Field Charging Station.
With the Monocoupe (10s1p 5000mah) and the Toledo Special (5s1p 5000mah) being some of my favorite planes, I had a problem charging batteries at the field. (EDIT: And now the B-17 with (4 x) 4s1p2200mah)
My experience from last season showed me that I could charge the 10s1p pack 3 times from a 55ah car battery before the charger would show low voltage. So, assuming I didn't fly anything else, I could fly the Monocoupe 4 times in one day and end up with a completely dead car battery, which is not good.
My charging station is located in the bed mounted tool box in my truck. It consists of the following:
(2) 125AH deep cycle batteries
(2) plastic battery boxes
(4) 3/8" copper wire lugs
(2) 1/4" copper wire lugs
(1) 40amp giant blade fuse and holder
Roughly 6 feet of streetwires 4awg wire
(1) 15A deep cycle charger
(1) Sunpro 8-18v volt meter from Autozone.
(1) Toggle switch from Autozone. (Used to switch the volt meter on and off).
Misc scrap wood and other nuts, bolts, and small crimp on connectors.
Except for the couple items from Autozone, everything came from Walmart. The entire project ran me just under $300 for everything.
First trip to the field I charged 5s5000mah x2 and 3s2200mah x6. Second time out I charged 5s5000mah x3, 4s3300 x3, 3s2200mah x6 and 2s2200mah x1. Third time out was today and I charged 5s5000mah x4.
The lowest I have seen it was the end of the second day out where it was 12.4v and the charger claimed 70% charged. I'm comfortable running it down to about 50% total charge so I should have plenty of power for what I do.
I need to add some lighting to the lid of my tool box. That is what the hole is for next to the toggle switch, I plan to add a second toggle switch for some LEDs.
If/when I ever acquire a trailer for my airplanes I will most likely stick a few solar panels on the roof of it and move this setup into the trailer.
When I land from the last flight of the day I stick those batteries on the charger. Then I pack up everything else at the field, drive the 5 miles home, then unpack everything at home. About the time I'm done unloading the truck the last set of batteries are done charging. So it's a real time saver too.
EDIT: I got the A-6-10 in July of '09. In March of '10 it stopped working. It says "Connection Break" when I try to charge. I searched the web for some help and found similar complaints. I never abused this charger and it only lasted 8-9 months. Unacceptable. So consider this a less than glowing review.
EDIT#2: Upon further examination I found a broken solder trace (looked like it burned through) between the final transistor and the positive output jack on the bottom of the main board. I was able to bridge this gap with a piece of wire and the charger is now working again. However I still cannot recommend this charger as I did nothing to cause this trace to break. Whatever the underlying design flaw is that caused it to fail after 8 months is still there and I expect it will fail again in the future. But for now, I saved myself from having to buy a new charger..
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