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08-04-2019 04:26 AM  3 months ago
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Bouchah

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Willow Spring, N. Carolina USA

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Lipo cell IR monitoring
A few months ago i was at a flying field and saw a fella with a pretty sofisticated charging system. Could kick myself for not paying attention to any of the brands of equipment but i didnt. He had his charger connected to a laptop and was watching the cells of the battery as they charged. I think he was also watching the IR as well. In reading some old posts here on RR, apparently my charger, powerlab 8 will read the IR as well. Its been a while since ive used my charger so i honestly dont remember seeing an IR reading. Most likely the firmware / software needs to be updated on mine. Is connecting a powerlab 8 to a laptop to log the battery stats something that can be done? Is there a benefit to doing that?
Anyone have any idea of what system I may have seen at the field?
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08-05-2019 06:51 AM  3 months ago
wjvail

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I don't own a PowerLab so I can't comment on its use or functionality. I do have a iCharger 4010 Duo. I have it hooked up to a computer in my shop and can monitor my batteries during a charge. While it will read out IR for individual cells during a charge, it won't graph that. You can read the IR during a charge but it's up to you to record it somewhere.

As to the value of hooking your charger up to a computer, you certainly don't need to but I learned a lot about how batteries charge and discharge by actually being able to see the performance of the individual cells. If I'm just charging a few batteries for a flight, there is no reason to start the graphing software. If, however, I've flown those batteries, it's worthwhile to discharge them to 3.6 V/Cell and see how they perform with the remaining charge. Looking at how the individual cells of a pack perform in their end game is a good indicator of the overall health of a pack.

The iCharger graphing software is 3rd party freeware (donation ware) and works well(ish). A some of it is still in German but it's not really too distracting. It's just a matter of installing it and hooking up the USB port on the charger/computer.
"Well, nothing bad can happen now."
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08-06-2019 03:18 AM  3 months ago
Bouchah

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Did some researching on the web about the Powerlab 8 connecting to a PC. Turns out on Revolectrix web site they offer a free software version also. CCS, Charge Control Software is what they call it. They have some videos on how to install the software on your CPU as well as a short tour of what the software can do. There is also an APP you can put on your smart device so you can charge your batteries, go visiting up and down the flight line and get notifications of the status of your equipment. The App is about $14.00 though.Blade 130x (5)
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08-06-2019 12:48 PM  3 months ago
Bouchah

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wjvail If, however, I've flow those batteries, it's worthwhile to discharge them to 3.6 V/Cell and see how they perform with the remaining charge. Looking at how the individual cells of a pack perform in their end game is a good indicator of the overall health of a pack.
Could you explain what you mean in the quoted topic?
Not sure what flowing the batteries is or what you meant about discharging them to 3.6 to see how they perform.
Thanks
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08-06-2019 02:06 PM  3 months ago
wjvail

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I'm sorry. There is a typo in my post. I was trying to say "... if I've flown those batteries..."

I was trying to suggest, if I charged some batteries and have flown them at the field, they will typically be around 3.75 volts/cell. I will often bring them home and, rather just recharging them back to 3.85 V/C for storage, I will first discharge them to 3.6 V/C and note their performance as the individual cells reach the end of their charge.

Sorry for the confusion.
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08-06-2019 03:13 PM  3 months ago
Bouchah

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Ok, thanks for the clarification.Blade 130x (5)
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08-06-2019 04:08 PM  3 months ago
chopper37

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On my powerlab 6 During the charging process you can press the inc or dec button scroll to the ir page and view the ir per cell no computer needed
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08-06-2019 09:08 PM  3 months ago
Bouchah

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Do you know if the powerlab is able to keep a log of the values? Is that something that is worth logging, seems like it would be helpful to have a baseline IR for each battery / cell to measure any changes against.
Im guessing my PL8 has that IR screen as well. I will have to look at how well that works for me. It does seem like a hassel to need to use a laptop to monitor the charging of batteries, but it also seems like it would be pretty informative and helpful if the CCS program logs the information of each charge.
I dont know, just thinking out loud right now.
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08-06-2019 09:56 PM  3 months ago
chopper37

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If you use the software which I don’t, I do scroll through while charging to see it and it’s very easy to see a bad cell, keep it simple
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08-06-2019 10:42 PM  3 months ago
Flyin for Jesus

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chopper37 If you use the software which I don’t, I do scroll through while charging to see it and it’s very easy to see a bad cell, keep it simple
This, you'll know when packs are at the end of their life just by flying them. When performance sags and you hit LVC too early, its time to retire them. Not based on the IR readings during charging.

I do look at the IRs after every charge but I just do that out of curiosity, and maybe when my packs junk out, I'll know what IR number means time is up, but until my packs give up... the numbers are just numbers. So far... All the cells are close and have stayed steady.
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08-06-2019 11:08 PM  3 months ago
chopper37

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Flyin for Jesus I do look at the IRs after every charge but I just do that out of curiosity, and maybe when my packs junk out, I'll know what IR number means time is up, but until my packs give up... the numbers are just numbers. So far... All the cells are close and have stayed steady.
Exactly
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08-07-2019 01:41 AM  3 months ago
Ace Dude

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USA

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Monitoring IRs is a good indicator of when to retire a pack. If the IR of one cell goes up much higher relative to the others it can be an indicator of premature cell failure. Better to catch it proactively on the ground than in the air. If the IR of one cell is significantly differently than the others it can cause balancing issues and prolonged charge times.  
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08-07-2019 03:37 AM  3 months ago
Bouchah

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So if you take note of the IR's of each cell of a new battery then after 50 cycles of ideal use, charging and discharging, what would you expect to see the IR readings at?
If the IR values are going up but are all going up at the same rate, that is ok?
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08-07-2019 11:40 AM  3 months ago
Ace Dude

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USA

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Bouchah If the IR values are going up but are all going up at the same rate, that is ok?
Difference between 1-50 cycles really depends on the pack itself.
Yes. Consistency relative to the other cells is what you're looking for.
  
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08-23-2019 03:07 AM  88 days ago
ggimlick

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Fuquay Varina, NC USA

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I’ve done a fair amount of testing and evaluating various IR meters, etc and while the chargers can give a very general picture of trends, none of the chargers can accurately measure the true IR or evaluate the actual C rating of a pack. It’s the nature of how they do it, but it’s better than nothing.

If you’re serious about finding out the true C rating of your packs and see what the limiting cell is, check out the Lipo ESR Meter Mark II from Progressive RC.
https://www.progressiverc.com/lipo-...er-mark-ii.html

It’s not the cheapest meter, but it’s the cream of the crop. It will allow you to accurately measure IR and does the computation to determine the true C rating of a pack. By doing so, you can relegate packs to applications that don’t destroy them. Take a declining pack and use it in something that isn’t pushing it beyond its abilities and you can make them last. I've got packs that are ten years old because I’m anal about how I store them and monitor their IR health so I can use them within their limits.
Take care,
Greg
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