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Old Jun 30, 2015, 05:01 PM
jonathancassar is offline
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Help!
PL8 Input Voltage error

I have had my Powerlab 8 V2 for about three weeks now. I have been very happy with it and has performed flawlessly until today. Suddenly it wont charge anymore and is giving me two particular errors:
-Error 4 Supply unstable
- Error 3 Supply >32 volts
My original power supply is a chargery 12-24 volt 50 A supply running at 240 volt ac from the mains. The charger starts to make a clicking sound just before starting the charge cycle then beeps one of the errors above and asks to push to reset. I have tried numerous things in vain: Connected to a different power supply, connected to a simply 12 volt Pb battery, did a factory restore, downgraded to v3.31 and back to v3.32. None of this worked. One strange thing is when going to the supply tab whilst connected to the computer the input voltage remains around 26v even when connected to just a 12 v Pb battery and is very unstable! I am quite disappointed sine I tried to make a search but no one seems to have had this problem before. I bout this directly from FMA Singapore store.
Anybody could help me out with this?
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Old Jun 30, 2015, 05:36 PM
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Are you sure you getting both of these errors when connected to a 12v source?

-Error 4 Supply unstable
- Error 3 Supply >32 volts

How is the charger connected to the source? Are you using the EC5 connected to another EC5? Or does it neck down to a 4mm banana between the charger and the supply.

In the CCS, check the supply graph. The loaded and unloaded supply voltage is displayed. If the difference is very large, that is usually a connection or supply issue.
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Old Jul 01, 2015, 12:07 AM
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I have the charger connected to an EC5 and then goes down to banana connectos connected to my supply. I have been using this setup for these past three weeks and it has been fine. I also tried to remove the bananas and connect the wires directly to my supply with the wire crimped to the supply connections to be extra sure. I am mostly getting the Error 3 Supply >32 volts now when connected to the 12 volt Pb battery. Something must be very wrong! The charger doesn't even try to start charging. Looking at the CCS supply graph want be of much help I'm afraid!
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Old Jul 01, 2015, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathancassar View Post
I have the charger connected to an EC5 and then goes down to banana connectos connected to my supply.
Sounds like something is up with the charger. Once you get that sorted out, please remove the 4mm bananas from the input wires, or keep the supply current below 25 amps.
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Old Jul 02, 2015, 12:38 AM
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Which way would you suggest would be best to connect to the power supply? Attaching the bare ends of the wires directly to the power supply terminals and screwing them down? Doesn't make much sense to me since then the MPA board has banana plus for the input which still sees quite a high current through it. As a side note I had not gone beyond pulling 15 amps with this setup up till when this happened.
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Old Jul 02, 2015, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathancassar View Post
Which way would you suggest would be best to connect to the power supply? Attaching the bare ends of the wires directly to the power supply terminals and screwing them down? Doesn't make much sense to me since then the MPA board has banana plus for the input which still sees quite a high current through it. As a side note I had not gone beyond pulling 15 amps with this setup up till when this happened.
What power supply are you using and what connectors are available on the power supply?

The banana plugs on the MPA are high quality and are perfectly mated to the jacks on the charger. Additionally they shielded. More often than not standard 4mm banana plugs and jacks cannot handle high current connections.

My PowerLab charger is connected to my power supply using ring terminals and bolts. I'm using Anderson Powerpole connectors between the power supply and PowerLab.
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Old Jul 02, 2015, 07:48 AM
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I am using a Chargery S1200 supply (http://www.chargery.com/S1200.asp). It has three sets of connections for standard 4mm banana connectors. These can be loosened and here is a hole where you can put the wire through and tight the nut terminal on the wire. Not the cleanest configuration in my opinion.
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Old Jul 02, 2015, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathancassar View Post
I am using a Chargery S1200 supply (http://www.chargery.com/S1200.asp). It has three sets of connections for standard 4mm banana connectors. These can be loosened and here is a hole where you can put the wire through and tight the nut terminal on the wire. Not the cleanest configuration in my opinion.
Can you unscrew them completely off the studs and use ring terminals? Ring terminals work great, are inexpensive, and make a secure connection.

One concern I do have is the pot on the power supply to adjust the voltage. The PowerLabs closely monitor the stability of the voltage input on the power supply and if there's any any abnormal fluctuation they can report an error. I'm not saying that's the case here, but never adjust that dial while charging.

IMHO I think this is a hardware issues and I see Jamie already responded to you on HF and you have already opened a ticket with Revolectrix.
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Old Jul 02, 2015, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathancassar View Post
Which way would you suggest would be best to connect to the power supply? Attaching the bare ends of the wires directly to the power supply terminals and screwing them down? Yes


Doesn't make much sense to me since then the MPA board has banana plus for the input which still sees quite a high current through it. The MPA uses a long version of the 4mm bullet. There's more contact area. Additionally, the charger's input current can often exceed 40 amps, up to 60 amps in some scenarios.

As a side note I had not gone beyond pulling 15 amps with this setup up till when this happened.
I'm not saying that the 4mm bananas caused your issues. But they will cause other issues that would likely run into down the road.
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Old Jul 02, 2015, 02:44 PM
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From my notes on 4mm banana issues.

Quote:
The issue isn't so much with the female end its the male end. The male end uses a spring wrapped around a shaft. The 4mm male and female is separated by two points of contact instead of one. The spring needs to make good contact with the both the female connector as with the shaft. As the spring ages with use, the contact strength weakens and the current carrying ability drop off considerably. In some cases when the spring is compressed by the female socket it deforms the spring and reduces the amount of contact the spring has with the inner shaft.

Additionally, the quality of the male connectors varies widely and is very hard to distinguish visually. Some time ago I sourced about half dozen different samples from different vendors. Rating varied widely from 15 amps all the way to a 120a version sold by a well know manufacture. These were the standard length ones, not the longer ones that FMA uses.

Test results were all over the map. One set rated for 40 amps experienced significant heating with as little 15 amps. Others were fine at 40 amps at first. But eventually degraded with use, experiencing heating with as little as 25 amps. Most did well in the beginning, but all of them degraded with not much use.

If you are going to use 4mm bananas above 25 amps, I would first thoroughly clean the male and female ends. Then put a heavy load on them and monitor their temps. If the temps are under control, leave them mated. Don't disconnect/connect them regularly as this contributes to their degradation.

The spring style EC5s have the same issues. But due to their larger size, even in a degraded state they can carry enough current for most hobby applications.

For some examples of melted 4mm bananas, see this thread.

http://helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=270467
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Old Yesterday, 01:29 AM
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That all makes sense. The only issue I have and is why I am using bananas is since I got into the habit of first switching on the power supply, wait for the voltage to stabilise and then connect the charger to it. This is less practical to do with ring terminals. Well until I get my PL8 back from repairs, I will see if I can come up with a better idea of connecting the charger to my power supply. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated!
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Old Yesterday, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathancassar View Post
That all makes sense. The only issue I have and is why I am using bananas is since I got into the habit of first switching on the power supply, wait for the voltage to stabilise and then connect the charger to it. This is less practical to do with ring terminals. Well until I get my PL8 back from repairs, I will see if I can come up with a better idea of connecting the charger to my power supply. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated!
I am not familiar with the power supply you're using, but with a good quality power supply you do not have to wait for the voltage to stabilize before connecting your devices. As mentioned above, my PowerLab charger is connected to my power supply using ring terminals. The power supply is powered up when I plug it in and it's powered off when I unplug it.

Some hobby grade power supplies are known to be problematic and Revolectrix did issue a warning for the eFuel power supply.

http://www.revolectrix.com/new_appli...t09.04.14.html

One solution could be to use bullet connectors between your power supply and charger. This would allow you to use ring terminals on the power supply and then connect the power supply to charger using bullets.
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