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ABF lipos from Hobby City tests -- Poor results -- Good tests of Zippy

Old 08-15-2008, 07:26 AM
  #1  
Prof100
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Default ABF lipos from Hobby City tests -- Poor results -- Good tests of Zippy

This is a thread about Hobby City selling 2200 3S 20C lipos made by ABF. They were represented by Hobby City as testing at 2100 MAH and 18C. Price was good so I bought 7 of the ABF packs at $20 each for a grand total of $140 plus pricey shipping. Orders were placed in late April for two, two more in June and then in July I ordered three more. I have bought several other packs from Hobby City and had good luck. I felt for the price it was worth the risk. As it turns out it was worth the risk. These packs are wearing out quickly. So, you should be wary that buying from Hobby City is risky. I have been told by buyers that ABF knowingly sold expired or old packs to Hobby City.

BATTERY TESTING
I didn't test them when they came arrived at my door I just charged them and flew with them. I have 18 lipos in my battery mini arsenal or 3S 2200s as well as dozen or more smaller packs. I fly foamies that range from TP 18 amp draw motors to Turnigy 35 amp draw motors that comfortably handle the weight of 2200 3S. The amp draw is verified with a watt meter.

I periodically test my batteries with a CBA II made by West Mountain Radio. It's a $100 battery tester that connects to your computer so you can test your batteries and see the discharge curve and also receive a MAH capacity rating WHICH WAS VERY TELLING.

Two of the seven cells have puffed. These puffed withing the last month and were purchased in late April.

I have attached an overlay of the packs i tested. Discharge voltage set to 1 or 2 C (1.1 or 2.2 amps).

You can see that all the packs have lost significant capacity. I believe these packs were a couple of years old and Hobby City couldn't resist the low price.

EDIT:
Go to post 16, I have some very good results of testing 3 Zippy 2200_20C test results after 5 cycles.
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Last edited by Prof100; 08-16-2008 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:27 AM
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I periodically test my batteries with a CBA II made by West Mountain Radio
Wait, let me see if I get this right... you bought a few packs, evaluated them for 2 months, they were fine... bought more, those were fine... continued you evaluation, month later bought more, now all of them are having problems? you didn't notice "significant" capacity loss (about 25%) on the first packs until after 3months, even though all the new ones are now bad....after only a month...

when you got them did you slow cycle them a few times, and what kind of usage have you been putting on them... how far have you been draining them...your curve show cutoff below below 3volts per cell... also have you been balance charging your packs...

I have been told by buyers that ABF knowingly sold expired or old packs to Hobby City.
I do remember when they started selling those packs... they got them in when loongmax and zippy were backordered to kindomcome... but everyone thought/knew they were "cheap" versions...and that shouldn't be pushed very hard... Sorry to hear hobbycity and their customers might have been ripped off... by ABF...

SK

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Old 08-15-2008, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Prof100 View Post
So, you should be wary that buying from Hobby City is risky.
I've been VERY please with most of my Hobby City packs. The Zippy and Loong Max have performed flawlessly for over a year now. The HTX packs on the other hand were very hit and miss. A pair of 1000 3 cell packs only used at 8 amps puffed while four 860 packs have been doing well with over 100 flights each.

I bought 14 packs of various sizes and makes, after over a year all are still in use but the 2 HTX 1000's (Hextronics). I wouldn't call that too risky myself because I was warned about HTX packs before buying them but still wanted to try a few myself.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:23 AM
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http://myhobbycity.com/showthread.php?t=1058&page=1

Here's the thread on ABF packs... seems there were problems with the capacity on some of the earlyier ones... about 1600mah... so you should have seen this capacity failure when you got them... also some people suggested balance charging these "crappy" packs at .5c, which would suck... but would be safer for anyone that hasn't "puffed" theirs yet...

Loongmax and zippy are the premium batterys and cost is very close... they'll last quite awhile and give lots of power... I'm supprised you haven't bought at least 1 of those branded packs to test....

SK

SK
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ministeve2003 View Post
Wait, let me see if I get this right... you bought a few packs, evaluated them for 2 months, they were fine... bought more, those were fine... continued you evaluation, month later bought more, now all of them are having problems? you didn't notice "significant" capacity loss (about 25%) on the first packs until after 3months, even though all the new ones are now bad....after only a month...

when you got them did you slow cycle them a few times, and what kind of usage have you been putting on them... how far have you been draining them...your curve show cutoff below below 3volts per cell... also have you been balance charging your packs...



I do remember when they started selling those packs... they got them in when loongmax and zippy were backordered to kindomcome... but everyone thought/knew they were "cheap" versions...and that shouldn't be pushed very hard... Sorry to hear hobbycity and their customers might have been ripped off... by ABF...

SK
I think ABF did dump these packs at Hobby City which I am concluding is fast becoming (or already is) a disposal site for outdated lipos. Hobby City is not the "innocent retailer." ABF should be ashamed and Hobby City is not the victim here. They knew what was going on when ABF offered these packs to them at a very low price.

The ABF's performed admirably for the first few cycles and I felt no need to testing them with the CBAII. Remember, CBAII testing is a another cycle off a battery's life.

To clarify the problem is reduced capacity or run time after about 10 charging cycles.

I set a six minute timer on my radio and typically bring my planes in with plenty of battery capacity left. I have a total of fourteen 21-2200 size 3S lipos so I rotate in all the packs so they all get used equally.

I only balance charge because with 14 packs I am not in any hurry to recharge any one pack to get back in the air. I use a FMA Cellpro 4s as my primary charger. My other charger is DN balance charger.

I would consider my plane's power systems are nothing extraoridnary since they run below 30 amps raning from 14 amps to 30 amps except for one that maxes out at 34 amps. This is determined with a watt meter, not by estimating. I don't fly wide open on a constant basis.

With a 17C advertised rating these packs should have held up fine. I don't test the C rating since it would require me to destructively test a pack to determine that. I would think a firm the size of Hobby City would require their suppliers to produce such test results and test a few samples from a batch of several thousand to assure quality.

Do you (or anybody) know of a non-destructive method for testing a pack's "C" rating? I am all ears.

I won't send the packs back to Hobby City (the July one's are still eligible for warranty review and potential replacement) because of the shipping costs and high probabiity of the warranty being denied.

What I have left of the ABF are still very flyable, they just have reduced capacity. Consider them as very heavy (5.6 oz.) 1600 to 1800 mah 3S lipos.
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:20 PM
  #6  
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Default Zippy 3s 2200_ 20C test

Here you go. I tested one of three Zippy 2200 3S_ 20C packs. Results are excellent with the MAH exceeding label. Packs were received on August 1.

So far it looks great.

See the graph.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
Zippy_2200_20C_8-1-08.pdf (9.8 KB, 218 views)
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:55 PM
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I would consider my plane's power systems are nothing extraoridnary since they run below 30 amps raning from 14 amps to 30 amps except for one that maxes out at 34 amps. This is determined with a watt meter, not by estimating. I don't fly wide open on a constant basis.
Like I stated, some of the packs that people had problems with were marked 2200-2100 but were really 1600mah... so when balance charging, you should have noticed that your cellpro wasn't putting back what the rest of them were... Its not that the battery lost 500mah, its that it didn't have it to begin with.... that means 1.6x17C=27.2amps.... so 34 is over the C rating... did your batterys come down pretty hot? I would guess they did... should have been a good indicator that something is wrong...

Selling "OLD" packs to hobbycity shouldn't have mattered so long as they were real capacity and real C-rating, I have (6) 2250 3cell 20C Loongmax batterys that are at like 300+ flights and are a year old and still seem new... and have been pushed to 40amps once in awhile....

I won't send the packs back to Hobby City (the July one's are still eligible for warranty review and potential replacement) because of the shipping costs and high probabiity of the warranty being denied.
If you have 7packs to send back, its prob worthwild to send them back... It'll prob cost $20 but thats $140 worth of packs... and it seems like from that forum I posted that they've figured out what was wrong and are now selling proper packs....

SK
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:06 PM
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PS, ZIppy's are Fantastic... Lots of power... High C quality... I'm pulling 20amps out of a 1000mah 15c pack without blinking an eye... they've got some freakin' Power...lol

SK
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ministeve2003 View Post
Like I stated, some of the packs that people had problems with were marked 2200-2100 but were really 1600mah... so when balance charging, you should have noticed that your cellpro wasn't putting back what the rest of them were... Its not that the battery lost 500mah, its that it didn't have it to begin with.... that means 1.6x17C=27.2amps.... so 34 is over the C rating... did your batterys come down pretty hot? I would guess they did... should have been a good indicator that something is wrong...

Selling "OLD" packs to hobbycity shouldn't have mattered so long as they were real capacity and real C-rating, I have (6) 2250 3cell 20C Loongmax batterys that are at like 300+ flights and are a year old and still seem new... and have been pushed to 40amps once in awhile....



If you have 7packs to send back, its prob worthwild to send them back... It'll prob cost $20 but thats $140 worth of packs... and it seems like from that forum I posted that they've figured out what was wrong and are now selling proper packs....

SK
Where did you get the information that the ABF packs were really 1600 mah?

The ad page in Hobby City sure didn't state they were really that low in terms of capacity (i.e., 1600). The ones I bought were represented / advertised as 2100 17c. They could handle the load of my planes. Did they come out hot? Answer no, warm, but not hot.

Only three packs are eligible for return under warranty. I will just run them out and modify my incoming receiving inspection to include an acceptance test prior to using.

The Zippy 2100 is testing great and flies great.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:26 PM
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The link I posted... above... Its the Hobbycity forum for Those Batterys.... and there are quite a few posts for people who tested them and said they were only getting 1600mah out of them... So my conclusion is that they were rated by "cell weight" and not actually test data... So I'm concluding that if you are only able to pull 1600 out of the pack. then they are only 1600mah packs...

PS, Hobbycity isn't the only place that carries ABF Batterys... a few places are... I googled it.... do you blame say....Walmart for carring a new product that sucks, when k-mart and a bunch of other stores carry it too?

I'm sure every major store tests all of their products....before selling any of them...

SK
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ministeve2003 View Post
The link I posted... above... Its the Hobbycity forum for Those Batterys.... and there are quite a few posts for people who tested them and said they were only getting 1600mah out of them... So my conclusion is that they were rated by "cell weight" and not actually test data... So I'm concluding that if you are only able to pull 1600 out of the pack. then they are only 1600mah packs...

PS, Hobbycity isn't the only place that carries ABF Batterys... a few places are... I googled it.... do you blame say....Walmart for carring a new product that sucks, when k-mart and a bunch of other stores carry it too?

I'm sure every major store tests all of their products....before selling any of them...

SK
If I buy junk electronics from Walmart, Sears, Best Buy or Circuit City I take it back.

What's going to be interesting is I am being given a new ABF 2200 which is from fresh stock by on-line reseller who does test each batch to assure quality. He does so because he doesn't want to sell you, the customer, junk. I will charge and discharge it 10 times and capture the discharge curve for fresh stock and provide the results to him. Since he's the retailer I will let him decide if he wants to post the results here.

In the world of quality conformance and quality assurance any business performs period audits of incoming part quality. In extreme cases such as aviation repair of mfg. every part has to be certified and tested to assure conformity because of the obvious consequences.

Do you really think Anthony Hand and HC didn't know the packs were only 1600? Come on, they know the were stinkers and sold them as 2100s at 17C. They should be embarassed.

Last edited by Prof100; 08-15-2008 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 08-16-2008, 12:38 AM
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If a battery is called a 2200, should you be able to pull 2200 out of them if you run it to voltage cut off? I thought some would be left since you don't run them all the way dead.

I have some of the ABF 2200/2100 3 cells, and if I run them real low it might take 1800 mah. Most of the time I run them to a little over 11 volts and charge anywhere from 1200 to 1600 or so goes back in. I have 20 cycles on my oldest one.
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Old 08-16-2008, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Larry G View Post
If a battery is called a 2200, should you be able to pull 2200 out of them if you run it to voltage cut off? I thought some would be left since you don't run them all the way dead.

I have some of the ABF 2200/2100 3 cells, and if I run them real low it might take 1800 mah. Most of the time I run them to a little over 11 volts and charge anywhere from 1200 to 1600 or so goes back in. I have 20 cycles on my oldest one.
A 2200 MAH battery should discharge to the point where you see the voltage drop quickly. That's the pack dumping and you can simply stop discharging at 10 volts because going further is just hard on the batteries.

I just tested a 2nd Zippy 2200 3S 20C and its MAH was 2150 which less than advertised. I checked it on the Cellpro 4s and it showed 6% "in the tank". Lipos recover a bit after discharging. Voltage cutoff was 10 volts and the pack measured 10.36 volts.

Your battery may or may not be limited to 1800 MAH. It all depends by what you mean by running it "low". Is low 20% left or 3% left? Without a way of measuring it you don't know. If it's only capable of holding 1800 MAH then that's what you have. It will still work but it's heavy for 1800 MAH battery at 5.6 oz.

If many ABF 2200s are really 1800s then HC should have advertised them that way. If you bought and paid for 22 gallons and found out later the gas station (petro for our Brits) only pumped in your 18 gallons you'd be angry.
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Old 08-16-2008, 01:27 AM
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Do you really think Anthony Hand and HC didn't know the packs were only 1600?
quoting the name of the store owner tells me you have a personal vendetta against the company... which extends far beyond just these packs...

Without looking would you know the CEO of Walmart? how about K-mart...? Didn't think so...

SK
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Old 08-16-2008, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ministeve2003 View Post
quoting the name of the store owner tells me you have a personal vendetta against the company... which extends far beyond just these packs...

Without looking would you know the CEO of Walmart? how about K-mart...? Didn't think so...

SK
Geeze, you did jump to conclusions on that one. Yikes. Anthony's reputation precedes him. I have made 16 orders with them and other than one junky $3.50 9 gram servo everything else I bought has performed to expectations. I have 9 or 10 Turnigy motors, 7 Turnigy ESCs ( I really like their 40 amp with switch mode BEC). Also bought from HC is a shoe box size plastic container filled with Towerpro motors which I love to use on fanfold planes. In fact, Turnigy now makes a 2409-12T knockoff of the Towerpro that sells for only $6. That's such a good bargain that if I bend a shaft I would just strap in a new motor.

You have to remember I promised the HC support person I would post the results of my tests on RC Groups and Wattflyer to let everybody know of problem. His response was we "make no exceptions on our warranty."

With lowered MAH performance the amp capability drops which results in overdischarging a pack if it was supposed to deliver the advertised MAH and C rating. For example, 2100 + 17C yields 35.7 amps. If the pack is really 1600 MAH and 17 C then that drops to 27.2. If I run a power system that draws 32 amps on the former battery it's fine. However, if I run that 32 amp power system on the latter (27.2 amp capability) I end up with a over discharged pack that puffs thereby negating any warranty claim because of abuse.
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Old 08-16-2008, 05:23 AM
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Default 3 Zippy 2200_20C test results after 5 cycles

Here is some good news. I tested 3 Zippy 2200_20C test results after 5 cycles. They all were withing the label MAH ratings.

Check out the attached test results. I will test them again at about 20 cycles to see how they hold up. Could I test at 10 and 15 cycles? Yes, but I won't because every time I test I am using up a cycle on the batteries. These are my flight packs. No one is paying me to evaluate them.
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Old 08-16-2008, 11:28 AM
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I cannot find my reference, but I remember reading somewhere that battery Czars usually rate a LiPo's capacity when discharged at 0.5 C, not at the normal much higher Cs that we demand in flight.

So anyone who expects to get out the full rated capacity in normal flying discharge and then to put back in during recharge that same AH is going to be dissapointed.

Also I remember suggestions to only load to about half the rated Cs if you want long LiPo life. That operating most packs at the full Cs will give a greatly reduced cycle life. Thunderpower even states that on their TP Extreme packs, as I remember.

And to stay way above the 3.0 V/cell or whatever it is for modern cells low voltage floor.

And to store at 40-50% of full charge, not at full charge, for long life.

And to store cool, not hot, and never to store frozen.

So there are so many things to remember that it's a wonder LiPos last very long. But they usually do.

I've also read that LiPos must be female!

My personal experience with all the various brands and sizes of Hobby City LiPos I bought so far has been excellent and very cost-effective. I don't have any fancy test equipment, and I don't do discharge tests, nor do I keep track of charge/discharge cycles. So this is all my opinion, with no "facts" to share.

The only Hobby City LiPos I've lost have been due to physical crash damage or unavoidable stuff like a plane stuck up in the tree for days running them down too low.

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Old 08-16-2008, 12:05 PM
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Have purchase a couple "Myustery" 2200MAH and 1500 MAH 3S packs from HobbyCity. I only have a half dozen cycles but can certainly run a test to check capacity.



Clint
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:47 PM
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hi thanks for showing your results.what zippy pack did you test as there are a few different types
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:09 AM
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Devaun from Blackdog RC sells ABF lipo packs at a great price AND he tests every batch that he receives to make sure what the label says is correct. He's also under the opinion that ABF often just slaps a label on any crap that comes down the pike and he's returned bad batches to them before. Amazingly they appear at times to outright lie on their labels.

I have one 2000 ABF packs and so far it's great.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:23 AM
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I'll Stick with Zippy and rhino packs for now... cheap, and reliable....
sk
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Old 09-19-2008, 03:02 PM
  #22  
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Two years ago I bought about seven 3s 1800 ABF batteries that all puffed after about ten cycles at about 12 amps. That was a real disaster for me, since I fly on a budget. There is no way I'm going to knowingly buy any of their products.
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Old 09-19-2008, 04:30 PM
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about a year ago I bought (10) 3cell 1000mah Polyrc batterys from cheapbatterypacks.com and they all puffed in about 10-15 cycles....all on a supercub so that was about 12amps too...lol.... that really annoyed me... Plus one of them went supernova in my hands... about a 2 foot flame ball... Yikes...

SK
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Old 09-19-2008, 04:33 PM
  #24  
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I wouldn't buy ABF or Polyrc batterys....or thunderpower (cause of ridiculous price)
SK
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Old 09-19-2008, 04:39 PM
  #25  
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I have 4 Zippy (standard packs) 2 1800, 2 2200 all 3 Cell.

They have ~100 flights each. from day one till today my cellpro estimates them to be:
2200 estimates to 2000mah
1800 estimates to 1600mah

I didn't have a watt meter when I first purchased these, but now the 2200's drop to 9.8 volts (at full charge) when pulling 23 amps out of them.

I'm not displeased with them, but nether am I happy with their life expectancy. I always balance charge at 1.0C and only fly to 30-40% left on the pack.

for comparison, a Rihno 3700mah stays to 10.8 volts on the same power setup.

I haven't owned the Rhino's long enough to make any valid statements on them.
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