Buying the best grid charger - GreenHybrid - Hybrid Cars


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Old 05-04-2015, 09:26 AM
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Question Buying the best grid charger

Please see my thread below " '05 IMA problem" for full background on my problem.

Now I've decided to buy a grid charger for my '05 Civic Hybrid.

I've narrowed it down to either a Hybrid Automotive or a MAXX VOLTS.
They both appear to have many features in common, but I'm not sure exactly which features are best. I don't want to go cutting into wiring, or have to send anything back to the mfr.

A warranty and history of good feedback is a plus.

From experience, can anyone weigh in and tell me which one is best?
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Old 05-04-2015, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: Buying the best grid charger

Hybrid Automotive is very active in the Insight/IMA community. Their design is derived from the original design created by Mike Dabrowksi and his grid charger. IIRC, you do have to remove the fan harness and return it to them.

MAXX volts makes a point of saying you don't have to send anything back - but you might be making permanent changes to the fan harness. I just don't know.

There are many satisfied customers on Insight Central using Hybrid Automotive's chargers, and he's fully engaged in the community. But then I bet you could have guessed I'd say the same thing I said in your original thread...

I would buy the discharge ready version as I indicated. Build your own discharger or buy one from HA as the deep discharge method greatly improves results. I don't know that MAXX says anything about discharging.

Good luck!

Steve
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: Buying the best grid charger

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Originally Posted by S Keith View Post
I would buy the discharge ready version as I indicated. Build your own discharger or buy one from HA as the deep discharge method greatly improves results.
I'm also interested in purchasing a Hybrid Automotive grid charger with the discharge ready option. Do you have any info on building the discharger? On the HA website, it appears to be a multimeter, light socket, wire harness, and block of wood. I've already got a multimeter, light socket, and block of wood, but I don't see the wire harness sold separately. The way I understand the website, it sounds like the discharge ready option will only be used once they come out with their advanced discharger, as the grid charger is disconnected during the discharge cycle... is that correct?
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Old 05-06-2015, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: Buying the best grid charger

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Originally Posted by dja1980 View Post
I'm also interested in purchasing a Hybrid Automotive grid charger with the discharge ready option. Do you have any info on building the discharger? On the HA website, it appears to be a multimeter, light socket, wire harness, and block of wood. I've already got a multimeter, light socket, and block of wood, but I don't see the wire harness sold separately. The way I understand the website, it sounds like the discharge ready option will only be used once they come out with their advanced discharger, as the grid charger is disconnected during the discharge cycle... is that correct?
If you contact them, they will sell you a harness bit for a reasonable price.

Steve
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: Buying the best grid charger

Perfect... thank you!
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: Buying the best grid charger

The Maxx Volts IMA Grid Charging System is hands down the best quality, features, fitment and install out there. All of their systems come complete with docking port and latched dust cap for OEM fit and finish. No dangling high voltage wiring in your trunk and you don't have to operate it with the trunk open like others.

Their system also comes with a 24hr AM/PM charging scheduler with auto-off feature complete with internal rechargeable NiMH battery that remembers the settings and so that you do not overcharge and damage your battery.

It costs a few dollars less than others, you get way more features, better quality fit, finish and quality components, free shipping, docking port, scheduler, etc, etc. It's really a no brainer. I own two chargers and their discharger also as I have a fleet of Honda Hybrids which I have installed docking port harnesses on all of them.

Their systems and pics are on their site at www.maxx-volts.com
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Old 06-20-2015, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Buying the best grid charger

* sigh *

Maxx, you are such a fanboi. Unsubstantiated and incorrect claims. First, price:

Maxx-Volts HCH1 with WiFi upgrade: $585 ($445 for base charger)
Hybrid Automotive HCH1 with WiFi upgrade after core refund: $462 ($405 for base charger)

"no dangling high voltage wiring in your trunk" - no, instead it has the male connector in the passenger compartment with only a screw on cap protecting a nosy kid from 144+VDC. The "dangling high voltage wiring" in the trunk is the female connector, and it would take aggressive effort with pointy objects to contact a pack lead.

If the "trunk unit" needs to be operated with the trunk open, then the Maxx-Volts unit needs to be operated with the windows down. Neither condition is true.

Claims of superior quality are unsubstantiated. The Mean-wells in the HA unit are known quality components. The contents of the Maxx-Volts are unknown. Should a HA component fail after years of use, one could easily drop in a replacement component for no more than $15-20. How much to service the Maxx? Unknown.

Here's your last paragraph corrected for this reality:

It costs a over $100 dollars more than others, you get the same features, same quality fit, finish and quality components, $15.25 shipping (vs. $3.00 for HA), docking port, scheduler, etc, etc.

I'm sure the Maxx-Volts unit is a quality piece of hardware; however, it comes with a LOT of unsubstantiated hype compared to the HA unit.

Have an excruciatingly pleasant day.

Steve
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Buying the best grid charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by S Keith View Post
* sigh *
Maxx, you are such a fanboi. Unsubstantiated and incorrect claims. First, price:
Maxx-Volts HCH1 with WiFi upgrade: $585 ($445 for base charger)
Hybrid Automotive HCH1 with WiFi upgrade after core refund: $462 ($405 for base charger)
Huh? The Maxx-Volts.com Standard upgraded unit is $415 shipped from eBay right now. There is no $80.00 core charge like the other one. There is no postage cost to mail back parts to California and no waiting for a refund of the $80.00 core refund fee other company tacks on at checkout.

That other one you mentioned is $419 + 16.00 shipping + $80.00 core charge $520.00 + shipping back a wiring harness to CA at buyer expense according to ebay.

Maxx-Volts.com Standard IMA Charging System with Scheduler and docking port $415 shipped with nothing to mail back and no core charge of $80.00:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2003-2005-Honda-Civic-Hybrid-Advanced-IMA-Battery-Grid-Charger-PASS-INSPECTION-/351168445134?hash=item51c3453ace&vxp=mtr
Quote:
"no dangling high voltage wiring in your trunk" - no, instead it has the male connector in the passenger compartment with only a screw on cap protecting a nosy kid from 144+VDC. The "dangling high voltage wiring" in the trunk is the female connector, and it would take aggressive effort with pointy objects to contact a pack lead.
Actually you are wrong again. The Maxx-Volts Charger has reverse voltage protection that prevents high voltage from being live at the charging port. I have stuck my own finger in there to test it out and felt nothing but pins, no electricity. Tested with voltmeter, nothing again, zero volts on the meter.

Quote:
If the "trunk unit" needs to be operated with the trunk open, then the Maxx-Volts unit needs to be operated with the windows down. Neither condition is true.
The intake for the IMA battery comes from the interior of the car and exhaust blows the hot air into the trunk which is why Mike Dabrowski's own original design instructions indicate that the trunk should be open while using the GenesisOne Charger in the trunk. Mike's GenesisOne charger was too big to operate in the rear deck of the Civic or else I am sure he would've tried to use it there.

Quote:
Claims of superior quality are unsubstantiated. The Mean-wells in the HA unit are known quality components. The contents of the Maxx-Volts are unknown. Should a HA component fail after years of use, one could easily drop in a replacement component for no more than $15-20. How much to service the Maxx? Unknown.
They are clearly superior on the Maxx-Volts system. This is why I bought them in the first place. 600v 18ga copper stranded industrial thermoplastic/rubber jacketed wiring vs pet sleeving and inferior computer wiring. Charge schedule timer comes standard with internal NiMH high voltage charge timer with aftercooler that continues to cool the IMA battery even after charging is completed. High visibility LED silent fan with long life bearing to clearly see when charger is connected. On/Off high voltage toggle switch ( the other one doesn't even have an ON/OFF switch!) The differences are endless and for a better price and free shipping its pretty clear why they are the top selling system.

Quote:
Here's your last paragraph corrected for this reality:
It costs a over $100 dollars more than others, you get the same features, same quality fit, finish and quality components, $15.25 shipping (vs. $3.00 for HA), docking port, scheduler, etc, etc.
Reality? The reality is your math is flawed. $415 shipped out the door vs. $520+shipping back stock wiring from your car. Once you get the refund from that other charger company, you are still out of pocket about $450 once you paid to ship back your stock wiring harness which is NOT required on the Maxx-Volts system.

$415 out the door, said and done. vs $450 after hassle of mailing wires to California and waiting for an $80.00 core charge refund. NO THANKS!

Its clearly an easy decision, at least it was for me.

Quote:
I'm sure the Maxx-Volts unit is a quality piece of hardware; however, it comes with a LOT of unsubstantiated hype
It absolutely is. If you take the time to check out the above link ad or their website its clear to see all aspects of their system exceed the specs of the HA system from wiring gauge to crimps, heatshrink, soldered connections, connectors, wire jacketing, cabling, 9pin ports, power supplies. I have made my own crap charger in the past and had a meanwell supply fail. Mailed it back to Powergate, LLC and they DENIED the warranty! Meanwell Power Supplies DO NOT WARRANTY their power supplies for use in automotive applications. I found this out first hand so I am very happy to know that the supplies used in the IMA chargers I bought from Maxx Volts were not those Chinese Meanwell supplies.

Last edited by MaximumFuelage; 06-20-2015 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: Buying the best grid charger

Silly me. I was using the pricing on their respective websites. My math was 100% spot on, but we were using different sources. I'll concede the point. The net out of pocket for the maxx unit is $419 vs. about $438 for the HA unit, both from eBay (that tiny wiring harness costs less than $3 to ship back in a bubble envelope).

Good to hear about the port protection.

Core-charge-shmore-charge. Not a big selling point to me, but it may matter to some.

I think the warranty issue is a matter of communication. This was not for an automotive application, unless you're driving around with the grid charger installed and operational. The power supplies were part of a custom built NiMH battery charger.

Whatever the case, both organizations warranty their products for 2 years, though maxx's wording seems restrictive, "power supplies carry 2 yr warranty"... what about the rest of the unit?

I've built a few myself. I have less than $200 invested in 3 of them, and if any component fails, I know I can repair it for less than $20. I know the same of the HA unit. I have no idea what it would take to repair the Maxx system if it's out of warranty. THAT has value to me.

And I have to be honest. Maxx's ebay ad and website make some comments that give me concern, particularly about a "warmed-up" pack and use as a daily maintenance charger.

Deliberate "warming" of the battery shortens life. Period. The benefits are short term, and each full charge to 100% cuts a little life off whatever capacity remains. Mileage in extreme cold climates is going to be crap anyway, the benefits of "warming" the pack are negligible compared to the damage of routine (daily) "soak" charging. NiMH HATE frequent overcharging. It's a major contributor to voltage depression and reduced capacity. The only sensible recommendation for how often one needs to grid charge is "as infrequently as possible to maintain an acceptable level of performance."

Again, I'm sure the Maxx charger is a quality piece of hardware. The website and ebay ads are just oozing with hype, and as I mention above, what I consider to be unsound advice/practices.

HA's advice is more representative of current "best practices" for those wishing to maximize the life of their battery.

Honestly, it's that final comparison between the two that steers me away from Maxx-Volts' products more than anything else.

Steve
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: Buying the best grid charger

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Originally Posted by S Keith View Post
Silly me. I was using the pricing on their respective websites. My math was 100% spot on, but we were using different sources. I'll concede the point. The net out of pocket for the maxx unit is $419 vs. about $438 for the HA unit, both from eBay (that tiny wiring harness costs less than $3 to ship back in a bubble envelope).
Actually your math is still wrong despite the link posted above and the price clearly indicated. The Maxx Volts upgraded charger is $415.00 shipped on ebay vs. (according to you $441 shipped and refunded core chg)

Savings of -$26.00 and having an upgraded system from Maxx Volts.

I think you are confused by the fact that the other charger is listed at $419 but then they add $16.00 shipping, $80.00 core charge and then you have to pay to ship back a wire harness. $419 is mentioned no where from MV.

Quote:
Good to hear about the port protection.

Core-charge-shmore-charge. Not a big selling point to me, but it may matter to some.
To be honest, I don't think anything is a selling point for you. In fact I would bet money that you are not even in the market for a grid charger. I have seen you over at insight central and based on your posting history on Meanwell supplies, Reaktor and IMAX chargers I don't really believe your actually in the market for a charger at all as you clearly have shown how you choose to work with IMA batteries. So this thread of yours I find silly.

Quote:
I think the warranty issue is a matter of communication. This was not for an automotive application, unless you're driving around with the grid charger installed and operational. The power supplies were part of a custom built NiMH battery charger.
Matters not, they wouldn't cover that either.

Quote:
Whatever the case, both organizations warranty their products for 2 years, though maxx's wording seems restrictive, "power supplies carry 2 yr warranty"... what about the rest of the unit?
The Maxx Volts Chargers I own cover mfr defects as as well as power supply warranties. Those are really the parts that make the thing work so I am glad I am covered.
Quote:
I've built a few myself. I have less than $200 invested in 3 of them, and if any component fails, I know I can repair it for less than $20. I know the same of the HA unit. I have no idea what it would take to repair the Maxx system if it's out of warranty. THAT has value to me.
If you are truly interested in finding out specific questions then you should contact them and report back to the thread.

Quote:
And I have to be honest. Maxx's ebay ad and website make some comments that give me concern, particularly about a "warmed-up" pack and use as a daily maintenance charger.
Wasn't it Peter Perkins (Retepsnikrep on IC) himself that came up with the idea to use PTC strips to deliberately heat up a pack to bring it up to operating temperature and increase MPG? From what I gather he is one of the most respected and knowledgeable members on Insightcentral and is recognized for his SolarVan in the UK. If Maxx Volts concurs with his Peter Perkins mindset, then I am very happy to trust in both of those companies.

Quote:
Deliberate "warming" of the battery shortens life. Period. The benefits are short term, and each full charge to 100% cuts a little life off whatever capacity remains. Mileage in extreme cold climates is going to be crap anyway, the benefits of "warming" the pack are negligible compared to the damage of routine (daily) "soak" charging. NiMH HATE frequent overcharging. It's a major contributor to voltage depression and reduced capacity. The only sensible recommendation for how often one needs to grid charge is "as infrequently as possible to maintain an acceptable level of performance."
Every time you park your car in Arizona, where you claim to reside in your profile, you are deliberately warming your pack. Mileage in cold weather is going to be crap? Um, not if your pack is at operating temperature.

Frequent overcharging? Who said anything about that? You can avoid overcharging the pack with the Maxx Volts System as it has a user adjustable auto shut off programmer. I know that seems foreign when looking at the basic HA unit that costs more and doesn't even have an ON/OFF switch. You can technically leave the IMA battery with the Maxx Volts System and not worry about killing your battery on the charger like the other unit.

Quote:
Again, I'm sure the Maxx charger is a quality piece of hardware. The website and ebay ads are just oozing with hype, and as I mention above, what I consider to be unsound advice/practices.

HA's advice is more representative of current "best practices" for those wishing to maximize the life of their battery.
Well I can tell you that I don't know anything about you. Never heard of you, however I do know Mike Dabrowski and Peter Perkins. Both engineering minds offering sound advice and endless testing. I find that the Maxx Volts Systems design and use agrees with everything I have read on the subject from these two renowned experts in the field of NIMH battery service and reconditioning.
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