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View Full Version : Another Li-Po balancer question.


Turbojoe
10-10-2005, 12:25 AM
I just got a pack of TP 3S1P 2100 and a pack of 3S1P 1320 Pro-lites. They have the balance connectors. What I'm wondering is if I HAVE to use the TP balancer or if I can use one of the much cheaper alternatives out there. Is the TP balancer really worth the $20.00 premium it costs over the competitors? I'm not a cheap skate but I hate paying extra if it isn't necessary. I've got a bunch of Gen II TP packs and some older E-Tec packs as well. I'd like to balance them to make sure they're in top condition so I'm in the market to buy a balancer.


Joe

bruff
10-10-2005, 04:10 AM
I enjoy my TP balancer.
Bob

falingtrea
10-10-2005, 04:18 AM
I don't think you really need a balancer unless you need to charge the pack up fast. You should be able to charge up each cell individually using a regular charger and the balancing connector. I assume the balancing connector just gives you access to positive and negative of each cell.

Turbojoe
10-10-2005, 04:32 AM
I don't think you really need a balancer unless you need to charge the pack up fast. You should be able to charge up each cell individually using a regular charger and the balancing connector. I assume the balancing connector just gives you access to positive and negative of each cell.

I've got two older E-Tec packs that are in definite need of balancing. I took the shrink wrap off and measured them. They are several hundredths mismatched. They're over two years old though. I'm scared to charge them in their present state. If the TP balancer is good enough for Bob then that's all I need to hear. I'll probably order one up next week.


Joe

falingtrea
10-10-2005, 04:38 AM
Don't you need a specific connector in order to use a balancer? If you had to remove the shrinkwrap in order to check the cells, I don't think a balancer would work. As I understand it, a balancing charger needs a connector that allows it to charge and monitor individual cells.

Turbojoe
10-10-2005, 04:48 AM
Don't you need a specific connector in order to use a balancer? If you had to remove the shrinkwrap in order to check the cells, I don't think a balancer would work. As I understand it, a balancing charger needs a connector that allows it to charge and monitor individual cells.

I can get the balancer leads from Thunder Power. Probably Radio Shack as well. I'll just add them on to all of my packs. A little bit of solder and shrink wrap goes a looong way.


Joe

supi7
10-10-2005, 07:33 AM
As long as you can tap into the individual cells you can use a volt meter to check for imbalance and than use a 2 pin lead to tap into the cell that needs attention and charge it with any charger that supports 1 cell charge.


Dan

Tweet
10-12-2005, 12:18 AM
I don't know if the TP balance is worth the premium, but it is what I got. I think the physics dictate that any balancer will work once you get the connections made. I think if you have balancing leads on your battery it would be foolish to to use them every now and then to make sure your cells are balanced.

Turbojoe
10-12-2005, 01:42 AM
I just ordered my TP-205 from Draganfly for $52.95 and free shipping.
Here is the link: http://parts.rctoys.com/rc-toys-hobbies/Items/410166?

He's got some great deals on TP batteries too. I picked up the 3S 2100 ProLite/CC Phoenix 25 combo too for $101.95. No free shipping on this combo but it's still a great deal!


Joe

Matt Kirsch
10-12-2005, 01:16 PM
$20 for balancing technology seems pretty inexpensive to me. What are these "cheaper" alternatives?

The term "balancing" in LiPoly context simply means the ability to monitor and charge each cell in a pack individually. On the pack side, there's nothing special beyond a few extra wires and a connector. All the magic happens inside the charger.

Whether it's worth the extra cost is something only you can determine. Frankly, the pack does not have to be balanced EVERY time it's charged, but doing so doesn't hurt a thing, and eliminates the task of manually balancing the packs from time to time, something that could take hours.

Unbalanced prop
10-12-2005, 01:23 PM
I just got a pack of TP 3S1P 2100 and a pack of 3S1P 1320 Pro-lites. They have the balance connectors. What I'm wondering is if I HAVE to use the TP balancer or if I can use one of the much cheaper alternatives out there. Is the TP balancer really worth the $20.00 premium it costs over the competitors? I'm not a cheap skate but I hate paying extra if it isn't necessary. I've got a bunch of Gen II TP packs and some older E-Tec packs as well. I'd like to balance them to make sure they're in top condition so I'm in the market to buy a balancer.

Joe.........You do not have to use the TP balancer, but the connector on their packs is very proprietery and hard to find. I have made adapters to use the TP 205 balancer with Tanic, PQ, Maxamps and Apogee packs. The 205 is nice unit, and can be used before during or after a charge.
I also have one of the AF balancers which seems to work better if it is used after the pack is charged. It will not plug into a TP pack with out some sort of adapter. The AF balancer tends to fight the charger at the end of the charge which lengthens charge time.
IMHO the TP balancer is worth the extra bucks as it balances better and is more flexible then the less expensive AF balancer. Remember your result may vary.

Doug

Turbojoe
10-12-2005, 10:52 PM
After I thought about it it just made sense to go ahead and get a plug and play setup. I even got some extra taps to use on my older packs. I'm pretty happy with the deal TP gave me on the upgrade to ProLites from the damaged GenII packs I sent in. It's only right to by the TP product after that.


Joe

A10FLYR
10-13-2005, 12:23 AM
Now then, does anyone know where to get the special solder or paste to retro the balancer leads?

Turbojoe
10-13-2005, 12:36 AM
My understanding is that they are now using normal solder techniques. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.


Joe

everydayflyer
10-13-2005, 02:26 AM
My understanding is that they are now using normal solder techniques. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
______________________________


Not unless you can get to the nickle (negative) tab. Sometimes the aluminum (positive) tab is folded over the nickle . It takes special flux and solder to solder to aluminum.

Cheapbatterypacks.com is one source.


I have several brands of LI Poly Balancers and the TPs are the only ones I use. Faster than the rest and more precession .

Charles

Turbojoe
10-13-2005, 02:37 AM
Thanks Charles. Are the TP's nickle?


Joe

everydayflyer
10-13-2005, 03:11 AM
All LiPolys have aluminum positive tabs and nickle positive tabs. Thunder Power spot welds these together at the series connections. There is solder at the positive and negative power leads connections so these can be soldered to with regular solder. You may or may not be able to get to the nikle tabs at the series connections. If they are folded with the nikle on the outside no problem however if they are folded with the aluminum on the outside__________.
Some LiPoly cells which are sold lose have nikle tabs spot welded to the positive aluminum tabs so that special flux is not required.





Charles

Turbojoe
10-13-2005, 04:05 AM
Thanks for the update Charles. Good info!


Joe

A10FLYR
10-13-2005, 03:08 PM
OK. Thanks Charles. Much appreciated.

Unbalanced prop
10-13-2005, 06:00 PM
Now then, does anyone know where to get the special solder or paste to retro the balancer leads?

I got mine here:

http://www.cheapbatterypacks.com/main.asp?sid=413182&pgid=misc

Doug

glenclif
10-14-2005, 03:06 AM
Hey guys,

What's wrong with just buying Tanics with the JST taps already installed? No special charger required, although you have to do each cell individually.

Unbalanced prop
10-14-2005, 03:30 AM
Hey guys,

What's wrong with just buying Tanics with the JST taps already installed? No special charger required, although you have to do each cell individually.

I have several Tanic 3S2P packs and if I charge through the taps it takes well over 3 hours.:eek: If I use my TP balancer it only takes a little over an hour to charge the same pack and it is perfectly balanced. I just don't have the time or desire to monitor a pack while it charges for over three hours.

Doug

A10FLYR
10-14-2005, 04:05 AM
Thanks Doug...

Turbojoe
10-14-2005, 04:27 AM
I'm feeling better and better about the TP balancer purchase. Thanks guys.


Joe

glenclif
10-14-2005, 01:54 PM
I charge the Tanics as usual, then just check through the taps to make sure they are balanced. Works for me.

Unbalanced prop
10-14-2005, 02:48 PM
I charge the Tanics as usual, then just check through the taps to make sure they are balanced. Works for me.

I also do that a lot and only balance when and if needed. It is just easier to charge, check for balance and if needed, hook up the balancer and go about your business. Brian at Tanicpacks also makes the adpaters to use the TP balancer with his packs.

But you are 100% right, nothing special needed to balance Tanic packs. just a little more effort.

Doug

glenclif
10-14-2005, 02:58 PM
My problem, like Joe, is that I have some older Kokham 1500's, Etechs, and Gen II TP's that don't have any way to balance. As those packs live out their life I'll switch over to packs that have the balancer plug built in. I don't know how to install the balancer plugs on the older packs.

In the mean time, I do have some of the newer Tanics with built in taps.

Unbalanced prop
10-14-2005, 03:02 PM
My problem, like Joe, is that I have some older Kokham 1500's, Etechs, and Gen II TP's that don't have any way to balance. As those packs live out their life I'll switch over to packs that have the balancer plug built in. I don't know how to install the balancer plugs on the older packs.

On your TP gen II packs, if you call TP and set it up, you can send them in and they can add taps. If you don't like the connector, just put jst connectors on it like Tanics.

Doug

glenclif
10-14-2005, 06:42 PM
Thanks Doug. I didn't know they would do that. Then it would be worth buying the balancing charger, and adapters.

Glenn

Vamooska
10-15-2005, 12:00 AM
I will be offering an adapter for my Vampower Pro balancer to adapt to TP.
This will be an extremely easy way to do it. It balances to 20mv, has an autodetect for 2 or 3 cell packs....perfect for the parkflyers. Plug it in and it does the rest....its THAT easy.
Take a look on my webpage below unders accessories and take a look. I am offering specials on Vampower Pro batteries and balancer combos. The prices are not posted on my webpage but they will be here in the batteries for sale forum in the next week. I am also happy to announce that the 1320 2 and 3 cell packs are in production as we speak.
Everydayflyer.....yup...you will get one for testing....and love it:D
Thanks guys and Wattflyer
Jeff

roccobro
10-17-2005, 06:19 AM
Doug- Is your Astro "blinky" balancer the first version with the green dot on the processor? Mine is and I have not been happy with it's performance. Astro has issued a recall of them, but I too ordered a TP 205 and will try it out. The tighter tolerances between the two (not tried yours Vammy:)) is worth the extra $20 IMO.

Justin

Unbalanced prop
10-17-2005, 12:49 PM
My blinky was the first version and I was not thrilled with the performance. I have sent it back to Astrbob for the "fix" and am looking forward to trying the new and improved version soon.
I will say that Astroflight showed some great customer service by admitting a problem and taking steps to correct the problem by sending emails to all people who bought the first version telling them to ship it back for upgrades.

Doug

roccobro
10-17-2005, 10:39 PM
I'm going to send mine in after I get the 205 in the mail. Balancing is definietly good, but with tolerances I'd like and what TP now uses in the PL series, there must be some really tight variances (if any).

Justin

Spiffing
10-19-2005, 04:07 PM
I have a Flight Power Duralite 'Stay Balance Module' which I use with my 3s1p Flight Power LiPo's.
I've recently bought a HiModel 3s1P (made in China) that has a balance plug fitted. The two plug/socket systems are not compatible but the wiring is the same.
If anyone has been set the same problem and found a solution I'd be pleased if you would share it with me.:confused:

Unbalanced prop
10-19-2005, 04:24 PM
I have a Flight Power Duralite 'Stay Balance Module' which I use with my 3s1p Flight Power LiPo's.
I've recently bought a HiModel 3s1P (made in China) that has a balance plug fitted. The two plug/socket systems are not compatible but the wiring is the same.
If anyone has been set the same problem and found a solution I'd be pleased if you would share it with me.:confused:

If Duralite will sell you the connector they use on their batteries, you could cut the connector off the HiModel and put the duralite connector in its place. Or you could get a connector from Duralite and HiModel and make an adapter to work with the module and your new pack.

This is becoming a problem with every lipoly manufacturer having a different balancing plug, hoping to sell you their balancer also. I have so many different adapters for all my balancers and packs that I am starting to put labels on them.:confused:

Doug

Big_Bird
10-23-2005, 03:48 AM
I've been flying RC since 1967, primarily giant scale gassers the last 20 years. That being said, I'm a total "newbie" to electrics. Correct me if I am wrong. I have been reading about the TP 205 balancer and it appears that is a fancy analyzer but actually does nothing to balance the lipo cells. It only tells you when you have a problem. You then go back and recharge the pack at a slow rate. The following is a description from the Hobby Lobby web site:

"3-5/8 x 1-1/2 x 1/2" Use with Thunder Power "Pro Lite" Lithium batteries. Auto detects the cell count from 2-5 cells. Plug your battery into the cell balancer to check the condition of your battery. Status is indicated by LED's, if an imbalance occurs the LED's flash. Battery can be returned to a balanced state by recharging at a reduced charge rate while monitoring with the cell balancer. Batteries can be charged with any Lithium battery charger. Monitoring your batteries while charging is safer too, the balancer monitors each cell in your pack and gives an audible warning if any cell exceeds 4.3V, charging must be halted immediately! Cell balancer indicates charge completion with an audible tone."

With a little more effort couldn't you do the same thing using a good digital voltmeter on a TP 1320 3 cell pack with the built in connector? It seems to me that the 205 plays no part in actually balancing a pack, only slow charging does that.

Did I misunderstand what the 205 does?

Ken

roccobro
10-23-2005, 05:50 AM
Ken-The 205 does not need a charger to balance. It discharges the cells to balance if there is no charge current, that is what the "if an imbalance occurs the LED's flash" means inthe description. I think that is a poor description personally.

I only use the 205 seperate from the charger. I've heard it makes all kinds of (annoying?) beeps when it approaches full charge (or momentary over voltage readings from charger pulses). Without using the charger, you take longer to balance (15 minutes vs 2), but don't need to worry about how the charger is functioning to complicate the operation. Maybe I'm just simple and still new to this too. :)

Besides making a PQ to TP adapter, it is just as easy to use as the Blinky, but the 205 gives you a little more info at the beginning (Imbalance <.03v, .03-.2v diff, and >.2v) so you know what to expect, adn have a much tighter cell votage variance. (up to +/-.005v if cell is above 4.1v/cell)

Justin

Big_Bird
10-23-2005, 04:35 PM
Justin, that is the kind of information that I was looking for. It looks like this is a worth while item to buy.

Thanks
Ken

roccobro
10-23-2005, 09:11 PM
It is a worthwhile item for proper care of your lipos. But there are now four big ones out (Vampower, Astro V1.1, TP, and Hyperion). They all will help you, but I think it will come down to preference. I just adore the Astros simplicity, but Vammy will be offering plugs to eliminate any TP adapter headaches with his, and I haven't an understanding of the new Hyperion yet except it should have super tight tolerances and uses PQ plugs.

Justin

iceman
11-01-2005, 10:34 PM
unbalanced prop

I saw earlier in this thread that you have made an adapter for Maxamp packs. Do you have any pics of it or any tips on how to make them? I have got a TP205 balancer and some PQ and Etecpacks that I have made adaptors for but now having some difficulties to make a adaptor for the Maxamp packs. Any help would be great

Unbalanced prop
11-02-2005, 01:57 AM
Iceman

Not sure if this will help you but here goes. I have some of the original lipolys that Maxamps sold. Not sure if they still make them the same way. My 3S2P 4500 packs have power poles on the output and two jst connectors. I originally made the adapter before balancers were around and used it to charge the cells individually. Here is the letter Maxamps sent me.

TAPS on Lipoly Packs

MaxAmps.com taps are designed to use the least number of taps to accomplish the goal of being able to check voltage on each individual cell. Taps are connected to each cell between the outer 2 cells in a pack.

Example:
To check voltage of a 3S pack, Use black wire of plug along with black wire of tap for cell number 1. Use black wire of tap with red wire of tap for cell number 2. Use red wire of tap with red wire of plug for cell number 3.

Cell 1V:Black Plug/Black Tap-Cell 2V: Black Tap/Red Tap-Cell 3V: Red Tap/Red Plug


I have enclosed a pic of what I use. There may be an easier way to do it but this is what I did. One powerpole plugs into the battery, the other one pkugs into my charger. The y connector plugs onto the jst connectors on the pack. The white connector is an apogee type connector I used to charge through. I have another adapter from the apogee to a male TP to plug into the balancer. You could put a male TP connector in place of the apogee connector. hope this doesn't just confuse you more.

Doug

iceman
11-02-2005, 08:28 AM
UnbalancedProp

It was just like I feared, a little odd and complicated. On my PQ and Etec batteries it was so simple to solder a TP connector and a PQ connector together for the TP 205 balancer but this looks a little tricky. Still I just have to try to make the adaptor basing the soldering of cables like in your picture. Time will tell if I get it right. Thanks for your help so far.