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Old Nov 22, 2014, 08:15 AM
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AA5BY's Avatar
East Texas
Joined Aug 2007
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How do you manage your LiFe batteries?

I'm interested in hearing about how others are managing their LiFe batteries.

Do you storage charge?
Do you do a full charge after flying?
Do you wait and charge just prior to flying?
Do you balance charge every time?
Have you had any issues with the way you have been managing LiFe batteries?

I'm not interested in discussion of theories about management, save them for another thread. Keep it simple to what you have been dong and whether you think your method has caused any problems. For example:

I do not storage charge.
I charge after flying.
I balance charge most but not all the time.
I've had no battery failures in two years of LiFe use on fifteen planes. They are always ready to go without pre-flight charging.
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Old Nov 22, 2014, 08:33 AM
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The Northeast Kingdom, Vermont
Joined Jun 2004
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Ok, I store them at whatever charge level they're at.
I either top them off after the last flight of the day or while I'm getting the plane ready for the first flight of the day.
I've never had a problem with either LiFe or A123 packs and would never go back to Nixx
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Old Nov 22, 2014, 09:56 AM
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Ken Myers's Avatar
Commerce Township, MI
Joined Aug 2001
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I only use A123 2300mAh and 2500mAh cells. No other brands. AND I ONLY use A123 cells, no LiPo batteries to speak of.
I ALWAYS recharge to 'full' at field before leaving.
They are always stored 'fully' charged, even over the building season here in Michigan, which is pretty long. They take a few mAh in the spring before their first flight of the year.
All have been going strong since 2005 and 2006.
All of the packs 'live' in a plane.
I've lost a few to 'dumb thumbs' or other oops, but the ones that survived the impact with the ground, which is almost all of them, have been successfully reconfigured into other packs.
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Old Nov 22, 2014, 11:28 AM
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So. Cal.
Joined Oct 2004
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Glad to know that you're still using your A123 packs exclusively and having great success with them, Ken. Curiously, what types of models are you currently flying with your packs?

I stopped using my A123 packs when lipolys came down in price and improved to the point that they offered better power density than my A123 packs. Also, my access to larger flying fields here in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles has become so limiting that I've been relegated to park flyers if I want to get any appreciable amount of stick time. Most of my models have limited battery space so lipolys have been the most logical choice recently.

Would like to put some of my A123 packs back into flight service and am searching for ideas so your input would be invaluable.

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Old Nov 22, 2014, 12:47 PM
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Commerce Township, MI
Joined Aug 2001
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2S A123 2300mAh
Stock Easy Star
3S A123 2300mAh
All have had motor changes to appropriate Kv for the lower voltages or specially selected motors to suit the application with A123 cells
Flyzone Sensei, parkzone T-28, Fusion 380 low-wing sport plane based on the ElectroFlying Fusion, Son of Swallow low-wing sport plane base on the Swallow
4S A123 2300mAh
Hitec Weekender Extra 300 with motor change, but not due to Kv but having the original motor 'die', Super Stearman converted from an E-flite PT-17 ARF
6S A123
SIG LT-40 trainer, ElectroFlying Fusion 40 size low-wing
and on the building board right now, SIG Four-Star Forty

My Min-e Mambo uses a 2S 450mAh LiPo
My Scorpion Backup Guard, for the new 4-Star, also has a 2S LiPo as part of the unit
I have two 1S LiPo cell units that I'm going to give to a friend next month. They are from another friend's Champ, which is no longer working.

All my planes really do require a 'regular' club flying field.

Sorry, I've never tried to make a 'park flyer' using A123 cells.

I've done lots of others as well. Some were given away and others found the earth just too hard for comfort.
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Old Nov 22, 2014, 04:12 PM
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Joined Jul 2007
337 Posts

We use flat Lifepo even we allowed as a racing battery.
.Lipo works for one competition or even one start if the setup is wrong Flat lifepo last for 4 -5 years
As alternative to A123 we have 2500 35C
We also use 4200 35C and 5500 35C but flat.
Lifepo are dependable of charging algorithm so depend of the condition or actual status of the battery we use certain algorithm
The difference in performance is well visible from the example illustrated.

The same battery discharged with same load but charged with other algorithm
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Old Nov 22, 2014, 04:15 PM
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Letchworth, Great Britain (UK)
Joined Jul 2004
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I charge my A123s as soon as I come back from the field, so they're ready for use whenever I want to fly again. I always balance-charge at 1C.

I've had one cell go dead on a 5S pack at about six years old, after only 40 flights. Other than that, five 3S packs, three 5S, and three 6S are still going strong after seven years.

Since I started into helis about six years ago, and thus started using LiPos, as my A123s expire I'm replacing them with LiPos of the same weight, to get at least 50% more flight duration. With a good charger (PL-8), better quality batteries, charge rates greater than 1C, parallel charging, and a leisure battery for field charging, LiPos are much more convenient than perhaps they used to be.
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Old Nov 22, 2014, 07:33 PM
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So. Cal.
Joined Oct 2004
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Thanks for the feedback Ken. Your experience corroborates that of mine in that my A123 packs were less friendly for smaller planes with AUW < 2 lbs.

Several of my packs have been repurposed for power tool usage and portable automotive jump starters. I made one 4S4P pack that is the best jump starter that one could ever envision. Also have a few 4S2P jump starters that work quite well.

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Old Nov 22, 2014, 10:05 PM
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WBE's Avatar
United States, NV, Henderson
Joined Aug 2005
612 Posts
I've been using the M1, and the smaller 18650, cells for about 7 years now. Should be more clear, I'm using the SAME packs that were soldered up 7 years ago. Battery management has been the same as others have stated here. Learned a tremendous amount about the cells right here in this forum. A big thanks is owed to Charles, Ken and Mark for sharing their experience!

Here's a little park flyer I've been flying lately on 3s 18650's, it's an SR Batteries Cutie. The other, slightly bigger, yellow plane is a RCM T20 flown with 3s M1 packs. I've found the Axi 2814-12 (1350 kv I think) an excellent match for the lower voltage A123 cells.

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