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Old Jan 26, 2010, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jfetter View Post
Yes but... Are you suggesting support for 12S packs (single packs) or 2 x 6S in parallel? I thought most folks modularized and didn't go for large packs (in other words, like what I do, all my large setups are 12S but the largest pack I own is 6S)...

Jack
To be clear. I would have preferred to be able to balance charge 2, 6s packs at a time with each cell seperately connected to an FMA balancer. Series would be prefable. It looks like the smart parallel adapter would be the answer if you don't mind parallel. But why not include the SPA logic with the PL8?
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Gregor99 View Post
But why not include the SPA logic with the PL8?
Because people like me don't need it and don't want to have to pay for something we won't use.
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 12:55 AM
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Fair enough Steve. But I don't need 1000 watts and I rather not pay for it
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Gregor99 View Post
Fair enough Steve. But I don't need 1000 watts and I rather not pay for it
That is also fair enough. This charger is for the folks that really need a very high power charger. If you don't need that much then there are other chargers that better fit your requirements. FMA felt there was a niche in the marketplace for a charger of this magnitude and they are filling it.

I agree it would have been nice for the charger to have been 12s. It would also be nice if I didn't have to tell the charger anything about the battery and it would charge multiple chemistry's one time, etc, but what would all that do to cost. Everything is a compromise.

Based on past experience I expect they are looking toward products that will fill other marketplace requirements. FMA is monitoring this thread, and others, and making notes of what you all want. I am confident that if enough folks want a particular feature and if that feature is economically feasible they will look seriously at providing it.

Glen
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Gregor99 View Post
Hey, if you guys don't stop belly aching about lack of a usb port, I'm going to start whining about it not being 12s Its a ground breaking charger and we are still not satisfied. Can we move on? Or is this all we have to talk about?
Sorry, but this is product related and it is not off topic. This is how feedback is provided to the manufacturer. Feel free to scroll past whatever posts you want and discuss those items you feel relevant.
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 06:06 AM
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To be fair, when someone builds an uber charger, expect comments from everyone, after all, this is (so far) the most ambitious charger ever to make it to market (assuming it does, previous to this I can only recall one charger that even excited me, and it never made it to market though rumor is they did build a working prototype). Hopefully somone is logging the comments and keeping track what people think is an important feature that may be missing...

Jack
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 08:39 AM
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Regardless on how they approach it, there will be a usb - serial interface somewhere in the loop. Does it have to be internal or can it be external? May as well be external as then you only need one that can be shared with multiple FMA devices.

Last time I checked, opto-isolated USB-Serial interfaces were pretty expensive, if they can make it work and still use the existing cable from the CellPro 10, that's really not the end of the world.

And if you don't understand why a straight through interface (be it usb or serial) would be an issue then you probably shouldn't be commenting on it.
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 10:31 AM
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Well this certainly looks like an interesting advance for the guys who run electric power with BIG batteries.

However, there are a lot of us out here who'd like to see and updated version of the 10S with perhaps some of the previously mentioned changes. For me, I'd like to see something done with the 10S's inability to cope with dual rx batteries connected to one rx and the common ground issue that creates.

One of the guys at FMA told me some time ago this wouldn't be a big issue except for the fact that there wasn't room left in the memory on the 10S to add such programming.

How 'bout it FMA, can we get a new and improved 10S type charger?
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
Well this certainly looks like an interesting advance for the guys who run electric power with BIG batteries.

However, there are a lot of us out here who'd like to see and updated version of the 10S with perhaps some of the previously mentioned changes. For me, I'd like to see something done with the 10S's inability to cope with dual rx batteries connected to one rx and the common ground issue that creates.

One of the guys at FMA told me some time ago this wouldn't be a big issue except for the fact that there wasn't room left in the memory on the 10S to add such programming.

How 'bout it FMA, can we get a new and improved 10S type charger?
+1..With Discharge
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteB View Post
Sorry, but this is product related and it is not off topic. This is how feedback is provided to the manufacturer. Feel free to scroll past whatever posts you want and discuss those items you feel relevant.
Pete, I agree. But when the 12s questions started earlier in this thread, we received this response from the beta team:


Quote:
It would be nice if everyone read the specs. and asked questions on areas which are unclear to them insteadof asking why not 20 cells ,why not 50 amps. etc.
I took that to mean this is not a "features wish list thread".
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 12:01 PM
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FMA's thought process regarding USB support

FMA does appreciate your collective feedback. In order to fully communicate and understand customers' wants and needs, we feel that it is important to state our rationale for supporting USB "outside of the box". The following information is not meant to be argumentative. We want to give customers what they want. Make no mistake about that. But it is important that every customer fully understands the ramifications of what he or she might request.

1) Opto isolation - true we could put the USB chip and the opto circuit inside the charger. It would bump the price of the charger up by about $20 to $30 at the retail level. Some people will never use the PC. Why should they pay for internal USB? Believe it or not, opto-isolation vastly improves the reliability of the charger and safe-guards your PC 100% from ever being damaged by your charger. There are other simpler methods, but not nearly as robust or effective; particularly in a high power application.

2) Competitively priced uC's that our industry commonly uses are just now starting to come on line with internal USB support. Yes, we can stick with serial-to-USB as we do in all the chargers currently, but in the future we may be better served to utilize high speed USB compatible output from the uC. Never say never. Our decisions in the future will always hinge on cost analysis and user feedback which we are always happy to receive.

3) Still, putting USB in the charger does cause us some concern in terms of longevity. Why? Because RS-232 communication was a standard in PC's for like 40 years. Now days, it's hard to even find RS-232 in some computers; particularly laptops. Will USB really stay the defacto standard? No one can say with certainty. But if it is replaced with something else at any time down the road, products with embedded USB will no longer be compatible with PC's. Doing the actual communication outside of the "box" means it would always be possible to make a new PC interface. Of course, the longer USB sticks around, the less likely this will be a potential problem.

4) But drivers are a problem and they always will be. We thought that the millions of Prolific-based USB converters commonly available would always have driver support. Turns out that, although the FUIM2 is apparently working inside Vista and Win 7, they are no longer "officially" supporting this chip with updated drivers. Win 8, they may not work at all any more. This puts FMA in a position to try to find 3rd parties who have written updated drivers and then test them. Beyond that, all we can do is provide a new PC interface. Guess what? If we had put the Prolific chip "in the box", a couple years down the road, the current FMA chargers might not work on newer operating systems. Buying a 1000W charger is not like buying a camera or a cell phone that you know you will throw away in 1-2 years. It's a longer-term and sizable investment.

5) What happens if a better PC communication interface comes along? Old designs would have no way to take advantage of a better solution. Customers would always be stuck with an outdated solution in terms of firmware and PC software.

6) What about a product like CPII? We need PC communication for firmware updates. But it's not practical to put a circuit the size of the FUIM3 in an on-board product. Even a simpler solution can pose problems in keeping the electronics small. So, we have to stock FUIM3 any way. What's so wrong about allowing the customer to save money by purchasing only 1 interface that can be used across multiple products?

Our choice to implement USB support outside of the charger is not about FMA/REVO saving a buck. This is about FMA/REVO saving customers a buck. By embedding USB into a charger, the retail price of every charger would increase. As I stated above, some may choose not to use the PC at all. Others may have more than one FMA/REVO product. Why should he or she be forced to pay for multiple USB interfaces when in many cases, he only needs one?

Furthermore, when we introduce the Cellpro PowerLab 8 for sale, as with other FMA products, it will be available in one or more combo packages giving the customer the power to choose what accessories to purchase. Purchasing combos always results in cost savings. So it is not as though FMA refuses to put everything in one retail package. If you want it that way, you may choose to buy it that way.

Finally, the choice to provide USB support "outside of the box" is already determined on this product which is currently in production. But your feedback and constructive criticism will be considered carefully for future products.

With regard to "FMA not using a standard USB cable", the FUIM3 is designed to operate with a standard USB-to-USB mini cable. One simple solution for those who lose track of dongles and/or cables is to simply leave the interface side of the FUIM3 plugged into the charger and then use whatever USB-to-USB mini cable you have lying around when you connect to the PC.
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 12:10 PM
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Thank you for the great clarification. I get it now.

As for the FUIM3 is this something available now?

I cannot find anything about it
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 01:13 PM
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Hi:

You are quite welcome!

As for the FUIM3, we're expecting these first week in February. All of the beta team members are currently working with them. Steve M was kind enough to post a close up photo of the device in post 163 of this thread:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=163

The image in the above comes out about 25% larger than the actual device on my monitor.

Tim Marks
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 01:17 PM
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Should be available sometimes next month last I heard. Bottom line is the PCB is small and it communicates approx. twice as fast .There is a photo post a few pages back.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=163

Tim covered the outside the box USB in his post above but I will mention once again that the present approach works well for up to 16 of the Power Lab 8s linked together. That is one as master and 15 as slaves.

AS I was the one who suggested keeping the Thread on track with question on this charger perhaps I should explain.

Anyone can post why not 12 or 20 cells. Why 1,000 watts and not 800 or 1600 ,why have a dongle outside the box not inside,etc. ,etc. but answers to these have nothing really to do with the charger than is coming to market.

If you want more cells, less cells, dual output instead of single output then why not e mail FMA Direct and make such request? It is not going to happen with this one this late in the game. I just know from past experience that this thread will be so long so fast that most will never be able to find the answers to the chargers features / abilities as it will be buried in a bunch of noise such as they should have done this or they should have done that.

Charles
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 01:33 PM
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I guess this will come in handy if I win the lottery and link that many together

Quote:
Originally Posted by everydayflyer View Post
Should be available sometimes next month last I heard. Bottom line is the PCB is small and it comunicates approx. twice as fast .There is a photo post a few pages back.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=163

Tim covered theoutside the box USB in his post above but I will mention once again that the presnt approach works well for up to 16 of the Power Lab 8s linbked together. That is one as master and 15 as slaves.



Charles
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