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Stupid batteries are best

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Wibble, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. Wibble

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    I would like to know what the real advantages are of a so called intelligent battery? They add cost - weight - and a load of problems when they go wrong.
    I would much rather a battery that gradually loses power so you know where you are.
    All it needs is a battery voltage sensor so it knows when to return home.
    And off topic I know but I never cease to be amazed by the rechargable nicads in my Phillips shaver. It is 15 years old and the batteries STILL last for 4 weeks daily use on a single charge - incredible!!!
     
  2. jamesb72

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    The 'SMART' battery is just the LED indicators on charge status, and self discharge.

    Lipos don't steadily lose voltage, they have a very abrupt drop off, and this is affected by age/temperature/load and too many variables, which is why predicting remaining capacity accurately is difficult.

    Non-smart battery quads crashed too remember, and had shorter flights.

    Starting with a full charge and landing at 30% should avoid most of the issues, but you can build a cheap quad using a Naza V2 on 'dumb' lipos pretty easily if you want an alternative, but you lose the camera/ipad integration and all the other benefits.
     
  3. nickn7

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    DJI batteries are the single biggest money maker for DJI. Advantage DJI(period!)
    Multistar High Capacity 4S 5200mAh Multi-Rotor Lipo Pack = $20.99
     
  4. Wibble

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    OMG that is a crazy price difference!
    I had the same problem with my battery drill. Got a great deal on it but once the battery pack failed it was cheaper to buy a whole new kit. Why put the charging circuit on every battery instead of selling a proper charger?
     
  5. DownUnder

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    I would NEVER fly with $20 batteries. Yeah DJI to make good on spare batteries I agree. But I will only fly with DJI batteries.
    I think making a comparison with $20 batteries is a little harsh. Pretty sure Boeing would not use $20 engine bolts. More like $5000
     
  6. alokbhargava

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    Are these $20 batteries reliable? Has any one used them?

    I wish we had a front assembly available to convert any battery to smart battery.
     
  7. flyNfrank

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    The only chance at getting anywhere on this subject or any other P3 related subject, is to post on the dji forums and then rest of us join in and sound off with support.
     
  8. suprphreak

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    The smart batteries have a built in balance charging circuit, plus a communication chip to tell the P3 the level of power and drain. It also has built in self-discharge. Much more than a simple "voltage sensor".

    That said, they are still overpriced. I wish you could purchase "refill" cells for when the internal ones go bad.
     
  9. DownUnder

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    I'm glad we don't. Pretty sure we'd be seeing more "I've lost my drone. It just fell from the sky" posts. Pretty sure cheap and nasty batteries will be installed by many if someone sold a battery case. Been flying R/C heli's for over 10 years and good batteries are key to reliability. Seen plenty of fires and crashes due to real cheap batteries.
     
  10. BVC

    BVC

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    Well.. like all things in life - Everyone is underpaid and everything is too expensive!

    Like when people buy the cheapest tires possible. Or the cheapest brakes possible. There to get the job done with safety out the window!
     
  11. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    This. Plus as an entry-level ready-to-fly system, DJI assumes most people don't know how to take care of LiPos. Not that their intelligent firmware does a great job of it either. If people understood cell voltages better, they would be better off.
     
  12. Keith Lampman

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    People are "Brain Washed" into thinking that if something costs more than it's better, Steve Jobs proved that with Apple, their markup is 75%, wonder what DJI is ?........$149 smart battery ?
     
  13. AlexSP

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    The P3 batteries is a quite sophisticated piece in fact. I also don't fancy the "self discharge" feature myself, but other than that the smart control is very good at managing the charge and discharge cycles, which is not only important for the proper functioning of the aircraft but also to extend the lifetime (i.e. more cycles) and keep discharge levels and cell balancing in check during usage.

    Those are very important in a LiPo battery because it's a "dry" type (i.e. no liquid electrolytes inside, only a dry agent to allow the ion exchange that goes on inside (and makes up for the power). BTW, that characteristic may explain some crashes, mostly in cold weather because LiPos are very good at pumping out big voltages but that capacity is strongly affected by cold temps. LiPos like to work in warm weather and basically hate cold. Even pre-flight battery warmup may not be enough if outside temps are low, after a couple of minutes it may fail and especially if demanded as in high speed and maneuvers, abrupt changes in direction and height, etc. That can happen suddenly and without warning.

    We must understand that the battery is used to feed motors but also a lot of sensitive, precision and highly sophisticated systems such as video streaming, telemetry, gimbal, etc. Such a 'smart-packed' device cannot be powered by 'dumb batteries' like more simple RC devices.

    P.S.: The 'smart' management system also allows for a quite easy and safe usage and maintenance, which is very important for the average P3 pilot without prior experience with RC or LiPo tech.
     
    #13 AlexSP, Jan 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
    DownUnder and Solar Deity like this.
  14. Wibble

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    I totally agree. People who have to buy genuine car parts are a classic example. As if Audi or BMW or Ford make their own brake pads or oil or clutches. It is quite possible to buy EXACTLY the same product for 1/3 the price.
    I doubt DJI make their own LIPO batteries - they will just buy them in and assemble into their own casings.
     
  15. alokbhargava

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    DJI has not developed the concept of Smart Battery, many other large battery manufacturers have been manufacturing smart LiPo batteries for years. So its not that only DJI can supply smart batteries. By putting the properietary circuitry into battery, DJI has made it difficult to replace and others to compete for P3 batteries. Thats real unfortunate for us.

    I remember Microsoft was penalized for not allowing other browsers/ music apps into windows during early stages of Windows development as they were restricting the competition and innovation.
     
  16. AlexSP

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    I'm sure DJI doesn't make their own batteries. But they do have them made to their specs, and they sure have a QC tight enough to warrant consistency at some high (or at least acceptable) standard - also engineered to be used in accordance to the P3 systems demands.

    Which is something in this everything-comes-from-China era. I mean, everyone knows there's the good, the bad and the ugly being made overseas. A quick visit to any chinese fair is enough to see what I'm talking about, it's overwhelming even for initiated and professionals. Sometimes it just does't matter much but at other times it's just better to take the safe path. IMHO.

    I've also been dealing with LiPos for quite some time, and for different uses (RC, bike lights, mobile devices, etc.) and seen them in various qualities and packages. I'm OK being stuck in the dark, in the woods during a MTB ride (as long as it's not while going downhill at 50kmph LOL). But I'm not very comfortable if my $1K drone or 3K copter comes crashing down from a bad, run-of-the-mill chinese battery going kaput. And believe me, some of them penny stock dressed as fancy blue-chip!

    But the point here is, the P3 is a closed, ready made, for consumer quad. If the P3 battery (or Lightbridge, or cam, or tx, or whatever other feature) doesn't check all the boxes, there's always options. Good ones. Other makers, other models, and for the really daring ones, the possibility of building a drone to whatever specs and standards one desires.
     
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  17. Trackman1

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    The more p3's or what ever version are in use the more likely someone will take advantage and make an after market battery or other parts.
    I would not be surprised to see modded firmware also.
     
  18. jamesb72

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    As soon as a clone battery comes out dji will update the quad/battery firmware so phantom is unusable with non-dji lipo using safety as justification.

    You'd be stuck never being able to upgrade firmware or app if you want to use clone batteries and they may even have time limits built in so they will only work until a certain date - if i were dji I'd certainly do that to keep users up to date.

    If the clone batteries were 4 times cheaper that might be ok but the 25% or so saving doesn't seem worth risk to me right now.
     
    #18 jamesb72, Jan 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016