Last week I reported that I’d noticed an anomaly while running my new ZKE EBC-AO5 through repeated tests using the cycle-test feature of its accompanying PC software. I’ve since identified the likely cause, along with a workaround, and I’m expecting a firmware fix soon from the manufacturer.
The problem can be seen in this chart.
The charge phase is supposed to terminate when the current, shown in red, hits 0.12 A. Instead, it terminates at ~0.25A in the first cycle, and at ~0.5A in subsequent cycles.
I realized that the subsequent cycles were also terminating at about 90 minutes, which stood out, because I’d set a 90 minute timer for terminating the discharge phase if the voltage didn’t drop below a threshold first. A check of the raw data showed that the termination happened at ~88 minutes.
The device doesn’t allow a timer to be set during the charging phase, but I hypothesized that the timer from the previous discharge phase was somehow being utilized during the charging phase. I tried shortening and lengthening the discharge timer and found that, as I expected, it had a corresponding impact on the length of the charging cycle.
So, the workaround is to either omit the timer on the discharge phase, or set it to a duration larger than the time required to achieve a full charge for the cell under test. I’ve successfully run dozens of cycles now:
I also reported my findings to ZKE, using their published email address and received a reply thanking me for the report and letting me know that they would have an updated firmware by the end of the month.
I didn’t do much with my ZKE EBC-A05 battery tester last week while I waited for a cheap, small used PC to arrive to run the EB Test software for long-term tests.
The computer came earlier this week, and after getting Windows patched up, I set up a test to run overnight that would cycle between charging to 4.3v and 0.12A, pausing, discharging at 2.4A to 2.75v, waiting 10 minutes for the cell to cool down, and then repeating the cycle.
When I checked on the progress this morning, everything looked good at first glance.
Upon closer inspection though, I noticed that after the first charging cycle proceeded until 4.3v but terminated prematurely, at 0.25A current, and subsequent cycles cut of prematurely, at ~0.5A.
I tried stopping the test and restarting it again, and found that this time, the first charging cycle terminated at 0.5A.
I’ve powercycled the EBC-A05 and started a new testing cycle. So far, so good, the first charging cycle terminated at 0.12A, as desired. We’ll see if that holds for subsequent cycles.
I must say though, the fact that I’ve had this problem once makes me less enthusiastic about this device. I was thinking of buying another 3, so I could run duplicate control and experimental runs of multi-day experiments at a time, but that only makes sense if these things are generally reliable.
This is a electronic load and charger for battery testing.
It can charge at up to 3A using a variety of charging voltages and profiles. For discharge testing, it can draw up to 5A @12v. There is a TTL-serial interface with a USB adapter and accompanying software for logging and controlling battery tests.
Update: I ‘ve posted a preliminary review, and I’ll be updating it as I go in the coming weeks.
Lithium ion batteries, chargers, power supplies, and other ways to power our gadgets