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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 05-20-2011, 02:59 AM   #1
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Default Measuring battery pack internal resistance

I have a GT Pro A6 charger (B6 knockoff) that works great but does not provide internal pack resistance.

Would like to know the least expensive 6 cell charger that will give me internal resistance that I can add as a second charger.

Alternatively, a power monitoring device that also captures Internal Resistance would be fine.

Thoughts / suggestions appreciated.



Clint

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Old 05-20-2011, 08:51 AM   #2
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I would recommend either the FMA CellPro 10S or one of the Hyperion chargers.

I cant recall off hand where I read it, but I seem to remember Everydayflyer saying the FMA had better Ir numbers - maybe

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Old 05-20-2011, 11:37 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
I would recommend either the FMA CellPro 10S or one of the Hyperion chargers.

I cant recall off hand where I read it, but I seem to remember Everydayflyer saying the FMA had better Ir numbers - maybe
Starting to look for online manuals on how various devices measure and display internal resistance of battery packs.



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Old 05-20-2011, 11:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by cbatters View Post
I have a GT Pro A6 charger (B6 knockoff) that works great but does not provide internal pack resistance.

Would like to know the least expensive 6 cell charger that will give me internal resistance that I can add as a second charger.

Alternatively, a power monitoring device that also captures Internal Resistance would be fine.

Thoughts / suggestions appreciated.



Clint
Hi Clint maybe this might be of help.

http://www.rchelicopterfun.com/rc-battery-chargers.html

http://www.rchelicopterfun.com/rc-lipo-batteries.html

My personal top pick when it comes to computerized RC battery chargers goes to the iCharger line from a company called Junsi. These chargers offer the best bang for buck in my opinion and are all the talk on most RC electric forums right now.
Most everyone loves them! The lowest power one (The 106B+) is rated at a whopping 250 Watts! Their highest power one (the 208B) is rated at 350 Watts and is the one I decided on myself.

Just Announced!
The new 3010B is the latest and greatest charger from i-Charger and is now available at EP Buddy - the first in the world to carry this powerful charger. It boasts an amazing 1000 Watts of charging power making it one of the most powerful bad ass RC battery chargers currently on the market.
If you are into large electrics, this one is the cat's meow! Here is my full review on it - my new favorite!
The pricing for these chargers as I mentioned is outstanding with all the advanced features they offer including PC interface data logging, automatic variable speed cooling fan, and intelligent balance charging just to name a few of my favorite features. Here are the basic specs for the full line up and the approximate cost.

iCharger 106B+
... Rated at 10 amps, 250 Watts, supports up to 6S LiPo’s - About $120.00 USD
iCharger 206B ... Rated at 20 amps, 300 Watts, supports up to 6S LiPo’s – About $150.00 USD
iCharger 1010B+ ... Rated at 10 amps, 300 Watts, supports up to 10S LiPo’s – About $170.00 USD
iCharger 208B ... Rated at 20 amps, 350 Watts, supports up to 8S LiPo’s – About $170.00 USD
iCharger 3010B ... Rated at 30 amps, 1000 Watts, supports up to 10S LiPo’s – About $240.00 USD making it the most powerful charger for the dollar on the market. Basically 23 cents a Watt!

INTERNAL RESISTANCE
Another rating??? Yep, the first 3 are industry standards and as was mentioned with that last one (C discharge ratings), is used by the manufacturers to market their product or justify a higher price and realistically can't be verified, but they are still a good general guide line when choosing a pack.
Internal resistance to the rescue! This one is verifiable and one of the best ways to monitor your RC LiPo batteries condition. Most decent higher capacity and higher discharge rated LiPo cells will have roughly 2 to 6 milliohms (0.002 to 0.006 ohms) of internal resistance when brand new. To calculate the total internal resistance of a series wired pack, you would then add these numbers together so a 4S pack with each cell having 4 milliohms of resistance will show a total internal resistance of about 16 milliohms (0.016 ohms).
As I mentioned, as packs age, the internal resistance goes up and the warmer they run. Lower discharge rated packs and small capacity packs will generally have higher internal resistance readings. It is not unusual to measure internal resistance numbers in the region of 200 milliohms on smaller 100 to 200 mAh micro park flyer LiPo packs when they are brand new for example.
Some of my older higher capacity packs are now showing 20 to 30 milliohms per cell but they are still working fine - they do heat up a little more however during a flight, so that increasing internal resistance is certainly showing up. As I said, it is great way to monitor the condition of your LiPo packs over the months and years of service.


How do you measure internal resistance? This is where good computerized chargers come into play. The good ones that support this feature with built in balance boards will check the "IR" of each cell as well as the entire pack. Pictured above I am taking the IR reading of each cell in this new 6S Turnigy LiPo. It is hard to make out in the photo, but the IR of cells 1-6 are 2,2,1,1,1,2 milliohms each giving a total IR for the entire pack of 9 milliohms - pretty respectable!
Internal resistance really opens up a huge and complex topic of how to accurately calculate voltage drop in the pack and the total amount of watts being expended in the form of heat within the pack.
I am not going to get into those calculations here for the simple reason I am not qualified enough to explain them. If you are a number cruncher or just really want to dive head first into LiPo calculation and ratings, have a look at FMA's Lipo Evaluation ... Great stuff in there!

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Old 05-20-2011, 12:03 PM   #5
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http://epbuddy.com/index.php?main_pa...&products_id=1
I Charger 106B $99.00


http://epbuddy.com/index.php?main_pa...products_id=45
I Charger 3010b 1000 $209.95

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Old 05-20-2011, 12:43 PM   #6
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Not arguing with any of this (I have a 3010B and it is a great charger) and the usual big thanks to Chellie for the comprehensive and helpful reply but be aware that IR measurement is not quite as straightforward as some people might think.

Different chargers use different algorithms (software calculations) and will come up with different answers for the same battery. The Hyperions are a case in point - my newer ones show significantly lower IR numbers than the old versions. They differ a bit again from iCharger and FMA numbers. The most accurate way I know for a hobbyist to measure IR is using the four wire (Kelvin) technique with a controlled DC load but most people won't want all the fuss.

Bottom line. IMO IR is a very useful measure but be careful comparing numbers ACROSS methods. If you measure your own stuff using the same charger/meter all the time many people think it is the single most useful battery parameter to know. It is particularly valuable for keeping track of the performance of packs. There's a lot of threads on the ins and outs scattered around the RC Group forums.

Hope this is useful.

John
Originally Posted by CHELLIE View Post
Hi Clint maybe this might be of help.
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:14 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of the great info. Goal Is to have a quick way of evaluating how one pack will hold up under load relative to another pack.

I have some reading to do on Junsie which is a new charger to me.

I also want to be on the lookout for a low end chargers that can measure pack resistance.

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Old 05-20-2011, 04:13 PM   #8
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Hyperion gets/got my vote too. Excellent chargers I love mine.

The Cell Pro a very close second.

Mike
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:25 PM   #9
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Also wondering if any of the power meters have the ability to estimate internal resistance by measuring voltage and current changes under load. (easy enough to get source resistance by dividing voltage drop by current. The trick is that the voltage is naturally dropping as the battery discharges so you need to use battery voltage as the current load is being lowered.)


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Old 05-20-2011, 04:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rcers View Post
Hyperion gets/got my vote too. Excellent chargers I love mine.

The Cell Pro a very close second.

Mike
And both of these display pack resistance?



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Old 05-20-2011, 04:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jcj View Post
Not arguing with any of this (I have a 3010B and it is a great charger) and the usual big thanks to Chellie for the comprehensive and helpful reply but be aware that IR measurement is not quite as straightforward as some people might think.

Different chargers use different algorithms (software calculations) and will come up with different answers for the same battery. The Hyperions are a case in point - my newer ones show significantly lower IR numbers than the old versions. They differ a bit again from iCharger and FMA numbers. The most accurate way I know for a hobbyist to measure IR is using the four wire (Kelvin) technique with a controlled DC load but most people won't want all the fuss.

Bottom line. IMO IR is a very useful measure but be careful comparing numbers ACROSS methods. If you measure your own stuff using the same charger/meter all the time many people think it is the single most useful battery parameter to know. It is particularly valuable for keeping track of the performance of packs. There's a lot of threads on the ins and outs scattered around the RC Group forums.

Hope this is useful.

John
John's advice is very good. Try not to get too hung up on what the actual value of the Ir is. Its much more useful in tracking how your packs are aging over time. I measure the values and note them every so often as I use the packs. When the values start to climb, I start watching that pack more carefully.

So dont worry too much about which is more "accurate". Doesnt really matter.

Originally Posted by cbatters View Post
And both of these display pack resistance?



Clint
yes - its just a matter of pressing a button or two to get to the correct display page.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:20 PM   #12
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Yes the newer Hyperion chargers and cell pro do IR. I also agree with the others that it is a nice value for pack health but not an everyday item.

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Old 05-21-2011, 12:49 AM   #13
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You guys are great. Lots of new chargers and options in the last 2 years since I bought mine.



Clint

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Old 05-21-2011, 01:40 AM   #14
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Oh and one more thing. IR is quite temperature dependent. You will get different numbers for the same battery between two measurements if the temperature changes significantly. With a sensitive 4 wire IR meter you can see the reading change if you warm a pack by putting your hand against it for a minute.

No big deal in practice if you are using a constant technique (ie just the one charger) to keep tabs on your packs but just be aware of this if you are comparing Winter and Summer readings.

John
Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
John's advice is very good. Try not to get too hung up on what the actual value of the Ir is. Its much more useful in tracking how your packs are aging over time. I measure the values and note them every so often as I use the packs. When the values start to climb, I start watching that pack more carefully.

So dont worry too much about which is more "accurate". Doesnt really matter.



yes - its just a matter of pressing a button or two to get to the correct display page.
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Old 05-21-2011, 02:20 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by cbatters View Post
And both of these display pack resistance?



Clint
I've got a Cellpro Powerlab 8 that shows individual cell resistance, and the Cellpro 4S, and 10S are similar.

The Powerlab 8 is configurable, and allows the user to preset a number of specific charging procedures for your batteries, and also allows you to name them. Should new chemistry type batteries come on the market, the Cellpro charger can be programmed to charge them. And, if new software comes available, this software can be downloaded and installed into your Cellpro charger.

For the Lipos it will also discharge the Lipos for long term storage issues. And, a whole lot of other stuff.

As far as battery resistance, I've checked my A123 cells by first applying a load current of about 2 amps, and measure the cell voltage. Then apply a load current of about 10 amps, and again measure the cell voltage.

The calculated DC resistance is the voltage difference divided by the current difference.

If the two voltages are 3.0 and 2.85, and the current is 2 and 10 amps, the DC calculated resistance is (3.0-2.85)/(10-2), or 0.01875 ohms. Several years ago, I conducted tests on the A123 cells at 1 amp, 5 Amps, 10 Amps, 20 Amps and 30 Amps, and got a fairly straight line when graphed out.

For what ever reason, I've found that the calculated DC resistance is significantly higher than the resistance indicated on my Cellpro Powerlab 8 charger. But I believe the Cellpro chargers use an AC resistance calculation.

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Old 05-21-2011, 09:56 AM   #16
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What a wonderful exchange of information - exactly what I was looking for!

looking for quick way to compare power output of packs and marginal cells Using IR. Just what a the doctor ordered.

Thanks


Clint

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Old 05-21-2011, 10:25 PM   #17
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What are you guys using to monitor power output from battery to ESC. I have a EFlite Power Meter but am thinking about upgrading.



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Old 05-22-2011, 01:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by cbatters View Post
What are you guys using to monitor power output from battery to ESC. I have a EFlite Power Meter but am thinking about upgrading.

Clint
There are a number of good ones out there. I'm using an Astroflight Whattmeter. It's been checked against my $350 Fluke 87V meter, its within 1% accuracy.

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Old 05-22-2011, 02:56 AM   #19
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My personal favorite is no longer available - Medusa Power Analyzer Pro. My next choice would be the Hyperion E-meter for quality and accuracy.

There are others out there that are a lot cheaper.

Are the Astroflight meters still available?

I think I need a signature.
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:23 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
My personal favorite is no longer available - Medusa Power Analyzer Pro. My next choice would be the Hyperion E-meter for quality and accuracy.

There are others out there that are a lot cheaper.

Are the Astroflight meters still available?

Looks like the Astro meters still are available:
http://www.astroflight.com/index.php...=index&cPath=2

Little expensive though, but I'm quite happy with mine.

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Old 05-22-2011, 04:50 AM   #21
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Expensive? LOL Thats about the same price they were when they first came out. They are less than 1/2 the cost of the Medusa meter I have or the Hyperion E-meter with accessories.

Of course, the Medusa and Hyperion do a lot more and are both more accurate.

I really hate Hobby King and the like. They sell crap that is most often stolen/cloned/cheep copies at low prices and make people thing quality built items are "over priced".

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Old 05-22-2011, 04:53 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
Expensive? LOL Thats about the same price they were when they first came out. They are less than 1/2 the cost of the Medusa meter I have or the Hyperion E-meter with accessories.
Hey that's good to know!

As for accuracy, do we really need better than 1% accuracy, when our motors, and batteries are 10% or so???

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Old 05-22-2011, 05:11 AM   #23
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I owned an AstroFlight 101 before I got my Medusa. I know its reasonably accurate and certainly close enough for most users. The medusa and Hyperion meters are for those wanting to go further than a simple watt meter can - rpm, temps, data logging etc.

Would you really trust the $30 meters from HK? Maybe they are close enough and maybe not. Probably depends on which rejected parts they were made from this week

For me, its a tool and I like good tools. On top of that, I dont buy stolen cars or stolen watches or stolen rc gear. I refuse to give money to thieves and lairs so I wont deal with HobbyCity/King under any circumstances.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:02 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
I owned an AstroFlight 101 before I got my Medusa. I know its reasonably accurate and certainly close enough for most users. The medusa and Hyperion meters are for those wanting to go further than a simple watt meter can - rpm, temps, data logging etc.

Would you really trust the $30 meters from HK? Maybe they are close enough and maybe not. Probably depends on which rejected parts they were made from this week

For me, its a tool and I like good tools. On top of that, I dont buy stolen cars or stolen watches or stolen rc gear. I refuse to give money to thieves and lairs so I wont deal with HobbyCity/King under any circumstances.
Yeah
I agree with stolen designs, per below:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59662

My Astroflight Whattmeter has been working just fine for the past few years. It gets the job done.

And, the Castle Creations ICE ESC with their built in data logging has been spectacular! I've got the 80 Amp ICE HV CC unit. This unit got me the 3KW award.

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Old 05-23-2011, 05:20 AM   #25
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I love my ICE controllers but there are times when a watt meter is easier or when you just want to check pack voltage etc. If your into serious bench testing or on-board logging, the better meters are the way to go.

I was talking about a lot more than the Spektrum counterfiting. HK sells a lot more ripoff stuff than those - motors, escs, chargers, gear boxes, planes, servos, heli's etc etc.

You name it and HK probably sells a stolen copy or illegal clone.

I still dont get how people are willing to look the other way on this just to save a buck.

I think I need a signature.
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