Speleo technics charger or outputs please?

jimbofreer

New member
Hi All, I'm after buying a speleo technics mains charger if possible for a Headlite lamp. If not, as I can't even test the output of the charger nor a reliable battery voltage yet can anyone tell me what the charger is outputting (voltage and if poss amps whilst on charge) and the voltage of the battery pack (which I assume is 3.7v). I'd be super grateful. I think to repair the charger I will have to re-wind the transformer as it's dead in the water it seems!!, or I can try to find a charger that is equivalent and retro fit the plug, cheers, Jim
 

Fjell

Member
I would be amazed if your nicads are still working well after 20 odd years. Am I right in assuming it is 3x1.2V = 3.6V? The best advice would be it is time to move on to Li-ion batteries.

On the other hand you have the basis of a decent LED conversion with Li-ion battery pack which would be a dramatic upgrade on the original. Custom Duo make an insert for the headset, battery packs can be had, and they also make various USB chargers. I imagine if you contact them they could give you good advice. If you don’t want the upgrade it is likely that a 3.7V Li-ion pack alone can be used with the right charger. You might have to fiddle around getting either 18650 or 18500 batteries to fit in various ways. Various packs with the necessary safety control circuit built in are available.
 

Fjell

Member
I would be amazed if your nicads are still working well after 20 odd years. Am I right in assuming it is 3x1.2V = 3.6V? The best advice would be it is time to move on to Li-ion batteries.

On the other hand you have the basis of a decent LED conversion with Li-ion battery pack which would be a dramatic upgrade on the original. Custom Duo make an insert for the headset, battery packs can be had, and they also make various USB chargers. I imagine if you contact them they could give you good advice. If you don’t want the upgrade it is likely that a 3.7V Li-ion pack alone can be used with the right charger. You might have to fiddle around getting either 18650 or 18500 batteries to fit in various ways. Various packs with the necessary safety control circuit built in are available.
They are probably NiMH thinking about it, but same answer really.
 

jimbofreer

New member
They are NiMh as they are the MkII but I still need to test them... I bought a hobby multi-charger for all types of battery so when that arrives tomorrow I can try them out.... I also bought a 4.5v LED Petzl head torch replacement for the halogen, so we'll sort that out first. I then assume I can upgrade the 7 low light LED's with better spec ones but I find it difficult to get full specs for different 5mm solderable LED's or know how they compare to whatever Speleo Technics put in originally.... (and I know custom duo do a pit lamp upgrade, but sometimes it's fun investigating yourself!)
So far I have not seen a thread which says how many 18650 batteries or otherwise can be potted into the Speleo Technics battery box, but I am sure I can work something out eventually, that's a longer game, I just wanted to check out the batteries for now.. Anyhow thanks for replying...

I have a Petzl Duo 2018 or before, so for that I did just buy the new customduo LED board, that should be nice!
 

jimbofreer

New member
I would be amazed if your nicads are still working well after 20 odd years. Am I right in assuming it is 3x1.2V = 3.6V? The best advice would be it is time to move on to Li-ion batteries.

On the other hand you have the basis of a decent LED conversion with Li-ion battery pack which would be a dramatic upgrade on the original. Custom Duo make an insert for the headset, battery packs can be had, and they also make various USB chargers. I imagine if you contact them they could give you good advice. If you don’t want the upgrade it is likely that a 3.7V Li-ion pack alone can be used with the right charger. You might have to fiddle around getting either 18650 or 18500 batteries to fit in various ways. Various packs with the necessary safety control circuit built in are available.
Just for interest Fjell, my mate has the same light as my wife's, he's just charged it up for the first time in ages (think years!) and apparently it's been going with the light glowing brightly for 8.5 hours so far and no sign of stopping yet ;-) - so great!
 

Frog2

Member
I have a Speleo Technics Mains Charger -says it is suitable for LX1 or Headlite MK 11 - Green plug.
Also 3 Headlite batteries (green plug) but think they have to be 25 years old. As would be the charger.

If interested let me know? Bit heavy to post so might need collecting.
 

jimbofreer

New member
Dear Frog2, thanks so much for your reply, sorry for the silence I have been away on a family event.
Things have taken a more extreme turn, I bought a balanced 'charge anything' charger from Amazon, that proved the NiCad's were totalled (and yes they were NiCad's Fjell so you were right, so my mates must be newer and have the NiMh and still work well for him). So at that stage a charger was not going to do me any benefit

Anyhow from that I decided to seriously boost the battery power so I have managed to fit 3 * 18650 3500mAh batteries into the Speleo Technics case giving 10,500mAh at 3.7v which is amazing and lighter that the NiCad's they replaced! I then bought a Petzl head torch Cree LED bulb replacement for £10 and the light will run on that at 120 lumens now for 37 hours!, not sure how long for the 7 * 5mm Speleo Technics LED's will as I don't know their specification. I plan to buy some super bright latest 5mm LED's just to see how that works now I have this much higher battery power...

I'm also now trying to fit 3 * 18650 Li-Ions into a very old hard shell Petzl zoom case to gain the same power for my Petzl Duo. For that light I have already bought the fancy Custom Duo Cree replacement (which was great on its first trip). I probably could fit them into my Duo original case but I am reluctant to gut a perfectly nice case and like the flexibility of being able to fit AA rechargeable Lithiums in there...

Anyhow if anyone is interested in what I bought to make these battery packs I can happily list the items and approach (I haven't done a load of fancy photos though)
 

jimbofreer

New member
ps Oh just a thought, if anyone has lying around some old Speleo Technics battery cases they don't want I would happily buy 1-2 of them now I have my approach nailed as they are really a better case than the Petzl zoom case! ;-))
 

jimbofreer

New member
I have a Speleo Technics Mains Charger -says it is suitable for LX1 or Headlite MK 11 - Green plug.
Also 3 Headlite batteries (green plug) but think they have to be 25 years old. As would be the charger.

If interested let me know? Bit heavy to post so might need collecting.
Hi Frog2, if you have the old Speleo Technics cases if they are no good to you I'd happily buy them!
 

jimbofreer

New member
Here is the initial approach doc, and questions just let me know:

First there are some important points:
1) Li-Ion cells are potentially explosive if heated too much (and this increases if you incorrectly fully charged them), so you do need some decent kit to do the soldering quickly. I include a good video below on soldering cells.
2) I was and are still OK with electronics as I did a 4 year apprenticeship back a long time ago when I left school and although you don't need to be an expert at all some of those techniques can be useful!
Finally I hope none of my comments are deemed to be patronising, they are meant to be helpful and I have never written anything like this before!

Shopping list and useful video at the end of this post:
So here goes:
Battery case prep:
1) You have to prize apart your beloved Speleo Technics battery case, this is needing some good effort as the batteries are partly potted in. So a) there is a danger of stabbing yourself with your screwdriver and b) you don't want charged batteries in case you stab through them (unlikely but...). My batteries were completely dead.
2) I found working with a strong but not too large screwdriver was best. I started in the middle of a long side of the case, stabbed in and worked on the overlapping part of the case top and bottom. Once I got all the way round the corners then its stage two, where you prize further down with your screwdriver so you are prising the bottom of the outside overlap against the edge of the inner one and hoping for the best. It will depend on how much potting has been added to how much fun this is. Amazingly it seems you can put some good sustained force into this and the case bends a bit but always bounces back (at least two of mine did).
3) Then eventually the lid gives and the case opens. Then you need to work more around the batteries that are sticking out to extract those and declare 'battery extraction success.
4) Desolder the cables to the batteries.
5) I then used a dremmel, very carefully, with a milling point to do two things - 1) Completely clean the case insides and the overlapping parts of the case of all potting compound ready for reseal and b) Carefully mill some of the potting that the wires are coming through (green in my case). This is needed because the batteries (3) only just fit. I halved the amount of depth of this green sealant, and I only did one side that was furthest away from where the battery wires came through as only one side of the case needs the extra clearance
6) Finally I trimmed the wires back a bit and added extra length of +ve and -ve cable by soldering and used heat shrink to cover these inline solder connections
Thats pretty much the case ready to go!

Battery prep:
I am using 18650 cells, they are called this because they are normally 65mm long and 18mm diameter! (see shopping list). They will come about 50-60% charged so I deemed those OK to solder, if not you can use an intelligent charging system to discharge them correctly if you prefer. I also bought flat top batteries, not button top batteries, I think though either will fit but flat top are the usual ones you solder
1) I measured both the depth (if looking at the battery box on your helmet this would be from front to back inside measurement) and height (top to bottom - again internal so you have to measure the top and bottom of the case as if they were resealed - and remember you only have the height to the green sealant that you have milled down a bit). You don't need the width because the batteries easily fit length ways across the width. So a finished battery with have the cells lying on their side unlike the ones you originally took out which were upright in the battery case
2) Using the depth and the height I drew that square box onto a piece of wood, so I know the batteries must fit into that square (when standing upright) if they are to go back in the case. This is important because once you solder them (if you use what I used in the shopping list), you cannot change the shape. You should find the batteries fit within that square by having the batteries not in a line but the middle battery offset from the others (so they are not in a straight line). You will also find they have to be right next to each other.
3) Because of that position they are fiddly to solder and get perfectly right, so what you want to do next is dab a small amount of silicone sealant along the length of them and on a flat surface with all the -ve terminals at the bottom of the batteries and fitting into your square you push the batteries together so the silicone holds them. Then leave till the silicone sets (come back later in the day or the next day), this hugely helps the soldering process and the shape should stay the same to fit in your case
4) Critical to the next stage is that you have a good quality soldering station (that goes to a high heat) and a good sized soldering tip. There is no point in carrying on with a cheap handheld soldering iron from Wilco's, it is unlikely to work. This is because when you solder the -ve ends this is trying to heat the whole battery case, and that takes some proper heating power. I have a temperature controlled soldering station. You also need soldering flux, soldering wire and tabbing wire (can be called other things). You could also do this by soldering a wire onto each battery end and joining each of the 3 ends together if you wish. I would recommend using tabbing wire though
5) So now it's time to solder the batteries - there is no point in me describing this as there is a very good video on this here:
I like this video as he gives you tips and explains the process and the challenges (not many buy...). The only difference here is as you are not doing the batteries in a straight line you cut 4 pieces of tabbing wire as you have to do each leg between the batteries separately. Note I always tinned with solder every component before I solder them together.
6) Once you have 3 batteries soldered, all +ve's one end soldered together and all -ve's the other and the joints are not dry (as in poor joints) you are rocking! I then tinned a part of my tabbing wire between each core soldered connection (if you like on the tabbing wire strip between the batteries) so that I added 2 wires to each end to connect to the original battery case wires. I did this for belts and braces in case a wire failed or a battery terminal failed (I don't expect that!) you would still get a connection and power

Putting it back together:
1) You then need to take your soldered onto your batteries wire (or if you did what I did two wires), and join these together with the original battery wire. You want enough wires to work with but not too long filling the case. the core thing is you need to route these int he gaps you have on either side of the batteries as they are offset you have spaces either side. Of course when you solder these you must ensure full heat shrink coverage.
2) You only have one orientation to fit the batteries back as you need to aim the outer battery on the side of the case where you shaved off some of the green sealant
3) I then made sure everything fitted, I checked the output with my lights, I check all soldering joints for a good connection, and then I used clear silicone sealant liberally added round the seals and used a small clamp to hold everything together until set. And that was that! 10,500mAh at 3.7v output, brilliant

Shopping list (besides the need for a quality soldering iron and solder):
1) Batteries - the 3500mAh are in short supply. I bought mine from 18650 and I looked at various reviews of them. These LG MJ1 batteries seem the best at the moment as unfortunately you cannot buy Panasonic versions as supply issues - https://www.18650.uk/lg-mj1-18650-battery
2) Tabbing wire to make the core connections - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B095P118MP/ref=pe_27063361_485629781_TE_item
3) Soldering Flux https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07B511DDL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
4) Charger - as you need something to charge them (note I am sure you can buy cheaper!), I used the plug off my old speleo technics charger to connect to this - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B091638F81/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I think that's it, sorry this was way too long........
 

jimbofreer

New member
ps I also ordered to boost the original light output:
1) A cree Petzl replacement bulb £9.99 - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/283428800153 (120 lumens)
2) Some super bright 5mm LED's (these are 20mA so 7 will run about 70 hours!) - they are the brightest ones I could find that gave a reasonable spec for them (mAh and MCD) https://mindsetsonline.co.uk/shop/5mm-white-led/ So far I have looked at that brightness by attaching one to the solder ring (as in not in place), they seem quite a bit brighter than the originals looking at them directly... Only time will tell. I have to un-fix the mini home made circuit board from the lamp headset and then I can desolder the old ones out and add the new so that'll be a later project
They both I hope give way more light than the Speleo Technics had and all for £14 (plus a bit of soldering)
 

Fjell

Member
You didn’t mention a BMS (battery management), which you do really need to prevent drama (short, overcharge, overdischarge), of which overdischarge is the most likely and indeed problematic. A 1S one with tabs on from ebay for £2 is fine.

You can buy cells with tabs soldered on which is way easier to use for most people. Ampsplus will sell you any cell with the tabs in any orientation. It’s not the very cheapest option, but the cells are good. If the BMS also has tabs on then the entire pack can be built using them and you just solder wire on to the BMS output. I find this very straightforward and it doesn’t require serious soldering skills. I then wrap/pot the whole thing.
 

jimbofreer

New member
Yes you can add that if you want, but as I manage my own batteries and have an intelligent charger and know how I soldered and potted them in my case (really impossible to see a short circuit happening) I do not find that necessary... For sure in my camper van when I installed 510Ah of 3 lithiums I had a battery management system ;-)), that is not to be messed with... I think the bigger advantage as you note Fjell is that you don't have to deal with the core soldering and that is an advantage for many people.
 
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