The charging stations are built into rugged orange Pelican cases with panel mount frames in them. The main structure of the station is an aluminum panel, screwed into the panel frame, which supports all of the components either mounted directly to it or hanging below it.
Each station contains a power supply, two battery chargers, two battery cell balancers, and cooling and power support components. Two TP-1010C chargers are be used in the new stations without their casings. Two TP-210V balancers are used for maintaining cell balance.
The power supply selected for the stations is the Mean Well SP-320-12, a 12 volt, 320 Watt power supply. Each charger was estimated to require 140 Watts at max, so the Mean Well provided enough power in the right voltage range of 11-15 Watts for the charger input.
|TP-1010C Battery Charger||
TP-210V Cell Balancer
The first necessary component was the main metal panel support. The metal panel is what all of the components in the charging station attach to, and is what connects everything to the Pelican case. The metal panel is made of 1/8” aluminum sheet with water-jet cut component holes. The metal panel features four main types of cutouts. The largest cutouts are for the battery pod holders. The pods fit down into these holes for protection and convenience during charging. The circular, vertically aligned cutouts are vent holes for a pair of 80mm cooling fans. The fans mount to four countersunk #4 holes around the cutout edge. The rectangular cutouts at the bottom of the panel are viewing ports for the balancers, which mount below the panel. The viewing windows allow the user to see the balancer state LEDs during charging. The remaining holes, the three in the center, the two circular and one rectangular at the top, are panel mount holes for the power switch, fuse holders, AC power input plug, and charging cable strain relief. Around the outside of the panel are #6 mounting holes for attachment to the Pelican case panel frame.
As mentioned above, all of the internal components mount to the bottom of the metal panel. The power supply mounts in the middle of the panel on four #4 standoffs ending in rubber vibration mounts to protect both the power supply and the metal panel during transportation. The battery charger internal electronics boards were removed from their casings and mount vertically in the case to aluminum beams. The beams drop down from the metal panel, and the charger boards mount via horizontal standoffs to the beams. The standoffs were needed to allow more airflow to reach the heat sinking of the charger board, and the board is attached at all four of its corner mounting holes to prevent the board from flexing when the case is moved. In addition to the two 80mm intake/exhaust fans mounted to the metal panel there are two 60mm fans mounted inside the case to provide cross-ventilation for the major components. Each 60mm fan is attached to two ¼” aluminum brackets that screw into the metal panel above. The fans are positioned to blow air over the heatsinks of the charger boards and to move air from the intake to the exhaust fan.
The battery charger LCD boards are mounted on top of the panel in their own housings. The housings are made of 1/8” plastic, laser cut and epoxied together. The LCD boards are bolted to the plastic. Two strips of ¼” aluminum are epoxied to the inside of the LCD housing and have threaded #4 screw holes. The aluminum strips are what bolt to the metal panel below. The LCDs are thus held at a 20 degree angle from the horizontal for easier viewing and for easier access to the charger control buttons. The rectangular cutout in the angled front panel of the LCD assembly is a viewing window directly above the cutout in the metal panel that allows the balancer to be visible during charging.
The final internal components of the Charging Station are the pod holders. These are attached to the bottom of the metal panel below the large battery cutouts. The walls and base are made from ¼” plastic that fit together using tabs and are epoxied. The holders are roughly hexagonal and designed to hold the battery pods in place during charging. The use of internal battery pod holders means that the entire charging station setup is contained within its own footprint even when in use. Once the pods are placed in the pod holders the charging cables can be plugged in.
The final component of the charging station is the cover panel. The cover panel mounts to the panel frame above the metal panel and serves to hide most of the mounting hardware below as well as to provide better wear resistance than the metal panel beneath. The plastic panel features the same major cutouts for the battery pods, the two 80mm fans, and the switches and fuse holders. The large rectangular cutouts are for the LCD angle assemblies which rest directly on the metal panel due to height constraints inside the Pelican case. The cover panel is made of 1/8” clear acrylic with the backside spray painted.
In order to charge the battery pods, the case must first be opened and the necessary cables unrolled and plugged in from the inside of the case. Then the pods can be place into the pod holders corresponding to their placement on the vehicle (starboard pods in the right holder, port pods in the left holder). Once the power supply and chargers are turned on via the center power switch, the pods can be plugged in and the charge cycle run from the LCD menu.