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Old Jan 18, 2010, 05:47 AM
Southern Pride
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Haralson County GA. USA
Joined Oct 2004
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One more suggestion I would have is the ability to do 2v and 4v lead
Yes 1-12 cell Pb capable.

I personally confirmed ,2cell,3 cell,6cell,9 cell 12cell .
Using PL 8 as a battery cycler has many great points and a few short comings ,one as mentioned earlier is no direct overlay functions and there are others but however it is still not finalized either. Let's wait as see what it looks like later on.

One should also consider if they need / want a powerful charger which also discharges,cycles and analyzes cells / batteries but in reality will mostly be used as a charger or.... do they need a full blown battery discharge / graphing .overlaying etc. discharging units.

PL and deep cycle(s) $400 plus and can discharge at up to 30 amps.. which would be roughly 350 watts for a 3S LiPoly.


To do same with CBA II and external amp. from WMR cost somewhere around $900 I believe and with my primary test setup approx. $1,200 however I can do up to 300 amps. up to 50 or 60 volts(1,000 watts) and have unlimited graphing,overlaying etc.



A swiss army knife is very handy as is a leather-man but are they all you need or all you want or are you like me and want everything from the hardware and sporting goods store?

Charles
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 06:26 AM
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United States, AL
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I missed the 30a max discharge in the first post. That's quite the downer! Still would be fine for testing packs as long as you test packs small enough to get the discharge rate you want to test at...

Good to hear it does any number of lead cells, that's been a pet peeve of mine for a long time.
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 07:26 AM
Southern Pride
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Haralson County GA. USA
Joined Oct 2004
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I missed the 30a max discharge in the first post. That's quite the downer!
There are always limits. A CBAII will only do 100 watts and to increase its' ability gets rather expensive. Yes it can do those watts at higher amps./ lower volts but if you consider that many use 3S and larger LiPolys then 100 watts is only 10 amps. The PL8 can do that using the internal load and as above can do up to 30amp. with a suitable Pb in the regenerative mode. 30amps. X 10.5 volts under load equals 350 watts.if you happen to be discharging a 8S LiPoly 30A. X 28V =840 watts . PL8 also cycles which CBA II does not as it has no charging capabilities,PL8 gives extremely accurate Cell IRs,cell voltages and a lot of other data which the CBA II does not.

I know you have hands on experience trying to design and fabricate a simple low cost high current discharge load. By the time you add graphing ability,individual cell voltages,low voltage cut off and other such features it is no longer simple or inexpensive and you still do not have a charger and not only a charger but a rather powerful one at that.

Charles
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 08:23 AM
Major Electron Addiction
USA, NC, Wilmington
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Thanks for the quick answer to my question!! I'll buy one of these for the discharge capability alone. It takes hours and hours to discharge large packs to storage voltage with my CBAII.

Can the PL8 be connected to a lead acid battery for discharging without using a computer for control?
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rodsmith123 View Post
Can the PL8 be connected to a lead acid battery for discharging without using a computer for control?
Yes. You can do it all from the PL8 by itself. At start up you are given the choice of power supply or lead acid battery as input. You must use the lead acid battery is your power source to be able to discharge into the lead acid battery.

Glen
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by ggcrandall1 View Post
Yes. You can do it all from the PL8 by itself. At start up you are given the choice of power supply or lead acid battery as input. You must use the lead acid battery is your power source to be able to discharge into the lead acid battery.

Glen
This discharge function is a big deal if you're using 6s 5000mah. This will allow me to discharge these packs back to two marine deep cycle batteries on the way home instead of breaking out the lap top, hooking up the CBA, and watching over it for hours on end.

Where do I send my deposit? Tim?
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 12:14 PM
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United States, AL
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Originally Posted by everydayflyer View Post
I know you have hands on experience trying to design and fabricate a simple low cost high current discharge load. By the time you add graphing ability,individual cell voltages,low voltage cut off and other such features it is no longer simple or inexpensive and you still do not have a charger and not only a charger but a rather powerful one at that.
Yeah, I spent countless hours tinkering and ended up with a 300w discharger for about $50. Nevermind cycling and logging! The cycling and logging is exactly why this thing is so amazing given the low price.

Somebody can get the latest zippy pack and put 200 cycles on it in no time and graph capacity, Voltage, and IR in no time! I don't need this thing but if it turns out this good it's going to be hard to resist for only $300!
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 12:16 PM
I will be an angry old man!
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Originally Posted by biskit View Post
it's going to be hard to resist for only $300!
Ahem! $250 .... $250 is what we're looking for.
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 12:24 PM
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$250 would be literally amazing. The $200 price point is stuffed with 200w chargers - add the power and cyclin and this thing would be unbeatable for only $50 extra!

Charles: how do I get to be a tester? I'll put 10,000 cycles on this thing in a month. I M an engineer by the way, it would cost them lots to pay someone and I'll do it for free! I'll even give the charger back when I'm done.
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 12:43 PM
CPII HD & PL8 beta tester
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Aubrey, Texas
Joined May 2009
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Originally Posted by Jack Doherty View Post
Supply Voltage = 14
Supply Current = 70A
PowerLab Input Current = 50A (max limit)
No. Cells = 6
Full Charged Cell Voltage = 4.2
PowerLab Efficiency (Worse Case) = 85%
Answer: PowerLab Max Output Current = 23.6A

Jack
Referring to Post #108

Some of you may want to know how the above information was obtained. FMA developed a "PowerLab Current Calculator" Excel spread sheet. This spread sheet can be down loaded from the following site.

http://www.fmadirect.com/support_docs/item_1301.zip

It is very helpful, convenient and easy to use. It addresses six major power supply/PowerLab questions you may have.

Jack
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 01:48 PM
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United States, WA, Woodinville
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Originally Posted by everydayflyer View Post
dirtybird

A few points if I may.

Due to new shipping regulations large LiPolys will now be split packs, that is they will have a bullet or other similar connection which turns a 10S into two 5 cells.

50 volts is considered by many as the danger point where electrocution becomes a lot more likely and there for many manufactures / vendors do not care to cross that threshold.

As the max. voltage increases it becomes a lot more expensive to deliver amps. and the cost per watt goes up accordingly.

There are few 500 watts plus chargers available period and no others which I am aware of that will do 8 cell at 20 amps. much less 30 amps.

I do know of a high cell count charger but it is limited to 12A max. , required 220V AC and does not include a balancer. The price of that charger,balancer and software is close to $1,000.

Two PL8s will let you charge matched packs up to 8S ea. at up to 30 amps. each and would still be less expensive by a large margin.

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.

FYI I posted about 1-1/2 to 2 year ago that a 800watt charger that could do up to 20 S at up to 10amps. or up to 10S at up to 20 amps. would be great. That charger still not not exist to the best of my knowledge.

Charles
Yes, Charles does not suffer fools easily.
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 07:15 PM
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Seattle
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OK, let me try this again. I have a couple questions regarding the PL8. I will leave the pros and cons of parallel charging to the appropriate threads. Lets get back to PL8 discussion. These questions are specific to how the PL8 behaves during parallel charging. Not whether or not parallel charging is bad.

These questions assume that the PL8 has at least the same safety features as the Cellpro 10s, minus those required for the second channel. If that is an incorrect assumption, let me know and I'll re-phrase my question.

1) How will charging in parallel impact the PL8's ability to detect the conditions that trigger these alerts / safety modes? (without the smart parallel adapter)

[From the Cellpro 10s manual]
  • In Safety Charging Mode, the charger detects that at least one cell is seriously out of balance and automatically lowers charge current to 0.5A.
  • In Low Voltage Restore Mode, the charger automatically attempts to repair an overdischarged pack. Cells discharged as low as 0.5V may be repaired to as much as 98% of capacity.
Message.........................Problem
Pack Con. Err...................Check pack wiring
Cell < 0.1V.....................Low cell voltage
Ch1 Bad S. Count.............Cell count cannot be determined; check for a cell < 0.5V
Ch1 No Add Up................Cell verification failed
Ch1 Pos < 0.5V...............Check node wiring
Chg. Overvoltage.............Cell is over voltage
Low Voltage Cell..............Cell did not recover after 5 minutes of charge

Safety code...........Problem
88........................Check Pack 1 voltage out of range

2) Will the SPA only check for wiring issues, or can it detect a low cell?

3) Along the same lines as q2, can the SPA trigger safety charge mode, or low voltage restore mode?

4) When is the SPA expected to be released and can you give an approximate price range?
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Gregor99 View Post
OK, let me try this again. I have a couple questions regarding the PL8. I will leave the pros and cons of parallel charging to the appropriate threads. Lets get back to PL8 discussion. These questions are specific to how the PL8 behaves during parallel charging. Not whether or not parallel charging is bad.
You have a lot of good questions there, and I don't want to put something on record that isn't the best answer possible, so there will be a post from the Engineering department of FMA covering them shortly.

We Beta Testers can tell you how to use the PL-8, our impressions, and the results of our trials, but your questions go a bit deeper than that.

heyward
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 08:02 PM
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I know nothing about the SPA and what safety features it will implement and how. But knowing FMA it is likely that the safety features will cover all your concerns.

When I parallel charge packs I parallel both the main leads and the balance taps. Assuming no break or bad connection on any of the wires then all parallel cells will be at the same voltage so I have no safety concerns. However, if there is a bad wire then yes, there is going to be a problem that I am not alerted to. That is where the SPA will probably alert you and not allow the pack to be charged.

I think it best to table speculation on the SPA till we know more.
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Old Jan 18, 2010, 08:27 PM
President, FMA, Inc.
Tim Marks's Avatar
Joined Mar 2008
1,051 Posts
Hi:

Thank you for your interest in FMA/Revolectrix products. You asked the following questions. FMA's responses are in red below.

OK, let me try this again. I have a couple questions regarding the PL8. I will leave the pros and cons of parallel charging to the appropriate threads. Lets get back to PL8 discussion. These questions are specific to how the PL8 behaves during parallel charging. Not whether or not parallel charging is bad.

These questions assume that the PL8 has at least the same safety features as the Cellpro 10s, minus those required for the second channel. If that is an incorrect assumption, let me know and I'll re-phrase my question.

This assumption is correct

1) How will charging in parallel impact the PL8's ability to detect the conditions that trigger these alerts / safety modes? (without the smart parallel adapter)

[From the Cellpro 10s manual]

In Safety Charging Mode, the charger detects that at least one cell is seriously out of balance and automatically lowers charge current to 0.5A.

In Low Voltage Restore Mode, the charger automatically attempts to repair an overdischarged pack. Cells discharged as low as 0.5V may be repaired to as much as 98% of capacity.
Message.........................Problem
Pack Con. Err...................Check pack wiring
Cell < 0.1V.....................Low cell voltage
Ch1 Bad S. Count.............Cell count cannot be determined; check for a cell < 0.5V
Ch1 No Add Up................Cell verification failed
Ch1 Pos < 0.5V...............Check node wiring
Chg. Overvoltage.............Cell is over voltage
Low Voltage Cell..............Cell did not recover after 5 minutes of charge

Safety code...........Problem
88........................Check Pack 1 voltage out of range

Safety charge will still occur when cells are weaker than others. Many packs are still built 2P internally. Connecting the packs as 2P externally is essentially the same thing.

2) Will the SPA only check for wiring issues, or can it detect a low cell?

Yes, it detects low cells in both packs. The threshold is 1V. For example if the max cell is 3.5V, the min cell has to be greater than 2.5V, or SPA won’t energize the parallel switches.

3) Along the same lines as q2, can the SPA trigger safety charge mode, or low voltage restore mode?

The concept is that SPA weeds out the bad cells before paralleling them up. This is the greatest safety feature. SPA will blink an error code when a bad pack is connected to a good pack. Without SPA, connecting a bad pack with a shorted cell to a good pack will damage the node connector on both packs. SPA requires the user to press a START button before it parallels the packs. There is no guessing about the condition of each pack.

4) When is the SPA expected to be released and can you give an approximate price range?

We expect to release the SPA either simultaneously or prior to the release of the PowerLab 8. The unit also promises to be backward-compatible with the existing Cellpro 10s charger. Pricing has not yet been established, but once we have completed the basic design (currently in process), we will release approximate pricing information. At this time, all I can say is it will be substantially less than the price of another charger, otherwise, there would be no point to it.
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