5590BA Battery Adapter

© Brooke Clarke 2005

First Production Battery Holders
Open
Box w/Batt
Top
1 of 2 Production Strings
holding 10 or 11 AA Cells
Lid Open
Power Pole connectors
Box with Battery Holders
6 ea 3 AA + 2 ea 2AA
20 * 2.3 * 1.2 = 55 WH
8 hours run time
Top 3/4 View
Open View
20 SC Pack
4ea Packs of 10 Ni-MH AA 2 AH
Top 3/4 view
Open View
20 SC cell hand made pack
4 Packs of 10 ea Ni-MH
2.0 AH per pack
40 * 2.0 * 1.2 = 96 WH
10 hours run time

Description
    Universal Design
       AA Cells in Battery Holders
       AA Packs
       Li-polymer possible
       SC Pack
    Discharge
        Battery Holder Tests
    Charge  
        Socket Assembly
        10 or 11 Cells
        Charging Experiments
    Use as Battery Eliminator
Testing
    Fit
    Internal Resistance
    Load
       Current Capability - Table
       Run Time - Table
Batteries Not Included
    Recommendation
    $ per Watt Hour
Weight
Opening the 5590BA
Status
Related Products
    Plug 
Background
Ordering

Description

Universal Design

Note that the design that has gone into production is the one I named "Universal" during the design process.  The label should have been "5590BA/U", but it's too late for the first batch of adapters.  The reason for the Universal name has to do with the ability to easily change what cells are installed. 

AA Cells

The first version of the adapter will have custom made battery holders for AA size rechargeable cells (batteries not included).

It may be possible to use Alkaline AA cells for radios like the SINCGARS that connect the two internal batteries in parallel.  More testing shortly on that using the strange Everactive Wal-Mart AA Alkaline cells that have very low internal resistance.

14 March 2006 - Note that a SINCGARS radio (PRC-119 manpack version) will draw almost 4 amps and that's too much for the battery holders.  See the Current table (Prod, 3rd gen, Hldr2) and note that the max current is 2.5 amps.  For high current applications a battery pack that does not use springs is required.

AA Cell Pack

After testing a used BB-390 on the ½ PRC-104 load cycle and getting just over 12 hours run time and knowing that the 2.3 AH Ni-MH gives 8 hours it should be possible to get 16 hours by using 40 each AA cells.  There's no way this can be done using battery holders, but it is possible to get 40 AA cells into the box with room for the wiring and connectors if it was as a battery pack.  There is a 2x5 pack of AA cells and four of them will just fit, see right hand photo at top of page.  This may have a capacity similar to a used BB-390A/U.

Li-poly Possible

It should be possible to install 8 Kokam 3.27 AH Li-poly pouches and a couple of 4 Lithium battery protection circuits into the same box.  These cells have a discharge rating of 3*C (about 9 amps) but the protection circuits limit the current to 6.5 amps (although there may be a way to change that).  Since Power Pole connectors are used on the back of the adapter socket it's very easy to remove or swap the battery packs.

SC Pack

BB-590 OpenedThe BB-590 battery (shown at left) uses 20 each Sub C (SC) Ni-Cad cells that have spot welded interconnecting straps.  The cells are held in a plastic two piece calm shell type housing that provides a small amount of separation between cells.  Label has a 1983 date, 1.5 Amp Hour rating at 1.8 Amps.  So the 2005 SC size RC Ni-MH batteries will probably provide more than twice the capacity.  Even the 2.3 AH Ni-MH AA cells should have more capacity.  Can not test this one since there are dead cells.

The label on a Ni-MH BB-390 with a 1995 contract date is rated 3.6 AH at 0.72 Amps.  Note the AH rating will be much lower at 1.8 Amps which is closer to a real radio Tx load current.

These are the same type of cells used in the RC racing car hobby.  But since the RC motors draw currents in the tens of amps they use copper bars to interconnect the cells both for lower resistance and as a way to get heat out of the cells.  They seem to use only flat top SC cells, no other sizes so it's fortunate that this is the cell size that fits the 5590BA.

2 hand made packs of 10 SC 3.3 AHBy hot melt gluing the cells together the resulting pack will be slightly smaller than the BB-590 pack shown in the photo above left because the BB-590 has an air gap between cells.  After gluing the copper bars and wires are soldered.

The pack at left uses the same cell orientation as a BB-590 with the same cell polarity and wiring.

Although this 20 SC cell pack fits into the box, like the 4 each AA packs, it has the same problem with the lid fitting.  The tabs hit some cells preventing them from seating.  This can be fixed simply be filing the tabs so that they protrude slightly less than 0.60" into the box.  This way the tabs will not go inside the box.  This works well making it much easier to remove the lid.

Using hot melt glue and cardboard (but not glued) as an insulating spacer on the pack faces where the connecting bars are located.

15 Nov 2005 Caution - Some SC cells have a diameter of 0.9" (22.86 mm) and when these are used to make a pack it will be too tall to fit into the 5590BA. The 0.87" (22.1 mm) diameter cells will fit with a little room to spare.

25 Nov 2006 - It should be possible to fit 23 mm diameter SC cells by rearranging the right cell in the 4th row from the bottom.  Then the right cell in the 5th row up from the bottom (only 2 cells in this row).  Then the top two cells.
Battery Space is now offering a 4.5 AH SC cells that has specs similar to Li-Ion but for much less, see:
http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2283

A theoretical calculation shows the maximum SC cell diameter that will fit is 0.887" (22.5 mm) based on close packing (which is the easy way).  A better way is to position the cells inside the battery box (with an insulator on the bottom for safety) and use hot melt glue to tack them in place.  Then add all the jumpers and wires to make the pack plus reinforce it with more hot melt glue.

12 Jan 2007 - If a 0.030" horizontal gap is inserted between the 4 batteries in the bottom row (photo above and to the left showing 20 SC cells) then there will be a 0.030 horizontal gap in all the batteries above the starting row.  This has the effect of making the battery pack height fit the battery box when 0.920" diameter SC cells are used.

Battery Eliminator

Another way to use the adapter is as an interface for a battery eliminator.  To do this a power supply (either a dual "12 Volt" or a single "24 Volt" supply would be connected to the back of the socket using Power Pole connectors and the adapter plugged into a radio or other equipment.

Discharge

Since 2001 my main focus on this product has been to come up with a reasonably priced battery adapter that would work.  By work I mean that the discharge characteristics were good enough to power radios that worked with the BA-5590 primary battery.  Note the BA-5590/U is not supposed to supply more than 2.25 Amps.  The key to getting good discharge performance is minimizing the resistance of the batteries, springs and wiring.
The 5590BA Battery Adapter can be used in most applications where the BA-5590/U or one of its derivatives (BA-390/U BA-590/U, BA-2290/U) is used.  The case is black anodized aluminum and there is a removable lid to gain access to the interior.  It uses the secondary type battery socket that has gold plated contacts providing longer life than the primary type battery socket.  5 wires from the socket are connected with a white power pole connector on pin 3.  Each battery pair from the socket is terminated with Power Pole connectors.  The first version will come with two strings of AA battery holders.  Each string will hold either 10 or 11 cells so that when rechargeable batteries (the only type recommended) are used the voltage will be just under 15.0 Volts (which is correct for a "12 Volt" battery).
14 Apr 2005 - using the latest Powerizer 2.3 AH AA batteries gives an equivalent PRC-104 run time of 8 hours.

Charge

There is a potential problem if an old fashioned DC fast charger, like the Maha C777+, is used on Ni-MH cells.  At the end of charge the battery will get very hot, possibly damaging the plastic battery holders.  But this can be avoided by using a slow charge (current < C/10) or by using a burp mode charger, like the Propel BB-590.  The Propel charger makes the C777+ look like it was designed in the stone ages and has changed my mind about allow the 5590BA to be charged from the socket.

Maha C777+String of 11 AA cellsAn old fashioned DC fast charger can be used by charging each string out of the battery adapter.  Note that the Maha temperature sensor is sandwiched between two of the 3 AA holders.  The stock Maha clip leads work nicely with the Power Pole connectors on the string of 10 or 11 cells.

Ni-MH cells get very hot during the charge cycle unlike Ni-Cad cells that don't get as hot.  I typically measure 140 degrees F at the end of a charging cycle for Ni-MH cells where the batteries are out in open air.  

Socket Assembly

Socket AssemblyThe socket used on the 5590BA is what's called a secondary socket and it's different from a primary socket in a number of ways.  It has a metal frame with a rubber insulating block holding gold plated contacts.  Whereas the primary socket uses a plastic frame insulating block and non gold plated contacts.  The warding keys in the secondary socket are different from the keys in the primary socket.  This is one way that a device that can charge a battery is prevented from charging a primary battery.  The aim of the secondary socket is to offer many more mating cycles than would be the case with a primary socket and that's why it's used on the 5590BA. 

Top
Top view showing the circuit diagram and labeling:
5590BA
PRC68.com
MFR-3Y2J2


Pin 3  is wired to pin 1 using white wire and white Power Pole connectors.  When mated they allow chargers or radios that use pin 3 for charging (to prevent charging a primary battery) to charge this adapter, and when separated they will prevent pin 3 type chargers from charging this adapter.  Note that because a secondary socket is being used a charger that only used the socket to prevent charging may try to charge this adapter even when the pin 3 connection is open.

10 or 11 Cells for each "12 Volt" Battery

In my opinion it was a mistake to use only 10 cells in the BB-390 and BB-590 since using 11 cells gives an open circuit terminal voltage just under 15.0 volts, which is what a fresh BA-5590/U measures since it has 5 each 3.0 Volt LiSO2 cells for each side.  But for this adapter the extra volt provided by the eleventh cell provides more Watt Hours.

NOTE: As of 21 June 2005 I know of no fast charger that can charge strings of 11 cells using the "Burp" method.  This means that in order to use 11 cells either use a slow charge or disassembly of the adapter would be required.  It may be that there are chargers that can do it (maybe used in the RC hobby) but so far none of them have answered technical questions.

Charging Experiments

These experiments are being done on a 5590BA that has pins 1 and 3 connected and using 20 cells (not 22) and with the starting dead battery voltage for the 20 cells around 12 to 14 volts.  The discharge cycle I'm calling "1/2 PRC-104" is using 100 ma for 9 minutes & 1.5 Amps for 1 minute, repeated until the battery voltage goes below 20 Volts.  If two batteries are installed in the PRC-104 (connected in parallel) then the run time would be the same as for this test.  For more on battery chargers see the Battery Charger web page.

Maha C777+ Charger

 Batteries very hot at end of charge and 3.8 hours run time.  Should not be used to charge the batteries while in the 5590BA because there's a chance that the temperature sensor will be on one of the battery holders that's not being charged they over heating the charged battery holders and damaging them.

When a string of 11 brand new Ni-Cad cells were connected to the Maha C777+ it stopped charging in about 15 minutes and said that the batteries were charged.  Reconnecting the next day had the same result, i.e. after 18 minute the charger stopped and said the batteries were full.  Reconnecting a third time allowed 994 mAH to be put in and it took 80 minutes.  This may confirm a claim in the Propel patent saying that Ni-Cads that have been stored for a long time (or are new) have a false voltage peak at turn on that fools most chargers.

After the 80 minute charge the batteries were warm (about 113 deg F) and the terminal voltage is 15.33 (1.39 volts/cell).

The Maha seems to use a 10 ms wide pulse 100 times per second to change the charging current or discharging load by a small amount as part of it's method of measuring the batteries being charged.  It does NOT use classical Burp Charging like the Propel BB-590.

With 11 Ni-Cad cells on the Maha, when fully charged there is a 10 ms wide pulse on top of the DC charge that's at a rep rate of 99 Hz.  The baseline voltage is 15.78 V ( 1.16 V/cell) and the pulse peak is 18.70 V (1.7 V/cell).

TMQ-34 Charger

Leaving the 5590BA (with 20 Ni-MH cells, not 22) on the Charger that comes with the TMQ-34 Weather Station overnight does not cause any heating.  This is a trickle charger (maybe 60 to 100 ma).

PP-8444 Charger

The PP-8444 charger will put charge into the 5590BA.  But since the 5590BA does not have the built-in temperature sensor it will overheat.  I tried it with the 4 packs of 10 Ni-MH configuration and pulled it off the charger.  The adapter surface was at 110 deg F but the internal packs were closer to 150 deg F.  The battery pack used in the Tek 1502 Cable Test Set has heat spreaders to take the heat away from each cell and if that were done here maybe the cells would not get to as high a temperature.

To me this is a confirmation that Ni-MH needs temperature sensors when conventional chargers are used.  It's too bad that burp chargers were not used or that there's not a burp charging option for the PP-8444 charger.

This charger can not be used in a start it and leave mode.  It needs constant baby sitting to prevent overheating the batteries.

Lab Power Supply BK Precision Model 1786  30 V 3 A

First try CV=30.0 CC=0.25 amps.  The C/10 rate would be 225 ma. The 1786 doesn't have perfect CC mode resulting in 0.29 amps or C/7.7 current.  20 cells in series using the "charging cable" from Steve Hanney.
0.25 amps at 27.0 volts 10:56 starting
0.29 amps at 28.2 volts 11:43 box cold
0.29 amps at 28.5 volts 12:42 box cold
0.29 amps at 28.8 volts 13:52 box cold
0.29 amps at 29.1 volts 14:32 box cold
0.29 amps at 28.7 volts 15:39 box slightly warm
0.29 amps at 28.1 volts 16:44 box warm
0.29 amps at 28.1 volts 17:44 box warm
0.29 amps at 28.1 volts 18.30 box warm
0.29 amps at 28.1 volts 20:00 box warm

4.8 hours of run time on the 1/2 PRC-106 test cycle.  24.7 Volts open ckt.
4.7 hours of run time on the 1/2 PRC-106 testy cycle when the same pack was charged on the Propel charger.

Propel BB-590 Dual Charger Discharger

So far this appears to be the best way to charge a string of 20 Ni-MH or Ni-Cad cells.  It uses a couple of patented microcontrollers to be smart about the charging.  6.2 hours run time in the 1/2 PRC-104 discharge cycle.

Using 20 each 1.0 AH Ni-Cad cells the run time is 3.3 hours.  If the 2.25 AH Ni-MH give 4.8 hours of run time then the 1.0 AH Ni-Cads should give 2.1 hours of run time.  There may be two factors, the Ni-Cad cells may be better at supplying the 1.5 amp transmit current and/or the Ni-MH cells may have been degraded by charge overheat.  After another charge cycle on the Propel the run time was 3.7 hours (5.3 AH delivered).

After charging on the Propel a second time the run for 20 Ni-MH have a run time of 6.5 hours! 9.39 AH delivered, ending OCV 24.3  Battery numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24.

The other Ni-MH battery pack only delivers 4.8 hours of run time (7 AH delivered). 
The cell numbers for this pack are: 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47.  Why the difference in capacity, could it be that the overheating on the Maha C777+ degraded a pack?

Got some new Powerizer Ni-MH cells rated at 2.3 AH and after a few hours on the Propel they are around 100 deg F, warm, not hot.  I'll let these trickle charge overnight and run the PRC-104 load test tomorrow.  These cells have NOT be on the Maha charger.
14.20 Volts Open Circuit for 10 cells after some trickle charge, i.e. 1.42 Volts per cell or 28.4 Volts for a string of 20 cells.
Run time 8 hours, 11.6 AH delivered. Ending OCV 23.5.  The 2.25 AH should deliver (2.25/2.3 * 8 = 6) 6 AH, so the 2.25 AH pack that's delivering only 4.5 hours was damaged by overheating.  The 2.25 AH pack delivering 6.9 hours is OK.

The Propel seems to charge 22 cells correctly, but need to wait untill this afternoon to see what the run time is.  Only 7.8 hours, 20 cells run for 8 hours so this did not work.

Battery Space Multi Voltage Universal Smart Charger

This charger has a switch to select either 0.9 Amp(<2.1 AH Batt) or 1.8 Amp (>2.1AH Batt) charge current and includes Burp charging.  It takes very close to 2 hours to charge 10 3.3 AH SC cells (1.8 Amps * 2 hours = 3.6 AH).  The cell temperature gets warm but not hot.  Since these don't cost that much <$30) it would make sense to use two of them in parallel to charge the 20 cells in a 5590BA.  

Data taken during charging left for side A and right for side B:
Time
Temp (F)
Voltage

Time
Temp
Voltage
7:16
-
12.7 OCV

9:22
-
12.77 OCV
7:17
77.6
12.9

9:23 77.8 12.94
7:41
78.6
13.91

9:43
85.5
13.85
8:26
81.7
14.14

10:09
88.6
13.81
8:53
82.5
14.40

10:20
89.6
14.04
9:17
99.4
14.45

10:55
93.6
14.25
9:22
100.8
14.161

11:10
95.1
14.36




11:16
105.3
14.36




11:23
112
14.131

Note1 - you can see the battery voltage has a negative delta V that's detected by the charger to switch to trickle charge mode properly before the batteries overheat from excessive charge.  I was not paying a lot of attention to when the fast charge LED (red) changed to trickle (green) so the actual times are probably a little shorter than shown above.

The charged battery was allowed to sit overnight then in the morning was reconnected to the charger which ran for maybe 10 minutes for each string of 10 cells then went into trickle charge.  Now on the 1/2 PRC-104 run time test with an OCV of just over 28 volts. the 12.5 hour run time is the same as the 12.75 hour run time from the Propel BB-590.  Will try a SINCGARS run time test, but expect it will be in line with the Propel charger also.  The Battery Space charger looks like a good way to charge the SC cells.  Need to check it on the 2.3 AH AA cells.

PP-7286 Charger

3 May 2005 - have a 5590BA with 22 each 2.3 AH Ni-MH Powerizer cells on the charger.  Set for C/10 (239 ma) and 16 hours.  Will measure run time tomorrow.  Expect about 8.8 hours, but only got 8.25 hours, just a tiny bit longer than 20 cells.

PP-8249 SINCGARS Battery Charger

Have just got a VRC-87 going and need to modify the PP-8249 to reduce it's charging current.  As received the PP-8249 had the charging wire disconnected making it the same as a CY-8644 Battery Tray.  When charging the current is over 400 ma, a little too high for trickle charging a 5590 type battery.

Use as Battery Eliminator

A battery eliminator is a way to use the AC power grid to replace a battery.  Since the 5590BA uses standard Power Pole PP15 connectors on the inside of the socket it's very easy to connect these to:

Where the radios supply voltage is known

Either a single 24 VDC supply, a single 12 VDC supply

Where the radios supply voltage is not known

A pair of "12 VDC" supplies.  These are very common and are used to replace a car "12 Volt" cigarette lighter socket or to power "12 Volt" equipment

Note:  For most radios "12 VDC" really means 10 to 15 VDC.

In the case of the SINCGARS CY-8523() battery boxes it's a simple matter to remove two screws from the lid hinge to seperate the lid from the rest of the battery box allowing the 5590BA to be installed without it's lid. and providing easy access to the power pole connectors. A spacer should be placed behind the 5590BA to prevent it from unplugging from the battery box.  By using an existing battery box a large amount of money is saved and either the two terminal wire line interface or the remote control handset is supported.

In a similar fashion the 5590BA can be used as the adapter portion of a battery eliminator.  This is a great way to save money when a radio is being used where there is an AC mains supply.

Testing

Fit

PRC-104 & 2 ea 5590BATwo each 5590BA power the PRC-104.  Checked antenna tuning on various bands and no low battery tone when speaking, like would happen with one of the old style batteries.

The CY-7875/PRC-104 Battery Box has the battery plugs of if a defective battery that does not have a floating socket breaks the plug only the battery box gets damaged, not the radio.






PRC-215 Batt BoxIn the PRC-215 the battery compartment nearest the electronics is a tight fit but the other is a good fit.  This is a problem with the battery box, not the 5590BA adapters.  To remove the adapter closest to the electronics the box needs to be turned over and bumped against your hand.
The battery plugs are on cables so no need for a floating battery socket.




SINCGARS CY-8523A
The SINCGARSCY-8523A battery box and the 5590BA Battery Adapter.
The battery box has the battery plug thus protecting the radio from a defective battery.







LST-5 Batt Box
The 5590BA fits nicely into the LST-5 battery box.  It can be removed just by unplugging the connector and turning the box upside down.  If the plastic pull tab is folded over and then the 5590BA is installed the extra thickness of the pull tab will cause the 5590BA to be trapped such that is does not fall out when the box is inverted.  But it will come out if upside down and jerked.
The battery plug is on a cable and so not sensitive to a non floating battery socket.



HYX-57


The HYX-57 and KY-57 use the same battery box.  The 5590BA fits and functions fine.


The battery plug is on the KY-57 and HYX-57 and so it's important that the battery socket floats.





Testing Internal Resistance

Using the modified capacitor ESR meter and modified probe the AC resistance of a string of batteries can be measured.
What
Where
Ohms
5590BA
10 ea 2.3 AH Ni-MH
charged or discharged
pins 1 to 4
or
pins 2 to 5
1.3

1.3
5590BA
10 ea 2.3 AH Ni-MH
charged
pins 1 to 4
or
pins 2 to 5
1.2

1.2
BA-5590
LiSO2
pins 1 to 4
or
pins 2 to 5
8.41

8.4
BB-557
Ni-Cad
pins 1 to 4
or
pins 2 to 5
0.36

0.38
11 ea 1 AH
Ni-Cad
disty batt hldr
Power Pole
2.22
11 ea 1 AH
Ni-Cad
prod batt hldr
Power Pole 1.53
10 ea 2.25 AH
Ni-MH
prod batt hldr
Power Pole 1.4
Note1 - Something wrong, maybe has to do with circuit inside BA-5590.
Note2 - The stock disty battery holder is 1 Ohm higher than custom battery holder.
Note3 -same NiCad cells moved from disty batt hldr to prod batt hldr.

AA Cell

What Ohms
Duracell
Alkaline MN1500
0.54
Powerizer #14
2.25 AH Ni-MH
0.04
Powerizer
2.3 AH Ni-MH
0.005 ?4
Kirkland AA
Alkaline
0.12
Wal-Mart EverActive AA
Alkaline
0.04
Energizer E91
Alkaline
0.06
Energizer LS91
Li-FeS2
0.13
Note4 - alternate 0.00 or 0.01 display

20 each Wal-Mart EverActive Alkaline AA batteries in series. (under $ 8)) Eveready patents on Wal-Mart package:
6022639 Zinc anode for an electochemical cell Feb 8, 2000 429/229 (15.6 amp short ckt curr ? batt size)
6589693 High discharge electrolytic manganese dioxide and an electrode and alkaline cell incorporating the same  July 8, 2003 429/224; 429/218.1; 429/229; 429/231.8
These patents are aimed at providing high discharge currents and are a big improvement over conventional Alkaline cells.

Load Testing

Current Capability

Battery Holder Tests
A test of some new custom made battery holders done 27 Feb. 2005.  The old holder was tested first and the batteries moved to the new holder without charging, so the starting voltage for the new holder is a little lower than for the old holder.  Once the voltage in this test falls below 10.0 the radio will cut off and no longer work.

Measured Voltage vs. Load Current

Current
Production
3rd gen
Hldr1
Prod
3rd gen
Hldr2
Prod
3rd gen
Hldr2
Sample
2nd gen
Hldr
Disty
stock
Hldr
BB-390
used
4x10
2.0 AH
40 cells
Wal-Mart
"12 Volt"
SINCGARS
Wal-Mart
"24 Volt"
2 packs
10 SC cells
3.3 AH

BA-5590/U


BB-390
s/n..63
3.6 AH
BB-390
s/n..9U
3.6 AH
Chem:
Ni-MH
Alkaline
Alkaline Ni-MH Ni-MH Ni-MH
Ni-MH
Alkaline
Alkaline Ni-MH
LiSO2 Ni-MH
Ni-MH
# Cells:
11
11
10
11
11
40
40
20
20
20
10
20
20
RI3
1.5
2.62
2.1
1.3
2.6
0.67
0.61
1.2
5.2
0.35
1.4
0.65
0.73
Amps Volts Volts
Volts Volts
Volts
Volts
Volts
Volts
Volts Volts
Volts Volts Volts
0.1
14.4
17.2
15.1
14.7
14.8 26.3
27.4
15.6
30.8
27.83
27.2
27.6
28.1
1.0
13.1
14.3
13.3
13.6
12.3 25.8
27.2
14.5
26.3
27.57
25.1
27.1
27.6
1.5
12.4
12.2
12.2
13.0
10.8 25.5
27.1
14.0
23.6
27.44
24.8
26.8
27.3
2.0
11.6
10.7
11.1
12.3
9.6 25.2
26.5
13.3
21*
27.27
24.3
26.5
26.9
2.5
10.9
9.7
10.9*
11.7
8.5* 24.8
26.1
12.8
-
27.07
23.8*
26.2
26.5
3.0
10.2
8.7
8.9
11.0
-
24.4
25.8
12.2
-
26.8

25.9
26.1
3.5
9.4
7.8
7.9
10.3
-
24.2
25.4
11.6
-
26.7

25.6
25.7
4.0
8.6*
6.9*
6.8
9.5*
-
23.8
25.1
11.1
-
26.5

25.3
25.4
4.5
-
-
-
-
-
23.4
24.8
10.4*
-
26.3

24.8
25.0
5.0
-
-
-
-
-
23.0*
24.4*
-
-
26.1*

24.4*
24.5*
*PwrPk
68
56
54
56
42
115
122
47
42
130
59.5
122
122

Note1 The new holder test was done using different batteries.  Need to do more controlled testing.
Note2 The voltage is dropping fast with alkaline cells so it's difficult to say what it really is.  They can only maintain the current for a few seconds, but might be useful.
Note3 - DC Resistance.  When multiplied by the Tx current gives the voltage drop from the terminal voltage of the battry.  For example a fresh 20 Ni-MH cell battery might have a terminal voltage of 28 volts.  With a transmit current of 1.5 amps the drop will vary between 0.5 ( 27.5 delivered) volts for the 20 SC pack to 3.9 (24.1 delivered) volts for a battery using stock AA battery holders.  There's 30% more power delivered by the low resistnace pack.

* The peak power delivered for those tests where the peak power is at 5 amps will be higher if more current is drawn.  I just was not comfortable using higher test currents.  Note that the home made 3.3 AH SC pack is delivering more power than any other battery tested and it has the lowest DC resistance.

Note that the new holders are much much better than the stock holders.  Some radios, like the PRC-104, need a minimum of 20.0 volts to work.  You can see from the above table that if two of the old style battery holders were connected is series you could get a little less than 2 amps at 20 volts out.  BUT with the new holders you can pull over 3.5 amps and still have 20 volts out of a single battery, not two batteries as are needed with a stock BA-5590.

25 Mar 2005 - 11 Alkaline cells are a little hot (greater than 15 volts) and so are the LS91 Li-FeS2 Lithium cells. 
6 May 2005 - for SINCGARS radios where the cells are paralled alkaline and/or Li-FeS2 may work.

Run Time

This is done using a lap top computer to control an electronic load.  The cycle uses 9 minutes of receive current and 1 minute of transmit current.
Since the PRC-104 uses two batteries the actual currents are deivded by two yeilding 100 ma Rx and 1.5 Amp test currents for the actual 200 ma Rx current and 3 Amp Tx current.
SINCGARS uses a single battery with 320ma Rx current and 1.7 Amps Tx current for the Medium power setting.

The Battery Safety Guide has some run times for the BA-5590/U.
PRC-104 23 hours normal temp, 7 hours low temp.
PRC-119 (RT-1439) SINCGARS 16 hours normal temp, 6 hours low temp.
PRC-119A (RT-1523, RT-1523A) SINCGARS 25 hours normal temp, 16 hours low temp.
C-11561 SINCGARS RCU normal use 13 hours, 8 hours low temp
HYX-57 wire line interface 49 hours, 21 hr cold
KY-57 42 hr, 17 hs cold.

The Feb 2001 issue 579 pg 48 of PS magazine says a new BB-390A battery will only give 6 hours of  run time out of the box after a charge, but that after two full charge discharge cycles it should provide 12 to 18 hours of run time.  The CECOM web site for rechargable batteries says that a BB-390 near it's end of life should deliver 8 hours of run time.

The 1999 PS mag issue 558 pg 53 says a BA-5590A/U will last 24 hours as part of the BB-390A/U promotion.

Actual Tested Run Times using laptop and electronic load

Name
# of Cells
Chemistry
AH
½ PRC-104
PRC-104
single batt
SINCGARS
5590BA
20
Ni-MH
2.3
8 hr

8 hr
4.7 hr5
6.8 hrs6
5590BA
40
Ni-MH Pack
2.0
10 hr

7.8, 12.33 hr
5590BA
20
Ni-MH Pack
2.0
tbd

tbd
5590BA
20
Ni-Cad
1.0
3.5 hrs6
3.9 hrs6
5590BA
20
Alkaline
Wal-Mart
EverActive
same as
Eveready E91
2.0
tbd

2 hr2
5590BA
20 SC
Ni-MH
3.3
10.51 12.75
12.5 hr5
5.8
13, 9.8, 12.54 hr
10.6 hr5
9 hr6.5
BB-390 (9U)
40
Ni-MH
3.6
12 hr

8.5, 13.8 hr
BB-390 (63)
40
Ni-MH 3.6
7 hr 14.4 hr

Note1 - First run with SC pack 1 June 2005 - will do SINCGARS run next then try PRC-104 again. (i.e. cycle pack a few times to get full cpacity.
The Battery Space AH ratings have no details and so don't mean too much.  But the capacity can be calculated for the radio cycle loading.
The receive part of the cycle is: 9/60 hours * 1.2 Volts * 20 cells = 0.36 WH
The trans.   part of the cycle is: 1/60 hours * 1.2 Volts * 20 cells =  0.60 WH
So the total for 10 minutes is 0.96 WH.  An 8 hour run time corresponds to 46 WH (divide by 1.2 V=) 38 AH.  This is less than the (20 * 3.3 AH) 66 AH capacity advertised for a couple of reasons.  The actual power delivered is not at 1.2 volts but in all cases at a higher voltage that changes during the test.  The WH capacity of a battery decreases as the load current increases, it's not constant.  1.5 Amps is much more that the specified load current which is probably more like 0.33 Amps (i.e. C/10).

The SC pack (79 WH rating) is delivering more run time than the higher rated 4 pack ( 96 WH) of 2 AH AA cells.  This may be because the SC cells are rated for much higher currents (say 30 amps for an RC race car) than the AA cells and so when loaded have less internal voltage drop.  Also the radio Tx currents are about C/2 for the SC cell but more like C/1.3 for the AA cells, i.e. the AA cells are called on to provide a higher discharge rate relative to their capacity.  Or maybe when two packs of 10 cells are connected in parallel they are not as efficient as a pure series pack?  Testing single packs of 10 will give some insight on this.

4 June 2005 - the second PRC-104 run with the 20 SC pack improved from the initial 7.8 hours to 12.75 hours, slightly better than the used BB-390.  Next another charge cycle on the Propel then another SINCGARS run.

Note 2 - After the test the batteries check as good on a radio shack battery tester, i.e.. they look like new, so the test terminated for an unknown reason, maybe they got hot or gained charge after resting for a day or so.

Note 3 - after being connected as a pack and going through a second charge cycle the pack is now delivering more watt hours than any other option tested as of 29 May 2005.

Note 4 - 6 June 2005 Second SINCGARS run at 9.8 hours is strange. 13 June 2005 12.5 hours, Propel Charger.

Note5 - this test after using the Battery Space charger

Note6 - after Propel Charger, 6.5 - after Proper Charger + 5 hrs on PP-7286 @ C/10

Batteries Not Included

The 5590BA comes with battery holders for 22 AA batteries, but the batteries are not included.  I recommend the use of Ni-MH AA batteries. Ni-Cad would also work but they have less capacity and may have memory problems.  A possible advantage of Ni-Cad batteries is that they do not get as hot during charging and might work in military chargers, but I don't have a way to check this out for all situations.  Some alkaline batteries have a lot of internal resistance and so probably will not work at all, but this needs to be checked once the custom production battery holders arrive.

You will also need to supply a battery charger that can charge the batteries, either one at a time, or more conveniently charge a string of 11 cells or even better the whole battery adapter if it's a burp charger that will not overheat the batteries and holders.

For testing I'm using the 2.3 AH Powerizer AA batteries from Battery Space.  They come in a 24 pack for $29.99 and if discount code 
batteryspace
is entered there's a 5% discount.  They seem to be in stock and ship the next day.
If you find a reasonable priced higher capacity AA cell let me know.

Recommendation

The home made pack of 20 SC Ni-MH cells gives performance about the same as a BB-390.  Maybe better depending on the Amp Hour capacity of the cells used.  This makes a great battery.  The caution is that you need either a burp or trickle charger.  Don't use the PP-8444 or Maha chargers as they will over heat the battery.
I have a pdf instruction sheet with details on:
It's 8 MB, too big to email, will be sent USPS mail upon request.

Battery Configuration

The battery holders that come with the 5590BA will provide good service, but no where near the run times that you can get from using SC size Ni-MH cells made up into a custom pack of 20 cells.  There's a trade off between getting the highest Amp Hour capacity cells for top dollar or getting slightly less capacity for a better $/Watt Hour value.  Today (10 June '05) I think the 3.3 AH batteries from Battery Space are a better value, but the 3.7 AH cells from Cheap Battery Packs have more capacity.

Charging

For either the Battery holders or the SC cells the charger (or better 2 of them) from Battery Space appears to be good value and does not overheat the cells like the Maha C777+ or the PP-8444.

Fair Radio has some BA-5590 style plugs mounted on a metal plate that can be used to make up a charger based on two of the Battery Space chargers thus allowing both sides to be charged at the same time.  Much more convenient than doing them one at a time.  Also with two chargers both sides can be left on trickle charge which may be needed to fully charge Ni-MH cells.

$ per Watt Hour

A comparison done 26 May 2005 all for a 20 or 40 cell arrangement.
Source
Chemistry
Size
AH0
$/QTY
WH
$/WH
Battery Space
Ni-MH
AA
2.3
$30 / 24
55.2
0.451
Battery Space
Ni-MH
SC
3.3
$50 / 20
80.5
0.612
Cheap Battery Packs
Ni-MH
SC
3.7
$130 / 20
88.8
1.462
Battery Space
Ni-MH
AA
2.0
$59 / 4 *10-packs
96
0.63
Battery Space Ni-MH AA 2.0 $30 / 2 * 10-packs
48
0.63
Note 0 - The Amp Hour rating may or may not correlate to radio run time.  This is because the battery voltage recovers when the load is removed or reduced.  It may be that the larger SC cells that are rated for 30 Amps load current will actually provide a longer run time than the ratio of the Amp Hour ratings. 
Note 1 - There will be 4 left over batteries, shipping costs need to be added.
Note 2 - This is the loose cell price.  20 bars at 40 cents, some wire and connectors plus labor needed to make pack.

Weight

The adapter without any batteries installed weighs just under a pound.

Opening the 5590BA

5590BA Lid
The aluminum lid has 4 "ears" that point inward and attach to 4 slots in the aluminum box.  To get the "ears" clear of the box pressure is needed on the two sides of the box.  The sides are 2.5" x 5".  Since the socket bracket holds one of the sides most of the pressure needs to be applied to the side opposite the socket.  This way no extra hardware is used. 

The prototype units take some force to open, a slight of build person may want to use a vise with cloth covering the jaws to squeeze the sides.  The production units will be made from thinner Aluminum and be easier to open.

10 June 2005 - By filing all the tabs so that the height measured from the outside of the lid is reduced from 0.20" to just under 0.120" the tabs will not protrude into the inside of the box allowing the use of 20 SC cells.  It also makes it easier to remove the lid.

Status

28 Feb. 2005 - It looks like the prototypes work well.  There may be a problem with how much the socket floats.  Need to get parts on order to build them.

2 March 2005 - I'm getting a quotation for a tapped battery holder that would allow connection with either 10 or 11 cells in the string.  10 may be needed for compatibility with military equipment designed to charge the BB-590/U battery.  Note that the BB-390/U charger needs thermistors which are not part of the current 5590BA design.

7 Mar 2005 - the battery holder manufacturer will supply my improved design with the heavier wires

16 March 2005 - I've learned that one of the differences between a primary socket (like used on the BA-5590) and a secondary socket (like used on any of the BB-xx90 batteries) is that the warding key ways are different.  This is how the problem of charging a BA-5590 is prevented.  For some reason most chargers do not check for the electrical jumper between pins 3 and 1.  But equipment that can charge the battery may use pin 3 as the negative end of a 30 volt charger where pin 4 is jumpered to pin 2 and pin 5 is the positive end of the charger output.  This way a BA-5590 would not be charged.

25 March 2005 - Battery holders have arrived, but the 5590BA boxes are back at the sheet metal shop for rework.
1 April 2005 - Received reworked boxes.
6 April 2005 - Doing charging tests to help determine how the socket should be wired.
8 April 2005 - Starting prototype  socket wiring with 105 deg C wire and white Power Pole pin 3 charging option.
13 April 2005 - Received new 2.3 AH Powerizer AA cells for load testing without being on the Maha charger.
                        Boxes out for laser marking.
14 April 2005 - Run time of 8 hours using 20 each 2.3 AH Ni-MH Powerizer batteries.
19 April 2005 - Starting to test Internal Resistance of batteries + Battery Holders.
22 April 2005 - Boxes back with laser marking, see above.
                         Start Pilot Production tomorrow
25 April 2005 - The machine shop can make the plug body to mate with any BA-5590 family battery or this adapter.  The plug will use standard insert male pins and a standard 12 series clamp (& bushing if the wire is that small).  This will support a number of Related Products  and also be available for easy field assembly of cables without any potting required.  Small quantity of pins on order for the 5590P Plug for testing.
2 May 2005 - The Propel charger seems to properly charge the 5590BA with 22 cells.  Only 7.8 hrs run time, did not work.
3 May 2005 - 22 cell version of 5590BA on PP-7286 charger, more tomorrow.
4 May 2005 - Only got 8.25 hours from 22 cells and using the PP-7286 charger.
6 May 2005 - MRCG meeting Friday 10:00 am presentation of BA-5590 family and this adapter, Camp San Luis Obispo
7 May 2005 - email to battery pack maker to see about a 40 AA cell pack to fit the 5590BA.
8 May 2005 - Ordered 4 each 12 Volt battery packs each one has 2x5 2.0 AH AA cells with welded tabs and shrink wrap.  They should fit the box as is.  Only need Power Pole connectors added
10 May 2005 - 4 Powerizer battery packs installed, they do fit beside socket.  Now on Propel charger.
11 May 2005 - the 40 cell (4 pack) run time is just over 10 hours, not as good as a used BB-390 but very close.
Note although the 4 packs do fit in the box the fit is so close that the lid can not be put on.  A design change would accommodate getting the lid on but it's not possible now.
Wal-Mart Alkaline now on load test in SINCGARS "12 Volt" configuration.  Impressive current capability.  2 hours run time, they work but not for long (other alkaline cells will not work at call at the high currents needed).  Note the Wal-Mart EverActive are about the same as Eveready E91.
23 May 2005 - Charging 2.3 AH Ni-MH and 1 AH Ni-Cad for SINCGARS run time tests tomorrow.  Then Ni-Cad charged by PP-8444.
                         Have Cables on order for the PP-8249 SINCGARS battery charger to see if it will work.
The 5590BA can be purchased with customization options like without the AA battery holders or with just wires from the socket with out Power Pole connectors or with just raw connector pins so you can attach your own wires.
26 May 2005 - the SINCGARS run time for 20 ea. 2.3 AH AA cells was a little over 2 hours.  Not sure why, but expect it has to do with matching the two strings of cells.
   Have 20 each SC 3.3 AH Ni-MH cells and some interconnect bars on order to make up a 20 cell pack.  The cells will be hot melt glued together then the interconnect bars soldered.
31 May 2005 - The 20 SC 3.3 AH batteries arrived.  They came with welded tabs, but both tabs are pointing in the same direction so could only be used if you were making a stick.  I bent them back and forth and broke them all off.  After sanding the tab material it can easily be soldered.  First used hot melt glue to stick all the cells together then soldered on the Cheap Battery Pack bars.  The voltage as delivered on both packs was a little above 12 V and matched to within 0.01 volts.  As the Propel charger is charging both sides the voltage continues to be within 0.01 volts.  (note the cells are sold as matches sets of 10 and I asked that both sets also match each other.  They will be charging overnight.

I also got the Multi Current Universal Smart Charger that has a switch for either 0.9 or 1.8 Amps charge current (< $30).  It should be able to charge a 10 cell string without getting it hot, we'll see.  If that works well I'll get another so both sides can be charged at the same time.

4 June 2005 - the 20 SC pack is looking better and better.  A drawing of the batteries in the box shows that the lid and slots can be relocated so that although asymmetrical the lid can be put on either way.  Also have started looking into how to make a battery holder for these cells that can handle the high currents (i.e. have very low resistance).

6 June 2005 - 20 SC pack 9.8 hours run time on SINCGARS.  Next try Battery Space charger (10.6 hours).
7 June 2005 - the Battery Space charger works without overheating  the 3.3 AH SC cells, see above for details.  The run time is the same as for the Propel chrager so it works and is available.  The alligator clips that come with the charger work well on the Power Pole connector on the batteries.
The first way I've come up with to make a battery holder for SC cells is doable, but would be expensive.  It's questionable if it makes sense since it's relatively easy to solder up a pack using readily available bars.  The battery plug looks like a more profitable product.

8 June 2005 - The Battery Space charger works nicely on the 2.3 AH AA Ni-MH cells just over 100 deg F at end of charge, but takes about 3 hours which seems a little long since the 3.3 AH SC battery packs charged in 2 hours.  20 of the 2.3 AH AA cells in battery holders are now on the SINCGARS run time test after being charged with the Battery Space charger.

10 June 2005 - Lid modification to allow use of 20 each SC size cells and to make it easier to remove the lid.  Hint:  If you haven't made this mod and are having difficulty in removing the lid a small (-) blade screwdriver can be used to pry it off.

28 June 2005 - Using a single 5590BA with a 20 SC cell pack the PRC-104 will run for 5.8 hours.  This is due to the very low resistance of the SC pack keeping the voltage up during transmit.

16 July 2005 - A customer attempted to make the SC battery pack and destroyed most of the cells by overheating them.  So it does take advanced soldering skills to make the SC pack.  An alternate would be to have a custom pack welded (or better bars soldered) by Cheap Battery Packs.com or one of the "battery stores" that does re-cell work or makes custom battery packs.  A simple way to test a pack is to connect a 12 volt automobile tail light bulb to 1 & 4 or 2 & 5 to provide some load current then check the voltage across each cell.  They all should be close to the same voltage and above 1.2 volts.  To have bars soldered you need to go to someone who makes packs for the RC car hobby.  Normal battery dealers only do the spot welding type packs.

17 July 2005 - Reduced price for U.S. mail address to under $100.

21 July 2005 - a used BB-390 on the full power PRC-104 run time test lasts 7 hours compared to the 20 SC pack in the 5590BA at 5.8 hours.

Related Products

Plug

I have investigated a number of sources for plugs that mate with the BA-5590 family of batteries and they are either very expensive or difficult to use (require potting for cable attachment).  In order to offer the following cables a plug is needed.  One is now in the design stages.  It will be a custom machined shell-insert that will accept standard machined solder cup pins and use a standard military size 6 cable clamp (3/4-20 thread).  It also will accept a commercial low cost extraction tool to allow the pins to be removed supporting rework, repair or cannibalization (you can not do this with a potted connector).  The rear cavity is much longer than an ordinary connector to allow a couple of 3 Amp Schottky diodes to be installed in that space allowing the construction of a "12 Volt" output cable.  Of course any other type of normal cable can also be made.

14 May 2005:
There are a number of size 6 clamps available.  The 654-97-67-14-6 is a Water Resistant clamp with a rubber bushing, the 654-97-3057-1007-1 is a standard military clamp that comes with a rubber bushing and the 654-3057-6 is a commercial clamp with no bushing available.

For status see my Products In Development paragraph on the PRC68.com web page.
A Power Pole to wire ends cable could be used to aid in charging each side of the adapter when the cover is removed to give access for a charger thermistor. 
Specialized cable to match a charger to the 5590BA.

July 2005 - Plug on hold.  If made to the first design it would be a long straight connector sticking up from the battery, not good if the battery is in the field.  Better to make the plug in a 90 degree type design to both minimize the added height and to allow the plug to be strapped on the battery to prevent unplugging.

Background

Background information on the BA-5590/U and it's variants is on web page BA5590

BA-5590 Family Battery Adapter development history

In order to be economical and to have about the same capacity as a BA-5590 I have chosen to use 16 each common "C" cells.  You can not easily connect two Switching Mode Power Supplies in parallel so it's not feasible to offer a battery adapter that has 2 sides and let the user equipment wire them either in series or in parallel.  So it's better to offer three different adapters:

5590BAP Passive Battery Adapter

5590BAP Alpha Prototype14 June 2004 - It turns out that the springs in the "C" battery holder used for the test were a problem.  They heated to the point of melting the plastic.

Testing today with a high current modification to one of the stock 257477BA adapters reduced the total resistance for 10 cells from half an Ohm to less than ¼ Ohm.  The half an Ohm is consistent with the resistance of one battery support spring.  At 3 Amps load the terminal voltage of 10 each 4.5 AH batteries is 12.9 Volts, or 1.29 Volts per cell.  Testing on a real PRC-104 shows the Tx load current to be closer to 1 Amp than 3 Amps.
14 June 2004 - New idea is to use "AA" cells in a passive adapter.  Home Depot is selling a package of   36 Energizer AAs for $ 13.00.  This has a number of big advantages over any active battery adapter.

C Cell battery Test

13 Aug. 2003 - I'm planning of testing a series string of 8 Alkaline "C" cells.  Rx load will be 200 ma for 9 minutes and the Tx load will be 3 Amps for 1 minute.  This will be repeated untill the voltage drops below 10.0 Volts.
Brand
Duracell
Energizer
Rayovac
Model
MN1400
E93
Maximum Plus
Date Code
Mar 2010 2010
Dec 2010
Wal Mart
$ for 8 cells
$9.74
$ 7.97
$ 6.84
Run Time hrs
0 @ 3A
no test
no test
Capacity Amp Hrs



Capacity Watt Hrs



$ per Watt Hr



5590BA15 Active Battery Adapter

This is the 13.6 Volt version. A Switching Mode Power Supply will take the output from 16 rechargable "C" cells connected in series and transform it into a 13.6 Volt output.  This way the current draw from the batteries will be less than the current draw from the radio thus the batteries will provide more than their nominal watt hours.

5590BA30 Active Battery Adapter

This is the 27.2 Volt version.  A Switching Mode Power Supply will take the output from 16 rechargable "C" cells connected in series and transform it into a 27.2 Volt output.  There's not enough room inside the BA-5590 outline to fit more "C" cells. 

I need customer data on what radios or other equipment they would use with either of these adapters.  And if the 15 Volt or 30 Volt model and the current pulled from it.  The current is a critical design factor for a SMPS in order to (1) be able to supply what's needed and (2) do it efficiently.

Links

    April 2006 QST article on Green Radios.

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