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It's just not good enough

Why is the Lipo industry in such a mess?

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Obzi20/03/2007 19:15:00
19 forum posts
The whole issue of Lipo packs is a complete joke and i applaud some of the comments by Nigel Hawes in this months issue of RCME.
There is a minefield of different plugs, wiring configurations, chargers, balancers out there and it looks like the manufacturers are not talking to each other to try and make sure you stick with their products.

There must be room for say 3 standards (just one is far too much to ask for) 'Taps' has been mentioned but not the answer for most, we need something clear and easy to understand, it's better for us and better for the manufacturers.

How can we possibly hope to bring new people into flying when we're making something as crucial as charging the battery so complicated?
Do we have to teach them first how to use a multimeter before we can even start to discuss flying?
The thing that really bugs me here is we modellers seem to be accepting this shambles, where virtually no other hobby/pastime put up with it, after all this is a very serious safety issue.

Ebay and numerous websites are flooded with ARTF's 'for the beginner' and how long is it before a Dad buys one for the kids and just sticks it on charge over night while they go to bed?

Do we have to wait for a child fatality before something is done?
Terry Rigden20/03/2007 20:25:00
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True but who is going to do something ?most of the stuff is made in the far east where its a free for all. I fear no progress will be made

Regards

Terry
airman21/03/2007 07:52:00
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79 forum posts
Have been told that the new balancer plug and leads , which are fitted to Flightpower batteries, match another major manufactures battery packs.
Is this true?
Bladerunner21/03/2007 09:18:00
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129 forum posts
Dunno. The best bet is to pick a well known brand, and get everything you need from them, balancers and chargers included - Hyperion is a good example, FlightPower too.
Tim Mackey21/03/2007 16:05:00
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LiPo packs are not the only thing that lacks standardisation though are they ?
The only thing standard about standardisation in general is the lack of it !!
nasa_steve21/03/2007 18:36:00
457 forum posts
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Another thing that needs addressing is the wild C rating claims on some of the packs availiable on the market. with the potential for explosive results. i've had my entire last season stock go puff on me whilst running on less than half the said C rating on them. what would have happened if i'd run them at their full C rating i dread to think!!!
nasa
Tim Mackey22/03/2007 09:58:00
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yes...I always only ever use mine ( and I have around 30 packs now ) at approx half their staed C rate....and this is with the better quality jobbies too
Obzi22/03/2007 18:48:00
19 forum posts
Your right Timbo, there is a lack of standardisation everywhere but it's the fact that lipos are potentially lethal that gets me wound up.

As for Terrys comment about who is going to do something? well there's 3 answers to that.
1, Why can't RCME take this on big time with it's links to other magazines? Why don't they use the power they have to push this with the manufacturers? To bring it up in articles and to tell them at events like Nuremberg that we DEMAND something is done?
After all, they want good reviews for their products and not to be critisised for making a product which is ultimately not safe.

2, We can all do something by talking to model shops, trade stands at shows and ultimately spending our money with the responsible manufacturers. The Chinese, etc will only follow the market, and if the vast majority of sales go to the Flight Power system for example then that's what they'll manufacturer.

To start it off will need the big players like Flight Power or Hyperion mentioned above to give a name to the system they use (FP1 or Hyp1 for example) and get others to come on board, at least then we will know what we're dealing with and what's compatible with our charger.

3, You've sort of thrown the gauntlet down on this one and although i'm not very knowledgable on Lipos i think i should put my pc where my mouth is and bang off a few emails to the big manufacturers telling them what they should be doing.
If a few hundred more people do the same then maybe something may start to happen.

The people who read magazines like RCME are usually very knowledgable on things like charging batteries, just think how many thousands bought an Lipo powered ARFT from the net who haven't a clue.


Appologies for sounding like a madman on a rant here but i've just had my fingers burnt (literally) and having two children in the house made me think about what could happen.
I'm a nice pleasant bloke really.
Tony Jones30/03/2007 15:59:00
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283 forum posts
As a keen electric (and I.C) flyer I couldn't agree more with the above comments.

Last year I suggested to the Editor of Quiet and Electric Flight that they should start a campaign not only for standardisation of battery charging and balancing connectors, but the method by which motors are described - which is a complete nightmare. He wasn't interested.

As Steve says, a discharge C rating on its own is entirely meaningless. You can discharge any battery at 20C - the important thing is what happens if you do. Will it suffer excess voltage drop and internal damage, or even burn up? Whats needed IMHO is for the C rating to be linked to an agreed voltage drop - probably best expressed in percent.

How about it David? Will RCME pickup the challenge and start putting some pressure on the manufacturers and retailers to sort out this dangerous mess?
David Ashby - Moderator30/03/2007 16:42:00
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Hi Tony, Hi guy's.

Ok just a few thoughts -

Personally agree with every post although I'm not sure how much 'pressure' RCM&E can exert. We can't stop folks selling them or folks buying them. There seem to be so many brands around with new ones arriving all the time.

I suspect it's not just a UK problem. As more and more flyers just buy what they see advertised overseas (often on eBay)

Perhaps this is one of the kick-back's of globalisation.

Does anyone have a brand in mind that's dangerous?
Have they any personal experience (not heresay) ?



Tim Mackey31/03/2007 10:01:00
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Well I dont know about "naming and shaming" as fas as being "dangerous", asI ave never experienced any nastieswith any of my packs ( approx 35 different ones now )I can say as has been said before of course.....you get what you pay for, as least as far as performance is concerned, not only in power capabilities but taking into account longevity also. I personlly now use nothing in my airplanes powertrain supply other than Flight Power. I will occasionally use a cheaper brand for receiver /servo supply, because these do not require high C rating cells.
Tony Jones31/03/2007 13:45:00
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283 forum posts
Timbo
I'm 100% with you on that. I've never had problems with a pack in flight but have set fire to a 5 cell by charging it as a 6. I do think that chargers should be protected against this sort of finger trouble. You know what they say: If it CAN happen it WILL happen.
Cheers
Tony
Tony Jones31/03/2007 13:54:00
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283 forum posts
David
I realise that RCME - or any other mag - can not change the situation overnight. But throwing down a challenge to the UK industry - perhaps in your opening column, might get some response.
Global commerce means all sorts of products are standardised voluntarily by the manufacturers these days. Let's suppose one or two battery makers who currently have their own proprietary connectors decided to change to Flight Power balancing plugs. That wouldn't harm them at all. Far from it, I'd be more likely to buy their stuff if I knew it was compatible with the charger/balancer I've already got. And if several manufacturers agreed to a certain standard or protocol, the others would be encouraged to follow suit.
Making life easier for the customer means more sales. The entire industry would benefit. Is that not a good incentive?
Best wishes
Tony
nasa_steve31/03/2007 16:25:00
457 forum posts
21 photos
4 articles
tony
graupner ultramat chargers make you input the info twice as such so to get a charge started it makes you cycle through 3 screens before you can start the charge. best charger i've ever had even if its all in german
regards
nasa
Ian Sutcliffe03/08/2007 22:49:00
1 forum posts
just bought 2 new lipos and a balancer of the same make at the same time from a very well known and reputable supplier, guess what, the connectors are not compatible, says it all really.
John Cole03/09/2007 17:57:00
615 forum posts
24 photos
I would have thought that if we charged the pack via the balance lead then there could be no issue of how many cells there are in the pack, as each cell is separately connected to a pair of pins.  Any idea why this isn't done?
Tim Mackey03/09/2007 18:34:00
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20919 forum posts
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Not all balancers allow this, some still require to be connected to the main pack leads, and only use the balance tap to actually bring down the higher V cells as they are charging.
John Cole03/09/2007 19:05:00
615 forum posts
24 photos
Yes, that's the point I was trying to make.
Erfolg03/09/2007 22:03:00
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11371 forum posts
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I suspect that manufactures see a commercial advantage in being different. You potentially lock in your customer base, and place doubt on the wisdom of purchasing a newcomers products.I certainly agree that I would like to see:a) Standardisation on a propriety plug, no manufactures specialsb) Wired to a standard configuration.c) A standard methodology in defining discharge C ratingA number of big names will probably only accept (reluctantly) standardisation if it is to their standard.I think I get the hint that there is a perception that some of the Lipos are more dangerous than others. I suspect that this is not so. It possibly is the discharge rating that is open to abuse. I have read (therefore do not know if it is true), that there are only four major manufactures of cells. Hundred of cell assemblers though. What I am trying to say it is what we do that causes the problem, not the cell.I have learnt that you have to be careful with brand names (work with PR team), that the major objective is to turn a base product into gold, by branding, product placement, product support and above all tell the public yours is "simply the best". Let others run down the competition, with a little nudge and wink.I think it is the vested interest that is the main problem. I hope that the dangers of Lipos are over stated. As they are used in mobile phones, laptop computers, power tools. If the dangers are really real, there will be a lot of incidents around the world.Undecided

Erfolg 

Tim Mackey03/09/2007 23:10:00
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Well said Erfolg.

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