Rollei E36RE Excell Battery 12V Rebuild

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by ic-racer, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    My Excell battery for the Rollei flash finally gave out. This battery is no longer availabe, (though two 5v Hasselblad batteries can be stacked together at a premium price).

    I took the battery apart and it has 10 AAA cells. This should be a simple re-build.

    PS: The original Varta battery used ten V500RH button cells stacked together.
    V500RH


    [​IMG]
     
  2. Grif

    Grif Subscriber

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    thanks for the tip!!! (never thought about AAA's) I've hacked up a belt pack for mine using C cells,,, dry cells last forever.
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Ok, so I was able to get 10 batteries from Zbattery for less than 10 bucks. I soldered the batteries together in the same configuration. Everything went back together just fine and it works great. The key elements are the appropriate diameter and length cardboard tube and the tight-fitting metal caps for each end. I should be able to re-build the battery over and over again.

     
  4. Grif

    Grif Subscriber

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    Any chance they were solder tabs? Or did you solder direct to the end of the cell?
     
  5. Ron G

    Ron G Member

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    I found a place in Colorado that will build these packs very reasonably if anyone is interested.
    I had to replace the cells in an old Mecablitz flash that I bought in Germany in the early '60s and they did a great job for me.
    THe flash originally had four of those round cells in it.Ron G
     
  6. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    These did not have tabs. I soldered them with little bars just like I would solder together pacs for rc cars and planes etc. To get them in the appropriate pentagon I hot-glued 2 at a time together, then those 4 were fit around a 1/4" dowel. Then the last one was glued to the other 4 after removing the dowel, squeezing the 4 together slightly to make a perfect pentagon.

    I also just rebuilt a little Excel PX30. Basically it is a little cardboard tube with a modern 3v lithium battery at one end. I just took it apart an replaced the 3v lithium battery then taped it back together.
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    UPDATE: The batteries I got from ZBATTERY did not last very long. So I am going to re-do this again with some Sanyo AAA Nicads. It will be $35 for the ten batteries and I ordered them today. I should have used the Sanyos in the first place.
     
  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    UPDATE:
    I got a new set of Sanyo AAA and put them in the cardboard shell from the original Excell battery. They work great.

    I then noticed that the inexpensive NiMH batteries still had some voltage on them and I there was a cold solder joint on one of them. Could these batteries be salvaged?

    I noticed that two 35mm plastic film canister holders are the exact correct dimensions of the original battery. The two groups of 5 radially oriented batteries fit perfectly in the film canister. I just cut a slit on each end and had the metal strip come out each end and put some insulation between the two 5-battery assemblies and then taped the two canisters together so the closed ends were on the top and bottom. I put red tape on the POSITIVE terminal end. It turns out that after some coaxing with repeated charge-discharge cycles I was able to recover the NiMH cells and get them to hold a full charge again. That is good because they were less than a year old. I'll just have to remember to never leave the flash in the 'on' position to avoid the complete battery drain that inadvertently happened.
    I actually have two E35RE flashes, so now I have a good working battery for each one.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Soldering to the ends of batteries is, in general, a bad idea: the contacts are usually nickle plated which can't be soldered reliably with standard electronic solder; the thermal mass of the battery makes it hard to get the contacts hot enough for a reliable joint; the heat can damage the battery internals. Soldering to a lithium battery is a very bad idea.

    Tabbed batteries have thin solderable metal strips spot welded to the battery contacts and are meant for making battery packs. There is usually a small charge for the cost of welding the tabs. Most battery vendors - see above for Digikey - will make up battery assemblies by welding the strips between the battery terminals, often at no charge above the price of tabbed cells. I haven't had Digikey make up a geometrically complex pack - like a pentagon - but emailing them a sketch or photograph might get results.

    I've had very good luck with Panasonic's heavy duty NiCads and NiMHs.
     
  11. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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  12. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    That doesn't make it the right way to connect batteries. From what I can gather with a Google search, the practice of soldering up battery packs is confined to the RC model racing fraternity. OTOH, soldering to battery terminals is proscribed by all battery manufacturers. I imagine people can make up their own minds on the matter.

    On a serious note: soldering to a Li battery can cause a small explosion or fire with lots of chemical smoke, don't try it.

    Tabbed batteries, designed for soldering, are easily available and are easy to use with no special technique needed. There is no reason for not doing a battery replacement in a reliable and safe manner.
     
  13. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Ok, so six years later the NiMh cells are dead. The next rebuild will involve this small 3-cell lipo battery that fits in the handle. Stay tuned....
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Black Rock City

    Black Rock City Member

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    I'm thinking about doing the same thing. My only question is will the charging circuit need to be changed out in order to handle the Li-Po cell given that the charger was designed for Ni-Cad?

    Also, battery chemistries differ from each other in how much current they can deliver. In addition, the discharge profile can differ. —e.g., during discharge, does the voltage stay relatively constant until the battery dies OR does the voltage drop as the battery discharges?

    These semantic differences may not matter in this application but I thought it was worth mentioning. (Especially if there is a potential fire risk by applying a Ni-Cad charge circuit to a Li-Po battery.)
     
  15. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    You should not charge the battery while it is in the flash handle. These LiPo batteries need 3-cell balance charger. I use an iCharger Duo 406.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Pictures to follow. I made a spacer with an electrode to contact the existing spring in the unit. There is a wire from the electrode contact that goes to one terminal of a JST connector. The positive side of the JST connector is soldered to the area where the end cap makes contact.
    The LiPo battery is plugged into the JST connector and placed in the handle. The end cap keeps the battery in place but has no electrical connection (unlike the original battery).
    The balance jack of the battery is not connected to anything. It is used only for charging out side of the flash.