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Old Aug 18, 2013, 06:59 PM
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Charging Batteries and Driving Down The Road At The same Time

And when I say traveling, I mean traveling. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1967753

How would you guys handle this? Would you have 12 batteries and charge them all in the evening, or would you have 6 and charge them while driving down the road? Some have mentioned that charging and driving would not be a problem, but I am skeptical. Thoughts on that?

And I am going to guess, but I'm thinking the FMA Direct PL6 would be the recommended charger for this project? I have always heard exellent things abiut this charger.

Thanks for the input. You would not believe how much thought goes into a project like this. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Frank
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Old Aug 18, 2013, 11:58 PM
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USA, GA, Marietta
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I am pretty casual about charging LiPo batteries. And I believe they are generally safe when being charged on a reliable charger. (I use the PL6 and PL8.) On the other hand I don't think I would want to be in a moving vehicle when charging a LiPo. Even if the chances of a problem were 1000 to 1 against having a problem. If something were to happen it could be tough to get the vehicle stopped and evacuate. Just my opinion.

Glen
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 12:10 AM
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Thanks for the info Glen. I too would be nervous about charging a 4S 5000 mAH battery int he trunk of the car. But then again, it is a rental. Seriously though, I do believe I understand the concern and do not think it is a good idea. But, I am always open to discussion and that is why I asked the question.

Thanks,

Frank
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 03:41 AM
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Hi,

Maybe try to get sponsored with enough LiPo for the trip/flying?

If new people would be involved all the time I would keep it simple and then maybe have enough LiPo for at least two day flying (if You for some reason are unable to charge one evening). And the charge in evening with 110 volt available I assume would be done with a powersupply and charger combination that can be handled by anyone without hesitation how to connect things to get charge started - basically plug in LiPo and balance connector then press start on charger without need to select anything in charger settings before start charging.

A backup solution for the charging maybe would be good to have like a larger 12 volt Pb (lead) deep cycle battery to have a powersource for charger, or a generator (a suitable Honda or Yamaha for example) - again trying to get all sponsored. And suitable separate Pb charger for the deep cycle battery maybe (or charge it from LiPo charger when 110 volt is avaliable since most LiPo chargers have capability to charge Pb battery also).

So, sponsored as far as possible with LiPo, charger etc, keep all regarding LiPo and charging simple so anyone can handle it and have a backup solution also (enough LiPo in case charging can not be done one day and an alternative powersource).

I assume You shoud have at least one spare ESC and one spare electric motor - all ready to mount and already configured and tested - but very unlikely they will be needed during the flights.

Just my two cent.

/Bo
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 04:57 AM
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Well firstly you can't really get lots of juice out of a cigarette lighter plug so in any case i'd do a low amperage charge so they won't take as long,charge up a few at home and do the rest at the field directly off the battery with the engine running.I travel as well and have not had probs using the rental as a power sourse.
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 08:23 AM
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When a vehicle is idling at the parking lot, charging directly from it's battery should be ok, as long as no other loads are switched on/off. The power for a charger must be pretty stable, which is not the case if a vehicle is moving.

In this case, I would put a laptop adapter with 12V DC input in between as a buffer. I have no experience doing this, but I thing this would smooth out voltage fluctuations at the input.
The output is limited to 5A mostly though. If that is enough, I'd try this route.
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 10:36 AM
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I also see another two options. An inverter to plug your power supply into to charge the batts, or use a 12V marine battery to hook up to the FMA PL6. I am guessing that is the charger we will be using (I hope anyway).

All this will have to be done from the trunk since I don't see how the Mustang will have enough room anywhere else to do so.

The option to have enough batteries to make it through one day of flying sure seems like the better option.

Frank
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 10:18 AM
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Any more thoughts on this? Is the consensus that it is simply not smart to charge while driving?

Thanks,

Frank
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 11:06 AM
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United States, NJ, Hillsborough Township
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It almost sounds like you'd need several days' worth of flight batteries and have the batteries traveling ahead of the plane on a rolling basis, with the plane chasing the packs across the country. Charging batteries separate from the moving vehicle will be less demanding on the host club and pilot, the variety of vehicles and strength of electrical system is going to vary wildly. Charging from land mains will be more consistent and reliable and won't burden the host clubs too much.

SLA batteries will need down time to be charged back up in the evening at some point. The mental image of a Honda eu2000i feeding a PL8 in the back of a moving pickup just doesn't look like a safe or smart idea.

Of course I'm also visualizing this as a near Cannonball Run type sprint across the country rather than what is more likely to be a stroll with regular incidences of a couple days' downtime.
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 11:33 AM
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United States, CA, Bear Valley Springs
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I'd use an open utility trailer for charging and support equipment.

mw
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 11:38 AM
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I charge on the way to the field with no issues. One charger plugged into the console of my van with batteries and charger on the passenger seat and another charger plugged in the outlet at the rear doors and charging. I start batteries charging as I'm loading stuff and continue on the way to the field.

I'll start discharging anything needing it on the drive home. That gets done on the passenger seat as I have only one charger with reasonable discharge capabilities. YMMV.
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Looking at those videos of a lipo "event", I would guess it only takes seconds to fill a car with smoke.

Playing the what if game: what actions would a person take if the car filled with smoke in a couple of seconds? They would probably be coughing, eyes probably watering, vision diminished, seat maybe of fire, and probably in panic mode. Something to plan for in the unlikely event it happens.
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 01:30 PM
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Remember it's not the same vehicle being used to carry the pilot and his spotter across the country. Lots of variation. Lots of potentially unsafe configurations.

Charging the size packs you're looking at in an airframe this size (I asume 6s5000 or larger, in bunches) I wouldn't think you'd be able to get enough juice out of a cigarette lighter to even make a dent in the overall charging demand you'd be dealing with. You're not running a laptop you're talking about 30+ amps of charging current.

I'm imagining two harbor freight briefcases being handed over when the plane is transferred to the new pilot(s). One has a large batch of batteries in padded slots, which are labeled full or discharged or what have you. The other has a Powerlab6 with multi port adapter powered by a power supply typical of what feathermerchant sells (2 in series, 24V/47A). This is what my portable charge station is. If the new club has the ability to supply power on the move, great. If not that's a modular, portable and reliable way to be able to maintain the batteries well when stopped for dinner or the night from a wall outlet.

Laminated checklist of the pieces in the case, so the 3-in-1 voltage checker doesn't disappear three states in. Flowcharts or diagrams of the routine, to make it as straightforward as possible for clubs not familiar with the charger to operate it.

High quality on the charger is important, so it should be a Hyperion or Powerlab or high end iCharger or in that general league, so the lipos are as well maintained as possible, this is a little more demanding application than flying a Squirt.

If you did have a circumstance where you were charging in an enclosed vehicle that was moving I'd say you should require another person in the car as the charger minder. So you'd have driver, pilot, spotter, and charger guy. Making any of the other 3 split his attention to watch the charger even briefly is IMHO irresponsible.
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 01:38 PM
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A few years ago I used to charge a couple of batteries ( X2 HiTec ) in the back of my pickup on the way to fly.

One day hit a new bump put there by some idiot towing a chisel ( a farm tool with multiple shanks about 30" long and 6" wide ) crossing the road. He didn't haved it raised high enough. It really tore up the pavement. Here I was just rubber necking and looking at other farmers fields heading out to fly when I hit THE SPOT as it became known. As I glanced into the mirror I see tools, shovels, a plane that was tied down to a 30 lb. gate bar, the 30 lb. gate bar and a battery box rise into view. Luckly everything settled down to about where it came. By shear luck and the grace of god ( helped no doubt by my clean living and healthy lifestyle, right Mark ), one of the battery cables to the charger had become disconected but didn't touch the other terminal and short out.

Lesson learned, don't charge batteries on the way to the flying field!

Good luck on your endevor,

Bill
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Bill View Post
. As I glanced into the mirror I see tools, shovels, a plane that was tied down to a 30 lb. gate bar, the 30 lb. gate bar and a battery box rise into view.
And if any of that stuff, bouncing around unsecured in the trailer, had shorted out your charging lipo it would have been that dangerous lipos' fault and another example of why lipos are dangerous?
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