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Old 01-18-2010, 10:10 PM   #1
Tim Marks
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Default Sneak Peek at the NEW Cellpro PowerLab 8 (v2)


POWER you have been waiting for, SAFETY you have come to expect in a Cellpro!


Well we have been at it now for around 15 months all told. We’re getting anxious to let the world know what we’ve been focused on for all this time. It’s time to let the cat out of the bag and give you a sneak peek at what’s heading your way.

Welcome to the new thread dedicated entirely to an open discussion about the new FMA/REVOLECTRIX Cellpro PowerLab 8 Battery Workstation. Not only is this thread about an exciting new product, it represents a new concept for FMA Direct. Of course we have always been diligent about beta testing our new products carefully to ensure they work as advertised when they hit the streets, but this is the first time we have been inclined to open up our beta test program to our valued customer base in advance of the anticipated product release date. What’s even more unusual is that we are choosing to tell you all about this awesome new unit not through advertisements, but through the words of our dedicated and capable PowerLab 8 beta team members. Collectively, this group represents more than 100 years of modeling experience and work with electronic instruments and testing. This unique thread is being started by FMA Direct, but it will be monitored by the beta team. You are invited to ask technical questions or inquire about available features to your heart’s content. Answers will be supplied by team members who now have logged cumulatively, thousands of happy hours with the prototypes each has received. From time-to-time, we may step in to offer assistance in this regard; however, for the most part, this is their thread. ENJOY!

Meet the Beta Team:
Glen Crandall
Jack Doherty
Charles Langley
Heyward Macdonald
Steve Meliza

But before you start asking questions, take a quick look at the specifications and the feature set of this ground-breaking new battery management system:

PowerLab 8 Specifications:

For Battery types: Lithium Polymer (1s to 8s balanced, 1s to 2s unbalanced), Lithium Ion (1s to 8s balanced, 1s to 2s unbalanced), Lithium Manganese (1s to 8s balanced, 1s to 2s unbalanced), A123 (LiFePO4) (1s to 8s balanced, 1s to 9s unbalanced), NiCd (1s to 21s), NiMH (1s to 21s), 6v, 12v, 24v Lead Acid batteries (Flooded, Gel, AGM, SLA)

Pack capacity: 20 mAh to 360Ah

Input voltage: 10-32VDC, reverse polarity protected

Input current: 1A to 50A, software limited

Power conversion: Synchronous DC/DC converter, supports multiple switcher frequencies of 31.25 kHz, 62.5 kHz, 125 kHz; user selectable by preset, 85% to 93% efficiency depending on output current

Output battery charge current: Adjustable range 10mA to 40A, limited by 60A input current*

Output battery discharge current: Internal discharge 10mA to 10A, 100W max
Regenerative discharge 10mA to 40A, 1344W max**

Continuous max output power: 612W @ +12VDC input, 1344W @ +26.35VDC

Cell balancing: Resolution 78uV (16 bit) for 1s-8s Li or A123 (LiFePO4) balanced charging

Voltage calibration: Cell voltage measurements are factory calibrated to a standard traceable to NIST; calibration is to +/- 6 mV

Current calibration: Charge current is factory calibrated on a 4A standard; calibration is to +/- 1mA

Measurement accuracy:
Voltage resolution: 78uV (16 bit)
Voltage tolerance: +/- 6mV
Charge current: +/- 1%
Capacity added to pack: +/- 1%
Percent capacity (“Fuel”): +/- 5% (with accurate fuel table defined for battery being charged)

Serial data output: 19.2kbps, 8 bits, 1 start bit, 1 stop bit, no parity

Data integrity: Checksum, CRC checking

Cooling fans: Twin, 13 CFM, 50mm diameter

Heat sink: Internal 200W aluminum, thin finned

Output battery connector: “Cellpro” compatible, JST PA series, 9 position

LCD: 2 line, 16 character, light grey/blue backlit

* Please note, for safety reasons, available charger current may be limited for certain battery types and/or charging modes, e.g., non-balanced charge of Li
** Please check bullet number 8 in the section titled “Major Features” below for a detailed description of Regenerative Discharge

PowerLab 8 (v2) Feature Set:

Major Features:
• Selectable charge rates range 10mA to 40A
• Continuous maximum output power rating, 1344W @ +26.35VDC input voltage, 612W @ +12VDC input voltage
• Using +24VDC to +32VDC input, 1344W output will deliver full current rating (40A) over the full range of output voltage up to 33.6V
• Smart power management allows customer to select between programmable input power sources. Using the Charge Control Software (CCS), choose from several templates to get you in the ballpark, then fine tune the settings. Available settings include power supply input current limit, input low voltage limit, regenerative discharge rate and voltage limit. PowerLab 8 stores 1 set-up for Power Supply and 1 set-up for Battery and asks for verification one time on start-up
• PowerLab 8 (v2) supports charging through node wires only (automatic current limiting to 3A maximum) or node wires in combination with discharge wires (charge rate support up to 40A max)
• Initiate charge, discharge, monitor, and multiple cycles at the PL8 or via remote control from the CCS. Graph all major operations when using CCS.
• Open Architecture presets allow for customization of any User Preset including show/hide presets on unit, preset name editing, up to 100 parameters control how presets are displayed and charging/discharge/cycling parameters associated with particular batteries and/or charging strategies. Unit includes 25 user preset banks pre-loaded for most major battery type/chemistries, plus 50 library presets.
• Environmentally friendly, industry first, regenerative discharge capability of up to 1344W. Unlike traditional methods of discharge, which deplete the output battery’s energy in the form of heat across a transistor, regenerative discharge takes most of that energy and puts it back into the input battery. In other words, when you discharge your LiPo for storage, you will be re-charging your Lead Acid input battery. The total amount of power that you can achieve is limited only by the amount of current that your input battery can accept, or 1344W, whichever is lower.
• PowerLab 8 (v2) is also equipped with a traditional, 100W internal discharge capability which is non-regenerative.
• Twin cooling fans
• Massive over-sized internal heat sink
• 10AWG silicon input power cable and heavy-duty, removable plier clips
• Massive sendust core toroid capable of 60A continuous input current requirement for maximum output specifications

Other Features:
• Supports native Cellpro batteries automatically
• Adapters available for all popular R/C battery brands
• 2 line, 16 character backlit LCD
• Available opto-isolated PC interface and free Charge Control Software (CCS)
• Intuitive 4 button user interface
• Sleek and attractive high-impact ABS enclosure for maximum airflow efficiency
• Sturdy Aluminum top panel with reliable, recessed tactile buttons
• Quick “preset over-ride access” to common charging parameters like setting charge and discharge current and operational modes of charge/discharge/monitor/cycle(s)
• Additional advanced options menu for adjusting in-depth charging parameters and global options at the unit
• GUI PC software (CCS) allows access to 25 User Presets and 50 Library Presets stored in the unit or available in unlimited number on the P.C.
• Free and reliable firmware updates for the life of the product using the CCS
• Automatic Low voltage restore for recovering damaged or over-discharged packs
• Programmable options allow speaker ON/OFF or volume, LCD contrast, customized welcome screen, and much more
• Cold weather mode reduces end-charge voltage; parameters adjustable by customer including ON/OFF, end-charge voltage offset reduction, and temperature
• Multiple product cases can be interlocked
• Expansion Channel mode whereby one PowerLab 8 (v2) primary (master) can control one or more expansion channels, send over preset information, control all aspects of charging and balancing. This feature is perfect for charging multiple packs of same chemistry and capacity using multiple devices such as split packs connected in series during operation all at unbelievable rates.
• Auto charge mode available utilizing advanced fuel gauging technology
• Customizable fuel table lookup values based on presets. Fuel tables can be created using a Fuel Table Wizard in the CCS and applied to individual battery brands by presets for improved accuracy
• Industry’s first Safe Parallel adapters available to maximize available power potential. Safely connect two (2s-8s Cellpro brand) packs or (2s-6s Other brand) packs of equal cell count/capacity together in parallel; charge, discharge, cycle, or monitor on a single PowerLab 8 (v2). These items are peripheral products, available separately, or included as a part of PL8 combos.

Please note: all specifications and features listed above subject to change prior to delivery.

Price range for the Cellpro PowerLab 8 will start between $250 and $300. Current retail price for the basic unit currently $229.95. Delivery of first production run (v1) occured in Summer, 2010. That's all we can say for now. We will of course update you as time goes by. If you are in joining the FMA Direct email list for announcements about products and specials, you can join at the following link:

To get a better idea of the power levels attainable using the Cellpro PowerLab 8, check the following link from the FMA Direct website which will direct you to a zip file. This zip file contains an interactive spreadsheet designed to answer several key questions relating to power supply requirements, available charge rates and/or power levels:

The manual for this product can be downloaded from the FMA Direct website in PDF format at the following link:

The PL8 (v2) Charge Control Software (CCS) is available for download and install at the following link: This Windows program does not require that you have the PL8 in order to install and run the software. Check the on-line help with direct access to pertinent information by clicking the "?" buttons throughout the various tabs.

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