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Old 03-14-2012, 09:19 PM   #1
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Default FMA Revolectrix PowerLab 8 Too Sensitive

I am seriously considering replacing a defective Hyperion charger with the FMA PL8.

However, the tech support person at the hobby shop where I have store credit, and sells the FMA line, said that, while the PL8 is "built quite well", the "balance circuity is sensitive".

When pressed, he said that the charger is very sensitive to the cell variations within the packs and that it might not be able to balance charge older packs.

Has anyone experienced this "feature"? I am quite used to the Hyperion chargers and like them, but one going bad has put a sour taste in my mouth. Plus, as I own an older 0720 Net3, I cannot purchase a 0730 Net3 and network them together. With the PL8, two PL8 units, even if different versions, can be "expanded" together.

Thank you.

Michael
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by snowflake6515 View Post
I am seriously considering replacing a defective Hyperion charger with the FMA PL8.

However, the tech support person at the hobby shop where I have store credit, and sells the FMA line, said that, while the PL8 is "built quite well", the "balance circuity is sensitive".

When pressed, he said that the charger is very sensitive to the cell variations within the packs and that it might not be able to balance charge older packs.

Has anyone experienced this "feature"? I am quite used to the Hyperion chargers and like them, but one going bad has put a sour taste in my mouth. Plus, as I own an older 0720 Net3, I cannot purchase a 0730 Net3 and network them together. With the PL8, two PL8 units, even if different versions, can be "expanded" together.

Thank you.

Michael
Hi:

With regard to your comment here:

However, the tech support person at the hobby shop where I have store credit, and sells the FMA line, said that, while the PL8 is "built quite well", the "balance circuity is sensitive".

When pressed, he said that the charger is very sensitive to the cell variations within the packs and that it might not be able to balance charge older packs.



I have to tell you, that's a new one on me. In my humble opinion, it does not even make enough sense for me to try to figure out what he might mean, if anything.

If what you say is true, and this dealer is a qualified Revolectrix wholesaler, I would appreciate knowing the name of the store and if possible, the individual with whom you spoke regarding this matter. It's disappointing to think you were so mislead regarding the product. Perhaps there is a rational explanation for it.

The fact is, Revolectrix products have the highest balance current in the industry (1A). Been that way for years. If a Revolectrix charger or battery workstation can't balance an old pack, it's likely the pack is beyond repair, and I think you'll find that a lot of current customers would back me up on this statement. Furthermore, the open architecture feature in the PowerLab series mean that if you're the type who likes advanced features, you can customize 100 parameters in every preset to make the device do exactly what you need it to do. But 99 times out of 100, the default settings do everything most people need out of the box.

Tim Marks
FMA, Inc.
Revolectrix Partner
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:30 PM   #3
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What Tim said-the guy's opinions make absolutely no sense, either in reality or theory.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:56 PM   #4
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I am reluctant to reveal the name of the hobby store except via a PM, but my "count" is too low, so I am not permitted. The comment was made indirectly, via a "live chat" agent who kept consulting her "tech support person", but without revealing the name.

I had first asked about return experiences and received the "built quite well" comment, with a "it is a beast" as a positive affirmation after she consulted her tech support person.

Then, the second comment came in about the only problem was that it was "sensitive". Pressed for an explanation, I received the individual cell count variation balance problem story, but further requests for elaboration were not fruitful; hence this thread when I could not find the issue addressed elsewhere.

I could see it making sense in the case of a marginal pack; i.e., one cell is about 0.2 volts (or slightly greater) different from the other cells. I have flown such packs for a while and keep an eye on them; discarding (safely) if they cannot take a decent charge and/or resistance starts to climb. I posed that specific question via the agent and was informed that I probably should go back to the Hyperion charger.

To not be able to balance charge these packs would be a royal PITA, IMHO, as well as expensive; hence my original query.

Michael
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:44 AM   #5
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I've owned and used every Duo, and now two PL-8's: believe me, the PL-8 is far, far better, and will probably balance anything that can be balanced.
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:11 AM   #6
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Default Purchased PowerLab 8 - Seems To Work Fine

Given the comments in this thread and looking at RCGroups, as well, I decided that the info provided to me about the PowerLab 8 being too sensitive could not be accurate.

I purchased a PowerLab 8 and it arrived along with an MPA board. I've parallel charged only 3S and 4S packs, so far, including some older packs with no problems. Tim, and the other posters, were correct.

The only negative was that I was too impatient. The day the PowerLab 8 arrived, I received an email message from Revoelectrix offering 10% off; those are the breaks, sigh.

This weekend, I'll be charging my 5S and 6S packs, again using the MPA board even though some of my packs are XH and some are TP balance connectors. I cannibalized some of my Hyperion balance adapters as they provide a set of 2S - 6S TP sockets with an XH compatible connector that I plug into the MPA board at one of the 6S slots. Works great. I still get the safety of the MPA board, but can also handle XH, TP, and a couple of other varieties.

I wish I could figure out what triggered the "too sensitive" comment by the hobby store tech. I like the flexibility that I have with this battery management system.

Thanks, folks, for all the help.

Michael
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by snowflake6515 View Post
Given the comments in this thread and looking at RCGroups, as well, I decided that the info provided to me about the PowerLab 8 being too sensitive could not be accurate.

I purchased a PowerLab 8 and it arrived along with an MPA board. I've parallel charged only 3S and 4S packs, so far, including some older packs with no problems. Tim, and the other posters, were correct.

The only negative was that I was too impatient. The day the PowerLab 8 arrived, I received an email message from Revoelectrix offering 10% off; those are the breaks, sigh.

This weekend, I'll be charging my 5S and 6S packs, again using the MPA board even though some of my packs are XH and some are TP balance connectors. I cannibalized some of my Hyperion balance adapters as they provide a set of 2S - 6S TP sockets with an XH compatible connector that I plug into the MPA board at one of the 6S slots. Works great. I still get the safety of the MPA board, but can also handle XH, TP, and a couple of other varieties.

I wish I could figure out what triggered the "too sensitive" comment by the hobby store tech. I like the flexibility that I have with this battery management system.

Thanks, folks, for all the help.

Michael

Hi:

Really no reason for you to be disappointed. The Sale on REVO USA webstore is only for PL6, not PL8.

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Old 03-23-2012, 12:42 AM   #8
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LOL! I read it too fast - the weather has been so good, for March, that a few of us have been out flying - that's why the PL8 has been getting such a good workout. I still had the message in my inbox and it sure says PL6.

Again, very nice product, but still puzzled about the earlier "too sensitive" comment. I think I'll contact the hobby store and inform them of my positive experiences. I'll wait 'till the 5S and 6S (separate and series for 10S and 12S) packs get charged this weekend, but I seriously doubt that there will be any problems. The software seems quite easy to follow. I deliberately mixes old and new 3S packs with XH and TP balance ports, but the MPA and PL8 handled everything as I expected.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:05 AM   #9
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O.K., Snow, wait until you discover the joys of TWO PL-8's, working together, connected to a Protek 2000!
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:17 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by snowflake6515 View Post
LOL! I read it too fast - the weather has been so good, for March, that a few of us have been out flying - that's why the PL8 has been getting such a good workout. I still had the message in my inbox and it sure says PL6.

Again, very nice product, but still puzzled about the earlier "too sensitive" comment. I think I'll contact the hobby store and inform them of my positive experiences. I'll wait 'till the 5S and 6S (separate and series for 10S and 12S) packs get charged this weekend, but I seriously doubt that there will be any problems. The software seems quite easy to follow. I deliberately mixes old and new 3S packs with XH and TP balance ports, but the MPA and PL8 handled everything as I expected.

Hi:

Just so you know, you don't have to rely on your inbox to re-visit old email campaigns. You can go to the Emails Campaign Catalog page any time to catch up or find an old email campaign:

http://www.revolectrix.com/Email_Campaigns_Cat.htm

Which reminds me, still need to add the PL6 Sale email campaign to the above page.

Good luck and enjoy your PowerLab!

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Old 03-23-2012, 02:38 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Tim Marks View Post
The fact is, Revolectrix products have the highest balance current in the industry (1A). Been that way for years. If a Revolectrix charger or battery workstation can't balance an old pack, it's likely the pack is beyond repair, and I think you'll find that a lot of current customers would back me up on this statement. Furthermore, the open architecture feature in the PowerLab series mean that if you're the type who likes advanced features, you can customize 100 parameters in every preset to make the device do exactly what you need it to do. But 99 times out of 100, the default settings do everything most people need out of the box.

Tim Marks
FMA, Inc.
Revolectrix Partner

Right after getting my Powerlab 8 charger, I took a two cell A123 2300 Mah receiver battery pack, and discharged just one of the cells to 3.1 Volts DC leaving the other cell at full charge. Then, the '8 charger was connected to both the A123 power and balance cables and fired up.

The '8 charger immediately went into a "safe" mode, and charged at something like 1/2 Amp rather than the preset 5 Amps. It held the fully charged cell at the same voltage wile bringing up the low cell. It stayed at 1/2 Amp until both cells were at the same voltage, then finished the charging process.

The only real issue with the '8 charger is when I'm charging a 6S4P A123 battery pack at 28 Amps. Doing this, it pulls 50 Amps out of the battery supply. The 120 Ampere hour deep cycle batteries simply can't handle this type of continuous current, and I get less than a year out of one. That's with only two or three flights on the 12S2P A123 pack in an afternoon.

So, take a look:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66066

I've now got 26 charge cycles on this generator setup, and so far its been flawless both with the Harbor Freight Engine and the Cellpro Powerlab 8 charger. Yesterday, I put 5 flights on my Giant Big Stick with the 12S2P pack.

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Old 03-23-2012, 06:17 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
Right after getting my Powerlab 8 charger, I took a two cell A123 2300 Mah receiver battery pack, and discharged just one of the cells to 3.1 Volts DC leaving the other cell at full charge. Then, the '8 charger was connected to both the A123 power and balance cables and fired up.

The '8 charger immediately went into a "safe" mode, and charged at something like 1/2 Amp rather than the preset 5 Amps. It held the fully charged cell at the same voltage wile bringing up the low cell. It stayed at 1/2 Amp until both cells were at the same voltage, then finished the charging process.

The only real issue with the '8 charger is when I'm charging a 6S4P A123 battery pack at 28 Amps. Doing this, it pulls 50 Amps out of the battery supply. The 120 Ampere hour deep cycle batteries simply can't handle this type of continuous current, and I get less than a year out of one. That's with only two or three flights on the 12S2P A123 pack in an afternoon.

So, take a look:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66066

I've now got 26 charge cycles on this generator setup, and so far its been flawless both with the Harbor Freight Engine and the Cellpro Powerlab 8 charger. Yesterday, I put 5 flights on my Giant Big Stick with the 12S2P pack.
Hi Sir:

I must say, I am intrigued by your alternator solution. I think there are alternators for semis that run 24V. Have you looked into what it would take to drive one of those? With a setup like that, it might be possible to provide the PL8 with the max input it can handle at the field; 26V, 60A.

Nevertheless, I like what you've done and I appreciate your ingenuity.

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Old 03-23-2012, 06:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tim Marks View Post
Hi Sir:

I must say, I am intrigued by your alternator solution. I think there are alternators for semis that run 24V. Have you looked into what it would take to drive one of those? With a setup like that, it might be possible to provide the PL8 with the max input it can handle at the field; 26V, 60A.

Nevertheless, I like what you've done and I appreciate your ingenuity.

Tim Marks
Hi Tim
Lets see, I'm running 52 Amps at 14.4 VDC for 748 Watts on my '8 unit. That's one horsepower, and figuring about 80% efficiency or so for the alternator, that is about 1 1/4 Hp. Doubling that for a 24 Volt output would be about 2.5 Hp. That Harbor Freight engine is rated for 6.5 HP, and probably 4 HP would be a good maximum power level output.

If you could get a 100 Amp or so 24 VDC alternator at reasonable cost, the Harbor Freight 6.5 Hp engine could run several Powerlab 8 chargers at near full power.

Just looked at ebay, found a whole bunch of 24 VDC alternators for around $100 or so. Need to be careful though, many of these alternators are "one wire" hookup. That means as soon as you pull the starter cord on the engine, the alternator kicks in, preventing the engine from starting. The alternator I used has a separate connection for the ignition switch. I've got a 30 second timed relay on it to allow starting the engine.

Regards
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:43 AM   #14
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Default hi im new here, nice to meet you .

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Old 03-23-2012, 01:39 PM   #15
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Way, you need a PL-8!
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