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Thread: LiPo Charging 'In the Field'...

  1. #1
    Navigator Comrepco's Avatar
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    LiPo Charging 'In the Field'...

    Hi all,

    Looking for a safe reliable solution to re-charge 3s and 4s LiPo's in the field. I know you can just hook up the the car battery, but a portable setup (away from any connection to the vehicle) that I could just place on a trickle charge during the week and place in the car at the weekend would be ideal. I guess you guys probably make your own, but I was looking for a portable deep cycle solution that was relatively maintenance free and durable....

    Could you share what solutions have worked best for you?.....

    thanks...

    Steve.

  2. #2
    Fly,crash,glue,repeat! Jake Bullit's Avatar
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    Caravan type leisure battery would work,though it would be very heavy to lug around.

    But at least you wont flatten the car battery.
    "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."

  3. #3
    Just dog tired. Wearyman's Avatar
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    I've seen people have some success with those 24v solar panels you can buy from Harbor Freight. You can easily charge whatever you need off of it as long as you have the right equipment.

    Check this video out:



    If you need a cheap source of 12v sealed batteries, I recommend Gruber Power.
    Last edited by Wearyman; 23rd May 2014 at 09:21 AM.
    FPV - The World is My Airfield

  4. #4
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    I use a 1000w generator for my Heli and quad packs. What size packs (mah) are you planning on charging? Before getting my generator I used a deep cycle 12v battery but it was very heavy, my generator is lighter.

    You should calculate how any Watt Hours of charging you will need, for example a 4000mah 4S pack run down to 75% would need 3000 x 4 x 4.2 = 50400mWh or 50.4 Wh, a 65Ah deep cycle will give you 12 x 65 = 780Wh if fully drained but they recommend only using down to 50% even for deep cycles so let's round it out to 400Wh so that would give you about 7 or 8 recharges of you 4000mah 4S pack as a ballpark figure. This will let you work out how big a deep cycle you will need for the flying you expect to do and will then give you an idea of what sort of weight you would be carting around. Also be aware that deep cycles need specialised charger cycles and normally require a special charger if you want them to last.

    I know of a few people who have collected some used 6s 5000mah LiPo's and used them in parallel to run a charger (it must take 25V input) and charge smaller packs off that. If you are only talking about charging smaller packs and not many recharges per session this may be an option, you can work out the Wh available depending on how many packs you are able to scrounge and see if that is a valid option for you flying as well. If you have some Heli friends they may have some of these packs that are warn out for flying but would work fine in this application so you may get them very cheap or free.

    //Dennis.
    Scarab Knife 270 mini FPV x 2 : CYE Stingray 3d quad
    Jeti DS16 : Lots of Heli's
    MAAA Heli Instructor

  5. #5
    Navigator Comrepco's Avatar
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    Hi Dennis,

    This is what I was looking for... I'm looking to Re-charge a maximum of 5 x 4500mah 4S LiPo packs in any one flight session.. I have seen many deep cycle batteries, but as you say 65Ah are pretty weighty. I have never considered a generator though.... will look into that.. it may be the way to go...

    Really... thanks for all the info guys...

    Steve.

  6. #6
    Navigator Airborne's Avatar
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    I put some hours on my $80 Harbor Freight 800w generator all last race season and it never skipped a beat.

    It is a two cycle, so the RPM (and voltage) wander a bit until there is a few hundred watts of load on it. I was worried this might be hard on the power supply but it hasn't caused any issues yet.

    It's not as quiet as the Honda inverter generators, but a long extension cord takes care of that.

  7. #7
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    What I do is use all my old LIPO's that aren't flight worthy (too much resistance, low voltage under load) but are otherwise perfectly good batteries in terms of capacity.

    I've got maybe 20 Nano-Tech 4S packs between 4000-4500 mah. Along with my regular flight packs, I bring a bunch of these with me and use them as an input into my iCharger. Just make sure you set input voltage cuttoff to say 14.5v.

    I really don't see the point in buying a huge leisure battery or a generator for general flying. Lipos are cheap enough that you might as well just buy more batteries, or use a free solution and recycle your old LIPO's like I do. I have enough packs to fly back to back for around 4-5 hours straight. If you have specific needs like you wanna be off-grid for a few days then yeah probably a generator is the way forward but damn running a genny for 4-5hrs just to charge your packs, the noise of it would drive me mad.

  8. #8
    Navigator Comrepco's Avatar
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    I think running a Genny, could actually be cheaper than charging 20 LiPo's before I go out every time.... there's also the spontaneity of being able fly and re charge when you want to and not when the batteries that charge the batteries are charged..... if you get what I mean... I like tidy, and the idea of 1 large battery or a Genny appeals to me....

  9. #9
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    That is why I shelled out the money and bought a Honda EU2000. They are super quiet and gas efficient. I would not buy a $1000 generator just for rc but luckily I have plenty of other needs for it and since it lives in the back of my truck I generally don't have to worry about if there is power where I want to fly or not.
    Most of the money I made this year I spent on FPV,the rest I just wasted.

  10. #10
    Navigator Airborne's Avatar
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    Every year I try to convince myself that I need one of those EU2000's. They really are the cat's ass. You can't even hear them from 20 feet away.

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