Value of the rapid charger

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I am wondering if it is worth spending the money to purchase a Rapid Charger for me 5.0ah battery?  I can see that when you get up into the 7.5ah that the charge time would be so long with the standard it would take too long to charge two batteries (say for a lawn mower).

Anyone who has the rapid charger, do you find that the features on the unit make it a no brainer to buy?  Does it show you the charge levels of the batteries when you plug them in to start charging? or is that a progress indicator to see how far it is through the charge cycle?
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matt.mackinnon

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Posted 3 years ago

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Blue Angel, Champion

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More of a progress indicator but it still helps to see how much of a charge is in the battery, especially if you don't need a 100% charge to do the job.

As far as value goes, it's definitely a valuable piece of the ecosystem, no doubt, but it's an expensive item on its own. Too bad the 5Ah chainsaw and backpack blower kits don't include it, as the only way to get it in a kit is with a mower or snowblower. :-(
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SCDC, Champion

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Quite honestly, my normal chargers do not get used.  The Rapid charger does have a 4 light indicator that shows the charge state.  Some argue the normal charger is better for your battery, and it probably is, but the difference to the battery over 5 years of maybe 40 charges a year can't be THAT much.  Especially if kept in a cool place indoors.
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David Phillips

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The 7.5 charges around 1C where you want to be for most lipo batteries. The smaller the battery the more you exceed the 1C rate of charge. It would be best to use the charger that came with it.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Ego uses phase-change cell wraps on their 1P (2 and 2.5Ah) and 2P (4 and 5Ah) battery packs. This stabilizes the cell temperatures if they heat up past a certain point during charging or discharging. This combined with their forced-air fan cooled charging system is what allows them to offer industry leading charge times without thermal damage to the cells.

One could still argue that the standard charger puts less stress on the cells, but the impact of fast charging is substantially reduced through their extensive thermal management.
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David Phillips

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The documentation for the quick charger includes charge times for all batteries down to the 2 ah so they are approved and seem to charge at around 3C. The internal resistance on a battery increases over time and at some point it is considered bad. That's generally decided by the device, battery or charger but it could also just not last as long depending on the load requirement of the device. The more internal resistance the lower the voltage will drop under a load.

The thing about this is that we have no information on how this battery will fail normally baring any abnormal failure. It may never reach the point to where charging at 3C makes any difference at all or if it lasts several years it could make a really big difference.

Time will tell. If your in a hurry use the rapid charger, otherwise use the standard charger. There is no harm to slow charge a battery.

I'm okay with buying a battery every three years.
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David HD, Champion

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To your point, here it is.  I think we got this covered!





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matt.mackinnon

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When looking at the cost of a tool vs the cost of the battery you can get into cases where it just costs so little more to re-purchase the kit just for the battery and flog the tool back on craigslist or kijiji.

I personally would prefer not to purchase batteries every 3 years.  When a battery costs $200-500, to amortise that over a 3 year period, i might as well buy gas powered or plug in.  Now over a 8-10 year period it clearly makes sense.

As has been brought up, the batteries have no indicator of that actual battery charge.  I have seen videos where people have run the battery down to the red light, and give them a few hours the light on the front button will be green even though the battery is pretty much depleted.  I don't know if long term storage of a battery is best in a discharged state or fully charged.  I can only assume that the fully charged battery will lose some power over time unused. how that effects the longevity of the battery and the number of re-charge / dis-charge cycles it can take.

My ponderance for a quick charge was the battery level lights from the EGO description, along with having a 5ah battery, if i am going to need to run a top-up charge before using my chainsaw, it might be nice to have a faster charger.  but i don't want to risk the lifespan of the battery.
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Adon N. Garza

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Interesting. Here is the excerpt from my manual.
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David Cline

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I think that is just a list of batteries and chargers, not a divided compatibility table. I can see where it might be confusing in that format, but I think the line break was just to keep the table small.
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To clarify, both EGO & Home Depot web site "stated" that all EGO batteries are compatible with all their power tools and chargers (Standard & Rapid).  See examples below:


1. EGO's web site for 5.0 Ah battery




2. Home Depot's web site for 7.5 Ah battery 



To David Cline's point, the manual was not "clear" in the way the chart was displayed.  Hopefully they will change that in future updates.


(Edited)
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I'm finding the amount of air being moved in both the instance of the normal charger and the instance of the rapid charger very difficult to detect. They do not seem to dissipate the amount of heat that my 80v chargers do. If you're not already, I recommend using a centrifugal fan to suck in air through the battery and out the two side vents of the chargers. 
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Which fan-cooled 80V chargers are you referring to?
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TheAtomTwister

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Kobalt and Greenworks, both of which I have. My neighbor has the EGO rapid charger and I have three normal chargers aside from my two 80V chargers.
(Edited)
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Keep in mind the Ego chargers have two fans, one for the charger's electronics and one for battery cooling. I believe only the charger fan comes on right away, and the battery fan kicks in later as heat starts building in the cells. That's my take on how it works, anyway.

If you look inside one of your standard chargers, you'll see the charger fan is not ducted, it just blows side to side. Given it's low power output it doesn't need all that much cooling, and the fan is a variable speed three wire unit.

The battery fan is ducted, and draws air in through the pack and exhausts out through the side.

It could also be that the Ego charger is more efficient than the others. Any heat generated that's not in the battery pack is essentially waste heat.
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Aye, I think I'm going to disassemble both chargers and take a look. The 80V charger is a 600W charger, I imagine that some of the heat dissipated isn't from the battery, but from the charger itself. I'm about to find out.
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My standard charger is still in the plastic never used. I love the Rapid Charger so much. I can charge one and use the other and when I'm ready to swap batteries or tools it's ready. It makes yard work quick and smooth.
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Matt, I am a "little" different than others in that I used both the Standard & Rapid Chargers regularly.  Since I have two (2) 2.0 Ah batteries and one (1) 5.0 Ah battery, I typically charge my 2.0 Ah on the Standard Charger, while the 5.0 Ah, I use the Rapid Charger.  That being said; I do believe that the Rapid Charger is a good investment to make - for many of the benefits that have already been discussed from above.
(Edited)
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John Cole

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Same here, find the rapid charger is handy when doing a lot of gardening in the midsummer but in general I'm knackered afore the battery-:)
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Adon N. Garza

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According to the manual for my mower, the 5.0 and 7.5 h batteries are supposed to be charged on the rapid charger, while the other batteries are supposed to be charged using the regular charger. With that said, the rapid charger has a progressive indicator that shows how much the battery is charged and what is remaining to be charged.
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David Cline

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The 2.0 and 2.5 Ah batteries don't charge much faster on the rapid charger than the standard charger, but any over 4.0 Ah should see a significant reduction in charge time on the rapid charger. Any battery will charge fine on either charger,
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To DC's point, you can use the Standard Charger for any battery above 2.0 Ah (including the 5.0 / 7.5 Ah).  This was confirmed when I spoke with EGO Customer Service.  Right now, all hand tools get a Standard Charger when you buy the "full kit."

For example, both the new EGO backpack blower and the 16" Chain Saw get a 5.0 Ah battery and a Standard Charger, not the Rapid Charger.  Only the mowers (20" & 21") get the Rapid Charger - this was my question to Jennifer about a month ago.  Thus, EGO would not provide any kit with a 5.0 Ah battery and a Standard Charger, if they feel differently. 
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The new snow blower also comes with the rapid charger.
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You are right Ken, thanks for that heads up. Right now, I can't afford that snow blower so I push that out of my mind ...
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Both charges use the same charging method for the most part (constant current up to ~58 V and then constant voltage until current drops to ~0.5 A). The rapid charger can just deliver more current in the CC phase.

The rapid charger has the potential to degrade battery performance over time more than the standard charger but without long-term tests or knowing if ego has built any smarts into the chargers to help mitigate this, it hard to state that as a fact. 

Overall, the rapid charger doesn't charge the small batteries much faster than the standard charger and isn't really any harder on the individual cells in the larger batteries than either charger is on the cells in the small batteries. 

My general advice would be to not spend any money on the rapid charger but if it came with a tool then don't be afraid to use it, especially if you're on a time crunch.
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RDave, Ego built the "smarts" into the battery packs by wrapping each cell in a Phase-Change material that melts at a specific temperature. By doing this they have mitigated thermal damage due to fast charging (and fast discharging), and thermal damage is what reduces a cell's cycle life.

True, the standard charger is less likely to induce thermal damage in the cells, but the rapid charger isn't likely to do damage either. :-)
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RDave

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I'm aware of the phase-change wrap.

I was more referring to how the chargers deal with a hot battery and if perhaps they take into account charge/discharge cycles for a given battery. As you know, the chargers monitor battery temperature throughout the charging cycle but digital data is also passed between the two and (as far as I know) it's unclear what the purpose of that data is. 

I haven't looked at this in detail, but I believe the chargers reduce current in the CC mode beyond a certain temperature. It's also possible that the chargers reduce current under other conditions but it's hard to know what those conditions are since I haven't seen any long term testing.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Check out this video. It's the most impressive demonstration of the Ego's battery/charger thermal management. Even hot out of the tool after a 10 minute depletion the charge times stay consistent:

https://youtu.be/8jPgrPtGH7o

True, this is the standard charger, but it's also the 2Ah battery and it's charging in about 35 minutes if I remember right... I haven't watched that video in a while, and it's a long one!
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I have so many batteries now I just use the slow chargers. Slow charging will increase battery life so why not if you have the spares?
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David Phillips

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We have tens of thousands of lipo and life batteries at work. Been abusing the lipos for five years and they are still going. The chargers are not balancing, they occasionally run down too low, get too hot and get banged around quite a bit.

I'm not too worried about these cells with the superior battery management involved.

Out of 85,000 batteries I think only about a dozen have caught fire.

When they get low on capacity we recently started taking them apart and balance charging them. Most of them come back up.
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Nice! What type of equipment?
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David Phillips

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Seismic recording devices with 10ah batteries