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Great Planes ElectriFly CellMatch 2-6S Balancing Meter Review

The Great Planes ElectriFly CellMatch will instantly tell you the charge and individual cell status of a battery up to 6s in just a few seconds. This new battery balancer makes an excellent addition to anyone's field box.

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Introduction


ElectriFly CellMatch :6s Cell balancer
Battery Type:2-6s Lithium Polymer and Lithium Ion Batteries
Voltage Precision:Balances within 0.01V
Voltage Range:0-5v per cell
Balance Current:50mA
Operating Temperature:0-41C
Size:70mm x 38mm x 11mm
Weight:20g
Shell material:ABS plastic
Display:LCD
Manufacturer:ElectriFly
Available From:Your local hobby shop or select On-line distributors
Price:$19.99

Great Planes and ElectriFly have released a new battery balancer and voltage checking device. This compact unit is perfect for use while in the field. The CellMatch is a precision measurement tool that you can use to check the health, charge state and then balance your lithium polymer or lithium ion type batteries.

The CellMatch is small and lightweight making it perfect for use anywhere or anytime. Most of us have a large collection of LiPo or LiIon batteries and this unit provided instant feedback on the overall pack charge status with a nifty little battery icon. This feature alone made it well worth the price of admission. Admit it, we have all grabbed a depleted battery and upon take off you realize the pack is not putting out the juice it should. The CellMatch will allow you to avoid this costly mistake.

Great Planes ElectriFly CellMatch

The ElectriFly CellMatch not only integrates the functions of measuring the pack voltage with an icon it also displays the individual cell voltages. Balancing cells begins automatically after connection. The CellMatch has a small but clear LCD that enables you to quickly determine the overall battery charge state. It also shows individual cell voltages for packs up to 6 cells wired in series. Since we have such a large investment of batteries to protect the price tag fits any budget.

CellMatch Features

  • Lightweight
  • Compact form factor
  • Easy to read display screen
  • Automatic balancing
  • No internal battery - it is powered by the cells you are checking
  • Balance leads for EH and XH taps
  • Balance adapter for ThunderPower and FlightPower
  • One year warranty


Package Contents

  • CellMatch balancer
  • Lanyard
  • ThunderPower / FlightPower balance adapter
  • Instructions




Battery Support

The ElectriFly CellMatch is compatible with the common EH and XH connectors out of the box. These are the by far the most used industry connector types used by the following battery makers:

  • GP ElectriFly
  • Hobbico
  • Dualsky
  • Align
  • E-Flight
  • Parkzone
  • Rhino
  • ZIPPY
  • Turnigy
  • Others...

The Eletrifly CellMatch had an integrated internal connector where you attach the EH/XH balance lead. There was a clear "-" indicator at the top of the unit showing where the negative lead was to attach. Most balance taps with multi-colored wire use black indicating this connection.

The Eletrifly CellMatch also includes a small adapter for use with Thunder Power and FlightPower taps. With those options you are able to balance most any pack you may have right out of the box. This is welcome; buying extra adapters iss not necessary for the most common industry balance taps.

The CellMatch was unharmed when I purposely connected a battery with a positive lead to the negative terminal, another welcome safety feature.

Pack Charge Status

The small LCD was very crisp and easy to read. The first icon that you see is the overall battery charge status Icon. This graphical battery has up to three bars inside, a quick, at a glace battery charge indicator. It shows full, mid charge and low charge status, one bar for each, very nice!

Cell Balancing

The LCD also shows 6 individual cell voltage indicators. Each of these indicators show the actual cell voltages for the pack you have attached to the CellMatch. The crisp readout shows voltage levels to the nearest hundredth. Next to the individual cell voltage is a small "V" indicator. Once the pack is attached, it shows the voltage and detects any voltage mismatch. If any cells are out of balance it begins to discharge the higher voltage cells to match the lowest cells voltage. This process is automatic with no user intervention needed.

You know the pack is balancing when the small "V" begins to flash. Since the CellMatch only has a 50mA discharge capability, this takes some time, especially with larger capacity LiPo packs. This low discharge rate is likely needed to keep the compact size of the CellMatch.

The CellMatch does not need any external power source since your LiPo battery supplies the necessary power needed to run the unit. The CellMatch also has a built in safety feature, and it will stop balancing if any cell drops to 3.3v. Many of our high output packs can lose capacity or charge cycles if you discharge below that level. That is certainly a welcome feature to help protect your expensive battery investment!

Conclusion

The Great Plane ElectriFly CellMatch was something I thought would be nice, but I had no idea how often it would be used. I can honestly say the CellMatch is used more than any other tool in the field box. I actually have one in the box and one at home in my charge station!

All of us have been at the field when we have looked at the box of batteries and wondered if one was charged or not. The CellMatch takes that issue away: Plug it in, and instantly you have a "gas gauge" of the battery status. You can also see each cell's individual voltage level - fantastic!

The CellMatch does just as the name indicates; it matches individual cell voltages. The 50mA level takes a while on larger packs but it will have your battery balanced if you leave it attached. Since most of us balance charge this low rate will certainly not be a big issue.

The CellMatch has become one of my most used tools in the field box. It provides instant feedback on change status, and it can show you battery health with the individual cell voltages, which can point out a weak cell.

The CellMatch has become a favorite tool for me. I know all of us have gone to the field forgetting to charge or wondering about a pack charge status. The CellMatch lets me know exactly what is going on. Best of all, the CellMatch is priced for any hobby budget.

Pluses:

  • Small and light fits anywhere!
  • Easy to read display
  • Nice lanyard (yep it is that small!)
  • Battery level charge status icon
  • Budget price

Minuses:

  • Higher balance discharge rate would be welcome
Last edited by Angela H; Feb 22, 2011 at 11:11 AM..

Discussion

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Old Feb 22, 2011, 11:29 AM
Registered User
Joined Jul 2005
1,008 Posts
i got one of these when it came out, great product really ballances and keeps em ballanced. like you said only thing that sucks is 50mAh discharge i put some 2200s and it takes anywere from 10-1hr depending how out of ballance it is. i put a lipo that was pretty out of ballance. 3.80.3.81.3.37 it took 8hrs but got the job done. now battery works like new but overall great product at great price ;D
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 11:32 AM
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not sure if in maual it said you can do a liFe pack but i wouldnt see y not rt??as long as you got adapters to have it plug in you good to go!!
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 08:12 AM
I hate waiting for parts
Mike_Then's Avatar
United States, NC, Garner
Joined Apr 2001
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The price is right, but I use Hyperion batteries and unfortunately this little gem doesn't support those kinds of connectors. Oh well. Nice review and looks to be a good addition to anyone's flight box.
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 08:59 AM
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everydayflyer's Avatar
Haralson County GA. USA
Joined Oct 2004
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Quote:
i put a lipo that was pretty out of ballance. 3.80.3.81.3.37 it took 8hrs but got the job done. now battery works like new but overall great product at great price
If you had balanced the battery at 4.0 to 4.2 volts per cell it should have been faster. It is common for a LiPoly to be at the worst state of inbalance when discharged. That is why most balancing chargers only balance when the first cells reaches 4.2 volts.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...86&postcount=1

Charles
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by everydayflyer View Post
If you had balanced the battery at 4.0 to 4.2 volts per cell it should have been faster. It is common for a LiPoly to be at the worst state of inbalance when discharged. That is why most balancing chargers only balance when the first cells reaches 4.2 volts.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...86&postcount=1

Charles
I tried charging it with my bantam and all it would do is 2 cells would overcharge 4.25,4.25 and the bad one would only go to 3.8 this lil unit fixed it after 6 hors though I don't mind how long it took as long as it fixed it
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 08:01 AM
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North Wales, PA, USA
Joined Jan 2001
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Can these balancers be used to monitor a LiPo under load? I have a 3S battery that seems to charge to peak voltage just fine, but quickly dumps when I bench test.
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitroplanes View Post
I tried charging it with my bantam and all it would do is 2 cells would overcharge 4.25,4.25 and the bad one would only go to 3.8 this lil unit fixed it after 6 hors though
FWIW, you could have saved yourself ~5-1/2 hours by simply charging the low cell through the balance tap after the two other cells reached 4.2 volts.

The bigger concern is how your pack could have possibly become so dramatically imbalanced. This simply does not occur with healthy packs that have not been damaged, intentionally had a single cell discharged, or charged via the balance taps with a bad charger or flaky balance tap connection. It's something that certainly warrants further investigation as it is far from normal.

Mark
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dgarbern View Post
Can these balancers be used to monitor a LiPo under load? I have a 3S battery that seems to charge to peak voltage just fine, but quickly dumps when I bench test.
It certainly should be able to do this as it simply monitors voltage via the balance tap. IMO, a wattmeter is more useful for this purpose as it provides more information.

Sounds like you have either a pack that is approaching the end of its useful life or you have a bad connection between your pack and ESC.

Mark
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 11:43 AM
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Joined Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitroplanes View Post
I tried charging it with my bantam and all it would do is 2 cells would overcharge 4.25,4.25 and the bad one would only go to 3.8 this lil unit fixed it after 6 hors though I don't mind how long it took as long as it fixed it
Regardless of the root problem (bad cell, poor or broken connection on balance tap, etc) this sounds like a charger which has issues. Surely the charger could detect cells reaching dangerous voltages and act upon it?

Here's a recent report of a clone Bantam (Accucell) hitting 4.28V in one cell.

Is this an indictment of the Bantam / clone hardware / software or not?
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrforsyth View Post
FWIW, you could have saved yourself ~5-1/2 hours by simply charging the low cell through the balance tap after the two other cells reached 4.2 volts.

The bigger concern is how your pack could have possibly become so dramatically imbalanced. This simply does not occur with healthy packs that have not been damaged, intentionally had a single cell discharged, or charged via the balance taps with a bad charger or flaky balance tap connection. It's something that certainly warrants further investigation as it is far from normal.

Mark
They were returned batteries that I got from work that's y they were bad
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 09:33 AM
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United States, OR, Beaverton
Joined Feb 2008
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Did you do anything to verify the voltage accuracy of this unit?

Is there not a way to disable the discharge if desired? My charger is accurate to 6mV so I'd not want something of less accuracy messing up the balance or needlessly bleeding cells while monitoring a pack. The 50mA bleed may not be a lot to your 2200 mAh pack, but it is significant with 100mAh cells. I didn't see anything about that so I'm guessing not.

The picture of the user manual shows an operating temperature range of 32F-106F which seems a little restrictive for those flying in the winter and summer months. Did this rating seem overly cautious or did accuracy go to heck in a hand basket on a frosty 20F morning?

Is it just me, or have we seen this product reviewed already? http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1318099
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 10:28 AM
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Joined May 2002
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Yes I verified it with a meter I have - it is as accurate as my equipment. It also matches with my Hyperion charger to the hundredth volt. That is certainly close enough for our packs.

I do not have a high dollar Fluke (or other) meter however. To be honest if you are worried about cell balance at the thousands a volt you should spend more time flying.

You can't disable the discharge as that is much of its intent.

I reported the operating temperature they list. I will see if they display has issues once it is over 100 degrees here - the balance feature is likely unaffected much by temps rather the LCD. I doubt you will have much issue with the operating temperature range since most of us fly when temps are generally in that range. I had it at the field here in use the coldest morning was likely in the high 30's and did have one day almost 80 degrees. Again since most don't fly below freezing, and above 106 you should be good for 95% of your outings.

This ElectriFly has not been reviewed - but yes it is similar to the Dualsky.
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Old Mar 11, 2011, 01:26 PM
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pda4you; {snip} This ElectriFly has not been reviewed - but yes it is similar to the Dualsky.

it appears that Electrifly may be rebadging them as they look more than similar... they look identical
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Old Mar 11, 2011, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by rc crashburn View Post
pda4you; {snip} This ElectriFly has not been reviewed - but yes it is similar to the Dualsky.

it appears that Electrifly may be rebadging them as they look more than similar... they look identical
At least they fixed "balancer integrated" text on the label per the minor complaint made in the Dualsky review.
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