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HomeRC & Power✈️Aircraft🚁Helicoptere-Electric Battery-Charger-pSupply › Gauging battery life (flight time)
04-04-2013 03:24 PM  6 years ago
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Teeg

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Monroe, NJ 08831

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Gauging battery life (flight time)
Coming from nitro beginnings, I've found myself not giving battery life enough attention, in terms of when to quit and land. Smaller helis like the Blade 130x flash the LED's (cannot see them outside anyway), there is an obvious decrease in motor power, and of course the TX alarm, which on my DX6i is barely audible in some conditions. With the 130x you can get away with flying till it basically falls out of the sky in the event you don't see one of the warnings.

How can I be more proactive with my bigger machines? Putting a new Trex 550 (stock motor, CC Ice 100+ BEC Pro, Voltz 5100mAH) through it's paces this past weekend I kept the flight times to 5 minutes, but power remained crisp right up to that point. I did not push the battery for more, just swapped in a new pack and went on. Obviously I don't want to sack the packs or pull a 130x-style grass-crash.

The CC100 is supposed to throttle back when the pack falls off, but I haven't gone into that mode yet.

Tom
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04-04-2013 03:47 PM  6 years ago
Wingman77

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Pulaski Tennessee

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just stetting a timer and checking your battery afterwards, if it is low or if there is more left adjust your timer accordingly. waiting until the esc notices a voltage drop is pushing your battery too far and also dangerous.
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04-04-2013 04:17 PM  6 years ago
wrongler

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Brewerton, New York

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I usually fly the lipos down to about 30%, no lower!Bill Whittaker
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04-04-2013 04:19 PM  6 years ago
Teeg

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Monroe, NJ 08831

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Can you expand on 'checking the battery afterwards'..what's the best procedure? Last weekend I charged the packs without being conscious of what the charger was putting into them, but yes, I should have taken note.

How about some sort of on-board battery monitor..any recommendations? I see them in various fashions at my usual parts suppliers but don't recall seeing any in actual use.

Tom
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04-04-2013 05:10 PM  6 years ago
Dr.Don

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Cedar Park, TX -- USA

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On board monitors check voltage, which is of dubious use because the voltage curve is pretty flat until you have gone too far. The best method in my opinion is to fully charge, fly for a timed period (say 4 minutes), land and recharge and note how many mah you put back into the battery. Based on that you can calculate how long to fly to use up no more than 80% of the lipo capacity. Set the timer for that and abide by it.

It's good to always pay attention to what your charger is putting into the batteries. If you change flying style, headspeed, etc. you may need to adjust your timer setting.
Dr.Don
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04-04-2013 11:03 PM  6 years ago
Teeg

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Monroe, NJ 08831

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Got it...thanks for the advice guys. Will put it all into practice this weekend.

Tom
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04-06-2013 09:36 PM  6 years ago
Richardmid1

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Leeds, England

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You need one of these or similar:

http://www.fast-lad.co.uk/store/hyp...y2-p-17959.html
60% of the time, it works every time!
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04-07-2013 01:00 AM  6 years ago
Gregor99

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Western Wa

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Or better yet, one of these.

Resting voltage is really not great indicator of pack consumption. The report from the charger should be used instead. However it can be used as rough guide once one becomes familiar with the resting voltage of their particular pack at 20% remaining.
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04-07-2013 01:17 AM  6 years ago
Teeg

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Monroe, NJ 08831

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Those look cool...might have to pick one up just to play with.

I flew two packs today, a 5100 Voltz and a Turnigy 4000 for six minutes each, then put each on my charger, a Hitec X2 4000. The charger displays on the status screen a 'charged capacity' number, with each pack indicating ~ 1100 after a standard rate balanced charge. I was under the assumption that this number was what the charger put into the packs, but that's cant be correct. I flew slow hovering circuits around the back yard...nothing aggressive, but you'd think that would have been more than 1100mA of usage.

Unless I'm interpreting the charger function incorrectly...

T-
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04-07-2013 01:31 AM  6 years ago
Gregor99

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Western Wa

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That does seem quite low. As an additional data point, what was the resting voltage when you plugged the packs into the charger? Also do you know what your headspeed is? Are you using the governor?
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04-07-2013 02:27 AM  6 years ago
Teeg

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Monroe, NJ 08831

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I didn't note the volts when first attached to the charger, but I'll make sure to take a look on the next charge.

I'm charging the 4000 pack while posting this...

No governor, head speed fairly low as I wasn't into idle up...just bopping around the yard getting the feel for a newly installed FBL unit. I was actually testing piro comp doing slow turns in and out of the wind.

I did email Hitec for an explanation on the status screen, so far their customer service has been pretty responsive to other questions.

T-
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04-07-2013 02:35 AM  6 years ago
Teeg

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Monroe, NJ 08831

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Charger status screen reports 2491 for charged capacity after 44 minutes charge time, Turnigy 6s 4000maH pack, charged at 4 amps. So does that mean the pack took 2.4 amps to charge fully?

T-
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04-07-2013 04:26 AM  6 years ago
Gregor99

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Western Wa

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2491 sounds like the mah put back into the pack. But it would be good to have Hitec confirm what their displays are telling you. That would be about 62% consumed. That's not impossible for a 6 minute flight, low headspeed and just hovering around. Once you start pushing the power system, the current draw will go up and your timer may need to come down.
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04-07-2013 05:05 AM  6 years ago
eddiscus

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Dumont, NJ-USA

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May also want to look into telemetry with a MAH a consumption sensor.

Recently switched my Whiplash E over to a Jeti radio and installed the optical tach sensor and Amp/voltage transducer. So far the MAH reading from the sensor is within 80 +/- from what I put back in. I have the sensors alarm point set for 3800mah on a 5000mah pack. Alarm goes off (voice alert) and then calls out the MAH every 5 seconds.

Nice if you fly multiple head speeds as the timer is now secondary. Still have the timer set as a reference incase the mah has an error.
Logo Xxtreme 800
Logo 700
Citizen 142
Synergy 766
TDR 2
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04-07-2013 01:58 PM  6 years ago
Teeg

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Monroe, NJ 08831

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Also of concern is the fact that the DX6i alarm is barely audible, more so given a windy day with the helicopter in close proximity. I can hear it fine while flying smaller models like the 130x, but not so much when flying the 550e. Consider the radio a good candidate for a rainy-day mod....

T-
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04-07-2013 05:56 PM  6 years ago
Gregor99

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Western Wa

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I've seen some guys use kitchen timers with their Futaba radios for the same reason. So far I haven't had issues hearing my DX7 timer. However, occasionally I have forgotten to start it.
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