Bantam BC-6 Review

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Bantam introduces the BC-6, an all purpose charger/balancer.

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I get lots of requests, “Where can I find a multichemistry charger/cycler that I can operate from either 120 volt AC line or from a 12 volt source”. Bantam must have been listening when they introduced the BC-6 that can be operated in your shop with AC or at the field with DC power. It can accept three types of Lithium batteries - LiIo, LiPo and LiFe (A123) as well as Ni-Cd, Lead Acid and Ni-Mh chemistries. 

SPECIFICATIONS

Operating voltage range     DC 10-18 volts

                                        AC 100-240, 50/60 Hz

Circuit Power                    max 50W charging

                                        Max 5W discharging

Charge current  range:       0.1 – 5.0A

Discharge current range:    0.1-1.0A

Current for balancing:         300 mA/cell

Ni-Cd/Ni-Mh cells:              1-15

Lithium cells:                     1-6

Pb (Lead Acid):                 1-10 (2v-20v)                                                 

Weight:                                20.5 oz

Dimensions:               5.5 X 5.1 X1.8 inches

The unit has an individual-cell-voltage balancer built in. So it does not need an external balancer when charging Lithium batteries for cell balancing. It can also monitor and balance individual cells during the discharge process. If the voltage of any one cell varies abnormally, the process will be stopped with an error message.

Fast charge capability reduces the charging time of Lithium batteries and Storage mode sets the final voltage of the battery at a level suitable for long term storage (several months or longer). Periodically the packs should be submitted to the storage charge to assure their voltage has not dropped to a level detrimental to the pack.

Each of the 5 data memories can be recalled at any time you need without reprogramming.

Perform 1 to 5 cycles of charge>discharge or discharge>charge for battery performance confirmation.

For the advanced user, the BC-6 offers an optional PC based program that shows a graph of voltage, current, capacity and temperature curves. It also shows the individual voltage of each cell in the Lithium battery pack. Connection to the computer is via USB port.

The unit is housed in an aluminum case which provides for efficient cooling.

Adapters are available for most popular battery systems including Align/Dualsky/Electrifly/E-Flight/Polyquest/Hyperion/E-Tec/MaxAmps/Kokam/Thunder Power. They also supply adapter plug pig tail to make up your own as I did for a CellPro 4S pack to BC-6 (shown below the charger). 

You can review the manual at: BC-6 Manual

 I did find one interesting aspect of this charger.  The 12 volt input cable is hot; it has 12 volts on it when the unit is connected to an AC outlet.  If these are shorted together the unit shuts down, the good news is that you can use this as a 12 volt supply to run another charger at the same time you are using it.  The amount of current available is limited but ample for most chargers/cyclers.  I simply cut the 12 volt source leads about 4” from the unit (see Figure 2), soldered on some 5/32 brass tubing, covered with heat shrink and can now plug in another charger or leads with alligator clips when needed and not have a long cord cluttering up the bench when it is plugged into AC.
08/08
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