Revolectrix PL8 With Bump Controller - RCGroups Review - RC Groups
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Revolectrix PL8 With Bump Controller - RCGroups Review

FMA Direct and Revolectrix have teamed up to create the industry's first 1344W workhorse! Lets check out this "Battery Workstation" and see how it stacks up!

Splash

Revolectrix Power Lab 8 Battery Workstation

Product:Revolectrix Power Lab 8
Retail price:$239.95 w/o Bump Controller
W/Bump Controller:$389.90
Size:5.82" x 6.55" x 3.57"
Type:Multi-Chemistry
Pack capacityl:20 mAh to 360Ah
Input voltage:10-32VDC, reverse polarity protected
Input current:1A to 60A, software limited
Continuous max output power:612W @ +12VDC input, 1344W @ +26.35VDC
LCD:2 line, 16 character, light grey/blue backlit
Available from:Revolectrix

The Revolectrix Power Lab 8 Battery Workstation is capable of charging, discharging, monitoring, or performing multiple cycles on any current or future battery chemistry with great speed and at $0.17 per WATT it does it with great value as well.

With the addition of the Revolectrix Bump Controller module, it is one of easiest to use battery workstations I have seen and has a ton of user friendly functions. Lets check it out!

Video Review

Revolectrix PL8 With Bump Controller - RCGroups Review (10 min 45 sec)

The Power Lab 8

The Power Lab 8 is very simple to set up to charge. Simply connect the PL8 to a power source and your ready to start charging the pack of your choice. The PL8 automatically determines pack capacity and sets optimal current, then adjusts charge rate as needed.

The Power Lab 8 supports LiPo, Li-Ion, A123©/LiFePO4, LiMn, NiCd, NiMH, and 6V, 12V, 24V Lead Acid charging. It also holds up to 25 user presets and 50 preprogramed presets to provide the user with charging solutions for all of the most common battery chemistries on the market today. With firmware up dates through the available Charge Control Software it will be able to handle all of your current needs as well as any future industry releases. This truly is a charger that will grow with you as you move forward.

Bump Controller

Ok so here is the super cool part! To really unlock the potential of the Power Lab series of battery workstations the Revolectrix Bump Controller is a must have. What this little gem does is allow for the installation of IR-ID tags to your individual packs.

How this works is you peel the back off of the adhesive on the bump tag and stick it right to your pack. Then you power up the workstation with bump controller and this is where the fun starts. Once powered on the bump controller will prompt you to "bump" the battery.

When you have the pack bumped it will start the set up procedure. At this point all you need to do is follow the on screen display to finish setting up your pack. Its super easy to follow along and will only take a few minutes to bump each pack.

One the first screen you just follow the screens and type in the battery type, cell count, and capacity.

The second screen you enter in the brand name and C-rating. The PL8 will automatically set values for the charge rate. I recommend for pack health just leaving these where the charger sets them.

The values on the third screen will again auto populate to recommended settings so I just left those where they were. Now keep in mind that after the third screen you are going to get a warning screen letting you know that after this point none of the information you have entered up to this point will be re-writtable after you hit next. I would go back at this point and make sure you have everything set where you want it so that you don't waste the tag if you have a mistake.

The rest of the screens after this point will auto populate to all of the recommended settings for the pack information you have entered. These are values that you can always go back and change if you decide to use a different charging method. I leave these settings as is, but that is something you can set up to your preferences.

A really nice feature is that on the seventh screen you can program a charge counter number so that the PL8 will keep track of how many cycles you have put on that pack. If its a new or almost new pack you can leave it at zero, but if you know you have several charge cycles on that pack you can set it to the desired number and it will track from there. Cool!

The following screen is where you will find the Fuel Table Screen and you can adjust things how ever you want here as well. After that its going to ask you to bump the pack one last time and hold it until the controller writes the tag. Then she is ready to go!

If you have several of the same type packs you can hit the continue button and tag multiple packs using the same settings instead of having to go back and redo everything from the start. If this is the only pack of this set up type just hit cancel and you will exit back out to the main menu. Easy Peasy!

Something else that is really cool about this set up is that after you have a battery tagged and ready to go, say you have the need to do some parallel charging. All you have to do is bump one of the packs, and then select the number of packs you will be charging and hit go. With the PL8 workstation you don't have to even worry about what capacity of charge each pack is at to parallel charge them. The PL8 auto adjusts its charging rates for each pack to get them all fully charged safely. I like this feature a whole lot. Its always a hassle to figure out which packs are at which level without having to test each.

The way I am setting this up to save using a bunch of tags is like what I did when I bumped one of my 2s 450mAh packs. Instead of tagging all of them, I just tagged one then I can just enter in the pack count during para-charging. So much easier then having to test and all that mess.

The Case De Résistance!

One of the things that Mean Joe decided to go with on this set up was a super cool charger case from RotorCraft RC. This case is completely ridiculous! The team over at RotorCraft RC knocked it right out of the park into the next county. Lets take a closer look.

They started out with a Yellow Nanuk 930 hard shell case. This thing is bomb proof! It has very nice trigger switch release locks to secure all your charger goodness inside and is very well done.

Inside the case is where all the magic happens. The custom made lower and upper decks are really well done with everything you need for your charger set ups. Mean Joe's case came with the Power Lab 8 charger unit mounted on the lower deck and the bump controller mounted on the top deck.

The team over at RotorCraft took over at this point and added much awesomeness to the rest. Some of the features they included were a custom 4x8x2 storage area with "Mean Joe" logo, Meanwell power supply, Banana Jacks, Revo MPA Para-Board, LED lighting, programable LED cooling fans, USB jacks, clear logo'ed fan grills, and mooch plug.

The Mooch plug is a pretty cool feature of the case. What this does is, as long as you are plugged into AC power it works as a place to daisy chain a second charger to use along side the PL8. And if you are in need of charging from a DC source without a power inverter, acts as a DC in to power the case from. Very smart use of space, and very nice feature.

Another neat feature is the programable LED cooling fans. These can be programed using the LED programer cable and software to say anything you wish. Once the programer is installed just plug in the fans and program in what you want. Its super easy to do and took only a few minutes to program both.

In Closing

In closing I have to say the the Revolectrix PL8 battery workstation is full of functionality and is easy to use. When paired with the available bump controller it is simply one of the easiest to use chargers I've ever seen. The built in features for para-charging make for quick set up at the field and will have you charging fast. Which is just what we look for in a charger! If your in the market for a new battery workstation I would strongly suggest you give it a look.

On a second note if you are on the look out for a new charger case, you can not go wrong with RotorCraft RC. The team over there does fantastic work and everything is of very high quality. The craftsmanship is second to none, and the design is impeccable. If you need a new case they are definitely the place to go! ~Mean Joe

For More Information

For more info on the gear used, check out these links:

Revolectrix

RotorCraft RC

MaxAmps

Last edited by Matt Gunn; Nov 22, 2016 at 02:18 PM..
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Nov 22, 2016, 02:57 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Extremely awesome!
Nov 22, 2016, 03:14 PM
Registered User
Mean Joe Vermillion's Avatar
Thanks Boss Man!
Latest blog entry: Building Season
Nov 22, 2016, 03:14 PM
If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
Nikolei Zinsli's Avatar
Schweeeeeeet
Latest blog entry: 93" AJ Laser 230z
Nov 22, 2016, 03:36 PM
Thelongranger
deltapilot's Avatar
Really impressive setup. Jelious
Nov 22, 2016, 03:40 PM
Suspended Account
nice setup mean joe..
Nov 22, 2016, 08:51 PM
Registered User
Theibault's Avatar
Awesome! Now some one give me 1k so I can afford this. ��
Nov 23, 2016, 09:59 AM
Registered User
Nice review. I wanted to point some things out to you that from what I know werent correct:

Firstly, when you said that you would use AccuCharge as the normal action meaning it charges with a balance board: AccuCharge, NormalCharge and FastCharge have nothing to do with charging without balance leads. The modes just differ in Balance Speed, Precision and Charge Termination. None of those will charge without balancing.

And secondly, you said that with the Revolectrix Parallel Charging Board (MPA), you dont need to check the cell voltage and charge state of the packs. That is not true. The Revolectrix MPA is a parallel charging board just like all other one out on the market. It has fuses which prevent too much current flowing between the packs, but they batterys will still equalize like with any other parallel charging board or cable. And the charger doesnt charge each pack with how much it needs. It doesnt even know you've connected the MPA to it. You can take a look at how parallel charging works to find good practices with parallel charging. So to conclude, you still have to check the packs with a cell checker. Its just a normal parallel board with fuses... And by the way, these fuses dont really limit the current flowing. The main fuses just permanently burn when theres too much current flowing. And the balance lead fuses will self-reset after some time, but you should always check if any of the fuses changed their colour or burned because that will prevent the batterys to equalize...

Greetings,
Max
Nov 23, 2016, 12:44 PM
Registered User
Mean Joe Vermillion's Avatar
The revolectrix power lab series of charges automatically distribute the correct pack voltage to each pack during Para charging. You do not have to have them at the same level of discharge. Has nothing to do with the para board, its built into the charger software.
Latest blog entry: Building Season
Nov 23, 2016, 12:58 PM
Registered User
Really love mine with the DPL8 and Bump. Not sure if you saw it when I was at the field. Got to have my LEDs too lol.
Nov 23, 2016, 01:03 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mean Joe Vermillion
The revolectrix power lab series of charges automatically distribute the correct pack voltage to each pack during Para charging. You do not have to have them at the same level of discharge. Has nothing to do with the para board, its built into the charger software.
Actually that's not quite correct, when plugged into a Para board the packs equalize themselves. That is the one reason why you don't want to have one pack at a significantly high state of charge than the other. When you do, the lower charged pack will take a dump from the higher charge pack with no restriction so this could be at a rate that is higher than the pack can take.

When plugged into the charger, the charger sees it as one pack being the sum of the individuals. It also looks at each cell as the combined of the packs.

So if you have a 1000, 3000, 4000 pack (and MUST be of the same cell count), the charger sees it as an 8000 mAh pack. It does not see each individual one.

On the balance side, it looks at the sum of cell one of each pack, the sum of cell 2, etc.

By bumping the packs, it lets the charger calculate the sum of the packs and proper charge current rather than the individual user having to calculate it
Nov 23, 2016, 04:36 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket_33
Actually that's not quite correct, when plugged into a Para board the packs equalize themselves. That is the one reason why you don't want to have one pack at a significantly high state of charge than the other. When you do, the lower charged pack will take a dump from the higher charge pack with no restriction so this could be at a rate that is higher than the pack can take.

When plugged into the charger, the charger sees it as one pack being the sum of the individuals. It also looks at each cell as the combined of the packs.

So if you have a 1000, 3000, 4000 pack (and MUST be of the same cell count), the charger sees it as an 8000 mAh pack. It does not see each individual one.

On the balance side, it looks at the sum of cell one of each pack, the sum of cell 2, etc.

By bumping the packs, it lets the charger calculate the sum of the packs and proper charge current rather than the individual user having to calculate it
Exactly. To clarify a bit more: what we're saying is the charger doesnt actually know the voltages of cell 1,2,3,... in each pack and doesnt calculate the average of pack voltages itself. You just basically solder cell 1,2,3,... of each pack together. Physics is what makes them equalize and give the resulting "average" of each cells voltage to the balance lead that goes into the Powerlab.
Lets make a example here:
Pack 1 has a voltage of around 3.6 V per cell.
Pack 2 has a voltage of around 4.2V per cell.
When you plug these two together, Pack 2 will try to stuff electrons into Pack 1 at a rate Pack 1 propably wont like. The charger sees an average of (3,6+4.2)/2 = 3,9Volts per cell. If I just told you that average voltage, which is 3.9Volts per cell, you propably wouldnt be able to tell me how many packs I have and what each cells voltage of those packs is. And the powerlab cant either.

Hope this helped, cause you can very easily destroy packs with parallel charging...
Nov 23, 2016, 05:01 PM
Registered User
JMynes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mean Joe Vermillion
The revolectrix power lab series of charges automatically distribute the correct pack voltage to each pack during Para charging. You do not have to have them at the same level of discharge. Has nothing to do with the para board, its built into the charger software.
I don't know where you got that impression, but it's incorrect. Batteries connected to a parallel charging board look like one big battery to the charger. It has no way to distinguish the individual cells.

Batteries to be attached to a parallel board should all be at roughly the same state of charge, and of course the same cell count. Plugging in a fully charged battery and an 80% depleted battery can, and has, burned the balance wires off the battery.
Nov 23, 2016, 05:31 PM
Registered User
Mean Joe Vermillion's Avatar
Direct quote from the manual.

Parallel charging takes advantage of the PowerLab 8’s high power output. After connecting packs using Safe Parallel Adapters, simply tell PowerLab 8 how many packs are attached—charge/discharge rates are automatically divided among the packs.

This is the advantage of choosing Revo Workstations. The packs DO NOT have to be at the same charge/discharge capacity.
Latest blog entry: Building Season
Nov 23, 2016, 05:39 PM
Registered User
Mean Joe Vermillion's Avatar
You guys are correct in your thinking on every other charger that I am aware of on the market, but with the Revo Power lab series they do not have to be at the same charge capacity. The only requirement is that they are the same cell count and chemistry. Thats it.
Latest blog entry: Building Season


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