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Old Apr 04, 2012, 02:14 PM
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Hi Tim,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. Just to be safe, let me just say that I'm not the slightest bit emotional about this topic and since I've already got my charger, I no longer have a horse in this race since this topic is about future potential customers. I am however, very happy to share opinions so I hope you're okay with my posts so far. I've tried my best not to offend anyone from FMA/Revolectrix and will continue trying to provide constructive points only.

Regarding the webpage layout, I guess it's no longer a case of "one person's suggestion is better than" but a case of "one person's suggestion is different from".

If you allow me, I would describe the PL8's main product page as being a rather short webapge (in terms of top to bottom height) with its general overview/summary being purely in text form within the Description tab which is one of 5 tabs, each of which contains quite a bit of information relatively speaking. However, the overall feel of the webpage is a little 'closed in' because most of the information is only available within the relatively small window of the tabs and the 'general view' is a bit restrictive.

Now I hope you're okay with me suggesting the Duratrax ICE's webpage as an example. I hope you don't see them as a competitor because arguably, their charger does not compete in the same class as the PL8, having no PC link or software and being of substantially less power. Doesn't even have a backlight. I own the ICE so that's why I'm able to suggest their webpage as I've seen it a few times. I tried looking for other examples of totally different product types but after a while, I thought the ICE's webpage illustrates my point most readily.

If I'm not breaking forum rules or offending FMA, I hope to continue discussing the ICE's webpage as an example: It is the complete opposite of that of the PL8. Take note, I'm not saying that Duratrax's webpage is better. In fact, it's quite the opposite of the PL8's main page and the ICE's main page is lacking in detailed information and has no specifications/videos/features tabs at all. But it is very viewer friendly with everything immediately viewable at once with thumbnails to illustrate the main features/strong points of their charger. There's also a big video window which no one can miss. This video window could have been the CCS software preview or alternatively, the thumbnail pictures of the ICE's graphical screen can be replaced by screenshots of the CCS's settings tabs in action.

So for me, the ideal PL8 webpage (given how capable the charger is) would have been a hybrid of the current PL8 webapge and the Duratrax one. ie. It would be a simple and picture friendly 'general/summary view' page (like the ICE's one) and within that general view, the 5 detailed tabs featuring specs/features/videos etc...

So for the general page: It would be a taller page filled with a brief paragraph of the charger's major aspects (the usual specs in short, plain text, 1344W, 40A, regenerative discharge etc) aided by a few pictures/thumnails/screenshots of the CCS's many options like the charger, discharge and termination settings, each with their own little picture. Perhaps showing also a picture of the PL8 hooked up to 6 lipo packs in parallel (with MPA maybe?) charging all at the same time to maximise the PL8's power output. There could also have been a video of the CCS in action right on the main page like on the Duratrax one. If you want to cram more in without cluttering it too much, you could also have a small video clearly titled "PL8 charging Lipo at 20C (or xx minutes) one pack for a whole day's of flying" or something that really empahsizes in plain words the cost savings of having a real powerful fast charger.

Then the viewer/prospective customer will have a good view of what the PL8 and CCS can do without much finger/scrolling and once hooked, will proceed to looking for more detailed information that is currently available within the 5 tabs also conveniently located on the same general page just like how it currently is.

I hope you see where I'm coming from. I'm not an RC guy by the way and so I'm completely foreign from the usual RC marketing circles and have received no e-mails or prior knowledge from anyone from FMA/Revo. As such, the PL8's webpage was my first real education about the charger's abilities and as mentioned before, I went from the main page straight to the "Resources" tab or "Downloads" link at the bottom and started viewing the manual. As I recall, I did pass through the "Video" tab but the feature video/preview was titled "PL8 – Installing Charge Control Software" so I thought that was more for people who already own the PL8 and wanted instructions on how to install the software. So I skipped the video page. If that video was titled "CCS software -extensive capabilities and versatility" or "CCS in action" or something along those lines, I would have probably watched the video.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 02:20 PM
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Joined Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregor99 View Post
Image tag, wraped in a URL tag. Click to follow.

Brilliant illustration! Straight to the point about CCS! Should have been on the PL8's main page itself, not within the tabs or elsewhere.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pureiridium View Post
Brilliant illustration! Straight to the point about CCS! Should have been on the PL8's main page itself, not within the tabs or elsewhere.
It is on the main page. Depending on your screen resolution and zoom level, you may need to scroll down a bit to see it.

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Old Apr 04, 2012, 02:51 PM
President, FMA, Inc.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pureiridium View Post
Hi Tim,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. Just to be safe, let me just say that I'm not the slightest bit emotional about this topic and since I've already got my charger, I no longer have a horse in this race since this topic is about future potential customers. I am however, very happy to share opinions so I hope you're okay with my posts so far. I've tried my best not to offend anyone from FMA/Revolectrix and will continue trying to provide constructive points only.

Regarding the webpage layout, I guess it's no longer a case of "one person's suggestion is better than" but a case of "one person's suggestion is different from".

If you allow me, I would describe the PL8's main product page as being a rather short webapge (in terms of top to bottom height) with its general overview/summary being purely in text form within the Description tab which is one of 5 tabs, each of which contains quite a bit of information relatively speaking. However, the overall feel of the webpage is a little 'closed in' because most of the information is only available within the relatively small window of the tabs and the 'general view' is a bit restrictive.

Now I hope you're okay with me suggesting the Duratrax ICE's webpage as an example. I hope you don't see them as a competitor because arguably, their charger does not compete in the same class as the PL8, having no PC link or software and being of substantially less power. Doesn't even have a backlight. I own the ICE so that's why I'm able to suggest their webpage as I've seen it a few times. I tried looking for other examples of totally different product types but after a while, I thought the ICE's webpage illustrates my point most readily.

If I'm not breaking forum rules or offending FMA, I hope to continue discussing the ICE's webpage as an example: It is the complete opposite of that of the PL8. Take note, I'm not saying that Duratrax's webpage is better. In fact, it's quite the opposite of the PL8's main page and the ICE's main page is lacking in detailed information and has no specifications/videos/features tabs at all. But it is very viewer friendly with everything immediately viewable at once with thumbnails to illustrate the main features/strong points of their charger. There's also a big video window which no one can miss. This video window could have been the CCS software preview or alternatively, the thumbnail pictures of the ICE's graphical screen can be replaced by screenshots of the CCS's settings tabs in action.

So for me, the ideal PL8 webpage (given how capable the charger is) would have been a hybrid of the current PL8 webapge and the Duratrax one. ie. It would be a simple and picture friendly 'general/summary view' page (like the ICE's one) and within that general view, the 5 detailed tabs featuring specs/features/videos etc...

So for the general page: It would be a taller page filled with a brief paragraph of the charger's major aspects (the usual specs in short, plain text, 1344W, 40A, regenerative discharge etc) aided by a few pictures/thumnails/screenshots of the CCS's many options like the charger, discharge and termination settings, each with their own little picture. Perhaps showing also a picture of the PL8 hooked up to 6 lipo packs in parallel (with MPA maybe?) charging all at the same time to maximise the PL8's power output. There could also have been a video of the CCS in action right on the main page like on the Duratrax one. If you want to cram more in without cluttering it too much, you could also have a small video clearly titled "PL8 charging Lipo at 20C (or xx minutes) one pack for a whole day's of flying" or something that really empahsizes in plain words the cost savings of having a real powerful fast charger.

Then the viewer/prospective customer will have a good view of what the PL8 and CCS can do without much finger/scrolling and once hooked, will proceed to looking for more detailed information that is currently available within the 5 tabs also conveniently located on the same general page just like how it currently is.

I hope you see where I'm coming from. I'm not an RC guy by the way and so I'm completely foreign from the usual RC marketing circles and have received no e-mails or prior knowledge from anyone from FMA/Revo. As such, the PL8's webpage was my first real education about the charger's abilities and as mentioned before, I went from the main page straight to the "Resources" tab or "Downloads" link at the bottom and started viewing the manual. As I recall, I did pass through the "Video" tab but the feature video/preview was titled "PL8 Installing Charge Control Software" so I thought that was more for people who already own the PL8 and wanted instructions on how to install the software. So I skipped the video page. If that video was titled "CCS software -extensive capabilities and versatility" or "CCS in action" or something along those lines, I would have probably watched the video.

Hi:

Absolutely no offense taken. I much appreciate the constructive feedback and suggestions. I really will give these suggestions some thought as time goes by. When we designed these tabbed pages, our objectives were:

1) We were trying to get the look and feel of a www.newegg.com or amazon.

2) We think a lot of good information fits into a small space using tabs.

3) We were looking for consistency across all of the major products we sell.

But I think the adage "a picture says a thousand words" is true. I think we could stand to open up the product pages by having more graphic content above the tabs. We will consider doing this as time goes by.

Thanks for the good suggestions!

Tim Marks
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by russ skinner View Post
For single packs I would agree - let the charger do the worrying. From what I've experienced so far with paralleling charging (only 2P) its essential to do the monitoring. The PL8 is a very good charger, but IMO dual port chargeOrs are the way forward. Parallel charging too inconsistent.
No way! I parallel charge on mine all day long and the packs come out huffed and ready. I wanna get one of the multi boards to do 6 packs at a time when they are ready.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 03:47 PM
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Having a dual port charger is similar to having two "weaker" chargers, I would rather have one very powerful charger that you can parallel charge with, and if you have a very large battery to charge, you can charge it quickly, unlike a dual port charger. Also don't forget that the pl8 can charge up to 8s, so if you have 3 or 4 cell packs, with the right adapters and knowledge, you can charge packs in series.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 04:00 PM
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Early days for me parallel charging, but the jury is out. Let me be clear I do not see this as an issue with the PL8 - essentially it has no idea it is connected to multiple packs - rather a problem with all the connections and charge rate. I'm getting quite a spread of results for final cell voltages - statistically the process is not in control when compared to charging the packs individually.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russ skinner View Post
Early days for me parallel charging, but the jury is out. Let me be clear I do not see this as an issue with the PL8 - essentially it has no idea it is connected to multiple packs - rather a problem with all the connections and charge rate. I'm getting quite a spread of results for final cell voltages - statistically the process is not in control when compared to charging the packs individually.
Well, Russ, the jury will aquit the process: it works just fine, and with the MPA all the connections are well-designed and well-manufactured.

So, just hold you nose and keep trying, you'll find out it is what others claim it to be!
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by russ skinner View Post
Early days for me parallel charging, but the jury is out. Let me be clear I do not see this as an issue with the PL8 - essentially it has no idea it is connected to multiple packs - rather a problem with all the connections and charge rate. I'm getting quite a spread of results for final cell voltages - statistically the process is not in control when compared to charging the packs individually.
I agree with this, anytime there are more connections made, the risk of having a problem goes up, I only charge in parallel if I don't have the time to wait for each pack to finish. It is the users responsibility to make sure all connections are clean and work as required. However, some people get to complacent and that causes problems.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnathanSwift View Post
Well, Russ, the jury will aquit the process: it works just fine, and with the MPA all the connections are well-designed and well-manufactured.

So, just hold you nose and keep trying, you'll find out it is what others claim it to be!
I'm sure I'll get there, but I'm a little concerned that many consider parallel charging intrinsically safe - ohms law and all that.

When you say it works just fine, how would you define fine?

For multiple packs, charged at 1C rate using the most accurate charge preset what would you consider

1. acceptable spread of voltages?
2. max cell voltage?
3. min cell voltage?

Let me just reaffirm, I'm not questioning the performance of the PL8 here, rather the process of parallel charging.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 04:52 PM
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You should spend some time reading this thread from the beginning:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=932319
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Do you guys check voltages on each pack that you're going to parallel charge, everytime? I'd be lying if I said I did. I do it sometimes, but mostly I know the charge level of each pack (usually 3.75-3.85).

I've mentioned before - there is that inherent danger that one multicell pack has one cell gone bad (holds around just 1.5-2v when mine went bad). Connecting this in parallel with 5 other healthy packs and they'll ALL dump huge currents into this already bad pack, as happened to me once, and it took out my other healthy cell as well which was already close to empty.

For the above, the MPA sorta covers you, up to 40A.

Another case is when one or more balance connections come loose. Not so bad for expensive matched cells, bad for cheap cells that don't charge exactly equally. For this, all balance boards MPA included, and all chargers, PL8 included, are blind to it. There's a risk of overcharging some cells in this case. But I've only had this happen once.

And lastly, small lipos of very different health levels. Parallel charging has completed before with end voltage 4.2V. But, as I started removing some of the apparently healthy cells, the voltage dropped to around 4.0V. Apparently even a trickle current from healthy cells is enough to push weaker cells to match voltage
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russ skinner View Post
I'm sure I'll get there, but I'm a little concerned that many consider parallel charging intrinsically safe - ohms law and all that.

When you say it works just fine, how would you define fine?

For multiple packs, charged at 1C rate using the most accurate charge preset what would you consider

1. acceptable spread of voltages?
2. max cell voltage?
3. min cell voltage?

Let me just reaffirm, I'm not questioning the performance of the PL8 here, rather the process of parallel charging.
.
It depends on if your main attraction to this hobby is charging or flying. If you're the kind of guy that goes after each pack/cell with a Fluke Super Volt Meter after each charge, then parallel charging probably will not satisfy you when each cell is a couple thousandth's of a volt apart.
.
However, if you're here for the flying, you'll know to only keep you batts at full charge for a few minutes after charging and then get them right into the airplane and go fly. Even if they came off the charger a few thousandths of a volt difference, they sure don't discharge perfectly equal either.
.
Bottom line, fire 'em up, fly it like you stole it, repeat. End the day with a storage charge.
.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russ skinner View Post
I'm sure I'll get there, but I'm a little concerned that many consider parallel charging intrinsically safe - ohms law and all that.

When you say it works just fine, how would you define fine?

For multiple packs, charged at 1C rate using the most accurate charge preset what would you consider

1. acceptable spread of voltages?
2. max cell voltage?
3. min cell voltage?

Let me just reaffirm, I'm not questioning the performance of the PL8 here, rather the process of parallel charging.
you do know the pl8 brings the cells up together right?If a cell gets off balance the pl8 will drastically lower amps and try to give it time to come up..if it doesn't it quits charging...=safety.
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 07:02 PM
Stop scaring my donkey!
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Joined Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russ skinner View Post
I'm sure I'll get there, but I'm a little concerned that many consider parallel charging intrinsically safe - ohms law and all that.

When you say it works just fine, how would you define fine?

For multiple packs, charged at 1C rate using the most accurate charge preset what would you consider

1. acceptable spread of voltages?
2. max cell voltage?
3. min cell voltage?

Let me just reaffirm, I'm not questioning the performance of the PL8 here, rather the process of parallel charging.
"Fine," as a matter of common acceptation and usage, means without failure, surprise, fire, muss, mess or deviation from the industry standard.

How about them apples?

As for your question, either it's too ambiguous or it's beyond my ken: but, charging 6 batts at a time, my variance is seldom more than .01 volt, and usually they are identical.

As for whether it is "intrinsically safe," there are many who believe lipo batteries are inherently dangerous: I never turn my back on the things, but in 7 years, 4 of them parallel charging, I've never had a fire or even a scare.

Whatever blows your skirt up.
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