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Hi was wondering if there was anyone interested in a bulk charger for np-50 batteries, i still want it to have some time on the set (in action) before i want to sell any. but an idea about what kind of interest can be expected would be nice.  for all i know everyone has something similar already. or no one uses that much of these batteries. or well countless reasons why not.  But this is my project :)


little about me and my project how, why and some specs and some pictures. 


 

Little about me ?


 

Hi, My name is Joppe and live in the Netherlands, i did mostly audio post production in the past and some audio recording on set (not much).
But my interest after a while started to drift away again to making stuff with my hands, mostly audio related gear like exotic loudspeaker designs, but some furniture or weird request every once in a while to.
I really enjoy problem solving and creating physical stuff, although sometimes i just wished i never started :) anyhow, i talked to my friends and ex colleagues (sound recordist) regularly and came aware of the fact that there is not actually a affordable bulk charger for NP50's.

They all have either Zaxcom or Lectrosonics transmitters and both use NP-50, and you use a hefty amount a day (depending on how many transmitters of course).
So i thought i would give it a go, and of course it all spiraled out of control (as usual) and now there are a gazillion prototypes and parts everywhere (mostly in the bin) and there is no way back so......... i introduce ................ The...................
NP50 Charger. What else do i need to call it , im not so good with names.(if you got any please do tell)


 

NP50 Charger


 

The NP-50 charger is a hand made slow (overnight) charger bay that will be available in a 6, 12, 18 slot version. It saves some precious space on the road and works all around the world, it works in all power conditions 230/50Hz or 110/60 Hz. (do let me know which is your prefered voltage)

The charger is a Constant Current, Constant Voltage charger and will handle your batteries with care.It can charge all batteries simultaneous at a moderate current limited at ~400mA. All batteries are charged in between 3-4.5 hours depending on capacity of the battery.
On request i can add some extra spacers to make it more ergonomical but the intention was small form factor so it is not standard.
Any wishes ? Just ask !, Thats the beauty of a small company.


 


Features

- Charge 6,12 or 18 NP-50's Simultaneous.

- Swiss made gold plated spring loaded battery contacts, that wont scratch up the battery contacts and insures lowest resistance possible.

- (rather) Small form factor (HxWxL) 5x14,5x20 cm for a 12 slot, add another ~3 cm for 18 slot version.

- Internal Industrial oversized power suply from well known brand.

- All passive cooling. No fan noise to keep you awake at night.

- Custom amount of slots, i stated 6, 12, 18 but if you would like to have a 14 or 8 slot thats fine with me.


 


 

Power suply specifications


 

Power

75 Watt

Input range:

85~264 Vac

Certificering:

CE

Cooling :

Passive

Protection :

Short cicuit
Overload

Overvoltage


 


 

Charger specification for each module (2 slots)


 

Max current each module :

800mA-1000mA

Charge rate each slot :

~400mA

Charge percentage :

~96-97 % increases life of the battery up to 1.1 times

Overheat protection :

Charger will cycle down charge current if module reaches above 65 degrees Celsius.

Normal working temperature at room temperature 6 slot :

Max ~44 degrees Celsius

Normal working temperature at room temperature 12 slot :

Max ~46 degrees Celsius

Normal working temperature at room temperature :

Max ~48 degrees Celsius

Dimensions 6 slots :

(HxWxL) 5x14,5x17 cm

Dimensions 12 slots :

(HxWxL) 5x14,5x20 cm

Dimensions 18 slots :

(HxWxL) 5x14,5x23 cm


 


 


 



 





 

12 slot NP50.JPG

IMG_0185.JPG

IMG_0191.JPG

IMG_0186.JPG

IMG_0187.JPG

IMG_0188.JPG

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Hey Joppe, 

 

that definitely looks interesting. How much did you think of asking for the 12-bay version?

you may or may not know this, but Lectrosonics build their own 12-bay charger, but it’s really expensive.  

The problem I have with some unbranded cheapo charger, is that they don’t always realize when a battery has been inserted. Does yours have that problem, too? Some of my NP-50 chargers also have USB outputs, and can take care of my USB charging needs. Could you theoretically add 2-3 USB outlets? 

Also, a lid would be pretty nice. Ideally a lid per charge bay that stays well in place (like the Lectro Octopack slot covers)

 

The name is boring. Also remember that Lectro sell their own branded batteries, LB50. But I can‘t provide an alternative...

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Hi Joppe,

Neat looking unit. I really like the wrap around charge indicators. You can see them from any angle. The modular construction is neat, too. I assume there are dual charge control chips for each module?

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher 

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59 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

Sorry to be dim, but what equipment uses these batteries?

 

Lectro SSMs 

and Zax ZMT range

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Hi Constantin.
Well the price is going to be somewhere in the region of the lectro divided by 2 (i knew it existed, indeed) 
A exact price i cant give you as of yet since i just delivered my prototype to a sound guy ( literally sitting in the train now on my way home) and since i cant predict the additional cost that might occur.( hope none)

Also everything is made and assembled by me so i might need to tweak some production processes.
So I don't want to make exact promises, I might not be able to keep.  
About battery detection, It happens every now and then if a battery is very close to the set value.  ( 95-97%)  
If you used the battery for instance in a transmitter this should not be a problem (depending for how long of course) the 95 percent gives you 1.2 times more charges out of a battery without to much loss and without change of overcharging it , since that has a 1% error.
Then again if it won't start charging, battery is at the desired value or really close, something that should not impact capacity in term of far less minutes on your transmitter.
Sometimes leaving it will drop the voltage below the threshold and it will fill the remaining mV it was balancing on.  

 

So in short . If a np50 is empty or used it will charge. If you used it for 5  minutes or not used at all it it might think it is full. ( actually is minus the threshold)

 

 

About usb. Well I could if really needed be it that voltages will be slightly lower because  I want to have as less heat as possible. Since the np50 will be charged at max 4.18-20 I want as less overshoot as possible. Since it is all so compact I am also restricted by heat dispersion. I can make a fast charge version. But not in this package. 

 

 

The lids? I am not exactly sure what they look like and why use them ?  Ill try to look them up when I'm home !  

 

Thanks for the interest ! 

 

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3 hours ago, LarryF said:

Hi Joppe,

Neat looking unit. I really like the wrap around charge indicators. You can see them from any angle. The modular construction is neat, too. I assume there are dual charge control chips for each module?

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher 

Thanks Larry , for the complement !! Glad you like it :) it took quite some nights scratching my head looking at it with a beverage:)

 

Yes they are dual chip chargers 2 mirrored circuits  on one pcb. And situated under the middle column . 

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58 minutes ago, WrineX said:

Thanks Larry , for the complement !! Glad you like it :) it took quite some nights scratching my head looking at it with a beverage:)

Yes they are dual chip chargers 2 mirrored circuits  on one pcb. And situated under the middle column . 

 

Thanks for the info. I may have to install a beverage dispenser in the engineering quarters.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

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3 minutes ago, LarryF said:

hahaha  well it helps me ;)  i can easily stand in my kitchen for hours watching it,  touching it , smoking a cigarette take a sip of the beverage and repeat.   then scribble something down that no one can read or understand :) haha


Next day CNC time ! :)

 

Thanks for the info. I may have to install a beverage dispenser in the engineering quarters.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

 

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if people have any question or requests/idea's please let me know. ill try to answer them if i can :)

i thought of adding a few holes with threads in the side panels so you would be able to flush mount it in a battery charge case. do be aware that most heat will emit from the underside of the modules. (the reason why the modules are lifted up above the surface compared to the PSU housing)

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This looks like a great idea, and a very neat execution. I would definitely include mounting options - charger cases are becoming more popular these days.

 

I too would be interested to know the price.

 

Good luck, Simon B

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On 22-2-2018 at 3:42 PM, patrickveigel said:

Hi Joppe,

 

so have you made up your mind about the pricing? 

Thanks and best

 

Patrick

 

Hi people i am so sorry you hear from me so late, i expected a notification from the forum :( and well.... it does not send any :) haha.

i was already like hmm not much interest apparently.  So far i have given the prototype to a friend/sound guy. and in 4 days he will be going to  abu dhabi, so i hope he can see how it performs in the dessert temperatures:). so far he used it 2 months here in the Netherlands, and so far it worked flawless. there is still one thing i would like to change but, it is not within my power (at the moment and not that terrible either) and that is the slots are 8 mm , a np50 is between 7-7.3 mm so if your into aesthetics when you put them all in you might want to put them in straight.  they will charge anyways but it looks better when they are all exactly perpendicular to the loader. 

about prices. you can decide yourself how many modules you want. every module can charge 2 Np50's

 

Power supply is 150 Euro

1 module (2x  np50 slot) = 50 each


so a 12 slot charger would be 

150 for the psu + 6 x 50 = 450 euro ex tax

You can order as much slots as you want up to 24. although they are modules and modular, putting them in yourself (adding slots) might not be ideal. (depending on how handy you are i guess)

 

I do all the work myself, if someone was interested in some sort of bulk thing or want to try it? or has some sort of specific thing whatever. just contact me. i am a rather informal person. so shoot.

On 24-2-2018 at 1:31 PM, Bash said:

This looks like a great idea, and a very neat execution. I would definitely include mounting options - charger cases are becoming more popular these days.

 

I too would be interested to know the price.

 

Good luck, Simon B

Yes charging cases are popular, kind of a waste of the design ;) but i might be able to add some mounting holes to the sides with threads so i can ad a rim around it ? so you can drop it into a cutout inside a peli case maybe.. like these older audio mixers you could build into cabinets and such :).

 

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Prices seem very reasonable.

 

may I ask what defines the 8mm measurement? Is it the grey plastic bit between the clear lighty uppy bits? Is the 8mm measurement 8mm because that is the way it comes. Could it be possible to have 0.5mm milled off this material?

 

I would suggest that there is no need to make a skirt to make it mount in a case or on a panel. All I would suggest is maybe a screw thread (or two) in the base of the PSU, so that I can screw it to a flat panel. It simply needs an easy way to mount securely onto a surface.

 

I genuinely think you should look into a way of making quite a lot of these - at least a way of being able to pull down batches of the PSUs, and to have a load of battery modules ready to go. Obviously ordering in greater quantities will bring economies of scale, lower prices.

 

Have you thought about when you might try to make a first batch? I'd commit to one straight away.

 

Many thanks, Simon B

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Hi bash ! your are exactly right, the plastic that holds the Np50 by the fingers is 8 mm thick :( milling 0.5mm of is an option but i never trust to much on depth of cut when milling thin floppy plastics :) i thought about maybe buy a planar, and just put the basic material trough there before i cnc. not a clue if that would work but i guess only one way of finding out is.... i do would love to have it a bit snugger fit although it does not hurt the workings. 7mm is a non existing thickness in any palstic material :( let alone in this variant. 


Ooh I have an idea i have a company near me that makes and recondition cutting boards, they have a planar service, and the base material  happens to be the same sort of plastic. :) i am gone call him tomorrow if i can shove some left overs true his planar in exchange for some cash (it is a shabby kind of dude)

Well about production, i first wanted to wait for testing to complete, i think 3 months on the road is a  decent test after the continues charging and discharging i did while monitoring temp and amp and capacity.  but i did not have a mailbox full of people wanting one :) maybe 3 or 4 of my friends so i did not ramp it up yet.

Very nice to hear you are interested in one! i guess i have to make some spare parts then :) what amount of modules would you be interested in ?

 

ill keep everyone updated on the cutting board dude :) haha  hope he has time tomorrow.

 

 

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it has been 1000 years...    but i am still testing... yes long but i am one of those guys that see everything fail and storm clouds form.  Prototype one went with one sound guy and there where some problems with the poggo pins (although he still uses it so, not complete fail).. so i changed it and gave another version to a friend of mine. no problems so far. then ideas come.. can you do this or this etc. those are helpful ! but it does feel like an endless road (hence it takes all longer then i wanted)  i wanted to pitch a few here. 

1. Changing out the internal PSU for a Brick PSU, this would make the thing even smaller. and gives the opportunity to build it in a case or something since you can trow the brick in the bottom. brick will be good brand Meanwell as well, and will be fitted with a 4 pin XLR. this is  something i would love since it removes 110 or 230 volt in my build. cant be save enough :)

2. Going from the Euro connector to a figure of 8 Philips.  i dont  recommend that to be honest since earthing cant hurt. since the PSU inside is still metal caged, and it has an earth connection. and i rather use it. 

3. adding 2 USB outs for tentacles. i can imagine everyone would love that. but it does make the whole thing more cumbersome. and if option one is chosen i might find a way to let them exit on the top so you can still use it in a case. otherwise the USB will be one the back or sides. it does hurt the price to :(

im sorry i did not update for such a long time but,  i lost my job and had some more importend stuff on my head :)

 

 

 

By the way, the smaller slots... not going to happen soon. the guy asked a ridiculous amount and since i cant do it at the moment and since it does not effect the workings of the apparatus. i would love to do it when i can buy a good planar to do so myself,

Greetings Joppe !

 

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Great to see you‘re still working in this. I am definitely still interested in this, but it would need to be soon-ish otherwise I might just go with the Sound Guys Solutions option. Although that one does look a bit like they just glued a few two-bay chargers to one unit. Definte yes on the USB charging ports as I suggested some time ago in this very thread. 

I don’t have a strong opinion regarding the psu. I usually prefer an integrated version, though, as that means there is less chance of forgetting something. If the charger becomes bigger as a result, I don’t care. 

But if external is easier for you to build and if that means you can start selling it sooner then by all means go external. 

 

Sorry to hear about your job by the way. Good luck finding another one

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Also still interested. Integrated PSU if poss. If SM PSU then it can do 110-230v surely.... sb

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I meant to say yes please USB - it can then double as charger for Nanolockits and/or Tentacle etc..... sb

 

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So i am back on it.  so the majority is for the integrated PSU, so integrated it will be!. I looked in to the usb charging options. and it is not as easy as i hoped. first off i dont want to be responsible for any blown up iphones and what not. since just buying some USB ports does not make them save in terms of maximum output. since my power source can deliver up to 5 or 10 amps if the device does not limit there charge current (they should, but who knows) it will receive the full 5 or 10 amp. (not that the cable is able to) i dont look forward to that scenario. i can limit and protect them with self resetting fuses, but it all depends on how fast they block the current and how fragile the device is. so in short im not eager to use USB, to much  reliability. 

 

so i might just render my operation to bare basics for now.  12 -18 slots only, no usb, and internal PSU. i hope people understand and can live with that :)

 

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Here a small video about my charger. not so much specially made for this forum so ignore the explaining of why the use of np50's etc, i make videos often for things i like to make (loudspeaker related) so it is more for the people that watch my channel. but some of you might be interested to see how it operates... i dont know

 

 

 

 

Greetings Joppe

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thanks well english is not my native language :) as you may have noted haha. have to thinkn a bit longer every now and then

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Well for the ones interested, i still have a few of the units i made when i started all this and as some may know, i cant make it a business at this exact moment. :( (cant hardly think someone would survive on chargers :) ) but if someone is still interested, contact/pm me and we can arrange something. since i would love to minimize loses on materials and time spend. 

Kind regards, Joppe

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