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Technical and Shipping FAQ
AnswerA balance board is just what it sounds like - a board for balancing. Depending on the type of board, it may have balance connections of just one type, or of many types, but it will only have balance connectors. You may or may not need to use one, depending on what balance ports are built into your charger.
A parallel board is designed for charging and balancing batteries in parallel - commonly up to six at a time on a single board. The board contains both main and balance connectors, and connects to the charge and balance ports of your charger.
There are two likely explanations here: the first thing to check is that you are using the right balance cable to connect the board to your charger. It's easy to confuse it with the cable that came with the included JST-XH & ThunderPower balance board, but the two cables are not interchangeable, and you will see an error.
If you're sure you have the right cable, then it's likely that there has been some damage to your parallel board. Unscrew and remove the casing and inspect both sides of the circuit board - see that shiny copper peeking out? That's a burned trace, caused by mis-aligning a balance connector (either upside down, or one pin off) and shorting out the board. Luckily it's easily fixed: you can use a dab of solder or short length of jumper wire to bridge the gap and you'll be back in business.
As many as you have! While most parallel boards and cables only have six connections, that is just due to the limitations of physical space, not the laws of physics. With enough splitters you could easily hook up as many batteries as you can find - just make sure they're all the same cell count and near the same state of charge!
When you connect in parallel, the batteries are going to equalize in voltage. We want that energy transfer to go through the biggest connection possible, so you should always connect all your main connectors first, and then the balance wires. If you were to hook up the balance connectors first, the current may be too high for those little wires.
It doesn't have to - physics takes care of that for us! When you hook up batteries in parallel, the batteries are going to equalize in voltage. Not just on an overall pack level, but for the individual cells as well. All the cell #1s are going to be the same as one another, all the cell #2s are going to be the same as one another, all the cell #3s, etc - and they will stay equalized as long as they're connected. So the charger just sees one battery, and balances it as normal.
Almost certainly! As long as you have a way to connect a parallel board or parallel cable to your charger, there's no reason why you should have to charge one battery at a time. It doesn't take any more power to charge 100 batteries in parallel than it does to charge 1 - it may just take longer if you can't increase the charge rate accordingly.
Your iCharger comes programmed with a factory default setting of 5000mAh per charge. This setting, called "Capacity Cutoff," is designed as a safety feature for charging other chemistries, and is not meant for use with LiPos. Go into the settings on your charger and change this setting to Off when exclusively charging lithium batteries, and you won't see this problem again.
Absolutely! As long as the batteries are the same cell count, the capacities can be wildly different. Think of it as connected glasses of water, all the same height but with different diameters. They will all fill up at the same rate, even though their capacities are different. Batteries in parallel work the same way.
The PowerLab 6 and PowerLab 8 chargers have two available Node Wiring Modes - FMA and XH/EH. This setting tells the charger what order to expect the cells to show up in through the balance wire. If you have it set to the wrong method, you'll get an error saying Bad Cell Count. For most applications, you'll want to be set to XH/EH mode - the only time you should be using FMA mode is with one of their balance boards or safe parallel adapters.
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