Thinking about safe parallel charging board, which connector? - RC Groups
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Dec 31, 2017, 08:05 PM
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Question

Thinking about safe parallel charging board, which connector?


I'm not new to parallel charging, but I'm considering a change in my gear. I'm currently using 6-to-1 charging cables, with similar 6-to-1 balance cables. I'd like to move to using safe parallel charging boards, the kind that have automotive-style fuses on each batt connector and polyfuse or similar on the balance connections. That way if an individual battery has a short or problem, it is less likely to affect the other batteries.

I use a variety of main connectors, from EC5, XT60, EC3, EC2, Deans, etc. I end up charging batteries for folks I'm flying with, so I'd like to be flexible.. The balance connectors are all JST-XH. What I'm thinking is I'll get two boards, one for each channel of my charger. The boards will have all one connection type, and then I'll make or buy adapters to match the various batteries.

So, the problem then becomes, which connector do I want on the charge board? I don't really like the idea of male Deans on the charge board, those connectors look like they're waiting for something to short them, but I could be convinced. I've got the most EC5 then probably XT60, so maybe one of those makes sense. Then I got to wondering if someone makes a safe parallel board with female banana connectors, this would be interesting because you can almost always find a "banana male-to-whatever" charge cable and if I'm helping someone out, they will almost always have a charge lead for their battery that ends in a male banana connectors.

So, does this exist? Any other ideas? I don't need a six port board, a couple of four connector ones would do it. But I do want some type of fuse on the main and balance connections per battery.
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Dec 31, 2017, 11:28 PM
Registered User
My first fused parallel board is a Revolectrix MPA. At the time, all they had was with Deans, and I use XT60 on my big packs. So I figured I would use connector converters.

Yeah, six male Deans sticking up from a parallel board makes me nervous. One wrong move, dropping hemostats out of my pocket onto the rig, whatever, it seemed like a problem (unless I had 6 batteries all hooked up). But Revo supplied these rubbery caps to protect the male Deans from shorting, so that helps.

Now with connector converters on top of the Deans (I found some Deans>XT60 converters that were one big connector with no wires in between), I have male XT60's facing upwards. But with the shroud around the contacts, I never worried and didn't use any sort of caps or protectors.

Virtually everyone else at my fields uses Deans, so to share, I just remove one of the XT60 converters to expose a Deans.

Now, I recently bought a 4-port MPA, and ordered with XT60's. It's great, but unless someone has an XT60>Deans converter, I can't share with that board.

Not sure that answers your question, but I hope it helps in some way!

T.P.
Dec 31, 2017, 11:39 PM
Registered User
Progressive RC in Seattle sells a line of modular parallel balance boards that are fused with a wide variety of connector options. I have used their boards for a number of years and found them to be safe and reliable.

One key to safe parallel charging is to make sure that the balance connectors on each battery are functioning. If one of the connections becomes disconnected its possible to mess up a battery.
Dec 31, 2017, 11:59 PM
I think it's time to fly.
Rhea's Avatar
I read more than one question here but it seems your real concern is that the Deans connectors are the least desirable on a parallel board.
I agree and that is one reason why I switched to XT60 several years ago. I buy all my batteries with them already on the power leads but I would just change the connectors if I bought a battery with something else. I will not use adapters on anything.
Latest blog entry: All things that fly.
Jan 01, 2018, 08:19 AM
Registered User
Thanks for the replies! So something like the 4 port MPA with either XT60 or EC5 is what I was thinking. I guess it's better to optimize for a connector I actually have so I won't be using adapters sometimes, rather try and go for a generic banana/barrel connector on the board and always need an adapter.

I've looked at the ProgressiveRC modular boards before, they were actually a part of my first charging setup when I got into the hobby. My problem with them is they take up a lot of room for just a couple of battery connectors, a 4 port version would be huge.

Re connectors, it seems I can't get away from multiple connectors, but part of this is self inflicted.
I was all EC5, just replacing whatever I bought with that. I had one EC3 plane (a PZ Radian I don't fly much and so never converted). Folks I fly with got into quads, and ended up with one too, so XT60s started showing up everywhere. Sometimes we'll have our own chargers, sometimes it's easier to just have mine setup. I'll let folks charge whatever on the other channel of mine, so I want to be flexible. Today, I'm flying with someone who just got a plane with an EC2 which I didn't even know existed before today!

Right now I'm leaning towards two MPAs (or similar) w/ EC5 or possibly one EC5 and one XT60.

Question about the MPA: I'm familiar with Revolectrix, I've got a Dual PowerLab. What makes their 4-port MPA worth the extra cost compared to PRC or BuddyRCs version? I'm willing to pay more if I understand what I'm getting. Huh, looking at the 4-port MPA, it's got eight fuses?
http://www.usastore.revolectrix.com/...A_2/MPA-XH_584
http://www.progressiverc.com/safe-pa...st-xh-ec5.html
http://www.buddyrc.com/paraboard-v3-xh-ec5.html
Jan 01, 2018, 09:34 AM
Frankenstein recycled packs
rampman's Avatar
I know you don't want to do this and neither did I when I did the switch but your best bet is to spend the time and ca$h and change to one connector and stay with it. I went to XT-60 and XT-90 on everything and only need 1 set of adapters to get the 60's to 90's.

Rick
Jan 01, 2018, 12:01 PM
Registered User
Dennis C's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rampman
I know you don't want to do this and neither did I when I did the switch but your best bet is to spend the time and ca$h and change to one connector and stay with it. I went to XT-60 and XT-90 on everything and only need 1 set of adapters to get the 60's to 90's.

Rick

+1

Pick your favorite connector and use it on everything. I am using Deans, if I did it again I would pick one of the covered connectors.

If your are charging for your friends you would only need a couple adapters for their batteries.

Dennis
Jan 01, 2018, 05:41 PM
Registered User
Not sure about poly fuses vs non-resettable, but one caution in purchasing:

If you get a non-Revo board, be careful that you have what you need to plug in to the charger. I have a Dual Powerlab as well, and the plug for the balance connection is not the same as what comes with other parallel boards. So on one of its charger sides, I use a Revo SPA and its Revo plug-in cable (with the retainer clip that sticks out of the rectangular profile), and I can plug in any generic board to the SPA.

T.P.
Jan 01, 2018, 06:20 PM
ancora imparo
jj604's Avatar
I know that "which connector is best" is a recipe for an RCGroups opinion fest but I'm with rampman.

I have used most of the connectors over the years and although some have particular advantages (such as the APP which has the lowest insertion force and is passionately promoted by its fans) on balance the AMASS XT series design has the most going for it IMO.

1) It's just two splined bullets in a housing. The splined bullet is a proven high current connector and can be easily adjusted to increase the contact force if necessary. The housing plays no part in the quality of the electrical connection.
2) You can rotate the bullets in the housing to align the solder cup to make neat adapters to Deans and others.
3) It is IMO the easiest of all to solder with the half cup design. Even if you are only a moderately skilled solder jockey. The EC3/5 are on the surface good for people with no soldering skills as you cannot melt the housing but the risk of getting solder on the outside of the connector and ruining the push fit into the nylon housing is high.
4) The genuine AMASS seem to have consistent and reasonable insertion force. Some copies have poor housing fit but you save almost nothing in any case.
5) They are easy to get for non-electronic RC folks. Hobbyking carry all the ones we are likely to want. And they are genuine AMASS.
6) They come in 30A, 60A and 90A sizes
7) You can get them in original yellow and also in black. Handy if you need to differentiate two circuits.
8) They come in 90 degree board mount, or with with screw lug attachment points. And there are a variety of holders and mount plates cheaply available from Banggood and others for the standard connector.
9) The current versions don't need heatshrink as they have a neat but very secure snap on cap.
10) The XT90 has a fully compatible anti spark version as well
11) The XT30 and XT60 come in a 3 pin version - the XT30 either in-line or in a triangle format. Designed for EXC/motor connection but the XT30 is great for heavy duty but compact and easy to disconnect wing servo connectors.
12) They are completely polarized, sexed and shrouded. Essential for high current battery connections.

13) They are inexpensive!

I've probably missed something but apart from the easier insertion force of the much bigger APP I think they tick all the boxes.

John


Quote:
Originally Posted by rampman
I know you don't want to do this and neither did I when I did the switch but your best bet is to spend the time and ca$h and change to one connector and stay with it. I went to XT-60 and XT-90 on everything and only need 1 set of adapters to get the 60's to 90's.

Rick
Jan 01, 2018, 07:58 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj604
I know that "which connector is best" is a recipe for an RCGroups opinion fest but I'm with rampman.

I have used most of the connectors over the years and although some have particular advantages (such as the APP which has the lowest insertion force and is passionately promoted by its fans) on balance the AMASS XT series design has the most going for it IMO.

1) It's just two splined bullets in a housing. The splined bullet is a proven high current connector and can be easily adjusted to increase the contact force if necessary. The housing plays no part in the quality of the electrical connection.
2) You can rotate the bullets in the housing to align the solder cup to make neat adapters to Deans and others.
3) It is IMO the easiest of all to solder with the half cup design. Even if you are only a moderately skilled solder jockey. The EC3/5 are on the surface good for people with no soldering skills as you cannot melt the housing but the risk of getting solder on the outside of the connector and ruining the push fit into the nylon housing is high.
4) The genuine AMASS seem to have consistent and reasonable insertion force. Some copies have poor housing fit but you save almost nothing in any case.
5) They are easy to get for non-electronic RC folks. Hobbyking carry all the ones we are likely to want. And they are genuine AMASS.
6) They come in 30A, 60A and 90A sizes
7) You can get them in original yellow and also in black. Handy if you need to differentiate two circuits.
8) They come in 90 degree board mount, or with with screw lug attachment points. And there are a variety of holders and mount plates cheaply available from Banggood and others for the standard connector.
9) The current versions don't need heatshrink as they have a neat but very secure snap on cap.
10) The XT90 has a fully compatible anti spark version as well
11) The XT30 and XT60 come in a 3 pin version - the XT30 either in-line or in a triangle format. Designed for EXC/motor connection but the XT30 is great for heavy duty but compact and easy to disconnect wing servo connectors.
12) They are completely polarized, sexed and shrouded. Essential for high current battery connections.

13) They are inexpensive!

I've probably missed something but apart from the easier insertion force of the much bigger APP I think they tick all the boxes.

John
Thanks for the virtues of XT, I didn't know about the shroud or 3-pin! I guess I'm not willing to always switch connectors for everything. I was set on EC5 when I got into the hobby, then started hanging out with some quad folks, and in general found plane and quad FPV gear tends to be XT60 more often than not. Then, today I'm flying with someone with an EC2 and the stock 1C charger. I'd wanted to help him out and charge at 2-3C on my charger, so we could fly more packs.

Hmmm, maybe it is time to move to XT...
Jan 01, 2018, 10:43 PM
AMA 1042906
swimmer's Avatar
All my parallel charging boards and batteries are fitted with Deans connectors. Have charged hundreds of batteries and yet to have any problems with my boards or batteries. As with any charging activity one needs to be vigilant but I guess carelessness could pose an issue with whatever connector one chooses.

Good luck.
Last edited by swimmer; Jan 01, 2018 at 10:59 PM.
Jan 01, 2018, 11:01 PM
ancora imparo
jj604's Avatar
That is absolutely correct - but some designs are intrinsically safer than others.

IMO Deans are particularly bad for parallel boards because they leave exposed live pins sticking up (unless you conscientiously put covers on every unused outlet). Other designs do not have fully exposed terminals which are a hazard.

The issue arises on a parallel board because by definition you have multiple live male connectors as soon as you plug one pack in. If you accidentally short any exposed connector the pack will be discharging though essentially a short circuit limited only by the board track resistance and fuses (if fitted).

The XT60 and EC boards are much safer in this regard as the male pins are shrouded by the outside cover.
Quote:
Originally Posted by swimmer
All my parallel charging boards and batteries are fitted with Deans connectors. Have charged hundreds of batteries and yet to have any problems with my boards. As with any charging activity one needs to be vigilant but I guess carelessness would pose an issue with whatever connector you chose.

Good luck.
Jan 01, 2018, 11:19 PM
AMA 1042906
swimmer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jj604
That is absolutely correct - but some designs are intrinsically safer than others.

IMO Deans are particularly bad for parallel boards because they leave exposed live pins sticking up (unless you conscientiously put covers on every unused outlet). Other designs do not have fully exposed terminals which are a hazard.

The issue arises on a parallel board because by definition you have multiple live male connectors as soon as you plug one pack in. If you accidentally short any exposed connector the pack will be discharging though essentially a short circuit limited only by the board track resistance and fuses (if fitted).

The XT60 and EC boards are much safer in this regard as the male pins are shrouded by the outside cover.
I see your point but don't completely agree. I'm just voicing my experience with what I consider best for me. I think misconnecting the balance connector on the board is much more of a risk than any perceived danger Deans connectors pose. Really if one tries hard enough any connector can be compromised. And, using a non-fused board is asking for trouble.
Last edited by swimmer; Jan 01, 2018 at 11:27 PM.
Jan 02, 2018, 08:59 AM
Registered User

XT here too


I've been only usin XT (XT60 for most of my models, XT90 for the big hexacopter and XT30 for park flyers) since I started with quads about 3 years ago (after about 25 year break from RC-hobby and back then it was mostly nitro). So not much experience with other type except some Deans and EC-connectors I've swapped for XT on batteries and used equipment.

I like the XT very much and I see no need for other connectors as the XT ones are easy to use and solder, easily available, safe and affordable. Also I now have 3 ISDT chargers and a ISDT discharger which use XT60.

But I guess it's totally up to you what you want to use. A wide variety of different connectors is kind of a hassle though, so I'd choose a couple of types for different power needs and convert everything to them to keep the need for adapters to the minimum.
Jan 03, 2018, 10:33 AM
Registered User
Time Portal,

Could you please explain this further? I ask because, I just purchased a Dual PowerLab (8x2) and need to ensure I understand what you are attempting to convey. I was going to order an MPA in a few days and preferred this on from ProgressiveRC:

http://www.progressiverc.com/multi-p...t-xh-xt60.html

because, it appears to meet my needs and addresses the shrouded charge connector issue born out of the OP's thread. It reads as though you are using a Revo SPA between your PL and your MPA. Please clarify.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Time Portal
Not sure about poly fuses vs non-resettable, but one caution in purchasing:

If you get a non-Revo board, be careful that you have what you need to plug in to the charger. I have a Dual Powerlab as well, and the plug for the balance connection is not the same as what comes with other parallel boards. So on one of its charger sides, I use a Revo SPA and its Revo plug-in cable (with the retainer clip that sticks out of the rectangular profile), and I can plug in any generic board to the SPA.

T.P.


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