TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Mon, 23 Jul 2018, 19:29

I'm finding that when the MOSFETs are blown, there is a good chance that the drivers (U15 and U16, IR2110L6) also go, and often also take out one or more of the gate resistors (R57/R66/R65/R74) and their paralleled diodes (Q12/Q16/Q17/Q21). When the driver chips go, they can often present a low impedance to the 15 V power supply. The latter is current limited (I think by Q9 and R11 on the Comp pin of the VIPer power supply chip), so it can collapse the 15 V and also 12 V power supplies to a few volts. [ Edit: as KennyBobby reported in post one for his charger. ] This can cause a wild goose chase attempting to fix the power supply when it is the load that is at fault.

The boost diodes (D4/D7, BR6) and the boost capacitors (C38/C46, 100 nF) can be tested in circuit. I found that one of the diodes was reading bad reverse leakage due to the driver chip being blown up. I'm starting to think it's worth replacing the drivers in pairs, regardless of whether they appear to be blown or not. (In other words, the likelihood of one driver being blown if the other is blown is so high that it's quicker and cheaper to replace both than to try and figure out if one is still working.)

The gate resistors can easily be measured in circuit as well. However, their paralleled diodes are not so easy to test. I finally decided on using my current limited power supply set to 2.0 V and 0.1 A, applied directly across the gate resistors. Mine has a handy digital display showing the present voltage and current. In one direction, I measure about 1.03 V (1.0 V theoretical), and 0.75 to 0.76 V in the other (with the diode conducting about 25 mA). I was surprised to find quite a few gate diodes not working. One gate resistor was high resistance (325Ω); this reads as 2.00 V and 0.0 A from the power supply. It's like a multimeter resistance measurement, except with a 100 mA current instead of 1-2 mA, and the units are tens of ohms (resistance) or volts (diode). So this power supply test can test a gate resistor and its paralleled diode in one operation (two readings).

Edit: Note that Q12 and R57, the second of the four sets of date diodes and resistors when reading left to right, are upside down compared to the others. You may find it easier to work with the pins on the diodes; when the positive lead from the current limited power supply is on the anode (middle pin all on its own), the diode should conduct, so you should see around 0.75 V rather than 2.0 V.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Mon, 23 Jul 2018, 19:31

I've updated my most recent post before this one to note that one pair of the four gate diodes and resistors is upside down, making it hard to remember whether to expect the diode to conduct or not. As i mention in the edit, it becomes easier if you probe the gate diodes rather than the gate resistors. I find that multimeter leads on the power supply clip leads make for more accurate positioning, and poking through the soft black gunk without having to remove it.

My score with the present charger was three gate diodes and one gate resistor open circuit or high resistance. When the gate resistor is high resistance, you can bet that the diode is gone, and the driver as well. In fact, it might be worth starting with the gate resistors and diodes, instead of with the driver chips, since the former are fairly easy to measure, and act a bit like fuses to indicate that there has been high current here. In my case, the carnage appears (so far) to have stopped with the chip before the drivers, a CD4001B quad NOR gate.

Edit: Note also that if the 10R gate resistors on the control board have blown, there is a good chance that the 1R0 gate resistors on the main board (right near the MOSFET gates) are also toast. Three out of four of these turned out to be open circuit.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Mon, 23 Jul 2018, 19:36

My latest thoughts are that when replacing MOSFETs, it could be a good idea to do some tests while the old MOSFETs are out, before the replacements are in.

Firstly, after checking that there are no solder dags reducing the gap between bus+ and bus- (between the big red jumpers), you could insert only J7 and with a power supply set to 50 V and 2.5 A, check that the PFC stage inverts the bus up to ~ 390 VDC.

Now with all jumpers in, you can test the MOSFET drivers and the desaturation protection circuit. You should see a 500 ns pulse on pin 1 (LO, Low side Output) of both drivers. With no MOSFETs in place, the high side outputs will be at +15 V (through the boost diodes D4/D7 and the conducting output transistors in the MOSFET drivers). To check these as well, connect a clip lead and a 150Ω resistor between GND (which you have access to for your DSO ground) and one of the primary wires of the transformer. That brings the midpoints of the MOSFET bridge down near ground, so that there is 15 V to power up the high side drivers. With this clip lead in place, you should see a just under 50% duty cycle output, nearly 15 V p-p, on pin 8 (HO, High side Output) of both MOSFET drivers. The 50% duty cycle comes from the RS latch formed by two of the gates of U12 (CD4001, quad NOR gate).

This test caught a problem with the present charger; the printed circuit pad to one of the driver chips had lifted, leaving LIN (Low side INput) floating. There was no output from that driver's pin 1 output, but tracing back, I found nearly 50% duty cycle on PWM chip (U14, UC3846) pin 14 (B OUT, second output). From previous experience, I know there should be a narrow pulse, around 2 μs wide, on that output (with MOSFETs present). The lack of gate output disabled that half of the desaturation protection circuit, which is what narrows the PWM chip's output pulses.

Not having MOSFETs in place (or not working or not driven correctly) will look like a massive desaturation error, since there is nothing pulling the midpoint of the MOSFET bridge (either side of the transformer primary winding) towards ground when the low side gates are driven high. This is the reason for the 150Ω resistor above; this with the 1kΩ resistors R59/R58 form a voltage divider that puts some 2 V at the midpoint, just like a badly desaturated MOSFET. (Ok, I guess MOSFETs don't strictly desaturate, but the principle is the same; there should not be 2 V drop across the conducting MOSFET, or certainly not for long). In the attached DSO screen photo, you can see the normal ramp (thin black line) has a large spike added to it, with peak amplitude some 1.9 V. Some of that may be due to the inductance of the wirewound 150Ω resistors I used. These spikes at pin 4 of the PWM chip (Current Sense +) is what causes the PWM chip to shorten the output pulses. When you see the 500 ns pulses instead of the near 50% square waves at the PWM chip output (and hence at the driver chips' LO outputs), you know that the desaturation protection is working. Without this check, it would be difficult to know that the desat protection is working, and a repaired charger could go into the field without a major protection circuit in place.

Desaturation protection only applies to the two low side MOSFETs. If something goes wrong with the high side MOSFETs, like a dead short, this will not cause an immediate problem, and won't be detected, until the low side MOSFETs conduct. As far as I can see, if one or both of the low side MOSFETs short first, the desaturation protection will not prevent shoot through, and consequent catastrophic failure of at least two MOSFETs, and likely their driver(s) and the CD4001 latch.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Thu, 26 Jul 2018, 17:11

I finally got to work on a HQ (2014ish) model today. I thought I'd share with you some grizzles about the repairability or lack thereof, of these chargers.

In the attached images, you can see U11 (a voltage reference, I think) on a tab off the daughter board that protrudes into the mother board. I can't think of a reason for that, other than sheer bloody mindedness!

There are parts on both sides of the daughter board now, making access to the parts on the side facing the charger internals quite challenging.

For example Q1, which seems to drive the power supply's transformer (no longer a Viper chip with a heatsink soldered to it) is so far under the power supply transformer (or more likely the multi-turn inductor) that it's difficult to even see the part, let alone probe it or replace it. The attached photo is the best that I could do with a mirror, to show you a third of it. The green outline is my guess as to where the rest of it is.

Models between this one and the ultra compact ones (1.8 / 3.3 / 6.6 kW models) are even more different from the original models, e.g. using surface mount resistors for the battery and charger-output voltage dividers. They may no longer use low tolerance parts that are calibrated out with EEPROM contents.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Thu, 26 Jul 2018, 17:13

It occurred to me that it might be worthwhile replacing C38, the 220μF 400 V capacitor near the MOSFETs, with something a little higher voltage, higher ripple current rated, and/or longer life, since this capacitor is the main thing that saves the MOSFETs from overvoltage spikes. I would have liked to have found a 10,000 hour model, but they don't seem to exist at 400 V+.

I asked my friend Weber to use his capacitor selecting expertise on the problem, and he came up with these three suggestions, in order of decreasing quality (best one first):

1) Rubycon 420VXH270MEFCSN25X40, 270μF 420 V, 5000 hr, 105°C, 2.17 A @ 10 kHz ripple current.

2) United Chemicon ELXS451VSN221MQ40S, 200μF 450 V, 5000 hr, 105°C, 1.72 A @ 50 kHz ripple current.

3) Nichicon LGX2G221MELA35, 220μF 400 V, 5000 hr, 105°C, 1.6 A @ 50 kHz ripple current.

All these are available from Digi-key (see above links). Unfortunately, the best one is only available from there, considering the other 3 suppliers that I regularly use. They're not cheap either, but I think in this application they would be a wise investment. The other 2 or three capacitors away from the MOSFETs are only there for 100/120 Hz duty, so they could be nearly any 105°C model.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Thu, 26 Jul 2018, 17:15

Original post by Cinquecento:

Thanks for sharing all the info in this thread! It really helped me to sort out the problem with my 2kW charger - it had exactly the same problem as the one described in post #165. [ Edit Coulomb: of the diyelectriccar.com site. ]
The 220uF 400V caps were popped (black lids had come off on two of them) and there was a bad soldering on one of the relay pins.
Symptom was that it failed to charge the battery pack, and the LED flashed red-green with 1s intervals (code for "Battery disconnected").
I replaced the caps (with EPCOS 220uF, 400V - DigiKey part no 495-6285-ND) and re-soldered the relay pin, and now it seems to work again!
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Thu, 26 Jul 2018, 17:16

Original post by Dimitri:

Guys, since I no longer have one of these chargers I can't verify myself, but wanted to know. I'd appreciate if one of you can confirm.
There is an internal 12V supply which is exposed on pins 2 and 3 of the 7 pin DIN connector, which is used to enable/disable the charger by a BMS system.

I'd like to confirm if this 12V supply is or isn't isolated from the DC output of the charger? Can someone do a continuity test between pin 2 of the DIN and negative DC output?
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Thu, 26 Jul 2018, 17:17

Original post by Pdove:

Well, I can make measurements when I get home but the 12 volt is isolated with a transformer but the negative is the same as the DC bus,
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Thu, 26 Jul 2018, 17:18

Original post by Dimitri, 2017/Sep/09:

Thanks Paul, that's what I suspected. Appreciate your help.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:26

The 2014 models have a 12 V output that is isolated from everything, certainly including the battery being charged. But they don't have the 7-pin round connector. They have an array of sockets near the output cable, so presumably different models could have the 12 V brought out. Or any such model could be modified by taking off the lid and replacing the cable with a different one(s), plugging into the input and outputs required.

There is also a "TEMP" input, which I suspect is much the same as the ENABLE input on the 7-pin round connector. But I can't find details. On the one 2014 model I have here at present, only the CAN+ and CAN- signals are brought out. It's an isolated CAN output.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:28

Original post by KennyBobby:

Here's some pictures of what's involved to replace the processor chip. Over time i've found it easier to remove the 5-pin programming header than melt it trying to get a soldering iron into a cramped place. Also beware of melting the plastic plunger of the button switch.

Here's the before, blown processor and 10 Ohm R7 resistor (in the 12V line to 3.3V regulator)
Image

The black coating gets under the chip making it nearly impossible to remove without damage.
Image

Cleaned up:
Image

Soldered on a new processor chip:
Image

Program it and good as new...
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:29

kennybobby;900937 wrote: ... Program it and good as new...
Wow, you make it sound so easy. And probably it is, after the first one or two.

Any idea why there was the yellow gunk over one end of the processor? Surely not to discourage you from replacing it should it ever blow up? Surely they don't think they can keep the processor part number a secret?
KennyBobby wrote: ... nearly impossible to remove without damage
Is that damage to the old chip, or to the PCB? I assume the latter; do you find you can usually repair the PCB to a "good enough" state? I think I've had similar problems with some of the other surface mount chips, like the MOSFET drivers, and so far have been able to repair the board well enough.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:31

Original post by KennyBobby:

Yeah the programming is easy for me--Paul does it!

The yellow gunk was holding a resistor that was added from ground to pins 15 and 16 of the processor--guess that was to pull down the unused pins.

Image


The yellow gunk makes a good tell-tale indicator--it turns brown or black if exposed to a thermal source (and heat makes it easy to crumble off). So if a chip or capacitor has gotten hot it shows up.

Image


As far as removing the processor chip it usually breaks off some of the tiny leads. i have had traces and pads lift off the board (e.g. on Dimitri's charger) but used tiny wires to make repairs.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:33

Original post by Tomppa:

Hi!

This thread is very interesting. I read the whole thread.

Quick question:

I have a 1,5 kw TcCharger and Soliton Jr in my conversion. I was going to use external relay to disconnect charger's output and battery during driving conditions. Why the relay? I was thinking of protecting the charger from AC ripple, but I found out, from this thread, that there is internal relay on the output too? So, is it ok to just leave the charger's output connected all the times?

P.s Ot. I have a DC-DC also from TcCharger. I'm using 100uH inductor in series with positive wire to protect it.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:33

Tomppa;933658 wrote: I was going to use external relay to disconnect charger's output and battery during driving conditions. Why the relay? I was thinking of protecting the charger from AC ripple, but I found out, from this thread, that there is internal relay on the output too? So, is it ok to just leave the charger's output connected all the times?
Yes, the relays will be off when there is no mains input. Presumably, your motor controller will be off while charging. There are only small capacitors (1 nF or less) to chassis from positive and negative output. So no need for an external relay.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:35

Original post by Pdove:
Originally Posted by Tomppa
Hi!

I was thinking of protecting the charger from AC ripple, but I found out, from this thread, that there is internal relay on the output too? So, is it ok to just leave the charger's output connected all the times?

P.s Ot. I have a DC-DC also from TcCharger. I'm using 100uH inductor in series with positive wire to protect it.
There are already two filters on the input of the charger. I don't believe AC ripple is a problem there is also a Transorb.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:36

Original post by Tomppa:

Thank you for your helpful replies. You have saved me some time and a relay.

I admire the time and dedication you have put into reverse engineering these devices and writing this thread. Good work!
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:36

pdove;933754 wrote:There are already two filters on the input of the charger. I don't believe AC ripple is a problem...
I believe that @Tomppa was talking about AC ripple on the pack, caused by the motor controller and/or sudden traction loads or regen, causing currents in the wires from the charger to the pack. There have even been fuse blows from this current, e.g. after sudden acceleration. It would also stress the capacitors in the output section of the charger.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:39

Original post by Tomppa:

Sorry, I should have been more explicit.
..Tomppa was talking about AC ripple on the pack, caused by the motor controller
Correct.
There have even been fuse blows from this current... It would also stress the capacitors in the output section of the charger.
I have read this too. People are having issues especially with DC-DC. It's running hot (input caps), making strange hissing noises, blowing the fuse etc.
I don't know if TcCharger's DC-DC has been designed with proper filtering, hence the 100uH inductor.

Maybe some charger designs don't have an internal relay on the output side and ripple is an issue. Or you are charging when driving via range extender
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:41

Hi,

I am reporting here a problem with my Elcon 1500 charger, that doesn't seem to fit with others reported here. I've been using my charger for about 8 years now, and recently it has intermittently stopped providing a charging current. The LED functions as normal, flashing during startup and then going to full red, but with no current to batteries. Sometimes, a small current might start up (0.1 amps), and sometimes (but not often) this will eventually creep up to the full 11 amps that it normally charges with. I have a 105V system, charging lithiums.

I took the cover off, and occasionally I can hear crackling noise from the 2.2uf capacitor indicated in the photo. Taping on the capacitor, and the line-in terminal from the mains (the black wire) as well as the inductor coil that's next to it, with a stick seems to get the crackling going. Might this just be poor solder connection, or would a failed capacitor or other part cause these problems. It looks like a lot of work to lift the board out to see underneath, so I was hoping for some advice here before looking further.

Cheers, Don
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:42

Original post by Weber:

Almost certainly a bad solder joint.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:43

Original post by Pdove:
Originally Posted by drdonh
Hi,

I am reporting here a problem with my Elcon 1500 charger, that doesn't seem to fit with others reported here. I've been using my charger for about 8 years now, and recently it has intermittently stopped providing a charging current. The LED functions as normal, flashing during startup and then going to full red, but with no current to batteries. Sometimes, a small current might start up (0.1 amps), and sometimes (but not often) this will eventually creep up to the full 11 amps that it normally charges with. I have a 105V system, charging lithiums.

I took the cover off, and occasionally I can hear crackling noise from the 2.2uf capacitor indicated in the photo. Taping on the capacitor, and the line-in terminal from the mains (the black wire) as well as the inductor coil that's next to it, with a stick seems to get the crackling going. Might this just be poor solder connection, or would a failed capacitor or other part cause these problems. It looks like a lot of work to lift the board out to see underneath, so I was hoping for some advice here before looking further.

Cheers, Don
Coulomb had this issue and its documented here: post#145
https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums...002#post754002
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:44

Original post by DrDonoh:

I just read the post. The conclusion is the crackling noise is normal, that the capacitors are naturally accoustically active. Perhaps tapping them just helps make them active, and doesn't mean anything in terms of my issue. In any case, the charger was now able to just complete a charge cycle after going out for a brief drive.

I am starting to wonder if the problem is software related. In my battery management strategy, to try and stay in mid SOC, at the start of the driving season ( I do not drive the car in the canadian prairie winter), I start by charging the batteries to 90% (105V), zero my amp counter, and then typically only charge to 80% after each use using the 90% charge reference point as defined earlier. As it turns out, I think this is first time I ever tried charging starting at nearly 90% to just top up the charge to 90%. Yet, the full red LED lit up indicating it was wanting to charge at full rate. Is the charger correctly limiting the amps, but not indicating correctly with the LED status light that it is in the final charge mode (i.e. blinking red)? I will need to experiment with this some more.
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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:44

drdonh;992874 wrote: I took the cover off, and occasionally I can hear crackling noise from the 2.2uf capacitor indicated in the photo.
That one is directly across the mains, after the input fuse. So all it does is correct the power factor slightly, and absorb a few mains transients. So the charger doesn't need that one to be perfect to operate. Something else must be limiting your chargin.
Taping on the capacitor, and the line-in terminal from the mains (the black wire) as well as the inductor coil that's next to it, with a stick seems to get the crackling going. Might this just be poor solder connection, or would a failed capacitor or other part cause these problems.
It seems that the capacitor has an intermittent connection inside it. It's an "X" type safety capacitor, meaning it has fuses built in, and these are notorious for blowing. It's the price of safety. So if you remove the main PCB for other reasons, definitely check its soldering and replace if the soldering seems OK.
It looks like a lot of work to lift the board out to see underneath,
Yes, it is quite the hassle; I wish they were designed more for repairability.

It could be working as intended, but perhaps your sense resistors are getting old and have drifted off value. These are half watt metal film resistors that are actually accessible from the top of the board. Give it at least ten minutes after charging before fiddling with this part of the circuit. Study where the diodes are, and use plenty of light and magnification as needed to read the nominal value of those resistors (R10 and R20; they won't be 600 kΩ for your model, more like 100 kΩ or 120 kΩ. The problem could be the two pairs of resistors at the bottom of the chain (R8/R9/R34/R35 on the control board); these are also accessible without taking out the main PCB. For your model, they should likely be 2.0 kΩ (R9 and R35) and 3.6 kΩ (R8 and R34). You'll need to use the control board photo to find them, and scrape off some black gunk with a wooden tool to be able to access the ends. [ Edit: the control board resistors are 0805 surface mount parts). ]

If all these check out OK, then it's a fair bit more work to fix it.
Learning how to patch and repair PIP-4048 inverter-chargers and Elcon chargers.

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Re: TC/Elcon 2013 Charger Troubleshooting and Repair

Post by coulomb » Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 07:45

I can confirm that the PFC MOSFET gate driver transistors (Q6, Q7 on the control board) are indeed SMD versions of the S8050 and S8550. I read SMD codes 1HC and 1HD respectively. They're not trivial to find; RS-Online and element14 (Newark) don't seem to carry them. I found Mouser's SS8050/SS8550 parts to be a near match, though I haven't put them into service as yet. The Link is to the Australian Mouser site, but others should be able to find it from there.
Learning how to patch and repair PIP-4048 inverter-chargers and Elcon chargers.

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