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Charging batteries on the fly?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gjoseph, May 20, 2015.

  1. gjoseph

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    Hi I bought myself a small Bestek charger to plug into the lighter on my car so I can charge batteries in the field- has anyone done this and if so how long to charge a phantom battery-- will it charge faster if i am driving from A to B with it plugged in - or any other hints on how to do this Thanks
     
  2. tcope

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    Takes about the same time as a wall charger. Needs to be around 130 watts. Won't charge any faster if you drive. Same wattage and same volts to the charger.
     
  3. Kman

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    You need an inverter with 150+ watts capacity. Initially when you plug in your dead Phantom battery it will pull 130+ watts if you have the 100 watt charger. If you have a low capacity inverter it will shut off and stop charging.

    I just picked up a 300 watt Bestek on Amazon for $29.99.
     
  4. gjoseph

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    so i need the charger and an inverter? what kind of inverter did you get
     
  5. Ti22

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    I use an iCharger 106B+ running on cig plug and charge aggressively about 6A or nearly 3C rate. My flights consume about 1500mAh (1.5Ah) and need 15 minutes to recharge at that rate. I usually bring 3 or 4 qty 2.2Ah labelled battery packs and never run out.

    A good RC Charger is a great investment in useful gear. I was skeptical but it’s taught me so much about ALL types of batteries and management profiles.

    106B+ is considered small but it’s more than enough for Phantom flying.
     
  6. tcope

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    I assumed you meant that you bought an inverter. You only need an inverter. You then just plug the DJI battery charger into that and you are good to go. Keep in mind that inverters usually automatically cut off when they detect the vehicle battery dropped below a certain point (something like 11 or 10.5 volts). So you may need to run the engine some times when you are charging a battery.
     
  7. gjoseph

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    This is the one I got: Bestek 300W car power inverter Dual USB charger
     
  8. Kman

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    That's what I got too. Should work great! :)
     
  9. Hurricane Dave

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    Hi all, new to this forum and the Phantoms. This forum has been awesome for info!

    Just purchased a P3 Pro and wondering about field charging. I can't find the spec anywhere on the charge rating for these batteries. What is the fastest yet safest charge rating? (1C? 2C?)

    I have other helis and another quad that use lipos so I'm thinking the charger might be more useful than an inverter. I just don't want to fry the P3 batteries.

    I've been looking at the Dynamite Passport Duo Dual AC/DC 400W Battery Charger. It can handle just about anything from what I see.

    Also, what is the connector on the P3 battery type called? (As I said, new to this...)

    Any thoughts?
     
  10. mikedaniels

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    Good info. I'm planning a shooting road trip recharging in the car as i drive. I'v got 3 4-k cams and ipad. Will transfer data to an external h/d. through my laptop. Remember, the Phantom batts must cool down before recharge. I held mine in front of the a/c.
     
  11. Ti22

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    I’m just some guy on the web but I know RC Lipo quite well. With most common charging rates you do not need to cool packs between recharge.

    Amps going in often 10x lower than Amps going out (which heated the cells), a normal RC Lipo pack will actually cool as it charges.

    Now, I’m talking 1-3C rate charging (2-6A for 2200mAh bricks) and of course don’t attempt this if the just used pack is blistering hot and uncomfortable to handle, duff cell or damaged in any way. But if only moderately hot/warm, feel free put it on the charger and light it off - use temp sensor or IR temp gun and you’ll witness pack temperature dropping while it charges.

    Using a real RC Charger you can be ready to go again in about 10-20 minutes. 3qty bricks/packs and you’re flying 100% except for pack swaps.

    BTW - there's actually more potential danger from charging a pack which is too cold than a warm pack.
     
  12. mikedaniels

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    Tell that to the charger. It decides when to start charging.
     
  13. Ti22

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    My post specifically stated using real RC Chargers for a reason.
     
  14. John Locke

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    From what I can determine, the P3 batteries won't allow a fast charge like other heli batteries. The electronics in the P3 batteries limit the charge rate, I think to about a 1C rate, which would be around 5A at 15.7V normal 4S rate (78W). There is no equalization connection to P3 batteries, as the electronics in the battery pack do that for you, apparently. As for the P3 connector, it's proprietary. I have also been looking to buy that connector with no luck so far, other than buying a cheap P3 car charger for $20-25 just to get the connector. I have a Hitec intelligent. 200W charger that's actually 4 independant chargers at 50W each. I like it because it's relatively fast (60-75 min charge) to charge all 4 batteries, and I don't have to closely monitor them. I charge them outside on my concrete counter-top BBQ island, pretty safe if something goes wrong. It's very convenient with my other quad batteries, however I need to find a source for the P3 battery connector. My P3 arrives today, so I will need these pretty soon. I may have to make the connectors myself, which I'd like to avoid if anyone knows where I can buy that connector.
     
    #14 John Locke, Jul 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  15. Ti22

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    W O W - that’s messed up. I’m very sorry if my posts have confused P3 territory with my RC Lipo knowledge.

    I DO NOT KNOW P3’s, don’t own one and the more I learn about their battery system other than it being 4S I don’t like it.

    If you can post a pic of P3 battery connector I might recognize something? But I’m sure there’s no simple/reliable workaround either.

    We should realize and accept that revenue management has likely made the design choice of battery system more than engineers. Kind of a shame although I realize manufacturers have product liability issues to consider as well.

    Rest assured they’re making a tidy profit off each additional P3 battery pack.
     
  16. John Locke

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    #16 John Locke, Jul 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
    Ti22 likes this.
  17. Ti22

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    Whoa! Is that official item? Pretty chunk of kit but I see they want users to go with pack numbers rather than fast/large charge rates.

    High charge rate is often fine using modern RC Lipo but companies no longer wanna lose replacement sales to Hobby King or accept liability of pushing large Amps around. Providing another line of charging gear, UL listings, etc.

    If official product, their solution seems to be 4 packs, start out charged and you should make out with that. Yes, that may work if you’ve got an extra $1000 or probably more laying around.

    I/O connectors seem workable but those white boxes and display probably do more than simple voltage metering. Newer designs are putting a lot of “software” into these sort things to maintain better product “control” limiting customers to buying “official” replacement battery packs and accessories.

    Can somebody explain how P3 pack BMS behaves? In flight, can it completely shutdown battery pack output? I assume communication between between pack BMS and P3 FC? Bird probably rejects engine start if battery system doesn’t report correct data?

    P3 battery packs seem to be a tough hack with no obvious workaround based on what I can tell from my limited knowledge.