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Old 12-19-2011, 12:26 AM
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Bob NJ,
Can you shed some light on the power lab 8 for me as that is one of the chargers I have been looking at. As you may have guessed from some of my previous posts, I know nothing about the A123 chemistry, although I hve been reading this thread and some HangTime Hobbies faqs sheets. I plan to change my planes over to A123 from about 14 years of nimh use.
Thanks
Bill
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:29 AM
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Additional information that I should have posted. All my planes are glo or gas. No electrics however, I'm thinking about building a Bird of Time from RCM Plans that I bought a few years ago and sticking an electric motor in the nose.

Bill
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:38 AM
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Originally from Puerto Rico but, live in NY. Go! Gabriel Altuz
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Well Bill!

There is a lot of information here about the A123 batteries and, Steve over at Hangtimes knows his batteries. The FMA Cell Pro chargers are fantastic for A123 batteries and, it's highly recommended by Steve over at Hangtimes and, Kurt over at Formeco.

Regarding the Power Lab 8, it's really nice on paper but, I personally don't have one. I have the 10S and, it's all I need.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:39 AM
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The Powerlab 8 is more than a charger, it's a battery conditioning work station.
I use about 10% of it's capability and like it a lot.
It's my bench charger and cycler for my giant scale receiver packs, and my 2S foamy packs mostly.
I don't do any parallel charging, or dual charger set ups, although these things are possible
for those charging multiple cell packs in electrics. Some of the serious electric guys use it as their field charger.

The firmware is easily updated with an internet connection, and it will graph multiple phases of the
charge/discharge cycle.
Not sure what your intentions and uses are, but it's a great unit.

There's a ton and a half of information on it here ->

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1176112

Grab a cup of coffee and a comfy chair for some interesting reading...

Hope that helps.

Take care, and Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:47 AM
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Thanks Bob,

I will use it mainly for the A123's.. I do have a foamy that I have a lipoly ordered for and as I mentioned a few minutes ago the Bird of time which will probably be lipoly. But I can do the Lipo with the Hobico elite that I have. Can the powerlab 8 be used at the field or does it require AC current?

I will go to the other forum you mentioned and read it as I'm a member there also.

Again, Thanks for your response.
Bill
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:48 AM
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Originally from Puerto Rico but, live in NY. Go! Gabriel Altuz
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Good info bob_nj.

That thread will be good for anyone interested in that monster charger you use.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:58 AM
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Sorry guys,

I just went over to FMA and looked. The charger I had been looking at is the PowerLab6 not the 8. Again, sorry for any confusion I may have caused. Like I said, I'm green on the A123 chemistry.

Bill
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcrashwilly View Post
Bob NJ,
Can you shed some light on the power lab 8 for me as that is one of the chargers I have been looking at. As you may have guessed from some of my previous posts, I know nothing about the A123 chemistry, although I hve been reading this thread and some HangTime Hobbies faqs sheets. I plan to change my planes over to A123 from about 14 years of nimh use.
Thanks
Bill
Okay I'm not Bob_nj but perhaps I can shed some light on the question? After having screwed around with the various options for charging I came to the conclusion that for rx flight packs the JR HD servo lead connector is the way to go as it comes the closest to what you're used to using and it is, IMHO, the most versatile.

Bear in mind that this method limits you to a 4 amp charge rate since that's all the little connectors will handle and all the CellPro will put on on balance lead only charging. What you do is get your vendor to put the packs together with the JR type charge lead (meaning servo connector but most folks refer to it as a "JR" type) and I like to add a discharge lead with only two wires, the positive and negative. Then the charge lead uses what would have been the signal lead for a servo as the balance tap between the cells. There are some issues involved with which lead, the discharge or balance/charge lead you can use for powering your model and you need to do some reading on this thread for the specifics.

Then get yourself a CellPro and a couple of their pigtails, take a long servo lead (make absolutely sure it's got gold plated connectors and at least 22g. wire) and cut off the appropriate end. Solder/splice the CellPro pigtail on it a voila! you've got a charge setup thats clean easy to use and will charge your batteries in short order.

Now if you're going to be doing A123/LiFE flight packs with the occasional small (3s or 4S) Li-Po then the CellPro 4S or 4S Multi will do the job quite nicely. If you envision going to bigger Li-Po packs in the future the perhaps a CellPro 10S might be a wise investment for it's higher output capability when using both sets of leads from the battery. DO NOT by the 10XP as it will not do balance lead only charging. None of the CellPro chargers until you get to the PowerLabs will discharge but I use an old Triton for that purpose. The PL8 is a damn fine charger but way more than you need and I'm not well enough versed in it to say for sure about the ability to charge in this fashion, but I don't think so.....

While I've seen Steve (NoBS) mentioned a number of times and have had good luck with his stuff, of late I've been using WrongWayRC. Richard knows what he's doing, is a vendor for FMA and he's less money than Steve....
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:10 AM
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Willy
No problem on the confusion. There are many charger options out there these days.
Like I said earlier, I have 5 FMA chargers and like them all.

I'm still trying to get a firmware version for the 4S zeeb has though??
His 4S is better than mine, and I'm sad about that

Anyway, I also use the "JR" connector method on my receiver packs.
The FMA chargers are one of the few that will do "node only" charging.
This means that you can just charge through the balance lead of your battery, instead
of hooking up the balance lead AND banana plugs. As stated, 4 amps is the max
charge rate, but it's plenty and I use around 1.5 to 2 amps most of the time.

On Hangtimes site he shows how to set up your plane and packs so you can balance charge through
your heavy duty JR type switch.
Pretty nifty actually, and that's how I do mine now.
It took me a couple of hours poking around the Hangtime site at first to absorb everything he was
trying to convey.

So, pick your option and go for it.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_nj View Post
Willy

I'm still trying to get a firmware version for the 4S zeeb has though??
His 4S is better than mine, and I'm sad about that
I haven't forgotten you but I've not laid my hands on that charger for over a year and I'm not entirely sure it's still here....

I'll nose around for it in the next day or so and let you know what it's got if I find it...
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:22 AM
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Okey Dokey!
Mine is version 3.02
There aren't any updates on the FMA site for the 4S, just the 4S Gold.
Wonder if that would work for the 4S?

Oh well, if you find it let me know.

Have a good Holiday Season.

Bob
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Old 12-19-2011, 02:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcrashwilly View Post
Additional information that I should have posted. All my planes are glo or gas. No electrics however, I'm thinking about building a Bird of Time from RCM Plans that I bought a few years ago and sticking an electric motor in the nose.

Bill
Best charger from FMA Direct for you would be their 4S Gold, for right now. My situation until recently, was similar to yours except I do have a bunch of electrics + gassers. I wanted a new charger that could balance charge A123/LiFe's/Li-Ion/LiPo.

http://www.usastore.revolectrix.com/...-Adapter-Combo

Their more advanced chargers charge via balance leads AND the batteries mains together, for the higher amp charge rates. Unless you have a burning desire to fast charge above 4 amps, you'll do fine with the 4 Amp rate of their 4S Gold.

Richard at wrong way rc can put any lead you want on the genuine A123's he sells;
http://www.shop.kavarootusa.com/cate...?categoryId=10

For in plane charging of A123/LiFe's, be sure to read the text description surrounding these images.......






.....over here;
http://hangtimes.com/a123rxsetup.html

Those photos are for the lead to your receiver, the balance charge lead then goes to a port on your fuse of your model, so you can balance charge without opening up your model.For the external balance charging, this is what you'd get from them......

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Old 12-19-2011, 11:32 PM
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Zeeb, Bob NJ, and A1PCfixer,

Thanks for you help. You guys have been a wealth of information and I appreciate your willingness to share it. I may consider a couple of 4s Golds to start with until I have a better understanding. I may get two since I run dual switches and dual batteries in the gas. I don't remember if I stated why I'm looking at this but, it's because I'm running the A9 Tx with Optima 9 Rx's. I had a couple of issues which seem to be resolved now however, during the resolution process, Hitec service recommended the A123 or lipolys for their system as it is a little power hungry.

Bill
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:35 AM
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Umm.... Remember me mentioning "the common ground issue"?

It's all in this thread but I'll try to condense it a bit; the switches on our models do not disconnect the ground lead from the battery, only the positive lead is disconnected. So that leaves a common ground between the two batteries through the rx buss. Most chargers including the FMA, use what is known as "low side sense" meaning they pull their readings from the ground lead if you will? Any way if you hook up two chargers or even something like the 10S which can do two batteries at once, to your dual rx batteries without disconnecting at least one of them you'll find out about the common ground issue first hand.

Some guys have gotten away with it for a bit but sooner or later it'll bite you with dead batteries or I've even seen a NiMH cell blown up by using dual chargers on dual rx packs.

Now I will suggest that you look at getting at least one of the two chargers as a 4S Multi since it will not only do all the chemistries but it will charge a single A123 cell which the 4S Gold will not do. Occasionally the A123's need to be cycled to re-establish cell balance but occasionally you'll get an ignorant cell. This little device from NoBS is just the "cat's pajamas" for dealing with such issues and you'll need a 4S Multi or like charger which can do one cell in order to use this little device.

http://www.hangtimes.com/a123balancebuddy.html

Clear as mud??? lol
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:09 AM
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Well put Zeeb!
Here, here...

Anyway, when you say, "4S Multi" I'm guessing you mean Multi 4?

I too use two chargers at the field.
One is charging the receiver, and one the ignition.
You can still use two chargers, but they are doing different things.

It only takes a few minutes per receiver pack anyway.
We usually spend that much time shooting the breeze, or just watching the next guy fly.

Take care
Bob
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