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Old 10th November 2010, 01:04 PM   #1
jitter is offline jitter  Netherlands
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Default Huge cap inside battery charger

Just for the fun of it I opened the battery charger that came with my Atlas Copco (AEG/Milwaukee) cordless power drill. I was expecting to find some sort of SMPS but found a SCR instead (a TC820). But what astonished me most is the huge 25 uF 420/470 Vac cap.

What I wonder about most is why this cap? Surely there are cheaper alternatives...
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Old 10th November 2010, 02:19 PM   #2
Elvee is offline Elvee  Belgium
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jitter View Post
What I wonder about most is why this cap? Surely there are cheaper alternatives...
Not necessarily: such a cap provides a quasi-constant current of 1500mA, without the fuss of a SMPS or the bulk of a transformer.
The SCR probably shorts the supply when the charge is finished.
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Old 10th November 2010, 03:06 PM   #3
jitter is offline jitter  Netherlands
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I think that the SCR is used in this circuit to keep the voltage to the desired level as it buzzes loudly while charging (being switched on and off constantly). When no battery-pack is connected, there seems to be no power drain from the mains (or is below the detection threshold of a Voltcraft energy monitor). Without the pack, there's only 1.4 V across the terminals suggesting the battery-pack itself becomes part of the circuit and is not just connected to it.

I measured the power consumption during and after finishing the charge cycle and you can clearly see that it goes into trickle charge mode. Without having to set anything on the charger, it takes battery packs ranging from 7.2 to 18 V. All this with such few components!...

The IC in the background is just a quad comparator, BTW.

Last edited by jitter; 10th November 2010 at 03:12 PM.
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