Battery Back Up for Helicopters

AeroPanda is carrying these 1st RC Buffer units as a safety back up for electric helicopters.

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Peace of Mind for Your Heli

AeroPanda is carrying these 1st RC Buffer units as a safety back up for electric helicopters. It will allow control to remain for safe emergency landings if something happens to your primary power system. The buffer unit sells for $55. More details below.

Overview:

  • 32 bit, 48MHz MCU control of the buffer unit
  • Adaptive charging
  • current sensor
  • External alarm output (Optionally available in a later software version)

Application:

  • Backup battery for electric helicopters for safe emergency landing
  • Current peak buffers for remote-controlled models (airplane, helicopters, etc.)
  • Effective buffering of servo return currents
  • Fully automatic setup (The switch-off voltage is currently NOT adjusted automatically and is preset to 3.4 volts)

Maximum ratings:

  • Maximum voltage (INPUT) 10V
  • Maximum buffer voltage (OUTPUT fully charged) 8.5V
  • Short-term peak current 25 amps

Technical specifications:

  • Width: 19 mm
  • Length: 56 mm
  • Height: 49 mm
  • Weight: approx. 46 g
  • CAPs: 3 x 50 F
  • Cable length: 18 cm
  • Plug: Graupner / JR UNI
  • Input voltage: 5.6 V to 10 V

Check out the 1st RC Buffer Unit Here

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Mar 17, 2020, 11:39 AM
Registered User
I have my doubts about this in a real power shortage it's just a capacitor. ?
Mar 17, 2020, 01:13 PM
UK 550/600 Tarot distributor
Smoggie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyronut
I have my doubts about this in a real power shortage it's just a capacitor. ?
They are super capacitors, so capable of storing far more charge than regular caps. They have enough stored charge to power the servos etc . The 150 farad unit shown here would power the electronics for well over a minute (probably two or three minutes depending on how high a voltage your system runs at) which is more than enough to land safely.

They have actually been in production for quite a while under a different brand name. They are tried and tested and work fine. They advantage over a small LiPo as a backup is that they dont require any maintenance (balancing. storage charge etc) and they are safe, no potential of LiPo fires etc.

Bit pricey though....
Last edited by Smoggie; Mar 17, 2020 at 01:19 PM.
Mar 17, 2020, 05:13 PM
ticedoff
ticedoff8's Avatar
I prefer the real-deal.
OptiPower Ultra-Guard 430 or Perfect Regulators Pro Guard + V2 both use a 2S LiPo that can be as high a capacity as you like.

I have 4 UG and 1 PG on three nitro and two electrics and all HV.

Unless there is documented test results, I doubt the claim of 1 to 3 minutes at a "real world" 7.5v output.

I like systems that have remote indicators for the switch over and remote on/off switches. These don't.

The used to be called the R2 Buffer pack (from R2 Prototyping - he also made the JLogger - now out of business). There is a thread on HF for them:
https://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=773552
Apparently, AeroPanda has been selling them for a while.
Last edited by ticedoff8; Mar 17, 2020 at 05:52 PM.
Mar 17, 2020, 06:00 PM
Registered User
HeliWobbles's Avatar
I have been using the R2 buffer pack on my 700X and think its an elegant solution to the problem of backup power.

I have since tried to buy the 25F for my new 550X but the local distributor in Aus says R2 have had supply problems and were looking for a new manufacturer.

It looks like they have found a new manufacturer/distributor. Judging by the photograph, everything looks identical except the colour of the caps. Good news.
Mar 17, 2020, 06:15 PM
Registered User
HeliWobbles's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticedoff8
I prefer the real-deal.
OptiPower Ultra-Guard 430 or Perfect Regulators Pro Guard + V2 both use a 2S LiPo that can be as high a capacity as you like.

I have 4 UG and 1 PG on three nitro and two electrics and all HV.

Unless there is documented test results, I doubt the claim of 1 to 3 minutes at a "real world" 7.5v output.

I like systems that have remote indicators for the switch over and remote on/off switches. These don't.

The used to be called the R2 Buffer pack (from R2 Prototyping - he also made the JLogger - now out of business). There is a thread on HF for them:
https://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=773552
Apparently, AeroPanda has been selling them for a while.
I understand your concerns.

My experience is that I get at least 30 seconds of rapidly stirring the stick to their limit; my abilities to auto would have determined the fate of the bird long before I run out of power.

As far as indication goes- yes, there are no flashing lights or sirens. However the voltage decrease is very linear so if you have telemetry (silly if you don't) just set an Rx voltage alarm in your radio and you will know very quickly that there is a problem...time to bring it in. This is the case if there is a BEC fault.

Now if you have a full power outage then your motor will stop and you are into an auto situation anyway. However, I hear that with some ESCs with built in BEC (HW?) there is a possibility that it allows feedback and the motor will try to draw on your backup power. In that case your backup power will run out VERY quickly..no matter which type/brand you have.

Can anyone confirm this?
Mar 18, 2020, 01:19 AM
UK 550/600 Tarot distributor
Smoggie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticedoff8
I prefer the real-deal.
OptiPower Ultra-Guard 430 or Perfect Regulators Pro Guard + V2 both use a 2S LiPo that can be as high a capacity as you like.

I have 4 UG and 1 PG on three nitro and two electrics and all HV.
having recently had a TDR2 seriously damaged (to the extent of over $1000) by fire after the 2S 450mAh backup pack burst into flames while disconnected and sitting on the bench, a solution that does not involve the frailty of a LiPo has its appeal to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by ticedoff8
Unless there is documented test results, I doubt the claim of 1 to 3 minutes at a "real world" 7.5v output.
It's real. The higher the starting voltage the greater the capacity of a capacitor. A 150 Farad capacitor pack can supply 150 Amps for one second for each volt dropped. So if you start at 8V and you 'allow' a 2V drop that gives you (theoretically) 300A for a second, or in the real world of servos, 3A for one hundred seconds... many times more than you need. These are quality commercial capacitors, their rating is accurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ticedoff8
I like systems that have remote indicators for the switch over and remote on/off switches. These don't.
The whole point of these things is they dont need switches or any maintenance. No need to switch anything on and off (and potentially forget to do so), no need to charge a backup pack, no need to storage charge them or change them ever. You do need telemetry to warn you when the pack has taken over though, without telemetry if the motor was still running you would have no way of knowing that the backup pack had kicked in.

My only real gripe with the Super Cap solution is that it's a relatively big unit and the price is very steep considering the simplicity, but that's just be being a 'tight-arse'.
Mar 18, 2020, 11:30 AM
ticedoff
ticedoff8's Avatar
I fly nitro heli.
The flight pack can die and the motor keeps running.
I also have telemetry with alerts set for drops. But, the super-bright white LED from the UG blinking on the tailboom is a pretty good indicator.

Before I started using the UG for backup, I had the receiver battery pack eject itself during a pirouette and the heli drifted with the wind for 1/4 mile before it tipped over and crashed. Granted, it was a flybar equipped heli with analog servos, but after that I never flew again without a battery backup and a throttle return spring.
And, if I ever flew a fixed again, I'd use a UG on that too (IC or E powered).

I've personally seen the UG 430 save 7 different helicopters from things like unsoldered connectors, connectors that separated and two ESC that burst into flames.
In one case, the pilot hooked the BEC up to the receiver instead of the FBL, and the super-bright LED was flickering during the 1st flight because the UG was indicating voltage drops.

While I have no personal experience with the UG's LiPo bursting into flames (among all the pilots in my sphere that use them), I've read comments about it happening.

While I never had a problem with the old 430mAh LiPo, after a few years they all got replaced with 800mAh LiPo because the old ones wore out.
As with any multi-cell LiPo pack, if one cell is out of balance, you risk over-charging it. So, you need to treat it like a typical 2S LiPo and hook it up to an external charger once in a while.

On my UG with the 800mAh, on the bench, I run them for 4 or 5 minutes after disconnecting the main flight pack. Sometimes longer.
If you scroll through the discussion on HF from the link on the previous post, there are 2 guys that say they get a reliable (real) 30 seconds on the R2 buffer packs with 50F caps with their G570.
With everything else that is running through my brain, I figure that it will take me about 30 seconds to get oriented and ready to land.
On a nitro, that is the difference between an "emergency autorotation" (because the clock is ticking down) and "a landing".

I figure it is equally as likely that crappy 5000mAh motor batteries or poorly designed ESCs could destroy a helicopter quicker than the 430mAh LiPo on a heli.
Just out of curiosity: How many Henseleit TDR / TDR II heli have you completely destroyed due to a bad speed run or equipment failure?

I recently updated my 4 old UG's firmware to support the remote on/off switch which makes them just about perfect.
It seems that Tom closed R2 Prototyping so there may be no future updates to the R2 Buffer's firmware.

As long as you use a backup, use what ever you want. Its your heli.
Last edited by ticedoff8; Mar 18, 2020 at 01:17 PM.
Mar 18, 2020, 02:22 PM
UK 550/600 Tarot distributor
Smoggie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticedoff8
Just out of curiosity: How many Henseleit TDR / TDR II heli have you completely destroyed due to a bad speed run or equipment failure?
Strange question but the answer is none. I've never had any sort of crash with either my TDR or TDR2. The LiPo fire is the only incident i've had. I was as surprised as anyone when i walked into my workshop and found the heli/workbench burning. Prior to this happening i'd have said that a LiPo in good condition (one month old) couldn't burst into flames for no apparent reason, but in this case it did just that.
Last edited by Smoggie; Mar 18, 2020 at 03:41 PM.
Mar 19, 2020, 07:55 AM
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!
coreless's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoggie
The 150 farad unit shown here would power the electronics for well over a minute (probably two or three minutes depending on how high a voltage your system runs at) which is more than enough to land safely.
is this like an auxiliary fuel tank that you can use at any time ?

or is it only effective when battery voltage drops because the internal BEC is unable to handle so much current to feed the servos ?
Mar 19, 2020, 02:43 PM
ticedoff
ticedoff8's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by coreless
is this like an auxiliary fuel tank that you can use at any time ?
Not really. These kick in when the primary power source fails (for what ever reason). They allow the pilot a fighting chance to get the heli down safely rather than falling out of the sky.
Quote:
or is it only effective when battery voltage drops because the internal BEC is unable to handle so much current to feed the servos ?
Again, Not really. However, the R2 Buffer is a big capacitor that will smooth out the ripples and sags that are common when all the servos move at once.
The Ultra-Guard 430 / Pro Guard + will help pickup the voltage during a sag from the BEC, but that is something a capacitor is better at doing.

The point of these 3 devices (R2 Buffer, Pro Guard + and Ultra-Guard) is to provide a backup to a failed primary voltage supply (BEC or battery).
Mar 20, 2020, 01:40 AM
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!
coreless's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticedoff8
The Ultra-Guard 430 / Pro Guard + will help pickup the voltage during a sag from the BEC, but that is something a capacitor is better at doing.
what is the advantage of this optifuel device over a strong external bec 40-50 A ??
Mar 20, 2020, 07:15 AM
UK 550/600 Tarot distributor
Smoggie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by coreless
what is the advantage of this optifuel device over a strong external bec 40-50 A ??
I dont think there is a 40-50A BEC available, and there would be no point anyway because no servos can draw anything like that much.

Anyway, the point of a backup is exactly as the name suggests, it's a backup safety device to cover for the possibility of the BEC failing. Failure could be for many reasons, a battery plug coming disconnected, or a wire breaking, or a solder joint failing for instance, as well as failure of the BEC itself.
Mar 20, 2020, 01:06 PM
ticedoff
ticedoff8's Avatar
Quote:
what is the advantage of this optifuel device over a strong external bec 40-50 A ??
What brand / model the BEC that you refer to?
Mar 20, 2020, 02:44 PM
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!
coreless's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticedoff8
What brand / model the BEC that you refer to?
http://forum.align.com.tw/data/attac...fzkv77zapb.jpg


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