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Batteries & Chargers Discuss Li-P, Li-Ion, NiMh, Nicad battery technology and the chargers that juice 'em up!

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Old 06-29-2009, 01:44 AM   #1
kyleservicetech
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Default Battery Comparisons, NiHd, LiPo, A123

Some of the new Electric members might have questions as to the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of batteries, namely the NiHd, A123 and LiPo types.

I've put together a PDF file that lists these features of the various battery types, namely guestimated cost per flight for the life of the battery, weight per Horsepower minute, volume per HP Minute and so on. These guestimations are based on a battery pack capable of running the Hacker A50 series motors running at about 800-1000 Watts.

The seasoned wattflyer readers may or may not agree with the chart, but hopefully, both old and new readers will find it of some use.


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Old 06-29-2009, 02:55 AM   #2
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Ok, this is the kind of info I have been look for...and now I have it all I can say is...HUH?...I am sorry I am totally confused by batteries and the different types. this does give some of the info I can use but I still am confuzzled.

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Old 06-29-2009, 03:16 AM   #3
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oimmuk
Ok, this is the kind of info I have been look for...and now I have it all I can say is...HUH?...I am sorry I am totally confused by batteries and the different types. this does give some of the info I can use but I still am confuzzled.

What kind of info are you after? I'm quite familiar with the old Nicad and NiHyd technology, and am getting to really like the rubust A123 type batteries. Never used the LiPos, due to their fire hazard potential, and susceptability to severe damage from running their voltage down to low, even once.

Various club members in the South East Wisconsin area have asked me how these A123 cells compare, in weight, volume and lifespan, as compared to the NiCads and Lipos. That info is what this chart was designed to cover.

The bottom line, the A123's are not as good as LiPos as far as weight, volume (for a given number of Watt Hours), but they are far better than the Nicads. And, I've been finding out on my A123 packs, they do seem to last far longer than the LiPos (and in my experience, Nicads and Nickel Hydride) batteries used by other club members in my area.

If you are interested in converting medium powered models to electric, check out my wattflyer article as per below:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45222

This is a 14 page PDF file that might answer a few questions you might have on these electric powered model things. It does go into what's involved with watts, amps volts and so on.

Another of my posts is per below:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45173

This is the "How it works" our radio control systems. The first 1/2 dozen pages of this 30 some page PDF file covers a lot of information on receiver batteries, which have a lot in common with the high powered batteries we use in our electric models.

Keep in touch.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:46 AM   #4
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Not wanting to be too picky but the rest of the world uses the abbreviation NiMH for Nickel Metal Hydride batteries. Similarly battery capacity is measured in mAh not MA Hr. If you use the same terms as everyone else it will be a lot easier for people to follow up your information and make use of it.

In your chart it would help a lot if you mentioned the make of cell you're comparing. E.g. I've had a few 3300mAh NiMH batteries and they've all been easily able to provide over 55A and have lasted for well over 150 flights (I think the oldest has around 250 on now and is still going strong). If you have some that can only handle 30A and still only last for 75 flights we need to know which ones they are.

Also the 5000mAh 5S Lipos I've seen have cost less than half your $290 price.

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Old 06-29-2009, 03:33 PM   #5
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Slipstick
The seasoned wattflyer readers may or may not agree with the chart, but hopefully, both old and new readers will find it of some use.

That's why I indicated seasoned wattflyer readers may or may not agree . . .
Depending where in the world you live, you may have different results.

Those 5S1P 5000 mAh cells were quoted from Thunderpowerrc TP5000-5SVX cells, priced at $289.99 at Thunderpowers web page. I'm certain cheaper cells are on the market, but some of these cells may have questionable quality. One of the South East Wisconsin club members was getting only five charge cycles on one of those cheap LiPo packs before it died, when it was run at its specified maximum discharge rate. (That was on three different packs, all lost most power output in five flights) And, this club member is VERY experienced in electric powered model airplanes.

As for the NiMH cells, I've used the RC2400's, the CP2400's the GP3300's. All run extremely hot, as compared to the A123 cells in the same model airplane running under identical power loads. The main point is, these A123 cells are "inbetween" the NiMh cells and the LiPos as far as general operation is concerned.
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:33 AM   #6
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"I'm quite familiar with the old Nicad and NiHyd technology, and am getting to really like the rubust A123 type batteries"

Hello, very informative thread; thanks for the pdf's. Could you list a link or two for online sources of A123's? I am very familiar w/ nicad & nimh, but have yet to use A123. I would like to move up to higher amp draws than I can get w/ nimh packs; and I, as you, am leery of lipo due to expense, etc, etc. Thanks
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Old 07-01-2009, 04:48 PM   #7
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"I'm quite familiar with the old Nicad and NiHyd technology, and am getting to really like the rubust A123 type batteries"

Hello
When using these A123 packs, you will also need to obtain a charger that has settings for the A123 packs. These A123 packs can be charged at 5 amps per cell with no problems, eq a 6S(series)2P(parallel 12 cells total) can be charged at 5 Amperes X 2 or 10 amps. When dealing with something like a 6S2P pack, to charge them in 15 or 20 minutes takes a high powered charger that has the capability to charge at over 200 watts (21.6 Volts X 10 Amps - 216 watts)

Or, settle for the Astroflight A123 charger, it just takes longer to charge. You will also need a cell balancer, such as the Astroflight "Little Blinky" also must be for the A123 cells. More expensive, is higher priced, higher output chargers such as the Cellpro 10 series, that I believe can both charge and balance these batteries. (Not certain, I build my own high powered A123 chargers!)

As for suppliers, check out the following:
http://www.battlepack.com/LiFEPO4.asp A123 Packs 2300mah (26650) 3.3V (per cell)
Battlepack will build your A123 packs to any configuration desired, (except "end to end") I've purchased from them, they appear to be OK. (Make certain you buy the A123 cells. The 26650 number refers to the cell physical size, and the cheaper battlepack 26650 cells (Not identified as A123) are for receiver use and will not perform for electric powered models.

A lot of modelers are building their own A123 packs from the Dewalt DC9360 36 VDC battery packs. One supplier is below:
http://www.nationwidetool.com/store/p-168-dewalt-36v-battery-pack-dc9360-new.aspx
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=587606

Nationwidetool often runs out, so word to the wise. I've purchased 5 (36 volt) packs from Nationwide, other club members have purchased 4 more. All were satisfied with Nationwide. You can also check in ebay for the Dewalt 36 volt batteries.

The rcgroups webpage shows how to disassemble these Dewalt packs. From personal experience, buy your self a roll of that fiberglass tape and wrap it around the battery pack before removing the two black caps from the top and bottom of the A123 cells. If you do decide to build your own pack, take a look at my posting at http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43455. I cover these packs with a plastic bottle from the grocery store, that has a 10.5 inch circumference. Those plastic soda bottles are excellent shrink wrap!

If not, that pack can "fall apart" and short out. It happened to me, and the resulting arc burned a hole right through the top of one of the A123 cells. It sounded like my 180 Amp Arc Welder. That cell with the hole eventually died, but I'm still using the other 9 cells, and that was last year!

As we use them, these A123 cells check out at about 2100 milliampere hours. Be aware that these cells have a very flat discharge voltage during a flight. Then after they are discharged, they QUIT! You can literally fly downwind at full power, turn around and have - - - nothing! :o

I've been flying them to about 2.5 to 3 ampere hours (on a 6S2P pack) then landing them and recharging them. Thats about 2/3 to 3/4 of the pack. So far on my three 6S2P packs, I've got a total of 250 Ampere Hours cycled through each of these packs, and they have the same exact performance they had when they were brand new. It's interesting. I've measured the cell temperature after the battery sat in the sun for an hour, then flew the model, and after landing on a 6 minute flight, found the cells had cooled off!

If you've got any questions, www.wattflyer.com is the place to go to get answers!

Last but not least. DO NOT SHORT THESE A123 PACKS! These A123 packs will win, what ever you shorted it with will loose. Don't ask how I know.
(When working with any of these high powered cells, it's a good idea to remove or cover any rings or watches with metal bands. Shorting a 6S2P battery pack with a wedding ring could turn it red hot in seconds.)
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:42 PM   #8
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I haven't looked at the PDF file, but based on the content of your posts in this thread, it is obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.

Now that I have read the spreadsheet, I am certain you do not know what you are talking about. For example, you list A123 cells as NO fire hazzard. Also, you have no data to support the lifetime of A123 cells, or LiPo cells (which you yourself admit you have never used).

My guess is that you are an A123 shill.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:37 PM   #9
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I haven't looked at the PDF file, but based on the content of your posts in this thread, it is obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.

Now that I have read the spreadsheet, I am certain you do not know what you are talking about. For example, you list A123 cells as NO fire hazzard. Also, you have no data to support the lifetime of A123 cells, or LiPo cells (which you yourself admit you have never used).

My guess is that you are an A123 shill.

skank
Say what you want, but I've got 45 years experience in the electronics field, have repaired countless electronic controls down to component level over the years, have taught over 1000 classes over the years on electronic circuit repair down to component level to customers of the company I worked for. These classes were taught in a total of 47 states in the USA, and , in a dozen countries around the world. And the controls involved were worth over $10,000 each.

I've tested hundreds of 24 Volt Nicad batteries over the years at temperatures varying from minus 40 degrees F to 140 degrees. These were custom designed wide temperature range batteries that cost far more than the standard Nicad packs available over the counter.

My first conversion of models to electric power were by motors I rewound my self, and fully enclosed gear boxes I made with a drill press and file. That was in 1981. My first brush type ESC's were designed by me, and worked very well. Later brush type ESC's I designed used the MicroChip PicChip controls. Two of them were operated at 40 Amps and 55 Volts DC. And I've designed and built my own 350 Watt A123 chargers, with current metering, amp hour metering, voltage, and a few other things.

I've got photos attached of just two of my hundreds of electronic projects over the past 45 years. The circuit boards were layed out by me, the PicChip software designed by me, for the 350 watt charger, that was 31 pages of machine coding. Another project was a test set that generated three phase voltage, 120/208 VAC, adjustable three phase current, 0-2 Amps, and the ability to individually change the phase angles between the three phase voltages and current outputs. It could also change the frequency of the 3 phase AC voltage. It used a single standard 120 VAC outlet for power. The whole thing was controlled by a MicroChip PIC18F458 microcontroller that ran at 24 Mhz. That was for testing the electronic circuit breaker controls for the company I worked for for 45 years.

As for the A123 cells, that info has come from reading the Web page information by other modelers that have gotten over 500 cycles out of the A123 cells. And, I've assisted a number of modelers in this area that have used the LiPos, with and without success.

As for the A123 fire hazard, the Internet shows an A123 cell being punctured by a nail, with smoke, but NO FIRE. And four of my Model Airplane club members have had fires from the LiPos, two did serious damage to the modelers home.

No I am not an A123 shill, I went to them after having problems with ovreheating those NiCads and NiHyd cells with my various Hacker motors.

Its never a good idea to tell someone they don't know what they are talking about, unless you know their background.


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Old 07-02-2009, 06:22 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Skank View Post
I haven't looked at the PDF file, but based on the content of your posts in this thread, it is obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.

Now that I have read the spreadsheet, I am certain you do not know what you are talking about. For example, you list A123 cells as NO fire hazzard. Also, you have no data to support the lifetime of A123 cells, or LiPo cells (which you yourself admit you have never used).

My guess is that you are an A123 shill.
Not a good start for your first post on Wattflyer. You are completely wrong.

Every thing he said is well within the normal range of what you would expect from lipos and A123 cells - and Im not a shill for them either.

My only comment on anything he said was the charge rate of 5 amps for A123 2300 cells is on the consevative side.

Based on testing done by Charles (everydayflyer) I have been charging my packs at an average rate closer to 20 amps. The zip charging method I use (also pioneered by Charles) has an initial rate close to 40 amps but that quickly drops down to closer to 20 amps for most of the charge time - which is under 10 minutes.

Charles ran several hundred cycles at similar chage rates with no sings of cell deterioration or decline in performance. Ive only got maybe 100 cycles on my cells but they show no signes of damage either.

Sure saves a lot of time at the field

I think I need a signature.
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Old 07-02-2009, 03:54 PM   #11
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larry 3215
Thanks for your comments, it's appreciated.

Just a note on that spreadsheet, its showing that the LiPo batteries are significantly better than the A123 cells in weight, Watt Hours, "HP MInutes", "Weight per HP Minute", and "Volume per HP Minute". The LiPos are worse in cost per flight, fire hazard, and maximum charging rate.

To add to this, those A123 cells are only commonly available in the 2300 Milliampere Hour 26650 case size. (They are also available in the 1100 Mah size, but they are not as well known as the 2300 Mah sizes)

So, if you've got a back yard flyer, or smaller model that uses less expensive batteries in the price under perhaps $100 or so, LiPos are a good option, and the 2300 A123 cells could weigh more than the complete back yard flyer model. If you've got a high powered 4 kilowatt electric jet that uses 12S or 14S 5000 Mah packs, the equivalent A123 cells may not even fit in the airplane.

And if your interest is in an 8 pound model that can do hovers and harriers, A123 cells may be to heavy. So why use the A123's? They can be quickly recharged in the model, they don't have a fire risk, they are less expensive, based on a cost per flight. And, I've got a Great Planes "Revolver" model powered by a Hacker A40-10L, on 6S2P A123 cells that hits 88 MPH straight and level, and climbs out nearly vertically out of sight. (Its posted in another wattflyer thread)

Its all a compromise.
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:30 PM   #12
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Okay - how do you explain the A123 powered Funjet which made national news last year when it flew through a skylight at a college building, caught the room on fire, and the bomb squad responded?

You can throw your qualifications around all you want, but the fact remains clear that you have very little "real world" experience with LiPos and A123 batteries for remote control aircraft.
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:50 PM   #13
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Skank, you should desist from posting on this thread. kyleservicetech is trying to be helpful. He appears to be knowledgable about electronics and you are adding nothing to the thread other than making derogatory remarks which you can't prove. He does mention the 88 mph "Revolver" using A123s, so he isn't discounting there efficacy (that means "usefullness"). Other than that you are doing great for a new subscriber- NOT!

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Old 07-02-2009, 08:24 PM   #14
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He isn't the only person on this planet with a heavy background in electronics. I am not the one making statements I can't back up with facts and/or data.


My question still stands. What about the bomb squad? Does the bomb squad have the authority to decide if an A123 pack has a "fire hazzard" or not? Do you honestly believe there is NO threat of fire from an A123 cell? If not, then I'm right - if so, then you don't know what you're talking about.

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Old 07-02-2009, 08:42 PM   #15
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skank
Just where did that A123 powered funjet crash through a skylight happen? I couldn't find it with a google search. At any rate, who knows what that model hit once it was inside the building.

As for my experience and back ground, you apparently will not accept anything most people say.

But, run a google search for LiPo battery fires in models, and run another search for A123 battery fires in models, and see what you get.
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Old 07-02-2009, 08:59 PM   #16
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skank
Do you honestly believe there is NO threat of fire from an A123 cell? If not, then I'm right - if so, then you don't know what you're talking about.

I know a little bit about short circuit currents. I worked for a company that manufactured electric utility power circuit breakers for 44 years. Those breakers were rated at 38,000 volts three phase, and 16,000 amperes interrupting capacity. And I did observe these units during fault testing, and got to repair them when something went wrong. Many times these breakers failed to clear and did a lot of fire damage to equipment near by, even though those breakers had nothing internal or external that could burn. One in particular had an internal flashover, the backup breaker failed to clear, and our 1200 pound circuit breaker was melted down to a puddle of steel.

Very high level fault currents can do a lot of damage, whether its caused by a fault downline from a 50 Megawatt 38,000 volt transformer, or even downline from a high powered A123 OR a Lipo battery pack.

Those LiPo packs have many web sites where the LiPo battery itself ignited. But those A123 cells have been shorted by accident by modelers, have given off a lot of smoke, but no fires that I could find on the internet.
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Skank View Post
He isn't the only person on this planet with a heavy background in electronics. I am not the one making statements I can't back up with facts and/or data.


My question still stands. What about the bomb squad? Does the bomb squad have the authority to decide if an A123 pack has a "fire hazzard" or not? Do you honestly believe there is NO threat of fire from an A123 cell? If not, then I'm right - if so, then you don't know what you're talking about.

You can tell me to shut up, but you can't hide the truth!
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:11 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=Skank;617539]Okay - how do you explain the A123 powered Funjet which made national news last year when it flew through a skylight at a college building, caught the room on fire, and the bomb squad responded?

This never happened far as anyone can tell,, Please tell us where Collage was??bubsteve

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Old 07-03-2009, 01:42 AM   #19
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http://media.www.dailylobo.com/media...n-278657.shtml

Ignorance of the truth is no excuse!
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Old 07-03-2009, 02:13 AM   #20
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Check out your link before you post it to make certain it works.
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Old 07-03-2009, 03:50 AM   #21
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Sent from an iPhone -- no copy and paste function. It took me 20 minutes to type it in by hand - sorry I missed a character! You have the details - search for it yourself. There are links to it right here on Wattflyer.

How is it that a "newbie" knows more than you do?
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Old 07-03-2009, 04:07 AM   #22
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Skank
I do not need to waste any more of my time with you. I won't spend any time trying to find info from keypunch errors you made.

I do not need to prove my self to you, or anyone else.

You are the person who is on the attack. Three people in this thread have indicated that you should go elsewhere.

I suggest you do.
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Old 07-03-2009, 05:14 AM   #23
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Skank, you've made you position clear and you're still wrong. Drop it.

You're getting well into the trolling stage now and we are tired of it.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:12 AM   #24
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That's fine - anyone who believes the comments made in this thread will remain uneducated.

Peace out!
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:46 AM   #25
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Skank
Put a positive on this, if you have an excellent technical background in your respective field, use your background to start threads of your own about electric powered models, so we can all benefit from your knowledge.

Every one of us has unique skills above and beyond the average modeler.

Regards

Kyleservicetech
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