

    Is the voltage regulation for the USB port implemented on the board (ie four wires to the board), or is it done at the USB connector? I suppose it could also be implemented at the Y in the cable.

    PS: The pictures don't seem to be working. May I suggest uploading them to MTBR, rather than using external links.
    Last edited by Ian_C; 12-29-2014 at 11:49 AM.

  7. #7
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    What's the function of the on/off switch for?
    My light works in both settings!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by aandegrens View Post
    Good review, thanks for this.
    What kind of batteries do you recommend?
    With or without protection?
    I would recommend unprotected but well known brand cells like Panasonic, Sanyo, Samsung, LG, Sony. This would be also partialy answer to the others too.
    Let me explain how I would (and will) use that pack. I'm going to use one of the brands above and charge them with 8.4V charger as I usualy do with all other packs. Since I allways check each charger behaviour when I get one I would know it should charge correctly and the protecton circuit in the pack is adding to safety. Mind you the previos version didn't have any overcharging protection leaving you solely on the charger safety. From time to time I'm going to take the cells out and charge them individualy in my 2 bay shargers (I'm using Nitecore i2, Basen, Xtar) so all cells would be charged full and balanced that way. Of course prior that I'll measure the voltage of each cell to see how they differ and mix cells in the best way to achive even discharge.
    Probably most of users won't do it the way I do, but this is the most safe way retainig practical usage (not opening the case each time and charge them outside). Since I know the cells very well I'm pretty shure how they would behave. I've measured near 100 cells so far and I know how trusted thos brands can be. Panasonic even when shorted won't blow up. It would heat enormously, though.

    Next thing why I would use unprotected is voltage drop. I wrote there over at BLF. "Shure it is additional protection but it adds 2x on the voltage drop too. There is some variance in the protection circuits in the cell so they act each bit differently. Next, undercharge protection would trip in one pair before the other which leads to unevenly discharged cells. Also in this case you have to take the cells out in order to reset the protection. Well it depends whic cell in the series it was. "

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJHS View Post
    Nice review. Two questions:
    1.Does using a box have an effect on runtimes? In other words given the same cells would output and runtime be similar to that of a welded pack?

    2. Understanding batteries can be charged in the box, would it be better especially long term to use a seperate smart charger, given that a Magicshine charger or Glowworm from Action led is just a few bucks less than a 4 bay smart charger. With Lipo's I'm always cautious
    1. It will have almost same effect on the run time as the welded packs with the protection circuit. There can be some differencies in the voltage drop since there are other elements in the circuit and mainly because of the spring contacts. Later at some time I might try to measure the differencies and I have some ideas for improvement most people would not do. It is hard to dissasemble the pack to get to the circuit.

    2. As I wrote in the previous post, iI would combine both type of chargers for practical and safety reasons. Most of the time I would use 8.4V charger and from time to time separately charge cells individualy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waldens View Post
    Nice review! Does it has USB charging function?
    No, it is USB output only. I think I've pointed out that in the review. It is 8.4V pack so it can't be charged by 5V input unless there would be a stepup circuit included.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwarwick View Post
    As pointed out, this battery case doesn't have wiring coming from the middle (bottom contacts), so it is not able to monitor the balance of the cells while they are being charged. This is potentially dangerous, especially with unprotected cells, if one cell of either of the 2S pairs starts off at a lower voltage the other cell could easily get overcharged before the total voltage of the pair hits 8.4v.

    In my opinion it is definitely safer to use a good quality 4 bay smart charger (and good quality cells like NCR18650). I'm currently using NiteCore D4 to charge the batteries used in these battery boxes.
    I've already answered that, I hope, in previos posts. You are right, if it doesn't have middle connection one cell can be overcharged over the other. But as I said with good quality brand cell there is very small chance this would happen to significant extent in a short time (ie. 5 - 10 cycles). I've suggested I would take them out from time to time and charge the cells individualy. Checking voltage of the cells prior individual charge would give you information if the are starting to differ and you will know it then. Charging individualy would balance them again. AFAIK, no welded battery pack of whatsoever type has balancing feature integrated. They have overcharge protection. Having middle connection are better in this regard, but they can't be balanced unless disassembled. So there are Pro and Con.

    I also agree charging with 4 bay charger would be the best, but quite impractical. Ok if you use it very seldom, but not when you are doing it on daily basis.

    Those problems were actualy described in the review, I think.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_C View Post
    Do any of our standard welded packs have that extra connection between the and the bottom of the pack that you list as a negative here? Am I correct in assuming that's for balancing?

    I don't know what I'm talking about electrically, but could the cross connection between the two sides of the pack be done via a trace on the PCB? If so, is it?

    Is the voltage regulation for the USB port implemented on the board (ie four wires to the board), or is it done at the use head? I suppose it could also be implemented at the Y in the cable.

    PS: The pictures don't seem to be working. May I suggest uploading them to MTBR, rather than using external links.
    Most if not all welded battery pack has milddle conection, but it is used for overcharging purposes only, not balancing. That is the main shortcoming for all of them.

    No, the cross connection can only be done at the bottom of the case between all four contacts.

    I assume the USB voltage regulation is done on the board. I didn't opened it yet since I have to desloder all four spring in order to get there. This might destroy the usabilty of the pack. I might do it in the future, though

    No one complained about the pictures in any of my reviews and I'm using same storage service. Can you explain bit more about the problem?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by aandegrens View Post
    What's the function of the on/off switch for?
    My light works in both settings!
    The purpose of the switch is solely to show the status of the pack ie. the voltage range. It should be off most of the time unless you want to constantly monitor the status. Be aware it uses some power so it very slowly drains the cells.
    I should measure that somehow, though. Will add on to-do list.

  14. #14
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    Old & New Solarstorm Battery Boxes

    Hey!

    Thank you for the fine review and all the work for it!

    I'm using boxes of both generations and I would not call the later model improved, rather different. I actually find the new box inferior to the old box. While using protected cells charged individually and having no use for a USB output either all the new features are more of a hindrance than a help.

    I ran a simple voltage drop comparison test to see how the two different generation boxes perform under around 3.4 ampere load provided with an XM-L2 Solarstorm XT40 light. Both boxes had protected 2600 mAh Sanyo batteries fresh from chargers in them and were used for few moments prior to any recorded values to get past the sharp voltage drop at the beginning. Readings under load were taken after they kept constant for around five seconds.

    With the old box voltage dropped from 8.34 volts at rest to 7.13 volts under load and with the new box voltage dropped from 8.36 volts at rest to 7.03 volts under load. I was surprised to see such a major voltage drop under load, but it could be due to my test setting with an extra pair of connectors, and disappointed to see such a voltage difference.

    After these measurements I realized that many of my power draw estimations are done with too great voltage values, that these boxes really bite hard on voltage and that I like the old box even better now.

    Good rides!


    JK
    Last edited by <JK>; 12-29-2014 at 12:50 PM. Reason: Edited for clarity

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    The pix are working now. It must have been a glitch. When I looked yesterday the close ups of the pack were blank/broken links.

    Does the thickness of the wire seem to change above and below the Y? If it's thicker below the Y that might indicate four wires, and therefore stepdown done at the board. If they're the same thickness, I'd speculate that the change is done at the USB head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by View Post
    With the old box voltage dropped from 8.34 volts at rest to 7.13 volts under load and with the new box voltage dropped from 8.36 volts at rest to 7.03 volts under load. I was surprised to see such a major voltage drop under load
    JK
    The new box has PCB, so it should read lower...is that why?

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    Hi!

    Quote Originally Posted by epic-gamer View Post
    The new box has PCB, so it should read lower...is that why?
    Yeah, the protection circuit board for sure takes its toll, and is useless to boot with protected cells, but there could be more to it like worse cables and battery holding springs. Also the step down circuit draws surprisingly much power, as Cat-man-do pointed out in another thread, you can't store batteries in the case for prolonged time if you like them topped up and ready for a ride.

    Happy trails!


    JK

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    Can we see inside the cover?

    Thanks for the great review! Can we see inside the cover? It looks like just 2 screws to access the board inside. It would be interesting to see the circuitry for the USB charging function and just the general layout and quality of the wiring inside.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwarwick View Post
    Thanks for the great review! Can we see inside the cover? It looks like just 2 screws to access the board inside. It would be interesting to see the circuitry for the USB charging function and just the general layout and quality of the wiring inside.
    Yes will do that, but there is not much to see unless you unsolder all four springs from the PCB. All elements except the switch and status leds are hidden on the other side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by View Post
    Hey!

    Thank you for the fine review and all the work for it!

    I'm using boxes of both generations and I would not call the later model improved, rather different. I actually find the new box inferior to the old box. While using protected cells charged individually and having no use for a USB output either all the new features are more of a hindrance than a help.

    I ran a simple voltage drop comparison test to see how the two different generation boxes perform under around 3.4 ampere load provided with an XM-L2 Solarstorm XT40 light. Both boxes had protected 2600 mAh Sanyo batteries fresh from chargers in them and were used for few moments prior to any recorded values to get past the sharp voltage drop at the beginning. Readings under load were taken after they kept constant for around five seconds.

    With the old box voltage dropped from 8.34 volts at rest to 7.13 volts under load and with the new box voltage dropped from 8.36 volts at rest to 7.03 volts under load. I was surprised to see such a major voltage drop under load, but it could be due to my test setting with an extra pair of connectors, and disappointed to see such a voltage difference.

    After these measurements I realized that many of my power draw estimations are done with too great voltage values, that these boxes really bite hard on voltage and that I like the old box even better now.

    Good rides!


    JK
    Thanks JK for your comment. I have to say you are doing unfair comparation. If you use protected cells in both cases and we put asside spring resistance for the moment with old case you are getting resistance of the cells PCB while with newer case you are getting resistance of the cells PCB + resistance of the case PCB. So the voltage drop has to be bigger. There is no way to be different. With your test you can't say which resistance is bigger. In order to know that you should test also with the unprotected cells.
    To me the most resistance could be in the springs, cable and connector anyway, but I have yet to prove that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Yes will do that, but there is not much to see unless you unsolder all four springs from the PCB. All elements except the switch and status leds are hidden on the other side.
    Ah, I was hoping they put all electronics on the opposite side to the one the springs are on... more dumb design.

    One possible advantage I can see for this version is because they haven't tied the two sets of series strings of cells together at the bottom it would be easier to convert this into a 4S configuration. Of course all the electronics on that top board would likely need to be discarded or at least re-calibrated for the higher voltage, but I have some lights that use 4S so I'm thinking along these lines.

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    Yes 4S would be possible I think. As you said the board would need to be redesigned, cut out some traces and change wireing. Protection would have to be eliminated as it is shurely designed only for 2S.
    I will probably desolder springs at some time in the future in order to measure springs resistance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Finaly manufacturer of an old 2S2P battery case made a new improved one. The old one has virtualy gone out of stock at any known seller.
    Many thanks for comprehensive review! As for me, this version is significantly worse than old one; too bad it's impossible to order previous model anymore.

    BTW, how the new case is made at the end opposite to the opening? I mean, is it molded as single piece of plastic, or there's some kind of "rear cover? glued to the case? If it would be possible to open it there, adding the connection between all four points and the wire to the PCB might fix most of design flaws.

    Also, change of PCB will allow to use modern high-voltage cells, and probably it's better to discard USB output part to prevent useless discharge of the battery during storage. Additional pictures of electronics inside the cover are highly appreciated!

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    Archie, the case is made in single peice ie. molded. To bad it can't be opened at the bottom. I think we would need to talk with the manufacturer to change design.

    Picture of the circuit would be hard to get, but will try for the cost of possible damage to the case cover. In order to reach the electronics you have to unsolder all four springs.

    I've just measured another flaw and will update the review soon. It was already pointed out by JK above. Here we goes with complete chapter:

    "Standby current

    Or in another words self discharging. By description it should be 10 microA. No way near the truth or it is just a mistake in the description: micro instead of mili. I've got 8.6mA with the Gearbest sample and 8.5mA with the Kaidomain sample. This can be of concern if you are leaving the pack uncharged for longer period. If we take the lowest 18650 cells capacity of 2200mAh we would use nowadays (ie. 4400mAh for the pack) it woud get drained in a 4400/8.5 = 518h or 21 days. [U]This is bad news so be aware and take the cells out of the box when not used or recharged for more than 3 weeks or with higher capacities for a month.
    [/U]
    Latest test shows this parasitic drain stays active all the time even when the cells drain below overdischarge point. This is dissapointing to me. Yet I can recall the similar issue with Magicshine ALU pack with led display showing the status. They might clone their circuit, though "

    This will change the whole impression of the pack significantly. I was thought 10uA as described by manufacturer is no issue at all, but 10mA is the whole another story.

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    I guess you could unscrew the lid for storage, or put some sort of insulator between the cells and springs.

    I'd be willing to bet it's the stepdown to 5v for the USB that's causing the drain.
    Last edited by Ian_C; 12-30-2014 at 07:17 PM.

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    Yes of course, puting a sheet of paper in beween would insulate enough to prevent contact for long term storage.

    Will try desolder the springs and see what is the circuit beneath. Then we can try to cut out the USB stepdown if this is the cause. But still, Magicshine ALU pack does not have USB output and it still drains the cells.

  27. #27
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    Too bad it has a threaded Solar Storm type connector and not the standard Magicshine snap-in type. I realize they work, but not as secure as they could be.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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    Review: New "Solarstorm" 2S2P 8.4V "water resistant" 4 x 18650 battery case for bicyc

    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Too bad it has a threaded Solar Storm type connector and not the standard Magicshine snap-in type. I realize they work, but not as secure as they could be.
    I've found the threaded cables to be much better than the old magicshine ones. Much easier to separate (when you want them to) because the connectors don't get stiff in the cold and they have a proper o-ring to keep moisture out. Why do you say they are less secure?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwarwick View Post
    I've found the threaded cables to be much better than the old magicshine ones. Much easier to separate (when you want them to) because the connectors don't get stiff in the cold and they have a proper o-ring to keep moisture out. Why do you say they are less secure?
    I think he means that the threaded SolarStorm connectors aren't secure when used with lights that have Magicshine connectors or basically when mixing connectors.

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    ^^^Yes, sorry I wasn't more clear. I agree; the threaded connectors are great and I wish Gemini, Magicshine, etc. would go to these.
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    Added the pictures of the PCB to the end of the review. Clicking on it should show full size.

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    Thanks for the great review ledoman!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Added the pictures of the PCB to the end of the review. Clicking on it should show full size.
    Thanks for adding those pictures and risking your battery box to obtain them!

    It will take some analysis of the circuitry but it looks like it would not be too difficult to disable the USB output if indeed that is the cause of the parasitic drain.

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    kwarwick, I would be glad if you can analyze the circuit. If you need me to do some measurments just say so. I hope you can easily recognize where the spring holes are located.

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    Review: New "Solarstorm" 2S2P 8.4V "water resistant" 4 x 18650 battery case for bicyc

    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    kwarwick, I would be glad if you can analyze the circuit. If you need me to do some measurments just say so. I hope you can easily recognize where the spring holes are located.
    I've got one coming soon from gearbest so once it arrives I'll do some dissection and see if I can figure out what gives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Latest test shows this parasitic drain stays active all the time even when the cells drain below overdischarge point. This is dissapointing to me.
    Yes, that's bad. Hopefully, this is caused by 5v converter, which can be disabled by cutting some traces on PCB.

    Yet I can recall the similar issue with Magicshine ALU pack with led display showing the status. They might clone their circuit, though
    I've heard that, but my MJ-828 battery doesn't seem to have excessive self-discharge rate. Perhaps, early models were affected my that flaw...

    Thanks for the pictures of electronics! Fixture of output cable by E-type washer seems really unacceptable, BTW.

    The more I know about this box, the less I like it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by -Archie- View Post
    The more I know about this box, the less I like it...
    Yes, me too, unfortunately.
    Now when I've rethinked a bit about it, it could be done with simple On/Off clicky switch. When Off it should act only as a protection circuit. When On it should act as USB output and show status leds in adition to protection. Simple as that. Still someone could forget to switch it off, but at least the majority of users would benefit from it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Yes, me too, unfortunately.
    Now when I've rethinked a bit about it, it could be done with simple On/Off clicky switch. When Off it should act only as a protection circuit. When On it should act as USB output and show status leds in adition to protection. Simple as that. Still someone could forget to switch it off, but at least the majority of users would benefit from it.
    Using my connection, while I have it, I had asked Dora a few weeks ago to source a different box, perferrably one without protection so whe can use higher capacity cells.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GJHS View Post
    Using my connection, I had asked Dora a few weeks ago to source a different box, perferrably one without protection so whe can use higher capacity cells.
    Old-style one would be most appropriate, if it's still manufactured.

    As for this one, it seems too overloaded with unneeded (for most users) bells and whistles, and have too poor electronics onboard. If I'll indeed get this box for free from GearBest, I'll discard +5v part and Y-cable, and try to restore normal functionality of protection circuit. Currently, according to pictures, it seems to use "simulated" middle point by using resistive divider (R9 and R10), so it should be possible to re-wire the U4 IC properly: supposedly, that VA7022 is some copy of Fortune Semiconductor DW-01. Two switching 8205A dual MOSFETs are adequate for most loads, and U2 "voltmeter"/status LED driver should be still operational. The only concern is, too low triggering voltage of overcharge limit, unsuitable for modern 4.35v cells - but maybe it's possible to adjust it.

    For middle point, I think, most simple way is to drill the bottom wall and make necessary connection, then cover it with some epoxy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Too bad it has a threaded Solar Storm type connector and not the standard Magicshine snap-in type. I realize they work, but not as secure as they could be.
    correct!
    [QUOTE=kwarwick;11667415]Much easier to separate (when you want them to) because the connectors don't get stiff in the cold ../QUOTE]
    agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by kwarwick View Post
    .. and they have a proper o-ring to keep moisture out. Why do you say they are less secure?
    I lost this ring several times in the dark of by bagpack..not easy to find later
    The most advantage is the easier separation, nevertheless i had a broken cable once.
    OK, it wasn't original, some sort of ebay cable
    But also the cable of my SS 2X is quite more stiff than the MS ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by GJHS View Post
    I think he means that the threaded SolarStorm connectors aren't secure when used with lights that have Magicshine connectors or basically when mixing connectors.


    I take this box as what it is, as a gift.
    For I have a SS, it's useable for me and the 5V USB is highly appreciated for my Motorola Defy!
    Most other "extended Batteries" with USB Power will suck some drain

  41. #41
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Found the original unprotected case on eBay

    4 X 18650 Water Resistant Battery Pack Case House Cover for Bike Bicycle Lamp

    EDIT: from Buyers' Feedback, looks like the vendor is fulfilling orders with the newer model.

    "Positive feedback rating Received slightly different design, but item still works as intended."


    P.S.: Just checked my Alu/Poly MJ-828 battery pack after having charged it last about a week ago. Was down to 8.2v. Connecting the original MagicShine charger, its indicator LED remained Green, while the display on the 828 immediately jumped to 8.3. Suppose it must trickle charge because when I checked on it a while later the voltage had climbed all the way to 8.4

  42. #42
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    Hmm. I found a similar listing a month ago and ordered. I was given a non-working tracking number. After about 30 days of no tracking updates I contacted the seller and they immediately refunded me. Not saying that this will be the same, just saying I went down this road before. It's worth a shot though if you don't mind tying up those funds for awhile.

    -Garry

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    Never Mind.

    Well this vendor scores 99%. But checking through the buyer's feedback, the only mention I could find for this item was:

    Positive feedback rating Received slightly different design, but item still works as intended.

    So guess they're actually shipping the newer model and haven't updated the page to reflect that. D'oh!

    Will edit previous post grumble grumble.

    But KD still sells their waterproof case with batteries included (the multicolored ones that come with their MJ-880 clone), it's only $16/17 and
    the case alone got rave reviews here (I'd discard the batteries immediately.)
    Last edited by andychrist; 01-03-2015 at 03:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    But KD still sells their waterproof case with batteries included (the multicolored ones that come with their MJ-880 clone), it's only $16/17 and
    the case alone got rave reviews here (I'd discard the batteries immediately.)
    I won't recommend this one. It's very tight for some batteries (in my case, Panasonics 3100), so you'll have to disassemble it completely in order to push the cells out. Screws won't last long if this will be done several times. The protection PCB in my box was not operational: no intervention either on overdischarge nor overcharge. The wire from middle point soldered directly to the PCB, and was accidentally pulled during cells replacement: trace and several SMD components soldered near it were destroyed. Insulation of original cable cracked in multiple zones after several months of use. Etc, etc...

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    New Box Modified

    Hello!

    I bypassed the protection circuit of the new box by disassembling the lid and moving power wires straight to battery terminal lines. I also did the same voltage drop test I did earlier with promising results. Point to note is that some of the battery holding springs were free to turn meaning they were not in place properly and probably hindered the performance in the earlier test to some degree.

    Quote Originally Posted by View Post
    With the old box voltage dropped from 8.34 volts at rest to 7.13 volts under load and with the new box voltage dropped from 8.36 volts at rest to 7.03 volts under load.
    With the modified box voltage dropped from 8.33 volts at rest to 7.16 volts under load.

    These measurements are not accurate by any means, but do give a rough idea of what might be going on and it seems that the modification was well worth doing. Getting rid of the step down circuit and the thin wiring preceding the Y-piece might be worth trying out too.

    Quote Originally Posted by kwarwick View Post
    I still think the voltage drop is a lot. I wonder how much of it is the particular batteries vs. the battery box? Often the protection circuits of the batteries are responsible for a lot of added resistance limiting their ability to deliver high currents. Have you tried using good quality unprotected cells to see if this reduces the voltage drop? Maybe I'll do some test with some unprotected NCR18650B and some NCR18650PDs I have.
    It is a lot, but it's also the voltage drop after some time under load, not the initial voltage drop. I didn't find it even remotely accurate to randomly pick the first reading I'd be able to get as the voltage dives at the beginning of the load. I only use protected batteries, the ones used here are protected Sanyo UR18650ZY's, so unfortunately I can't do a comparison. I do want to point out that these are not absolute measurements, but remote pointers of performance. Thank you for the comments!

    Enjoyable trail time!


    JK
    Last edited by <JK>; 01-04-2015 at 10:45 AM. Reason: Comments added

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    Quote Originally Posted by View Post
    Hello!

    I bypassed the protection circuit of the new box by disassembling the lid and moving power wires straight to battery terminal lines. I also did the same voltage drop test I did earlier with promising results. Point to note is that some of the battery holding springs were free to turn meaning they were not in place properly and probably hindered the performance in the earlier test to some degree.



    With the modified box voltage dropped from 8.33 volts at rest to 7.16 volts under load.

    These measurements are not accurate by any means, but do give a rough idea of what might be going on and it seems that the modification was well worth doing. Getting rid of the step down circuit and the thin wiring preceding the Y-piece might be worth trying out too.

    Good rides!


    JK
    I still think the voltage drop is a lot. I wonder how much of it is the particular batteries vs. the battery box? Often the protection circuits of the batteries are responsible for a lot of added resistance limiting their ability to deliver high currents. Have you tried using good quality unprotected cells to see if this reduces the voltage drop? Maybe I'll do some test with some unprotected NCR18650B and some NCR18650PDs I have.

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    Dumb question, but will this work with flat top cells, or can I only use button tops?

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    Both would do just fine. I would suggest flat top for better conduction.

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    mines been on my desk for a week. Do you think I'll be ok harvesting the cells from my new SecurityIng for this pack?

    its actually a nice little box 2 things frustrate me though. The floppy usb cable that I don't want / need and the lack of 3m foam or rubber down one side. I'll have to hack up an innertube before I Velcro it to my frame.

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    Is THIS the battery box everybody is looking for?

    Someone mentioned this (unprotected) PANNOVO B-C04 Water Resistant 4 x 18650 Battery Pack Case in a previous post here and I see it is available again from DX, $13.59. Also comes with a velcroed nylon pouch, which would have soved spankone's problem (see above.)

    Review: New &quot;Solarstorm&quot; 2S2P 8.4V &quot;water resistant&quot; 4 x 18650 battery case for bicyc-image.jpg

  51. #51
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    Noticed a good idea from the review for that model - someone should make a 26650x4 battery case - can use cheap but decent $5 26650 4000mAh cells and still have extra long runtime.

    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    Someone mentioned this (unprotected) PANNOVO B-C04 Water Resistant 4 x 18650 Battery Pack Case in a previous post here and I see it is available again from DX, $13.59. Also comes with a velcroed nylon pouch, which would have soved spankone's problem (see above.)

  52. #52
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    Anybody know either where to find a nice water-resistant "bag" for this case? Got a pretty good one along with a "6600mAh" TrustFire last year, has like this non-woven, hexagonal patterned siliconey thing going on which I've never seen any other place. Problem with that bag though, just one thin strap off center.

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 4707
Size:  26.5 KB

    As previously mentioned, this slick hard case is not deemed entirely waterproof, and the included velcro strap, while nice and wide, offers little in the way of traction or protection.

    Thanks for any helpful links.

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    Hi Ledoman and others

    I received the battery case as a gift together with the Yinding from Gearbest.

    As far as I understand, I have 2 options to charge the batteries:
    - connect a classical wall charger (I have about 4 at home, always included with the light units I bought) and connect it as if it was a soldered battery pack
    - charge separately the batteries using Xtar, Nitecore or any other 18650 charger.

    And the best would be to combine both methods: charge every now and then the batteries separately otherwise charge them together.

    Following that advice, I just ordered a XTar VP2 charger (25$ at GB).

    Now only one thing missing, batteries :-D

    As the box is protected, I think I better buy unprotected cells.
    A preference here? Wasn't there a model to avoid because of higher voltage?

    Thx!

  54. #54
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    If you're looking for the highest capacity at the best price:

    #1. SKU 1141100 - Panasonic NCR18650B Rechargeable 3400mAh 3.7V 18650 Lithium Batteries

    Don't forget to enter the promo code BLF

    Ordered mine from Fasttech yesterday afternoon and have already received a tracking number. That's not gonna happen from another vendor.

  55. #55
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    FastTech is one of the slowest vendors to order batteries from. I'm not real sure who is the best/fastest in Asia now as I buy within the US.

    -Garry

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    Ok cool!

    Ordered 4

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeanphi500 View Post
    As the box is protected, I think I better buy unprotected cells.
    Do not trust protection PCB found in cheap batteries/boxes etc, unless you've actually tested and verified it yourself! I've seen several examples of non-operational PCBs in various Chinese stuffs, including battery box (not exactly this one, but similar)...

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    This one seemed ok on that point, according to Ledoman ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    FastTech is one of the slowest vendors to order batteries from. I'm not real sure who is the best/fastest in Asia now as I buy within the US.

    -Garry
    Yeah well if you choose their free shipping option with ChinaPost is says like 30-60 days. I paid the extra $5 for two week expedited, the promo code made up for the difference. Dunno what the options are shipping to Europe.

    Ordered bunch of stuff from both KD and GB over past coupla weeks and not so much as a tracking number yet, so... Eh. I can wait til Spring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeanphi500 View Post
    This one seemed ok on that point, according to Ledoman ...
    According to Ledoman review on first page, this box implements highly unusual connection scheme: serial connection of two cells first, then parallel connection of resilting pairs in parallel, with no sensing wire from the middle point(s).

    It is fundamentally impossible for protection PCB to determine actual voltage of particular cell in that design - it just assumes that voltage is supposed to be equal between two cells in each pair...

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Archie- View Post
    According to Ledoman review on first page, this box implements highly unusual connection scheme: serial connection of two cells first, then parallel connection of resilting pairs in parallel, with no sensing wire from the middle point(s).

    It is fundamentally impossible for protection PCB to determine actual voltage of particular cell in that design - it just assumes that voltage is supposed to be equal between two cells in each pair...
    But this SHOULD BE ok with quality matched cells, and this is also why it is suggested to "balance the cells" by charging them in an external charger. In any case, I'd trust this box with quality cells much more than a cheap Chinese welded pack!

    -Garry

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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    But this SHOULD BE ok with quality matched cells,
    Correct. But I doubt sellers like FastTech are doing impedance & capacity measurements and cell matching before shipping.

    External charger for separate cells will circumvent any possible problems with charge - but it won't help during actual use (i.e. discharge).

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    Ok I guess I can try to do my best to match the cells before inserting them in the case ;-)

    I'm not worried if my cells are not at their optimal usage. They will anyway be better than my usual battery sets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeanphi500 View Post
    Ok I guess I can try to do my best to match the cells before inserting them in the case ;-)

    I'm not worried if my cells are not at their optimal usage. They will anyway be better than my usual battery sets.
    With Panasonic you can't miss. Of course it is good to mark cells and check them ocasionaly to see how they differ. As suggested before I would combine both charging methods when use the pack frequently.

    Because parasitic drain DON'T FORGET to disconnect/take out the cells when not used for longer time. With Panasonic 3400 this period is about 1 month.

    Regarding chargers, I'm working on 8.4V 2A Li-Ion charger to have much shorter charging times. Currently I'm searching for a good manufacturer. Then GB will take over if they decided to do so. Should make a new thread to see what is the demand..... Is there on this site soem voting tool or similar?

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Regarding chargers, I'm working on 8.4V 2A Li-Ion charger to have much shorter charging times. Currently I'm searching for a good manufacturer. Then GB will take over if they decided to do so. Should make a new thread to see what is the demand..... Is there on this site soem voting tool or similar?
    That's awesome! As some of us already know, some of these Chinese wall plug chargers rated "1000mA" don't put out anywhere near 1A! And with a pack of good high capacity cells there is no problem with charging at 2A!

    By the way, I'm expecting delivery of my 2 SolarStorm battery boxes today - any minute now.

    -Garry

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    Quote Originally Posted by ledoman View Post
    Regarding chargers, I'm working on 8.4V 2A Li-Ion charger to have much shorter charging times. Currently I'm searching for a good manufacturer.
    What is expected end-user price?

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    Quote Originally Posted by -Archie- View Post
    What is expected end-user price?
    I'm nowere near at that point. Shurely it won't be super cheap. Don't know what the GB can do to lower the price. First offer for the single sample from the first manufacturer I've found was $6 without shippment. The neto weight was 190gr.
    I'm shure there are quite few manufacturers who can produce that kind of device. I need to do quite some work to find competition.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    FastTech is one of the slowest vendors to order batteries from. I'm not real sure who is the best/fastest in Asia now as I buy within the US.

    -Garry
    Just got confirmation on my 2 neutral yindings being shipped, maybe I should start thinking about batteries.
    Mind if I ask who you use in the US?
    I'm thinking of buying protected cells and doing the "de-protection" mod on the box.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

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    Sure, I buy from http//www.mtnelectronics.com/. Another good supplier is Illumination supply. Both are active users on BudgetLightForum.

    -Garry

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    Some More Voltage Tests

    Good day!

    I ran some more voltage tests on my quest to find out the better box for my most power hungry light. This time I made it so that the test setting can be easily reproduced if needed.

    Three battery packs were used. A random four cell stock pack, an old model Solarstorm box and a modified new model Solarstorm box which power wires are connected straight to battery terminal lines to bypass the protection circuit in hopes of better performance.

    Protected 2600 mAh Sanyo UR18650ZY's were used in the boxes. The random pack has never been torn apart, but it has around half the capacity of a Sanyo set. All the batteries were fully charged prior to the test. Around 3.4 ampere load was provided with an XM-L2 Solarstorm XT40 light.

    The resting voltage was measured prior to and two minutes after the load. The supply voltage was measured around every 30 seconds for a duration of three minutes.


    RND: Random pack voltage (V)
    Old: Old box voltage (V)
    New: Modified new box voltage (V)


    Time RND Old New

    0:00 8.43 8.39 8.40 - unloaded

    0:30 7.34 7.20 7.17
    1:00 7.24 7.13 7.12
    1:30 7.20 7.09 7.08
    2:00 7.16 7.07 7.06
    2:30 7.13 7.06 7.04
    3:00 7.10 7.03 7.02

    5:00 8.16 8.30 8.32 - unloaded

    Here I swapped the batteries within the boxes to see that the differences were not due to different set of batteries. Random pack was untouched.

    Time RND Old New

    0:00 8.18 8.32 8.31 - unloaded

    0:30 7.16 7.19 7.14
    1:00 7.11 7.13 7.09
    1:30 7.08 7.10 7.06
    2:00 7.05 7.07 7.03
    2:30 7.04 7.04 7.01
    3:00 7.02 7.01 6.99

    5:00 8.11 8.24 8.23 - unloaded


    It still seems the new box is slightly inferior to the old box in terms of voltage drop despite bypassed protection circuit, but only marginally. One could separate the USB and main supplies all the way from the circuit board, or just plain remove the USB supply, to get rid of the flimsy part of wiring for some more gains, but it's hard to tell if it's worth it. The random pack does surprisingly well.

    Good rides!


    JK

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    Ok, qqick&dirty..
    nothing to add to post no 1 so far

    Some vendors proclaim this item as waterproof, others as water resistent:

    Do not use in the water!
    IPX4: 100% dustproof, resistant against splashing water


    My test, 8 h under water , added stress: 70,05 mm extra long (and extra thick) Samsungs


    The LEDs were still illuminating


    A little water ran into, nevertheless a good result compared to many other "waterproof" stuff


    All in all, in my eyes absolutly recommandable!

    My Defys are happy, too!
    Perhaps the cable is a bit too long for biking, the wire may be too thin for high current use.
    So keep it with 3A max. heads only.

    In comparison a "100% Waterproof bottle" from wallbuys:

    Completely filled with water after 2h
    Corrosion on poles and balancing connector

    Complete gallery on Abload.de

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    Which Wallbuys model are you referring? Link please

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    So, any news on cutting off that USB feature? (standby discharge)

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    Damn, still waiting on parts to arrive. I have a couple of boxes on route (well hopefully they are on route), will see if they are the non USB version or not when/if they arrive.

    Also, I am still waiting for part two of two of my battery order. I got the charger and one pair of batteries, but still need to get the other three pair ordered.

    Getting to be annoying.

  75. #75

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    4 x 18650 case arrived

    Well I finally got the two boxes I ordered. Like others, my order was filled with the newer style box that has the USB connection as well. What are folks doing with this. Is is safe to cut it off and seal it off with tape?

    I loaded up both cases with the 18650 Keep Power 3400mah batteries. As noted the case has markings to show how the batteries need to be loaded and is rectangular so the lid can only go on as it should. A ran my XT40 and also my Dinotte Dual Quad 1200+ (bonus the battery case works perfectly on my Dinotte lights) with two large fans providing the cooling, so all good there. I periodically checked the battery levels by hitting the button on the case. When it was down to 1 light of 3, I turned off the light and took out the batteries.

    Now for the noob question. When I put the batteries back in my Soshine H4 charger I noticed that 2 of the 4 cells were discharged down to 15% - 20% range while the other two where still almost at full charge. Does that seem normal. Based on how the battery case is built, should all 4 batteries be discharging at an equal rate, or first discharge the first pair, then move onto the second pair?

    Will try again this evening and take better notice of the battery level off of the XT40 vs the Dinotte.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rideitall View Post
    Now for the noob question. When I put the batteries back in my Soshine H4 charger I noticed that 2 of the 4 cells were discharged down to 15% - 20% range while the other two where still almost at full charge. Does that seem normal. Based on how the battery case is built, should all 4 batteries be discharging at an equal rate, or first discharge the first pair, then move onto the second pair?
    If the cells are identical and charged to the same level, they should discharge at equal rate. Keep in mind this box is unable to monitor them properly (essentially, "protection circuit" is a joke), but as long as you're using protected cells - no problem...

  78. #78
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    Something sounds strange, as if two of the cells are not connected in parallel to the other two. Why don't you try putting two cells on one side of the box and see if the light works. Then move the same two cells to the other side of the case and see if it works again. IF one side is not working than you have a connection issue somewhere.

    -Garry

  79. #79
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    I would agree with garrybunk's assessment. The only way that could happen is that one half of the 2 parallel strings of cells is not making connection so the pack is only drawing power from the other half (2 cells only).

  80. #80
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    The cells might also be charged to different level prior to use, be of different state of health...

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    Thanks for the feedback and ideas. Will check out tonight. All cells are new KeepPower 18650 3400mah. I picked up 4 pairs. 1 arrived with charger, three shipped later and had a different sticker on the package indicating production date.

    Is the idea is that two batteries are connected together (parallel) to get the 7.4v - 8.4v, then the second set of batteries in series to provide additional capacity 3400mah x 2 = 6800mah.

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideitall View Post
    Is the idea is that two batteries are connected together (parallel) to get the 7.4v - 8.4v, then the second set of batteries in series to provide additional capacity 3400mah x 2 = 6800mah.
    Actually the 8.4v is from two batteries in *series* and the 6800mAh is the two series strings being connected together in parallel.

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwarwick View Post
    Actually the 8.4v is from two batteries in *series* and the 6800mAh is the two series strings being connected together in parallel.
    Well I had a 50/50 chance of getting is right. Makes sense on how you explained it.

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    > I loaded up both cases with the 18650 Keep Power 3400mah batteries.

    Did you check the voltage on the batteries before putting them into the battery box?
    Or put them all in the external charger to see they were fully charged?
    If they weren't all charged to the same level at the start, that would explain what you saw.

    I wouldn't expect cells right out of the shipping box to be consistently fully charged.

    Just checking

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by hankering View Post
    > I loaded up both cases with the 18650 Keep Power 3400mah batteries.

    Did you check the voltage on the batteries before putting them into the battery box?
    Or put them all in the external charger to see they were fully charged?
    If they weren't all charged to the same level at the start, that would explain what you saw.

    I wouldn't expect cells right out of the shipping box to be consistently fully charged.

    Just checking
    All the batteries were fully charged on the SoShine H4 charger. All showed 100% (full) capacity.

    It might be a limitation of the H4 charger but it shows only the following information per cell. 1) % full, 2) time on charger, 3) what appears the change in MAH from when it was put on the charger to the current.

    So if you had a battery rated at 3400mah that was 50% full when starting to charge, the largest mah number you would see is 50% of 3400 or 1700MAH. I guess you simply have to hope the batteries are capable of the full mah capacity.

    I will double check when I get home but don't think the voltage is able to be shown.
    Edit did a search and found an online picture. It does appear that is shows the voltage.

    Soshine H4 1.5" LCD 4-Slot Universal Charger for Li-ion / LiFePO4 / 26650 / 18650 / AA / AAA - Black - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideitall View Post
    I loaded up both cases with the 18650 Keep Power 3400mah batteries. As noted the case has markings to show how the batteries need to be loaded and is rectangular so the lid can only go on as it should. A ran my XT40 and also my Dinotte Dual Quad 1200+ (bonus the battery case works perfectly on my Dinotte lights) with two large fans providing the cooling, so all good there. I periodically checked the battery levels by hitting the button on the case. When it was down to 1 light of 3, I turned off the light and took out the batteries.

    Now for the noob question. When I put the batteries back in my Soshine H4 charger I noticed that 2 of the 4 cells were discharged down to 15% - 20% range while the other two where still almost at full charge. Does that seem normal. Based on how the battery case is built, should all 4 batteries be discharging at an equal rate, or first discharge the first pair, then move onto the second pair?
    There might be stupid answer but completly possible situation which can happen only with protected cells:
    - one of the protection circuits tripped on ie. cut the power off for whatever reason (short circuit, etc....). If you would check voltage prior to inserting you would know it. So the potection was turned on until the cells were put into charger which resets it.

    This is a caveat of protected cells if you don't check them before inserting to the box. Very small chance to happen, but it can. This can't happen with unprotected cells, but there are another "features" to be watched ( well, mostly the balancing issues)

  87. #87
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    Ok, just finished a couple of hours of testing. All cells were 100% charged all showing 4.2v. All cells are KeepPower 3400mah protected cells.

    I did try both boxes with running just two cells. It worked just fine for both series. Both boxes worked with just two cells.

    After 2.5 hours of running the XT40 light on high, with a fan to keep things cool, I took the batteries out of the case and loaded back into the H4 charger. The charger showed the cells with the following percentage remaining: 12%, 65%, 59%, 25%.

    I am just running the second light and battery set to see what comes. I will be more careful in taking out the batteries. I will take them out in pairs that are tied together in series (see I can learn new things). I am curious to see if one set is getting drained more than the other, or one of the batters in each series.

    Any ideas on what is happening?

  88. #88
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    I wouldn't trust the % reading of the charger. Measure each cells voltage if you can.

    -Garry

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    One of the things that popped into my mind is to check the batch the weak batteries are from. If they are the two that you received in the first batch, that may be your answer. If they're all from the same batch - don't know what else to suggest.
    Last edited by Ian_C; 01-30-2015 at 01:49 AM.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    I wouldn't trust the % reading of the charger. Measure each cells voltage if you can.

    -Garry
    I will have to try and find a multimeter or whatever it is called. I know I had one. Will try to figure it out and measure the batteries in comparison to them coming off the charger.

  91. #91
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    I actually have the same Battery Box and made the same epxerience. I have Panasonic NCR 16850B as batteries. The voltage charged in the Nitecore D4 is the same and i also switched them through and 2 in the same position are always lower than the others. While 2 have 4,1V left, the others are at 3,95V already.

  92. #92
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    Finally, got my box today. As expected, in its default state it's not really usable - but it's possible to fix almost all problems relatively easy.

    My box have PCB different than in first ledoman message: S112A1 instead of S112A. Arrangement of electronic components is totally different, but schematic is almost identical. Later I'll take some pictures of my version.

    Good news: I was right about the protection IC used. Vimicro VA7022 is indeed pretty standard dual-cell protection chip. Found Chinese datasheet here:
    VA7022_DS_1.2_CH-΢˫﮵رоƬ_ٶĿ

    Name:  1-209.jpg
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    The SolarStorm has used "quick & dirty" trick to fool it, providing fake middle point "connection" signal to pin 4 by using resistive divider (two 100k resistors R9 and R10), and it's quite easy to restore normal functionality. The main problem is a mechanical work required to provide actual wiring; now I have some ideas on how to do it, but haven't decided the best method yet.

    According to datasheet, the IC is suitable to whole range of modern cells: overcharge triggering voltage is 4.350V 25mV, and overdischarge 2.300V 80mV - so, latest low-voltage Panasonics and high-voltage cells from all the other manufacturers theoretically should be useable. Haven't measured actual triggering voltages yet.

    The USB part can be easily disabled without heavy modifications. 5V DC/DC converter is controlled by the same button as voltage indicator - so, cutting the PCB trace between U2 and U1 (before grounding 10k resistor) is all what you need in order to do that.

    With that mod, standby current is 1.7 mA: pretty acceptable IMHO.

    I'll post some pictures when final modification will be done. For now, big thanks to ledoman for excellent review, and to GJHS for assistance in getting the box!
    Last edited by -Archie-; 01-30-2015 at 01:20 AM.

  93. #93
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    Teaser: There may be some more battery boxes coming

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    Ran another test tonight. Came back home after a bit of leaving the light running, again with a fan to keep it cool. I believe the light was still on at full brightness. After carefully pulling the batteries out of the box to take not of which series and which position each batter was in, it was all for not. All 4 batteries were at 3.5v and showing with 7% remaining. Charging them now.

    My thoughts are that it might take a few cycles on new batteries for them to break in and reach closer to their potential.

  95. #95
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    Review: New "Solarstorm" 2S2P 8.4V "water resistant" 4 x 18650 battery case f...

    Archie, I should of read your post first while I had the case apart! Was wondering what I should do to remove the USB circuit.

    I ended up just replacing the cable with a std Magicshine cable and made it a little longer to reach down into a jersey pocket. Pretty straightforward. Had to enlarge the hole in the PCB and the plastic standoff for the cable seal. Cable is now a real tight fit thru the top. Interesting that they used a c-clip to hold the cable in. Seems to work pretty good.

    Review: New &quot;Solarstorm&quot; 2S2P 8.4V &quot;water resistant&quot; 4 x 18650 battery case for bicyc-imageuploadedbytapatalk1422748890.809596.jpgReview: New &quot;Solarstorm&quot; 2S2P 8.4V &quot;water resistant&quot; 4 x 18650 battery case for bicyc-imageuploadedbytapatalk1422748912.709221.jpgReview: New &quot;Solarstorm&quot; 2S2P 8.4V &quot;water resistant&quot; 4 x 18650 battery case for bicyc-imageuploadedbytapatalk1422748937.795419.jpg

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideitall View Post
    My thoughts are that it might take a few cycles on new batteries for them to break in and reach closer to their potential.
    Nope, Li-Ion does not need that. It could also be one pair haven't had contact.

  97. #97
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    > overcharge triggering voltage is 4.350V 25mV

    That's dangerously high for standard li-ions (should be 4.2v)
    isn't it??

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Archie- View Post
    The USB part can be easily disabled without heavy modifications...With that mod, standby current is 1.7 mA: pretty acceptable IMHO.
    I do not agree.
    The USB facility is too nice to forget, I wouldn't miss this option.
    Shortly before the Gearbest deal I ordered this box regularly from another supplier, it was "stolen" by my daughter for her Android gadget, seems to be better than those ugly power banks..

    Back to topic:
    As mentioned before the box sucks about 8.5 mA at standby, pretty normal for a stepdown waiting and doing "nothing".

    After cutting the buck supplement from supply the current reduces to less than 40 uA.

    All you have to do for a happy USB supply is connecting to the switched power, so the batts can't be exhausted.
    I was lasy and did mine q&d with cutting knife, fat solder tip and fat cable rest lying around


    Regarding the claimed voltage differences..
    - The inner resistance of the cells may differ a little within the first cycles
    - The inner resistance depends highly on the drain

    But it won't declare such great diffs, I assume a contact prob, too.
    Considerable diffs may occur when the connected lamp is only driven at high current after many cycles.

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    This is great! And everything works as supposed to? USB power turns on when pressing the button?

    Correct me if I missed something...

    You cut trace to divide to section A and B. Then connect section A to black wire? New wire could be thinner...say AWG26?

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhocewar View Post
    This is great! And everything works as supposed to? USB power turns on when pressing the button?
    In my case (PCB version S112A1), that was true in the default state of the box before modification. As I understand now, version S112A has USB output working permanently, as long as batteries are connected?

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