The new Intellect Series cells have extremely high voltage and current flow characteristics, so special care must be taken when using these cells.
You must use a quality charger speciafically designed to charge Ni-MH cells and that has adjustable peak detection or thermal charging capabilities. The #1 reason for pack failures is cell venting caused by one or more cells being overcharged! This happens most often with inexpensive chargers! This is absolutely not the place to cheap out! We can't reccomend specific chargers to use but ask around and see which ones are the most popular and reliable.
How do I take care of the IB 3800's? When you first receive your new packs it is imperative to follow these instructions. First start by performing a "Soft Cycle " by charging the pack at 4 AMPS for about 10 minutes and then immediately discharge the pack at a high rate (20 to 30 AMPS) to .9 Volts per cell or 5.4 Volts for a 6 cell or 3.6 Volts for a 4 cell pack. Follow this by equalizing the pack using a discharge/equalization tray. (We recommend the Tekin Battery Doctor 8.0). As soon as the lights go out on the tray, fully charge the pack at 5-6 AMPS.
What should I set the peak detection threshold at? Whatever it takes to get the batteries to 120-130 degrees farenheit when the charger shuts off. This is assuming that the battery charger and battery pack are at room temperature (70-85 degrees Farenheit) when setting up the Peak Detection Value (PDV). On my Turbo 35GFX it is .03 for a 6 cell pack. Some may find this setting is to high or too low for their chargers so please start with a lower (PDV) and work your way up to the proper temperature range in order to avoid damaging the pack! As the pack nears the end of the charge cycle check the temperature with an accurate temperature sensing device every 30 seconds. If the charger shuts off anywhere between 120-130 F. leave the (PDV) there. If it shuts off below this temperature range increase the (PDV) to the next higher value, if the charger does not shut off and the temperature reaches 130 f. unplug the pack and lower the (PDV) by one value until the charger shuts off in the proper temperature range. Once you have determined the proper (PDV) for your charger you can charge safely at this setting and no further adjustment should be necessary*
* If you change between using 4 and 6 cell packs you will most likely need to lower the PDV for 4 cell packs.
For short term storage (less than a week). After racing (if you charge the packs more than once a night do not discharge between races), discharge the packs to .9 volts per cell (5.4 volts for a 6 cell pack) and put them away. The next use and just before charging, we recommend the use of an equalization tray (diode built in) for these cells. Leave the cells on the tray only long enough for the led's to go out. You should charge the cells up immediately after equalization. For longer periods of inactivity some charge must be left in these cells. Expect a temporary decrease in performance after long periods of inactivity. If the packs have not been used for more than two weeks it is recommended to put a soft cycle on the cells as described above before racing with them.
How many times a day can I run these packs? If you are a backyard basher I would expect 3 times a day would be about the limit. This is assuming you let the pack cool down thoroughly between runs. At least an hour and two hours would be better. If you are racing, I would limit use to twice a race and let the packs cool down between runs.
What about step charging? There are lots of theories about step charging, pulse vs. linear, flex charging, and lots more. My personal feeling is this. A batteries performance is mainly limited to the internal structure (hence why some cells are better than others). As long as you fill it all the way up (without overcharging it) you will get the best performance from the cells that you can. The only effect I have seen is that lower rate charging will make the power last a bit longer and higher rate charging makes the pack run a little faster. I personally use linear charging at 6 amps for the type of racing that I do (offroad).