Sharing a tip - Charging batteries while away

I have a relative that escapes our cold Canadian winters to enjoy the Florida sun.

While away, he is not using his e-Bike and motorcycle helmets, both have batteries. He read that they should be charged once a month…

Since he has a Hubitat hub, he added a power bar to a Zigbee plug. We created a Rule Machine rule that will turn on the plug every month on the first day of the month then turn it off on a 6-hour delay. His batteries are plugged on the power bar and get their fill every month, keeping the batteries in good shape.

One nice thing is that even if he decides to disable his internet while away, the charging continues!

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Good tip!

I do something similar with a Zooz Zen20 powerstrip for my power tool batteries. Hubitat powers the strip up a few times a day to let the chargers check and top up the batteries if necessary.

I probably should do something similar with all my USB power packs! Then they are always ready for the odd power outage!

S.

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I recommend monitoring the battery temperature during charging. Unmonitored charging batteries can overheat and cause a fire.

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You don't even have to go away to do this. I had to Jumpstart my weekend car the other day because it sat in the garage too long. :frowning: I really should automated that somehow.

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Having once escaped a large truck's lead-acid battery explosion, I consider every battery charging to be a fire hazard. Particularly li-on, which burns white-hot. I try to keep my 18v tool chargers located on metal or concrete with large air gaps around & above them. Bigger packs like e-bikes and scooters shouldn't be charged in or connected to living spaces.

https://www.google.com/search?q=scooter+battery+fire

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Thanks @tom.guelker and @rcjordan! I wonder what would cause a battery to overheat like that - damaged cell?

As I understand it, li-ons can develop filament-like abnormalities within a cell. This can happen without physical damage. This causes thermal runaway.

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Watch this one, it's actually less violent than others I've seen.

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I use noco chargers for my "wheelchair" batteries that I use in my remote control lawnmower. I have had 2 Duracell ones I got from batteries plus go thermal runaway. The chargers cut off the power but those things got so hot I put them out in the middle of the driveway after they went nutty. I didn't want to risk burning the house down. If you are charging without being there you might want some other sensors or way to take action if they go nutty. The chargers usually have safeguards but things can still go wrong. In my case after the batteries cooled they were shot but no fires. The charger cut the charge off before it went super out of control but it happened 2 times with 2 chargers and 2 of those Duracell batteries.

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Using Hubitat to control the battery charger is a great idea. It is still a good idea to use a trickle charger as the charging mechanism. The low amp output of a trickle charger should minimize potential overheating issues. It is the quick chargers (high amperage) that are most likely to cause fires.

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I have a road bike (pedal kind not motor) it has a number of items that need to be charged every few rides (front and rear cameras, 2 light, bike computer, and the shifting system ever so often) this results in a multiport USB charger with huge brick and two smaller specialty chargers. I have a routine that I start when I plug the bike up and it turns on the outlet and it turns back off 8 hours later.
There is a large amount power lost to all these USB charges we have plugged in with no devices connected. I will likely never recover the cost of the Outlet ($10 or so) but I know all that stuff is not powered 24x7 when I only need to charge once a week for 6-8 hours (about every 3 to 4 bike rides)

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