Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parameters

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Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parameters

Postby c500user » 23 May 2020, 09:49

Hi,

As we all know, there are many mediocre lead-acid battery chargers. While the fully customisable PL8 is great for lead-acid batteries as well other chemistries, many users (and their carers) would love a simple connect-and-forget lead-acid charger that actually charges to the correct voltages for their particular lead-acid batteries and does not harm them!
They would also love to know how much they had actually charged!

I have used Victron IP65 Blue Smart chargers for years (I have a few 12V for cars and 24V for wheelchairs; these chargers come with built-in bluetooth and can be controlled from an app) but, like almost all chargers out there, was unable to see any charging history or change the charging parameters. Until now!

I found out that Victron have enhanced their mobile phone app. After updating the firmware on one of my chargers, I am now able to see the charging cycle history as well as change many charging parameters.

John, could you have a look and see if a proper 73Ah MK Gel charging setup can be made?
You can download the app to your phone (or Windows PC if you prefer) and access the screens in demo mode, so you don't need to buy the charger to see if all the parameters you might like to change can be changed or not.
https://www.victronenergy.com/blog/2020 ... -and-more/

Thanks,

Albert
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby c500user » 23 May 2020, 10:01

They now also have pre-made XLR cables, so no soldering required if you don't want to :-)

https://batteriesdirect.com.au/shop/pro ... 5-xlr.html
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 23 May 2020, 10:20

I looked, and read. Dont see anywhere that tells you anything actually useful other than it makes pretty pictures on your phone? What does the charger do? In detail. And can that phone app change it? Knowing how many Ah you returned to a lead battery doesent really help unless you discharge it a lot to start with. I can put 5ah back into a nominally full battery. Or .5 of an amp. The only difference would be the termination current and charge voltage. At higher voltages and at longer termination times/lower current more goes to waste as heat because our sealed batteries waste energy in recombining the water that they just split into gasses.

So its a pretty thing for a phone. I dont have a SMART phone anyway as I think they are dumb and they are always dead... And they do everything worse that the device they are trying to copy. Esp cameras, PCs, sat navs, etc.

So what does the charger actually do? I see no details.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby c500user » 23 May 2020, 10:29

Burgerman wrote:I looked, and read. Dont see anywhere that tells you anything actually useful other than it makes pretty pictures on your phone? What does the charger do? In detail. And can that phone app change it?


If you download the PC version of the software, you can run it in demo mode.
In "expert" mode it allows you to change the absorption, float and storage voltages, temp compensation as well as time limits for bulk and absorption charging.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 23 May 2020, 10:42

It controls the BLUE chargers right? I just downloaded the tech sheet for those. They seem to have a set of preset setting for various things. But as usual not enough details or specs to say if they are any good or not. If you can find the chargers spec sheet (not a phone ap that supposed to work for many of their solar/non solar chargers I can take a look.

Can that app control the actual charge, float voltages to the ones we need on the specific charger you will use it with? And more importantly can you set the CV time limit, the CV current termination point, and so on? If it can, then thats great. If not then who knows what its going to do?
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 23 May 2020, 10:50

It does say:

Blue Smart Chargers – Customizable charge profile

These chargers have a six or seven-step charge algorithms which is optimal for all common Lead Acid and Lithium Batteries. There is no need to tweak or update settings – in fact in many cases tweaking could result in an inferior charge performance for the batteries than with the default settings.

However, in some situations more specific settings are required, and these are now available. The new settings are configurable Absorption, Float and Storage voltages. As well as the Recondition setting and configurable temperature compensation value.

For even further tweaking there is the Expert mode; once enabled, the app allows changing practically all parameters and time limits used by the charge algorithm. Such as Bulk time limit, maximum absorption time and more.


It doesent tell us what we need to know. Other than we dont want a 6 or 7 stage profile! Just 3. But if it does allow you to set a termination current for e.g thats great. But how is this any simpler than the PL8? You still need to know what to set, what to change, and why? Other than its on a phone. Well the PL8 is also on a phone if thats what you want. Snaker made an app... But if you van choose CV termination current, then it will be a good overnight charger. If not, it will end early and rely on a much slower float stage to finish the charge. So not as good for cyclic use. You would need to vary the CV timer instead depending on if its deeply discharged or almost full. That said, it will be 1000 times better than any crappy mobility charger. But still needs user knowledge.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby c500user » 23 May 2020, 11:03

Burgerman wrote:It controls the BLUE chargers right? I just downloaded the tech sheet for those. They seem to have a set of preset setting for various things. But as usual not enough details or specs to say if they are any good or not. If you can find the chargers spec sheet (not a phone ap that supposed to work for many of their solar/non solar chargers I can take a look.

The spec sheet has not been updated yet. The new firmware has only just been released.
Can that app control the actual charge, float voltages to the ones we need on the specific charger you will use it with? And more importantly can you set the CV time limit, the CV current termination point, and so on?

In "expert" mode it allows you to change the absorption, float and storage voltages, temp compensation as well as time limits for bulk and absorption charging but no termination points. Changes are made to the settings of the charger you are connected to only.

The best way to see the options is to download the app (windows or otherwise), open the demo library, choose blue smart chargers and then opt for the IP65 24|8. I have added 2 screenshots from my PC. I created a new MK Gel preset but had not changed any values yet.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 23 May 2020, 11:05

https://www.victronenergy.com/chargers/ ... 65-charger
The actual charger. Its 13A so close enough to the 12A max we are allowed on mobility products to be safe. Although if you turn it down to 12A it would be safer. Also disable all of those 7 stages other than the 3 we want. CC (bulk or Constant Current stage) CV (Absorption for dummies or constant voltage) Float (another lower voltage storage voltage, also fixed voltage) all the other stages are marketing fluff. And some like equalisation damage sealed batteries.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby c500user » 23 May 2020, 11:05

Burgerman wrote:But how is this any simpler than the PL8?

Once setup it is connect-and-forget.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 23 May 2020, 11:09

The screenshots dont help. Can you set it to 28.2V CV? (Absorption) because 28.80 is too high if you want the battery to last. And I think that you cannot set any voltage you choose. It tells you... You just get a few choices of battery type. And like the MK one on your screen shot it decided for you. Or can YOU set it?

And can you set it to terminate at say 140mA? (thats 500thC on a 70Ah battery.
Or does it try and guess at about an amp and then go to float?
I see no way to set that.

Or does it just use time? Because that MIGHT work if it is monitoring the rate of amp drop, over time. But how can anyone know? Theres not enough info as usual.

Also, if you dont understand any of this stuff, how will you set it? What does "recondition" mean? What does it do? Likely nothing you want! Battery safe is pointless unless we know what that does. Nothing at 8A! and so on. Everything is dumbed down so nobody can tell what its going to do!
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby steves1977uk » 23 May 2020, 11:51

Well that's a well thought out program! czy See screenshot...

victrondemo.jpg


Both the Absorption and Storage voltages cannot be set below 48v! :cussing The only thing I could set properly was the Float volts to 27.20. Maybe it allows you to change them if the charger is connected.

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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 23 May 2020, 12:32

Its because thats just an app that connects to many different chargers and solar systems. And not every charger has the same options.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby rover220 » 23 May 2020, 12:58

its a great firmware update that now allows you to create your own charging presets. i shall be getting a couple to try out.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby rover220 » 23 May 2020, 12:58

steves1977uk wrote:Well that's a well thought out program! czy See screenshot...

victrondemo.jpg


Both the Absorption and Storage voltages cannot be set below 48v! :cussing The only thing I could set properly was the Float volts to 27.20. Maybe it allows you to change them if the charger is connected.

Steve


its a glitch i think with the demo, mine is doing the same.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby rover220 » 23 May 2020, 13:00

c500user wrote:
John, could you have a look and see if a proper 73Ah MK Gel charging setup can be made?

Thanks,

Albert


there is a preset already created for mk gel with the latest update.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 23 May 2020, 22:37

Yes and its wrong. It charges at 14.4V (28.8V) and no mention of when /what current it stops at... It has some kind of "auto absorption timer" which tells us nothing useful! Needs to be between 13.8 and 14.1 max (x2 for a pair). So a carefully monitored 14.1V for speed over night.

If it lets you set all your own or MKs parameters properly, manually, it should be great with a couple of things that spring to mind. Their chargers are usually not very cheap. And the fact that again, you have to know what you are doing to configure it correctly anyway! So not really any simpler than the PL8 or vasious marine chargers were. And its not very powerful. Ideally you would want a 25A choice, so you could use it as a fast top up as you eat or check mail during the day. That gives confidence to go out in an evening after a days use. (If that sort of thing is ever allowed again :problem: ) and because getting into that habit will make your battery last 7 or 8 years rather than 18 months. But I doubt it will allow that custom setting thing.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby jefferso » 24 May 2020, 00:39

c500user wrote:
Burgerman wrote:But how is this any simpler than the PL8?

Once setup it is connect-and-forget.


In addition to the simplicity, it's the size and weight that appealed to me. I bought one of the Victron IP22 24V 12A Chargers a while ago and it's great for travel. I don't usually have very long trips, so the lack of an ideal charge wasn't a deal breaker for me as I knew the PL8 and heavy power supply are waiting for me back home.

The phone app turned out to be useful for monitoring the charging too. I often can't see or reach the charger itself, or wrangle a laptop, to see what's going on. While traveling I sometimes plug in to sockets with power of unknown quality and I can watch to make sure charging is happening and can switch between 12A and 6A if I think a socket might not be able to deliver 12A (e.g. on some trains or more rustic locations).

I don't know yet if the update will be able to change anything on the IP22. I hope so, because the settings are not ideal. I also haven't yet read if the custom charging works on an IP65 either, or just on their more complex larger chargers. I'll try to dig out the IP22 and try it soon.

The 24 volt 12 amp IP22 is about 1.3kg, 65 x 108 x 235mm
It looks like the IP65 24 volt 13 amp charger is 1.9kg, 75 x 140 x 240mm
The 8A version of the IP65 seems even smaller and lighter than the IP22 if you don't need more than 8 amps, 0.9kg, 60 x 105 x 190mm
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby jefferso » 24 May 2020, 01:19

jefferso wrote:I don't know yet if the update will be able to change anything on the IP22.


I couldn't resist trying. I did the firmware update with the Mac desktop app from 3.00 to 3.21 and it works on the IP22.
I created a custom preset with a custom absorption voltage of 28.20
We still don't know what happens at the end, but at least I don't have to worry about going over voltage while charging with this small light charger.

availableCustomSettings.png


CustomPreset.png


I'm not sure what the "Battery Monitor" settings are on the included presets are and/or how/if they can be changed.
fancyPresets.png
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 24 May 2020, 05:48

Its a start. Since it appears to not let anyone tell it what current to end at, tell it instead to do 8 hours CV which they call absorption. And as many amps as poss bulk/cc. It may need less, if healthy and barely discharged. It may need 12 hours or more if a bit sulfated or been charged badly in the past.

Why 8? Because while it may take longer than 8 hours to fully charge to 100%, But if it doesent need it, then its safe at 8 hours if temperature is moniored. its normally not a problem to charge for 6 to 8 hours at CV and then let float finish it if time allows. In this case you can set float to 13.6V and leave it as long as you can every day before use. Set store float to 13.2 or 13.25 if you want to leave it while on holiday or while using a diff chair. Those are to best voltages and the thing must have a temp sensor? Put it as near the battery as possible. Or alternatively at least sit the charger on the seat.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 24 May 2020, 06:03

Its a start. Since it appears to not let anyone tell it what current to end at, tell it instead to do 8 hours CV which they call absorption. And as many amps as poss bulk/cc. It may need less, if healthy and barely discharged. It may need 12 hours or more if a bit sulfated or been charged badly in the past.

Why 8? Because while it may take longer than 8 hours to fully charge to 100%, But if it doesent need it, then its safe at 8 hours if temperature is moniored. its normally not a problem to charge for 6 to 8 hours at CV and then let float finish it if time allows. In this case you can set float to 13.6V and leave it as long as you can every day before use. Set store float to 13.2 to 13.25 if you want to leave it while on holiday or while using a diff chair. Safe for years.

(set 4 hours if the chair is already pretty much full, or 90%)
(Set 6 hours if its 75% full to 90% full)
(Set 8 hours CV if its been used normally, as in deep cycle use. Or if its been stored a week or two or even 12 hours)

Set max volts for RECONDITION to 15.2 and only use that if you notice that range has deteriorated markedly. It charges at a small fixed current. Not enough to cause gel issues, hopefully. And low enough current that even at the higher voltages reached at the end the recombination can cope! We are not told what current though? But it should taper off once the 15.2v point is reached. Do this only 2 or 3 times in the life of a battery. It desulfates at least as far as is possible. A slow controlled overcharge. But it causes grid corrosion and electrolyte loss, and possible bubbling of the gel. So with care!

Those are to best voltages and the thing must have a temp sensor? Put its sensor as near the battery as possible. Or alternatively if built in, at least sit the charger on the seat.

Double the above volts for a pair obviously...
12A is perfect for XLR charge. 13 at a push, I do it often but technically you shouldnt...
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby jefferso » 24 May 2020, 12:07

Thanks a lot. Maybe they'll eventually reveal more about what happens after absorption and/or make it more customisable.

I didn't have an Anderson SB50 plug when I got this charger, but now I do, so I might make another cable for it. This one has screw terminals in the back, so I could change between SB50 and XLR as needed. I might keep the XLR for travel though because I am not able to plug and unplug the SB50 independently.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 24 May 2020, 12:25

Most of my chargers that do 12A or less have anderson and xlr. Just loop the cable when you fit the anderson. The charger will charge faster even at the same 12A with an anderson. Due to resistances. It stays at CC longer. But if you have an anderson it might be worth getting something that can wack 20 to 40A back in while you eat tea or check mail watch TV etc.

The more often you do that, the lower the average depth of discharge and the longer the batt will last. And when you need to go out its always pretty topped up. Whats not to like! It stll needs complete 100% charge overnight though at least twice a week.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby rover220 » 24 May 2020, 13:51

whilst it may not be the perfect charger, for those wanting something with little complexity at a not daft price i cant see anything that beats it.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby jefferso » 24 May 2020, 14:04

I have yet to find something small and light that can do 20A or more, at least at the right voltage.

The Victron IP22 does have a 16A model which is the same size/weight (1.3kg 235 x 108 x 65 mm). I think some have 3 outputs, some have 1.

I found it here for £186.90, not cheap. (The 24v/12a is currently £162.00)
https://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/prod ... 241642002/
They have 10% off right now. Still not cheap.
10% Off Victron Energy & Sterling Power
Code: MAYHOL10 | Offer Ends 26.05.20 | Terms & Conditions Apply
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 24 May 2020, 14:40

I use, my van as I drive. Anything up to around 60 amp, soon falls below 25.
2 different 40A adjustable bench supplies next to my computer. Just set to 28.2V and 40A and plug in.
Shirleys 50A supply, set to the right volts.
My old 30A charger thats been used for years.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby rover220 » 24 May 2020, 14:45

:lol:
jefferso wrote:I have yet to find something small and light that can do 20A or more, at least at the right voltage.

The Victron IP22 does have a 16A model which is the same size/weight (1.3kg 235 x 108 x 65 mm). I think some have 3 outputs, some have 1.

I found it here for £186.90, not cheap. (The 24v/12a is currently £162.00)
https://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/prod ... 241642002/
They have 10% off right now. Still not cheap.
10% Off Victron Energy & Sterling Power
Code: MAYHOL10 | Offer Ends 26.05.20 | Terms & Conditions Apply


They do a 30a 12v model aswell.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby jefferso » 24 May 2020, 15:11

Burgerman wrote:I use, my van as I drive. Anything up to around 60 amp, soon falls below 25.
2 different 40A adjustable bench supplies next to my computer. Just set to 28.2V and 40A and plug in.
Shirleys 50A supply, set to the right volts.
My old 30A charger thats been used for years.


When I travel, it's by public transport, and the charger I take is competing for space and weight in a backpack. If I ever got a van, I'd definitely want a setup like yours to charge as I drive.

The bench supplies I've seen are all fairly heavy, bulky and often in sharp cornered metal cases. Not to mention upwards of £300. (More financially painful if stolen, lost or damaged while travelling.)

I think someone said Shirley's excellent ZXD2400 based charger is 4 or 5 kg (I saw a photo which said 3.8kg, 134mm x 87mm x 318mm). Great for home use, but a bit too heavy and bulky for travel for me.

So far, the Victron IP22 is in the sweet spot for my needs, for weight, size, voltage, amps, cost and ability to monitor via bluetooth. The cost is high, but shaving off a kilo or two over the course of a trip is worth a lot to me.

rover220 wrote:They do a 30a 12v model aswell.

Wouldn't it take 2 of those (one for each 12v battery) to deliver 30A to a 24v system?
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby rover220 » 24 May 2020, 15:17

jefferso wrote:
Burgerman wrote:I use, my van as I drive. Anything up to around 60 amp, soon falls below 25.
2 different 40A adjustable bench supplies next to my computer. Just set to 28.2V and 40A and plug in.
Shirleys 50A supply, set to the right volts.
My old 30A charger thats been used for years.


When I travel, it's by public transport, and the charger I take is competing for space and weight in a backpack. If I ever got a van, I'd definitely want a setup like yours to charge as I drive.

The bench supplies I've seen are all fairly heavy, bulky and often in sharp cornered metal cases. Not to mention upwards of £300. (More financially painful if stolen, lost or damaged while travelling.)

I think someone said Shirley's excellent ZXD2400 based charger is 4 or 5 kg (I saw a photo which said 3.8kg, 134mm x 87mm x 318mm). Great for home use, but a bit too heavy and bulky for travel for me.

So far, the Victron IP22 is in the sweet spot for my needs, for weight, size, voltage, amps, cost and ability to monitor via bluetooth. The cost is high, but shaving off a kilo or two over the course of a trip is worth a lot to me.

rover220 wrote:They do a 30a 12v model aswell.

Wouldn't it take 2 of those (one for each 12v battery) to deliver 30A to a 24v system?


Not if you make a fairly simple wiring change for charging.
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby Burgerman » 24 May 2020, 15:41

I charge my chairs at 12v in parallel, and 24v in series. So tha my van can charge directly.

But if you take your 2 lead batteries and connect in parallelthen you double the Ah and so you need to double the charge amps too. So theres no gain.

Rover means http://www.wheelchairdriver.com/faster- ... arging.htm
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Re: Victron chargers: Charging history & user-defined parame

Postby rover220 » 24 May 2020, 15:45

Burgerman wrote:I charge my chairs at 12v in parallel, and 24v in series. So tha my van can charge directly.

But if you take your 2 lead batteries and connect in parallelthen you double the Ah and so you need to double the charge amps too. So theres no gain.

Rover means http://www.wheelchairdriver.com/faster- ... arging.htm


Main benefit of charging at 12v means you get to balance the batteries of course.
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