FMA PL8 field charger software ? - RC Groups
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Nov 08, 2010, 02:03 PM

FMA PL8 field charger software ?


Sneak preview, because of some post in this thread

I have now for a while 2 PL8's and I like then a lot. The CSS software works
perfect for setting up the PL8's. But it is really not user friendly when you
want to use this software in the field for charging your lipo's

dislikes ( as field charger software )
- it take more then a minute to start. eeepc T91I
- It uses 100 MBytes of memory, ( Why you tell me )
- Window to big for eeepc
- Need to type name of file every time ( I want all charges stored, in file )
- to much pushing buttons
- For every charger a window
- one file if cycling, for charge, discharge and wait

So how to solve this problem, try to Analise the protocol and make the
field charger software my self. Peace of cake I thought.

Here a small movie of what I already have accomplished.
SANY0231 (4 min 7 sec)

Some High level requirements that I wanted
- support for 1 to 4 chargers
- Automatic logfile generation ( date, time, Action, preset, charger name )
- simple start and stop by one click, no repetitive conformation, selection of action)
- More flexibility for cycling, different delay's for before charging and discharging.
- Separate files for charging monitoring, discharging in cycle mode.
- needs to fit on eeepc display and should be able to use only touch screen. ( no mouse and key board, needed )
- possibility to extend to other measuring devices, Digitalmultimeter for temperature.
- expand will only be a selection in the UI.

State, is already pretty far.
Everything is written in python 3.1.2 (32bit), using pySerial for communication
- Protocol is not so simple to revers-engineer, but a lot is already know ( see movie )
- CRC, IR still needs some more revers-engineer
- need to look at NiMH NiCd charges/discharge
- accurate discharge didn't show mAh.

It will be open source, after I fixed some small problems
don't know how I am going to do this

Don't hope that FMA doesn't like this revers engineering.
Because there help with the CRC is welcome, I can't figure it out.

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Nov 08, 2010, 03:19 PM
Registered User
Awesome! Glad to see it will be Open Source after the small problems are resolved.
Nov 08, 2010, 04:35 PM
Registered User
What's used for GUI?
Nov 08, 2010, 04:41 PM
Just the standard tkinter and ttk

Nov 09, 2010, 10:31 AM
Mis-guided heli guy
Jeff_edge540's Avatar
Awesome work. Can't wait till you get it finished. Good luck.
Nov 09, 2010, 11:02 AM
Registered User
SteveM732's Avatar
I applaud your effort. I've always wanted to do something like this but can never seem to find the time.

As far as I could tell tkinter will work on multiple platforms so your software should also be capable of running on Mac and Linux.
Nov 09, 2010, 11:24 AM
Registered User
mexico's Avatar
Would it run on Android?
Nov 09, 2010, 12:17 PM
Registered User
ForceFedDSM's Avatar
I like it! It does seem much cleaner than FMA's offering.
Nov 09, 2010, 12:54 PM
Fly Extreme!!
cjcyclesrc's Avatar
Originally Posted by mexico
Would it run on Android?
That would be cool.
Nov 09, 2010, 02:32 PM
Nice to see that there is some interest in this application. I got a PB from Tim that he also likes the idea and that I can use the knowledge of there developer. I will make a class diagram of the software so that you can see what is going on.
Now this is out, I can contact the guys of logview to see if I can test there open format file import for them, in logview V3.
For testing I need now to send the data to a COM port and connect the logview V2 to the other side.

As far as I know logview v2 only can have time on the X-as, if this is the case I will also make a nice viewer that can easily make mAh --> cell voltage compare. I have the idea that if you can give the nominal mAh of the lipo you can also compare 2200 with a 5000, when using a number of C discharge currents.

But first the Field charger :-)

Nov 09, 2010, 09:44 PM
Registered User
Nice work. I too applaud your efforts. Looks very clean and concise!

FMA PL8, yeah, I got an app for that. Worked for Apple, glad to see FMA appears to be supportive and not "territorial". I wouldn't blame them, but it does prove that there are a lot of DB's (sorry, still cant bring myself to call you "dirtyballs" ) and Mr. Mel's out there that can add a lot of appeal to their product with little or no strings attached...
Nov 11, 2010, 07:25 PM
Watch This!

I've been sitting at home debating whether or not I wanted to do the very same thing for Mac. I started to research it a little and put it on the back burner.

Great job!
Nov 29, 2010, 03:22 PM
So first version is available, I can't test all the configurations, tested a lot with

it can be found here

Small installation description,

If you find a bug, please post it in here

questions can be handled here


oh btw DB, are also my normal initials.
Last edited by dirtyballs; Nov 29, 2010 at 03:31 PM.
Nov 29, 2010, 03:59 PM
Logfile output

prefix;action;sec;fuel;cap;Vout;Aout;Wout;Cell1V;C ell1ir;Cell2V;Cell2ir;Cell3V;Cell3ir;Cell4V;Cell4i r;Cell5V;Cell5ir;Cell6V;Cell6ir;Cell7V;Cell7ir;Cel l8V;Cell8ir;crc

logview can't load logfiles yet, will change in the near future,
but the format file can be downloaded here
This file needs to be placed in
Windows 7 : C:\Users\"useraccount"\AppData\Roaming\LogView\Ger aete\OpenFormat
Windows XP :C:\Documents and settings\"useraccount"\Application Data\LogView\Geraete\OpenFormat

Nov 30, 2010, 06:05 PM
Registered User
Super! Thanks for posting this DB, can't wait to try it out when I get home on Friday...

I'd like to get everything setup to run without the terminal window, but it keeps coming up with the program.

Your instructions:
short cut without terminal window
create a short cut to pythonw.exe
copy this short to desktop
modify the short cut by adding the full path+ to the target
and the full path to the start in

Here's my target - "C:\Documents and Settings\Our Station\Desktop\PL8 Field\"

Here's my start in - "C:\Documents and Settings\Our Station\Desktop\PL8 Field\"

Below is a screen capture of the sortcut.

What am I doing wrong? I've tried numerous variants but the terminal window appears every time. Thanks.

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