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Aldi Charger - Confidence Dented

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Neil Wyatt03/10/2018 16:13:03
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I bought one of the 'intelligent' Aldi 'Ultimate Speed' battery chargers a while back.

The other night something went wrong and my Leisure battery used for cooling my astro camera went down to a fearfully low 4.9V, despite having the charger attached. As the cooler only uses 4 amps, this suggests it wasn't fully charge even when I started the session.

I was able to recharge the battery afterwards (although it may be damaged ).

I'm waiting for my car to have a new(old) aircon pump fitted and until then it has no alternator so short trips and recharge between them - and I noticed the charger was only working intermittently. Tapping sometime brought it back to life but things got worse, it appeared to be a broken connection.

Despite the long guarantee I don't have the receipt so i opened it up. Ironically very well made inside although the triangle socket screws were a bit of a challenge. Careful prodding with an insulated ceramic screwdriver identified a sparking joint on an suppression inductor on the input. The wire pulled right out so I fixed the dry joint and another that simply functioned to hold a heatsink clip in place.

Put it together and still not working. Apart again and another two very obvious dry joints on a transformer on the HV side. I hadn't looked closely at the solder side because prodding the component side had made the other two so obvious.

Now it works, but a total of FOUR dry joints in one device suggests very sloppy inspection.

Once the car is fully recharged, I'll put it back on the leisure battery and let it trickle charge for a few days and hope. At least the car battery hasn't gone below 12.3V off load.

Neil

Windy03/10/2018 16:40:15
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Many years ago when working at a Renault garage about 1990 the same year as my present Renault car there was some printed circuit dash boards on new cars that had dry joints.

A local car electronics repairer used to use a miniature gas heated soldering iron as I think he was concerned an electric iron might have an effect on some electronics parts on the boards.

XD 35103/10/2018 16:51:56
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I doubt very much that there would have been an inspection ! Those sort of things fly off the end of a production line like bullets out of the barrel of a machine gun and they ( at best ) probably do a batch inspection every few hundred units . I bought a ryobi radio that when I used it used to flatten its battery in an hour and even when turned off ! Ended up being a solder bridge on the pcb and once fixed the unit ran faultlessly . You buy cheap you get cheap !

Andrew Johnston03/10/2018 16:52:37
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Posted by Neil Wyatt on 03/10/2018 16:13:03:

............ but a total of FOUR dry joints in one device suggests very sloppy inspection

That's lead free solder for you; with lead free a good joint looks dull, remarkably like a dry joint.

Andrew

Dave Halford03/10/2018 17:00:21
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Back in the eighties I used to go round all the Tandy stores in Bham after xmas when they would sell off all the returned not working Rc cars for £3 each. In every one of them the only faults were dry joints.

Neil Wyatt03/10/2018 17:13:21
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Posted by Windy on 03/10/2018 16:40:15:

Many years ago when working at a Renault garage about 1990 the same year as my present Renault car there was some printed circuit dash boards on new cars that had dry joints.

A local car electronics repairer used to use a miniature gas heated soldering iron as I think he was concerned an electric iron might have an effect on some electronics parts on the boards.

I think by 1990 issues of leakage from mains irons had been pretty much sorted!

Neil

Martin 10003/10/2018 17:27:39
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+1 on the wonders of lead free solder. Give me lead and tin with a tiny sprinkling of silver and a non corrosive flux core any day. Almost 100% reliable joints almost 100% of the time.

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive has probably produced more landfill than any single act in recorded history. Thank goodness exemptions were made for medical and defence products (plus some others) otherwise we'd all be living in caves using leeches and making stone axes, all we have to account for is the telly and all other electronic items only lasting the guarantee period plus 'a bit'

There is an entire industry that takes brand new traceable lead free electronic components, strips off all the lead free solder, tins them with leaded solder and then repackages them on reels for series production of reliable kit. Can't sell any of it to Joe Public though, it's far too 'dangerous' the lead could kill and 'cause birth defects in the state of california'

I've heard a common failure mode with the c-tek intelligent charger clones sold by Lidl & Aldi is the one moving part, the push button switch, which could be down to moisture or flux ingress. Touch wood not had an issue with that here.

Bazyle03/10/2018 18:10:15
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Yes we have problems with switches on kit that isn't supposed to be switched off and the only reason the switch is on it is to comply with regulations. So about 2 million switches a year bought and fitted pointlessly, plus a few thousand avoidable failures.

Neil Wyatt03/10/2018 18:18:35
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I recovered the button insert when it dropped out.

Well, let's hope it can recover my leisure battery.

Muzzer03/10/2018 19:35:58
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Lots of ill informed tosh about lead free solder here. Almost every electronic product made in the last 5 plus years will be lead free and the process is well understood and consistent. That includes computers, phones, cameras, cars etc etc. There is absolutely no issue with the stuff. Easy target to have a good rant about though....

Murray

Cabinet Enforcer04/10/2018 07:53:07
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I have killed two, I am no electronics genius and the problems were more deep seated than an obvious dry joint, though one was repaired for a while due to the aforementioned switch failure, but something else went a few months later.

The 5A ctek I got to replace them is much better, doesn't balk at very flat batteries either.

IMO the clones cannot hack being used as permanently attached trickle chargers, otherwise the cost/utility is still hard to beat.
martin perman04/10/2018 08:12:40
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I've got two Aldi chargers permanently trickle charging batteries, one I bought last year and the other is at least three years old, no hiccups here.

Martin P

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