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Hobbico LiFeSource 6.6V 1100mAh 10C Receiver Battery

Hobbico has just released an exciting new receiver battery to the market. This new 2s pack is 6.6 nominal volts and has 1100mAh in capacity. The LiFeSource battery is a light-weight, high-output receiver pack used to replace standard five-cell NiCD or NiMh packs.

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Introduction


Hobbico LiFeSource :6.6V 1100mAh 10C Rx LiFeSource Receiver battery
Battery Type:2 cell Lithium iron phosphate LiFePO4
Nominal Voltage:3.3v/cell 6.6 total
Fully Charged Voltage:3.6v/cell 7.2v total
Weight (with battery):93g 3.2oz
Size:47mm x 21mm x 11mm
Manufacturer:Hobbico
Available From:On-line distributors or your local hobby shop
Hobbico LiFeSource site:LiFeSource 2s 1100
Price:$24.99

Hobbico has released a new battery to the market that takes advantage of the latest LiFe (lithium iron phosphate LiFePO4) technology. This 2s pack has a nominal voltage rating of 6.6 volts making it perfect for today's 2.4GHz receivers and many servos. Besides the lower voltage per cell, compared to a LiPo, LiFe batteries have several other positive key differences: They have almost no self-discharge, a much longer life cycle, they hold voltage under load for much longer than other battery types ever used in RC at 3.3v/cell and they do not exhibit the thermal runaway that LiPoly cells can, so they offer greater safety.

The best news is that, with the lower nominal voltage, the LiFe pack may not require the use of a voltage regulator! Check to see that your receiver and servos can handle the ~6.6v voltage levels. Most receivers and many servos will accommodate that with ease, as it is just above that of a fully charged cell NiCd or NiMh flight pack.

With that increase in voltage, servos produce more torque and operate faster, two great in-flight advantages. The 1100mAh review pack was able to provide 11 amps of power, making it a match for even the hungriest of on-board power systems. So high-draw digital servos and 2.4GHz receivers will receive the power they need to operate at their peak. This small, light pack was able to deliver all the power needed for power hungry digital servos and receiver.

The Hobbico LiFe packs come in different sizes:

  • 2s 200
  • 2s 1100
  • 2s 1800
  • 2s 2100
  • 2s 3200

LiFeSource Batteries

All but the smallest pack also give you a great selection of connector compatibility and redundancy as well. Each pack comes with three discharge leads: one Deans Ultra terminated lead, and two leads with universal receiver connectors. The multiple plugs are also useful for dual receiver setups, and the Deans plug is great for connecting to on-board power distribution boxes used in big models. Therefore, you can choose to power the receiver with the connector of your choice. The battery also included a JST-XH type balance tap.

BATTERY FEATURES

  • Lightweight
  • High energy density
  • High output capacity
  • Small size
  • 6.6v nominal voltage -- perfect for many airborne systems
  • No regulators needed (see note below)
  • Three output leads
  • Balance leads for charging
  • Environmentally friendly

Note - Check the specifications for both your receiver and servos to be sure they can run on ~6.6v. This voltage approximates a fully charged 5 cell NiMh/NiCd pack. While this should not be an issue for most receivers, some servos may recommend only 4.8v nominal voltage inputs.


Package Contents

  • LiFeSource 1100mAh Battery
  • Instruction manual

LiFeSource Capacity Testing

I began tests with a charge to capacity. (Use the LiFe setting on your charger. You will damage this pack if you use a LiPo or LiIon voltage charge termination as those cells are charged to a higher voltage.) The instructions recommend the use of CC/CV (constant current/constant voltage) charging technique, just like one would charge a receiver pack or the transmitter.

The Hobbico LiFeSource pack only took a few minutes to top off and reach full voltage. After full charge, I discharged the pack to 5 volts using the discharge feature on my charger. This was the minimum discharge voltage recommended by the instructions. At 5 volt termination the pack had drawn out about 1050mA according to my charger.

The pack then took about 1122mA to reach charge completion. Please note that charging is not 100% efficient, and some losses were involved, but we still get a good idea of that the pack is accurate on capacity and was not underrated.

I should add that voltage drop is very steep after about ~5.7V, so charging the pack is recommended when the voltage drops below 6V.

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are fully charged at 3.6v/cell. So 7.2v is a fully charged 2s pack. In use, the pack voltage drops very quickly and settles to about 6.6v under load. It held that loaded voltage very consistently.

During the charge process, I monitored the cell balance and found this pack cells were within ~.01V of each other. It's nice to see that Hobbico used the JST-XH balance plugs on this pack, as they are common in many LiPo packs, chargers and balancers.

Another great feature of this pack is the anticipated lifespan. Hobbico reports discharge/charge cycles at 1,000, so this pack should provide many years of in-flight service. I found the LiFePO4 cells exhibit very low self-discharge, so they are ready to go when you are!

LiFeSource Connectors

The LiFeSource pack comes with three separate discharge wires. Two of those are universal receiver connectors and one uses the Deans Ultra connector. Each of the Rx connectors is rated to 5 amps maximum discharge and the Deans Ultra will exceed the pack capability. There are several receivers on the market that support high-power connectors, and I suspect more will in the future.

You can also see that the LiFeSource pack also contains a welcome JST-XH type 2s balance connector. This will help to keep both of the cells in proper balance while charging.

Flight Testing

I choose my recently reviewed Great Planes Sequence F3A pattern ship for some in-flight testing with this pack.




The use of built-in battery eliminator circuits in ESC's may not be up to the task of providing power for our power-hungry airborne systems, especially as in use with larger airplanes. The LiFeSource pack can also be used in projects were a large number of servos are used. Again, with 11amps of current capacity it is easily capable of providing power for the most power hungry servos.




The LiFeSource battery is a great solution for glow airplanes as well. The pack is smaller and lighter than most four-cell NiCd setups. I also really enjoy the servo speed increase you receive from running at higher voltages.

I have used the LiFeSource pack in another large model with four power-hungry digital servos. With the use of a in-flight servo meter, I was able to measure in-flight amp draws of roughly 3.2 amps. This draw is well beyond the current handling ability of most linear mode BECs. With the LiFeSource battery I have no power concerns in my high-draw setups. I really enjoyed the simplicity of using a single battery for power rather than running both a 2s LiPoly and voltage regulator.

Conclusion

The Hobbico 2s LiFeSource 1100mAh battery has been a welcome addition to the hangar. With the lower voltage of the LiFePO cells they can be used, in most cases, without the use of a voltage regulator. So it is an excellent, high-power option for applications in which a five-cell NiCd or NiMh pack, or a 2S LiPo (with regulator or BEC) might have been used. Check to see that your servos and receiver can handle the 6.6v nominal voltage level.

I was very impressed with the new LiFeSource 2s 1100 pack. It consistently delivered voltage without any complaint. It maintained voltage very well, even under load.

The battery also comes with a wide array of factory installed output connectors. It came with three discharge leads installed at the factory. Two of those leads included universal receiver connectors. This offers excellent power input redundancy, as you can plug both leads into the receiver on separate ends of the power bus in unused channels. The use of both connections also offered another benefit, input redundancy. Each universal receiver connector was rated at 5 amps, so using both allowed a safe 10 amps of power to the receiver bus.

The LiFeSource pack also included one high-power output lead. Since a number of receivers on the market today also come with high-power input options. The included Deans Ultra output lead can also be used for receivers that support that. You could certainly change that to the connector of your choice as well.

I was also very happy to see the 2s JST-XH type balance connector factory installed and ready for use. This gave an assurance that the pack will remain in balance while charging.

The LiFeSource battery has performed flawlessly in several applications. It provided the power needed and gave confidence that the receiver would be well above safe input voltage. I also liked the fact that in a couple of my large twins with multiple servos, I had no worries about overtaxing a voltage regulator or BEC.

The LiFeSource makes a simple no-frills solution that provides your plane's electronics, including digital servos, with the power you need. The LiFeSource packs come in various sizes ranging from 200mA to 3200mA, so you are certain to find with the capacity and power output for your unique application.

Pluses:

  • High energy density
  • Small and lightweight
  • Multi-connector output options
  • Long cycle life
  • Low discharge means the pack ready for use!

Minuses:

  • Voltage dump is steep at the end of useful capacity
Last edited by Angela H; May 20, 2010 at 08:45 AM..

Discussion

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Old May 19, 2010, 08:03 AM
Registered User
Bedford, Texas
Joined Dec 2006
62 Posts
Mike,

Interesting report. I bought a couple of LifePO4 transmitter batteries and gave one to Lex. He accidentally left his tranny on and killed his battery. I don't suppose there is any way to recover it is there? Mine just sits there at 9.8 volts constantly. How far can I go in discharging it? I am assuming it can go to 9.0 Volts, but I don't want to get too close to the cliff.

Regards,

Rod
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Old May 19, 2010, 02:16 PM
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nioa's Avatar
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Joined Jan 2008
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LiFe pack may not require the use of a voltage regulator

Interestingly,

John G., Futaba Product Support Lead Technician, says that Futaba does not recommend the use of lithium based batteries with their receivers and servos.

Spektrum said their receiver's will handle 6.6v, but most servos are limited to 6v; (so) you may need to run a regulator.

I emailed Red Scholefield of Model Aviation Magazine back in early March to get an authoritative answer to the direct powering of LiFe to Receiver/Servo question. I'm looking forward to a article answering that question.
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Old May 19, 2010, 04:11 PM
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Joined Mar 2002
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I am surprised that Fut did not recommend only using Fut batteries with their equipment. Like most large manufacturers, they are paranoid about operating their equipment well within design specs and want to sell you THEIR equipment.

J.P.
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Old May 19, 2010, 04:22 PM
Southern Pride
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Haralson County GA. USA
Joined Oct 2004
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Many have been using A123 System 2300 mAh and 1100mAh cells to build 2S receiver / servo packs for years now. A fully charged LiFePO4 is no greater voltage than a fully charged 5cell Ni pack which have been in use for what seems like forever now.

A123 Systems and several others manufacture and market 2S Receiver packs and Hyperion /Aircraft-world sells both Transmitter and receiver LiFePO4 batteries.
The Hyperion Transmitter packs have a PCM device in them so that the can be charged with the standard OEM wall charger and will not be over charged. They can of course also be charged by the heavier leads at a faster rate ,slightly over 2C)4.8A).

I have used and recommended 2 cell LiFePO4 pack for receivers and think they are the best choice for medium to large models. I am glad that satiable sizes for transmitter use are now becoming more common.


I just happen top be running a 300 mA CC discharge on one of the Hyperion HP-FG305-2080 right now.

One of my LiFePO4 cells as receiver packs Threads.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...&highlight=why
Charles
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Last edited by everydayflyer; May 19, 2010 at 04:28 PM.
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Old May 19, 2010, 05:08 PM
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Sacramento
Joined Mar 2007
946 Posts
Life Is Good!

I just received my Hyperion G3 Life RX/TX packs and they are working perfectly without my BEC.
I ordered the RX/TX Life Source packs,too, but still have not received yet because they are waiting for the TX packs to come into stock.
Regards,
John
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Old May 19, 2010, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electricrod View Post
Mike,

Interesting report. I bought a couple of LifePO4 transmitter batteries and gave one to Lex. He accidentally left his tranny on and killed his battery. I don't suppose there is any way to recover it is there? Mine just sits there at 9.8 volts constantly. How far can I go in discharging it? I am assuming it can go to 9.0 Volts, but I don't want to get too close to the cliff.

Regards,

Rod
I would try to recover the battery, use NiCd or NiMh battery type at a slow rate, and make sure Lex monitors the charge. Then once at 7.5v or so, terminate the charge and switch to the charger to the LiFe setting. Can't hurt to try. I really wish all Tx's came with auto off functionality.

I recharge at 6v so 9v for the TX pack would be good. The dump is steep, but most modern cells (LiFe/LiPo) are exactly the same. I am missing some capacity doing this, but to me it is not a big deal.

On the issue of regulators vs not - as Charles indicates many have been doing it for years. And again, the voltage difference is very small between a 5 cell NiMh/NiCd and this LiFe.

The gaggle of 2.4GHz Rx's have zero issues with this voltage (same with the vast majority of 72MHz Rx's too).

My digital Hyperion servos sure snap to attention now . The power and speed is awesome.

But there is NO QUESTION some servos will not work well or long on these voltage levels. That includes any servo that indicates it is for 4 cell use (4.8 volt round cells that is....). Futaba has some digital servos that they do not recommend higher voltage on. I sure there is some reason for that.

Check if you are not sure, but remember these are not LiPo cells with their much higher voltages.

Mike
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Old May 19, 2010, 08:33 PM
More Motors, More Fun... :-)
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Phoenix, AZ
Joined Jan 2008
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Quote:
Futaba does not recommend the use of lithium based batteries with their receivers and servos.
I too am skeptical as to why Futaba specifically states that they do not recommend any lithium based batteries, without any explanation at all.

It is true that a 2-cell LiFePO4 pack voltage is very close to that of a fully charged 5 cell NiCd or NiMh pack, and obviously, you wouldn't use a 4.8v servo with a 5 cell NiCd or NiMh or LiFe, but the finality of the statement doesn't make sense to me.
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Last edited by nioa; May 19, 2010 at 08:42 PM.
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Old May 19, 2010, 09:13 PM
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a little typo?

I wish this pack did only weigh 33g as currently listed in the specs. I'd be buying a few at that weight

I think it should read 93g though...

Hobbico LiFeSource : 6.6V 1100mAh 10C Rx LiFeSource Receiver battery
Battery Type: 2 cell Lithium iron phosphate LiFePO4
Nominal Voltage: 3.3v/cell 6.6 total
Fully Charged Voltage: 3.6v/cell 7.2v total
Weight (with battery): 33g 3.2oz
Size: 47mm x 21mm x 11mm
Manufacturer: Hobbico
Available From: On-line distributors or your local hobby shop
Hobbico LiFeSource site: LiFeSource 2s 1100
Price: $24.99

Nice to see someone making a tiny 200mAh pack, should be great for DLG's.
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Old May 19, 2010, 11:39 PM
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Oklahoma
Joined Aug 2008
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I have one of these in a larger size as the power source for my Spektrum AR7000 receiver and flight pack. I like it a lot, my only gripe is that the leads on the balancing tap are way too short, it makes it difficult to hook up to the balancing lead for charging. The wire leads on the balancing connectors of lipos are very short also, and these are the same.
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Old May 20, 2010, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukpaul View Post
I wish this pack did only weigh 33g as currently listed in the specs. I'd be buying a few at that weight

I think it should read 93g though...

Weight (with battery): 33g 3.2oz

Nice to see someone making a tiny 200mAh pack, should be great for DLG's.
Good catch - 4 sets of eyes on stuff and it is easy to miss this. I will get my editor to get that changed.

They do make a 2s 200!

Mike
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Old May 20, 2010, 12:39 PM
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Yeah, the 2S 200mAh is only 15g/0.53 oz, nice

The two pics of the pack on the scales don't currently show up in the article by the way. They do show up though when you click on a pic and use the previous 5 pics/next 5 pics links, so they are uploaded with the rest of the pics I assume, but are maybe missing a link or whatever needed in the article itself.
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Old May 20, 2010, 06:46 PM
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Joined Feb 2010
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Excuse the newbie question, but are these batteries good for powering an electric aircraft (motor and Rx/servos) or just the Rx/servos? I am getting ready to make the leap into electric aircraft and the hazards of LiPo scare me. Would love to use LiFe if they are capable since they are safer to charge.
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Old May 21, 2010, 06:45 AM
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Joined Dec 2005
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arkarns,
Welcome to RC Groups and while you have some concerns regarding lipos, there is just a few things to remember. Treat them with a healthy respect, don't charge them if your are not there to watch them, use a lipo sack or some other device to contain any fire if something happens and always have some sand or something to smother them if the unthinkable happens. Don't ever use water to try to put them out.
While there are many posts about lipo fires, I have had lipos for about 5 years and not had any trouble. I ballance them, charge them in a glass container, watch them while being charged. There is lots of good information here on RC Groups about lipo batteries and many people are far more experienced than I and are a lot smarter than I about lipos.

I believe the new batteries discussed here are for RC and servos, not for electric motors. I am glad for the review, I have looked at these to replace the power packs in my two gas planes.
Conehead
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Old May 21, 2010, 10:55 PM
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Life Batteries

I'm using a G3 Life 2S/6.6volt/5C/2100mAh battery in my submarine to power everything , including a single Novak 1800kv brushless motor,running direct prop-drive.
Regards,
John
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