Low-cost L200 Charger

This circuit came about as the result of an  urgent need for a NiMH battery charger. No  suitable dedicated IC being immediately to  hand, the author pressed an L200 regulator and a 4.7 kΩ NTC thermistor into service.  Those components were enough to form the  basis of a charger with a cut-of f condition  based on cell temperature rise rather than  relying on the more common negative delta-V detection.

L200 Charger Circuit Diagram :

The circuit uses the L200 with the thermistor in the feedback loop. When ‘cold’ the  output volt age of the regulator is about 1.55 V per cell; when ‘warm’, at a cell temperature of about 35 °C to 40 °C, the out-put voltage is about 1.45 V per cell and the  thermistor has a resistance of about 3.3 kΩ.  This temperature sensing is enough to pre-vent the cells from being overcharged. P1  adjusts the charging voltage, and R2 limits  the charge current to 320 mA. The IC is fitted with a small 20 K/W heatsink as it dissipates around 1.2 watts in use.

The charger circuit can be connected permanently to the battery pa ck . Charging  starts when a ‘ wall wart ’ adaptor is connected to the input of the charger. The unregulated 12 V supply used by the author  delivered an open- circuit voltage of 18 V,  dropping to 14 V under load. Even though  the charge voltage is reduced when charging is complete, the cells should not be left  permanently on charge.

The author uses the circuit to charge the battery in a torch. After three years and some 150  charge cycles the cells are showing no signs of losing any capacity.

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