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Old Jan 17, 2010, 12:39 PM
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Delton,Mi
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I was very disappointed when I seen this new charger. Let me explained. With this charger they targeted the big battery high end flyer people and again ignored all us people who race on the ground. I know they are a Flyer type company but us ground people are probably 80 percent of the RC industry. You will see a RC type vehicle in every other backyard. Now I know these type people want a really a cheap type charger but there are a really a lot of racers like me who take this RC stuff very seriously. I've been racing RC cars and trucks for about 25 years. I really like FMA because they are a American Company and have the great service. I have a Multi-4 charger but the biggest disappointment with this charger is it does not have DISCHARGE. There are a lot of examples I could go into about why we need discharge but we need it. The Cellpro10s would have been the perfect charger for me if it had discharge . So when I found out a couple months ago they were working on a new charger with a discharge feature I was real excited. They should have also come out with a lesser version of this charger maybe 10 to 15 amps for us 2s and 3s racers who will never use nothing more then a 7.4 volt battery. I just can't justify paying 300.00 to get discharge. FMA's only attempt at us type racers was the Scorion Li-po charger which they only 1/2 hit. I guess FMA makes enough money from there targeted customers to not worry about a big percent of us ground people. I know there is a lot of Chinese charger company's out there that fit my needs but I was hoping to stick with a American company ( So goes our economy). When I' am at a big race with about 200 to 300 entries I'll look at what chargers people are using and you won't see one FMA charger but mine and my sons. When guys look at my Muti4 charger they say what charger is that? I just tell them its a charger that a American company makes and then they say Oh! and they just move on because they never heard of FMA. So my point is I' am in need of a new charger so I guess China is my only option. I 'am a Vietnam Vet so that's why I feel this way about American company's and yes I 'am disappointed but I'll get over it and move on. The PL-8 looks like it's going to be a very successful charger with it's targeted group. Thanks for letting me rant, Leon
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 12:42 PM
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United States, OR, Beaverton
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Originally Posted by biskit View Post
My big concern would be how usable is it without a computer?
I rarely used the computer when setting up and starting my charges. I usually did have it plugged in though as it is easier to monitor all aspects of the charge, which is needed when beta testing, but that was it.

With the Multi4 so many of the advanced features can only be accessed via the computer that I recommend getting the computer interface to use with it. The PL8 can change many more settings right there at the charger, but if you want firmware updates and "power user" access to the presets then you'll want the PC interface for setting it up, but you'll not need it while at the field.

The more significant preset settings accessible from the charger are:
  • Charge current
  • Charge Termination voltage
  • Balance entire charge or just in the CV phase
  • Cold weather setting
  • Discharge current
  • Discharge termination voltage
  • Number of charge/discharge cycles
  • End cycling with charge or discharge

Charger settings:
  • Power source (battery or power supply)
  • Supply current limit
  • Supply low voltage limit
  • Regenerative discharge enable
  • Quickstart enable (makes it faster to start, similar to the CellPro 4S)
  • Decimal places to display cell voltages.
  • Quiet charging enable (speaker turned off)
  • Speaker volume
  • Beep when a butten is pressed (Y/N)
  • Number of beeps to sound when the charge is done
  • Modify the preset when changes are made (Y/N)

Then on top of that there is a menu entry to read button help (eg. Press and hold "BACK" to exit from a menu). If you don't see something here you would really like to have access to then feel free to ask. I saw a user here on RCGroups ask FMA to add a feature to the Multi4. Less than 24 hours later that feature was in beta testing and a few days later was released to the public.
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speeddaddy View Post
They should have also come out with a lesser version of this charger maybe 10 to 15 amps for us 2s and 3s racers who will never use nothing more then a 7.4 volt battery. I just can't justify paying 300.00 to get discharge. FMA's only attempt at us type racers was the Scorion Li-po charger which they only 1/2 hit.
Thanks for sharing your charging/discharging needs. I must admit I do get tunnel vision on fixed wing aircraft and forget about other fields of the RC community. I guess all you can do is keep asking FMA to look into making a charger for you and your buddies. Hopefully it is economically feasible for them to do so that you won't be forced to look overseas for your chargers.
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Speeddaddy View Post
Thanks for letting me rant, Leon
Leon,

Welcome home, buddy! I am a VietNam Vet too.
Please visit my Return to VietNam web site at:

http://home.earthlink.net/~2551/index.html

and, leave a post in my Guest Book.

Heyward
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 01:20 PM
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Delton,Mi
Joined Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by SteveM732 View Post
Thanks for sharing your charging/discharging needs. I must admit I do get tunnel vision on fixed wing aircraft and forget about other fields of the RC community. I guess all you can do is keep asking FMA to look into making a charger for you and your buddies. Hopefully it is economically feasible for them to do so that you won't be forced to look overseas for your chargers.
Thanks for your reply, I really thought I would be ignored on this tread because of my charging needs. I do really love FMA chargers like my Multi4. I've had this charger since it 1st came out and I still can't believe what this charger will do. If it did 8 to10 amps and at least 3 or 4 amp discharge it would be the best charger out there in my targeted group hands down. They would sell a million of them. Thanks
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 01:23 PM
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Will the software let you do, say, 100 cycles and overlay cycles 10, 50, and 100? Will it log capacity and IR for each cycle?
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by biskit View Post
Will the software let you do, say, 100 cycles and overlay cycles 10, 50, and 100? Will it log capacity and IR for each cycle?
Currently you can select 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, or an infinite number of cycles. All parameters such as the voltage, current, charge/capacity, and IR will be logged, though I believe there is an issue if you try to log for more than about 2 years on the same charge. Do people actually cycle their LiXX packs 50 or 100 times?

No overlay is currently possible, though it would be high on the list of requested features.
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by everydayflyer View Post
I shouldn't even respond but I get annoyed when someone tries to play lawyer with me.

Those who are interested read this post and decide for
yourself.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...postcount=1888

As usual I was answering questions not asking them and was supplying accurate data to the best of my ability.


Pete and I have a long history of disagreements over power supplies here on RC Groups but this is not a Thread that it needs to be continued in.

Charles
Thanks for taking the time to post this, Charles. There are lots of things that I find annoying as well, but I also understand that good communications skills are skills that not everyone possesses. Additionally, all to often readers don't take the time to read complete posts and don't take the time to read the posted links which further complicates matters.
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveM732 View Post
Yes, the FUIM2 will work just fine.
At least I have the USB interface this time around! What ever happened to the FUIM3, did it ever materialize?
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 02:19 PM
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Haralson County GA. USA
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What ever happened to the FUIM3, did it ever materialize?
We the PL8 beta team have been using / testing those also. These will be the ones available in the futhure. The 2s work OK but the 3s are approx. twice as fast which saves perhaps 40 seconds during a firmware update.


Charles
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveM732 View Post
... you can select ... an infinite number of cycles. All parameters such as the voltage, current, charge/capacity, and IR will be logged, .... Do people actually cycle their LiXX packs 50 or 100 times?

No overlay is currently possible, though it would be high on the list of requested features.
That's awesome. The cycling will allow anybody to test packs and sort through the marketing hype, espicially with the rapidy changing low-$ lipo market. It would be the primary reason I would buy one. What about a settable delay before each discharge when cycling to let the pack rest a bit?

The overlay would be nearly mandatory in my opinion - otherwise why graph the data? Can the data at least be output as a text file to graph it in excel?

One more suggestion I would have is the ability to do 2v and 4v lead. Yes, I have a 4v lead battery. It would seem an easy couple lines of code to allow it?
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 02:42 PM
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Seattle
Joined Sep 2007
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Is FMA or the beta team able to share any more info on the "smart parallel" charge adapter? I've been reluctant to use parallel charging as the charger (and operator) are not able to see the individual cell voltage at the start of the charge.

I've had a few packs fail and the early indicator was one cell was lower than the others at the start of the charge. With the current process for parallel charging, that single low cell would be charged in an uncontrolled manner by the other pack. Masking the inpending failure and perhaps causing to fail sooner.

Will the smart parallel charger address these concerns?
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by biskit View Post
What about a settable delay before each discharge when cycling to let the pack rest a bit?
There sure is. Currently the cool down options are 5, 15, or 30 minutes. If you need a longer cool down time you best mention it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biskit View Post
The overlay would be nearly mandatory in my opinion - otherwise why graph the data? Can the data at least be output as a text file to graph it in excel?
Not at the present time. Speaking of time, if I ever find enough I'd like to make a graphing software tool at can read multiple data files and plot them, allowing for overlays. Since that's probably not going to happen any time soon maybe I can just write a tool to extract the PL8 log files into CSV, unless FMA beats me to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biskit View Post
One more suggestion I would have is the ability to do 2v and 4v lead. Yes, I have a 4v lead battery. It would seem an easy couple lines of code to allow it?
Currently 6V, 12V, and 24V are supported. In lead-acid mode the PL8 retains the notion that the battery is 2 volts per cell and charges accordingly. Adding support for 2V and 4V seems like it should be easy, but until someone asks for it who know it was a need someone had?
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by biskit View Post
That's awesome. The cycling will allow anybody to test packs and sort through the marketing hype, espicially with the rapidy changing low-$ lipo market. It would be the primary reason I would buy one. What about a settable delay before each discharge when cycling to let the pack rest a bit?

The overlay would be nearly mandatory in my opinion - otherwise why graph the data? Can the data at least be output as a text file to graph it in excel?

One more suggestion I would have is the ability to do 2v and 4v lead. Yes, I have a 4v lead battery. It would seem an easy couple lines of code to allow it?
That is a good observation about testing packs. The PL-8 is a great tool for that. In addition to watching the charge and discharge curves, you can hook this instrument up when running a motor, for example, and monitor the pack to see how it reacts to actual loads.

I can't answer your question about overlays, though I agree it would be a good thing to be able to compare subsequent cycles. We will put that in the hopper to ask the engineers.

And, yes, the PL-8 has Preset adjustments for Lead Acid charging from 1 to 12 cells. Does that do it for you?

Keep these good questions coming.

Heyward
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Speeddaddy View Post
Thanks for your reply, I really thought I would be ignored on this tread because of my charging needs. I do really love FMA chargers like my Multi4. I've had this charger since it 1st came out and I still can't believe what this charger will do. If it did 8 to10 amps and at least 3 or 4 amp discharge it would be the best charger out there in my targeted group hands down. They would sell a million of them. Thanks
I wish the Multi4 had come with a discharge too. Though in my case I'd have taken a paltry 100mA just so I could get packs down to storage voltage.

If you look at the progress that FMA has made from the 4S to the 10S, and from the 10S to the Multi4, and now from the Multi4 to the PL8 then I think it is safe to say that whatever they have up their sleeves next will be even better. They've only ever added features and not taken any away that I am aware of. Maybe some day they'll revisit the 4 cell market and make something you can use.
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