Bosch 14.4V-18V Litheon 30-Minute Battery Charger BC630 Preview
The Bosch 14.4V-18V Litheon 30-minute Battery Charger BC630 is one of the most popular battery chargers among electric vehicles (EV) enthusiasts due to its high efficiency and low cost. The charger is designed for use with the new generation of Lithium Ion batteries which are now available in sizes ranging from 3.7V up to 19V.
The charger is based on the Bosch B6120A2 controller board and uses a Lithium Ion Polymer (LiPo) cell pack. The charger comes with two different types of LiPo cells: NiMH or Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). Each type of cell has its own advantages and disadvantages.
NiMH cells have better energy density than LiPo cells but they require less power to charge because their internal chemical reactions do not produce heat.
Charging time depends on the voltage used and the current drawn during charging. The charger can be charged using either a DC wall plug or a standard AC outlet. The charger supports both 5V and 12V sources so it will work with any vehicle equipped with a standard electrical system.
The charger comes with two types of charge leads. The first is a round connector with an inner diameter of ~2.5mm.
The second is a flat connector with an inner diameter of ~5.5mm. These connectors directly mate with the battery bay used in most electric vehicles. The user can also purchase additional connectors to fit other types of batteries.
The battery bay in most electric vehicles can support two LiPo cells and these are usually wired in “series” (positive to negative) to achieve the desired battery voltage. In this case, each cell forms a 3.7V battery which, when wired in series, produces 7.4V.
A standard AA battery is 1.5V and a standard AAA battery is 1.2V so the two 7.4V LiPo cells are equivalent in energy storage to 4 of these batteries. This allows electric vehicles that use two series-wired LiPo cells to have the same “range” as a gasoline vehicle.
The total cost of the charger is $200 and this includes the two 3.7V LiPo cells and all necessary charge leads. The cells must be purchased from the manufacturer, however, and there is usually a delay of several days before they are delivered.
The charger is very easy to use especially if the user is familiar with Lithium-Ion cells.
Here is a detailed description of the process:
Connect the positive (red) charge lead to the positive (+) connector on the battery and then tighten the setscrew on the connector to secure it in place.
Connect the negative (black) charge lead to the negative (-) connector on the battery and then tighten the setscrew on the connector to secure it in place.
Plug in the DC wall plug into a reliable power source or into your vehicle’s 12V accessory outlet. If using a vehicle’s outlet, also turn ON the vehicle’s ignition switch.
The battery indicator light will flash rapidly until the battery is fully charged and then it will be steady. Unplug the charger once the battery is fully charged. This may be a few hours after the light stops flashing.
The battery must be charged before use. The normal charge time is about 2 hours for a full recharge, although this may take up to 4 hours. Once charged, the battery can be used to power any device that normally uses a AA or AAA battery.
These include: MP3 players, remote controls, flashlights, and many others.
The battery has an expected life of 500 cycles. This means that the user will be able to use it for two and a half years or 30% (1/5) of its total capacity before it must be replaced. The useful life of the battery can be extended by storing it at room temperature and not charging it more than 80% of its capacity.
Repeated, deep discharges will shorten the life of the battery.
The battery has a nominal voltage of 1.2V and this increases to 1.5V when fully charged.
The device being powered must be able to operate on this voltage or higher. Most devices are designed to run on 1.5V batteries so this is not a problem.
This completes the lesson on the 3.7V LiPo battery and the charger. There is a quiz later on in the chapter.
Electric Heating Elements
Electric heating elements are a common power source for soldering irons and other temperature-controlled devices. Most irons use an iron-core element with a nickel coating and controlled by a thermostat to regulate its temperature. The element can also be used to burn off paint or plastic from an object using high heat.
It can take a long time to burn or melt something off an object using low heat, so an everyday lab soldering iron is not recommended for this task.
Most electric heating elements have a standard plug for the electrical cord and a set of screw terminals for attaching it to the device being powered. The exact size of the terminals varies from one model to another. The element itself is often clamped around the wire (or pipe, etc.) that is to be heated.
Here is an example of a typical electric heating element:
In this example, the element itself has clamps that can be opened and closed to attach it to the wires. In some cases, screws are used instead. The plug and cord are then attached to a plug-in power outlet.
The device being powered is attached to the screw terminals at the far end of the element.
There are several types of heating elements, each with its own unique design. Some of the more common designs are described below.
Carbon Rod Electric Heating Element
This element is shaped like a long rod and uses pure carbon rods as the resistors. This makes it very simple and reliable, but very inefficient since much of the energy is turned into heat instead of useful work.
Typical Carbon-Rod Heating Element:
The heating element itself has clamps on each end to attach it to a wire. It can be fastened with screws or clamps to a pipe, as well. The plug at one end is for the electrical cord and the screw terminals are on the other end.
Carbon-Rod Heating Element:
Nickel-Coated Carbon-Rod Heating Element
This element is similar to the one above, but has a thin layer of nickel around each resistor (carbon rod). This improves its efficiency (meaning it converts more of the electricity into heat) and extends its life.
Nickel-Coated Carbon-Rod Heating Element:
Thoriated Tungsten Filaments
This is a tungsten filament that has been “thoriated”, which means it has had a mixture of thorium and other materials fused to the surface. This makes the element more durable and increases its temperature rating. Since it is not a pure tungsten filament, it is also less expensive.
Thoriated Tungsten Filaments:
Ceramic Heating Elements
Ceramic heating elements are usually shaped like long bars or tubes. They are generally very efficient, but much more costly than carbon-element wires.
Ceramic Heating Elements:
These heating elements use a mixture of metals and silicate to create very efficient resistors. Since they are so efficient, the element can get very hot and will often have some type of protective coating or housing. They are also relatively expensive.
Semiconductor Heating Elements:
Calrod Heating Elements
These heating elements are designed to look like old-fashioned gas lights. They contain a mixture of noble and rare-earth metals that allow them to operate with only an AC current. They are fairly expensive, but they have the distinct advantage of not causing an increase in the voltage drop when in use.
This makes them very popular among homeowners.
Calrod Heating Elements:
Some heaters use infrared light to produce heat. These are popular because they can produce immediate warmth, but they don’t really dry the air like a true heater does and so they should not be considered a replacement for a proper heating source.
A radiant heater is very similar to an infrared heating panel. The difference is in the size and power of the unit. A radiant heater can be as large as an ordinary room and would be installed in the ceiling (or wall) of a room.
Radiant heaters are usually used in industrial situations where maintaining a constant temperature is critical (such as with large freezers or greenhouses).
A radiant heater works by reflecting and directing the heat from the heater element into a “radiator.” These elements are made from sheets of metal that have been folded and then copper-plated. Heat is transferred through direct contact, along with effects from conduction and radiation.
The larger the surface area of the radiator, the more heat that can be transferred to the surrounding area. This type of heater has the added advantage of producing no UV light.
Radiant Heater Elements:
On/Off Timer: This is a timer that can be set to control any electrical device in your greenhouse. It can turn devices on and off at specific times. It has a dial that allows you to set the time, from 1-24 hours.
You can also plug the timer into a device that will be turned on by the timer. This is useful if you want to have a light, heater or any other device come on for a specific time period.
Sensors For Lighting
Light-sensitive resistors: A light sensitive resistor will decrease in resistance as the amount of light that strikes it increases. To use the sensor, it must be connected to one leg of a DC circuit.
Light Dependent Resistors (LDRs): An LDR has very high resistance in darkness and very low resistance in bright light.
Solenoids and relays
A solenoid is an electromagnet. When electricity goes through an electromagnet, it creates a powerful magnetic field. To turn off the solenoid, you turn off the electricity to the solenoid.
Usually, the ends of a solenoid have small metal tips that are “rails.” When the power is on, a metal pin will be forced against these rails. When the power is off, the magnetic field of the solenoid disappears and so does the force on the metal pin.
Without the force of the magnetic field, the pin falls away from the rails and no longer pushes whatever is connected to the solenoid.
A relay is very similar to a solenoid. A relay contains an electromagnet, like a solenoid, but it also contains a switch (called a relay coil). When the relay is “normally open,” the current can flow through the coil.
When the power is shut off, the current can no longer flow through the coil, so it looses its magnetism and whatever is connected to the coil also loses its force. Thus, whatever device that was being pushed away by the solenoid rail is now pushed back toward the solenoid.
Make a Simple Solenoid Valve:
Solenoid valves are found in many hair salons. A simple solenoid valve can be made by attaching an aquarium pump to a rigid plastic tube with a small coin elbow joint and a funnel at the other end. (The kind of funnel that has several funnels attached to a disk, which in turn is attached to the small hole in the disk at the base of the funnel.)
To one end of the rigid tube is attached a rubber band. This band is wrapped around the base of the funnel. When the electromagnet is energized, it pulls the band, causing the disk to rotate.
The band pushes in on one side of the disk more than the other side, which causes the coin elbow to turn and direct water through the funnel.
When the electromagnet is de-energized, the solenoid releases its power over the rubber band and the disk returns to its normal position. This cuts off the flow of water. (A small magnet can be glued to the inside of the disk so that it will be pulled by the electromagnet.)
Using this device, you can turn water on and off with a click of a button. Or, you can attach a timer to it so that it will turn itself on and off at specific times.
Make an On/Off Solenoid Valve:
Use the simple solenoid valve you made in the first activity. Attach a short rigid tube to the elbow joint (the kind that comes with a paper cup). At the other end of this new tube, drill a small hole.
Take one of the numbers out of your dice. This will be the stopper for the small hole. Glue this stopper into the rigid tube.
The number should be face down so that water can’t get in, but a stream of water can get through.
Connect an irrigation fitting to the rigid tube, and then connect rubber tubing to it. Run the rubber tubing to a plant.
When you push the stopper into the rigid tube, water will flow through it and into the plant. When you release the stopper, water will stop flowing into the plant.
The solenoid is acting as a simple on/off valve for water. You can replace the rubber tubing with any rigid tube that will connect the irrigation fitting to a spigot. You could even remove the rigid tube entirely and just hold the stopper in place as you water your plants.
This would allow you to water multiple plants without needing to crawl around on the ground next to each one.
Solenoid Vs & Wires:
Basically, the more voltage that is used, the farther away the current will go. The more current, the heavier the wire will need to be. For most uses 12 volts with 18 gauge wire is the smallest wire that should be used.
Lighting a Large Room:
It will take about 25 watts of power for each 5 feet of light. You will need to use multiple lights (say two or three) to brighten a large room. For a 10’W x 15’L x 8’H room, therefore, you’ll need about 750 watts in lighting alone (with the ability to add more later).
You can use flood lights or more efficient lights if you have the budget.
You will also need the ability to run wiring throughout the room and a junction box or power switch near a wall. The price of 12-2 NM cable, outlet boxes, and lighting fixtures will add at least $200 to the cost and occupy at least one corner of the room.
You could also put lights on chains and hang them from the ceiling. The chains and lighting will be relatively inexpensive and use less power (and heat) but will be harder to install. They will also be out of reach for people under 5′ tall.
Lighting a Small Room:
It will take about 6 watts of power for each 3 square feet of light. You can use regular incandescent bulbs or cheaper, but hotter, florescent lights.
The heat from the lights will be an issue in a small enclosed room. You can use an air conditioner or just make sure to keep the windows open in the room.
Wiring a Bathroom:
You need to run at least 12-guage NM (Non Metallic) cable through the studs in the walls and then down into the floor and up through the floor and into the breaker box. NM cable is hard-wired directly into the walls and is not meant to be removed from the house.
You will also need to run wiring through the floor/ceiling joists to each outlet. While NM cable can be used in the joists, it is easier to use Romex (normal household wiring). You will need to know what is on each circuit in order to not overload it.
NM cable and Romex are sized in Amp-Frequenies (Amps x Length), so keep that in mind when wiring.
You can either hire an electrician or learn to do it yourself. I would get an electrician unless you have a solid understanding of how electricity works and how to properly wire a house.
Starting a Sprinkler Service:
Call your local community college to see if they offer classes in irrigation. You can also ask other, more established, sprinkler services about hiring them to teach you how to lay pipes, set sprinklers, and hook everything up properly.
You will spend around $500 on a truck, equipment, and materials (pipes, nozzles, fittings, cams for the controller).
Sprinkler System Costs:
You can easily spend over $1,000 per acre just to lay the pipes. Then you have to buy the controller and the pipes and nozzles, fittings, etc. Then you have to buy the gas (usually around $1,000) to run it for a full season.
The profit isn’t in the installation; it’s in the maintenance and service. Most people don’t think about their sprinklers until they break.
Sprinkler systems also require that you dig up the lawn to lay the pipes and then put the sod back in when you’re done. This isn’t a problem in the middle of the summer, but it can kill the grass if you do it in the spring.
You will need contracts with lots of businesses if you want to keep your business going. Large businesses have big budgets for stuff like this and can sometimes pay a lot more than the average homeowner.
Most fertilizer is only good for a month or two, so you need to get that money while the getting is good. Large companies will want a contract (and they might offer a better deal) if you want to provide ongoing service to them.
You will need at least one truck to haul the bags of fertilizer around.
You can also open up a store where people can come buy their lawn care supplies.
You can charge between $15 and $50 per application, depending on how big the yard is. Mowing is sometimes included.
The lawn care game can be a lot of work for not a lot of reward if you’re not smart about it. It really just comes down to how hard you want to work.
You can start small with a simple service like mowing and then expand from there. You can also expand into other services like tree removal, concrete work, and so on.
Getting a License
There are a lot of legal hoops to jump through to get your business up and running. You’ll need to apply for a business license and register your vehicles to operate as a business.
You’ll also need personal insurance for yourself and possibly even worker’s compensation for your employees (or yourself if you have employees) depending on the state you live in. This can cost hundreds of dollars every year.
Se Habla Español!
When you’re getting into a business like this, you might as well take advantage of the fact that there’s a large part of the population that doesn’t speak English, or speak it very well. It’s very possible that there is a large segment of the population that would be glad for the opportunity to hire someone that they can communicate with and who is able to help them in their time of need. This means having at least some knowledge of their language.
Now of course not everyone is going to speak Spanish and not everyone is going to be looking to hire a handyman, but if you market yourself in the right places you might be surprised by the results.
This means that you’re going to have to brush up on your Spanish, or brush off whatever it is you’ve forgotten since high school.
Once you’ve got the language down, you’ll also need to be able to communicate with your potential clients and tell what parts of the house are in good condition and which ones may need attention.
Finally, by targeting a specific demographic you can really hone in on their specific needs and how you can best address them.
It might take time to get a good grasp on the language, especially if it’s been awhile since you’ve used it. You can take classes at your local community college or from a private tutor.
It’s not just the Spanish language that you’ll have to brush up on though, you might need to refresh your knowledge of house construction if it’s been awhile. You can always get a general idea from books, though nothing can replace having a good mentor that can show you the ropes.
If you’re going to be working on people’s houses, you’ll want to keep a good set of tools on your truck at all times. You don’t want to have to make a second trip because you realized you left the pipe cutter at home.
No, this isn’t a tip to help you look like a real professional. It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t do this on a regular basis.
Wearing gloves is important for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s going to keep your hands from getting dirty or greasy. People are more likely to hire you if you don’t get dirt under their customer’s kitchen cabinets.
The other reason is more important. As a general rule, you’re going to want to protect yourself from bodily fluids. Bloodborne pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis can be transferred through blood and bodily fluids, which is why it’s important to wear gloves when working around them.
It isn’t just in medical fields that you have to worry about this, but anyone handling blood or infected wounds of any kind should wear gloves to protect themselves from potential infection.
The best part about wearing gloves is that it gives you an excuse to not have to touch anything. You can claim in a court of law that you wore gloves out of safety precautions and therefore shouldn’t be held accountable if you happen to break something, or worse, drop a knife and cut someone.
Did we say court of law?
We meant of course the fact that your Mom can ground you for your entire life.
So to wrap this all up, you need to brush up on your Spanish, as well as refresh your knowledge of basic construction and tool safety. Finally you’re going to need to stock your truck with the right safety gear and tools for the jobs you intend to take.
Also, we would recommend that you take a trip down to the blood testing center and make sure there isn’t anything going on that might be a little more serious than you realize. If you are a carrier of anything, it’s best to know now so that you can start taking the appropriate steps.
Sources & references used in this article: