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What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

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Old 08-17-2012, 03:48 PM
  #1  
Avistarpilot
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Default What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

Hey all, got a quick question about my current tx and rx situation. Currently I have gotten my bird out of the dark and started flying again. I've got a few flight under my belt after a couple year hiatus but I'm contemplating my battery situation. I always charge them over night before I fly(plane is nitro powered BTW) and I haven't had a problem yet but the batteries are fairly old. Last time I flew was last weekend and the transmitter is still showing 95%. I left the tx and rx on while I ran some erons tonight and over about 3.5 hrs the voltmeter was showing 35%...that's continuous power on but no movement of the controls and no flight load either. Is that acceptable? Most days I only take it up 2 maybe 3 times unless I devote a whole day to flying which hasn't happened in a long time.

Now, that all being said I would like to upgrade my current radio with perhaps a 6 channel since I am planning on upgrading my current airplane as well...or adding to I should say. I have been looking at the Futaba 6J tx. It has more than enough features for me at this point until I muster the courage to drop a 2nd mortgage on a high end tx. What are your thoughts on this? Are there others in the same price range that are leaps and bounds better than the 6J-8J line of Futaba? Sorry if this has been beat to death, I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to the world of transmitters. My current tx is still a Futaba Skysport 4ch so there is much room for improvement.
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:14 PM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

avistarpilot

The cost of new batteries will be cheap compared to fixing or purchasing another plane.

As for the transmitter, the 6J or the 8J would be a nice upgrade. I have the 8J and really like it. I upgraded from a T6XA.

Darrolair
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:52 PM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

I would test them. If they test 80% of their rated capacity I would use them.
I don't understand why you would throw away good batteries just because they are old.
I have batteries that have been in my drill twelve years.
I have a Multiplex transmitter I bought in 2007 still with the battery it came with. Some times I don't use that transmitter for several months and it never fails when I check the battery capacity.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:36 PM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

Problem is I dont have any way to test the capacity without buying a capacity tester. I will probably keep a close eye on them now and eventually get a new set of batteries for my current plane and tx. I also would like to get an upgraded tx and keep my other tx for a backup or for friends/family that want to give it a go and I can put them on a buddy cord and they can use my old Skysport.
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:02 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.


ORIGINAL: dirtybird

I would test them. If they test 80% of their rated capacity I would use them.
I don't understand why you would throw away good batteries just because they are old.
I have batteries that have been in my drill twelve years.
I have a Multiplex transmitter I bought in 2007 still with the battery it came with. Some times I don't use that transmitter for several months and it never fails when I check the battery capacity.
A drill is not going to drop from 500 ft and hit someone in the head if the batteries fail. I understand your point. It is wise to Cycle your batteries, at least once a year, to determine the Capacity and check for a bad cell. I believe that replacing Tx and Rx batteries every 3 years is a good idea. They are not that expensive compared to the cost of an aircraft. I buy 2cell LiFe Rx batteries and 3cell LiFe Tx batteries (depending upon the voltage requirements of the Tx) for $25 a pack. They charge fast and hold their charge for months. Eneloop cells are the next best choice for Tx batteries.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:09 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

ORIGINAL: BuschBarber


ORIGINAL: dirtybird

I would test them. If they test 80% of their rated capacity I would use them.
I don't understand why you would throw away good batteries just because they are old.
I have batteries that have been in my drill twelve years.
I have a Multiplex transmitter I bought in 2007 still with the battery it came with. Some times I don't use that transmitter for several months and it never fails when I check the battery capacity.
A drill is not going to drop from 500 ft and hit someone in the head if the batteries fail. I understand your point. It is wise to Cycle your batteries, at least once a year, to determine the Capacity and check for a bad cell. I believe that replacing Tx and Rx batteries every 3 years is a good idea. They are not that expensive compared to the cost of an aircraft. I buy 2cell LiFe Rx batteries and 3cell LiFe Tx batteries (depending upon the voltage requirements of the Tx) for $25 a pack. They charge fast and hold their charge for months. Eneloop cells are the next best choice for Tx batteries.
Tell me why you think replacing batteries every three years is a good idea? Eneloops are advertised to hold 75% of their charge for three years.
If you check them and they test good why not spend that $25 on something else.Like something to test capacity.
Batteries are not an item subject to catastrophic failure.
BTW where do you get your Eneloops?
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:09 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

IMHO Dirtybird has given you some good advice. No matter whether you have new or old batteries, it is a good idea to cycle them to check for capacity; you can get some bad NEW cells just as easily as have some bad OLD cells. To be safe, I always cycle and check the capacity of my Nixx type batteries once or twice a year just to make sure they are still up to snuff.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:12 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

"Batteries are not an item subject to catastrophic failure. "

That's what I said, when I pulled down a plane I hadn't flown for ages. Charge everything the night before and go fly. First flight; fine. I was not going to push my luck by trying twice, but my son wanted to try my plane. You should already be able to see the scenario developing. He taxied out, turned upwind for takeoff, ran up the throttle, and completely lost control of the plane. It weather vened just enough to take it off the runway, and spun itself in, before it got airborne; fortunately. When he went to recover the wreckage, there was no indication of any sort on the voltwatch, and no control. The receiver flight pack had failed. No broken wires, no disconnected connectors. I rest my case.

Les
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:52 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.


ORIGINAL: dirtybird

ORIGINAL: BuschBarber


ORIGINAL: dirtybird

I would test them. If they test 80% of their rated capacity I would use them.
I don't understand why you would throw away good batteries just because they are old.
I have batteries that have been in my drill twelve years.
I have a Multiplex transmitter I bought in 2007 still with the battery it came with. Some times I don't use that transmitter for several months and it never fails when I check the battery capacity.
A drill is not going to drop from 500 ft and hit someone in the head if the batteries fail. I understand your point. It is wise to Cycle your batteries, at least once a year, to determine the Capacity and check for a bad cell. I believe that replacing Tx and Rx batteries every 3 years is a good idea. They are not that expensive compared to the cost of an aircraft. I buy 2cell LiFe Rx batteries and 3cell LiFe Tx batteries (depending upon the voltage requirements of the Tx) for $25 a pack. They charge fast and hold their charge for months. Eneloop cells are the next best choice for Tx batteries.
Tell me why you think replacing batteries every three years is a good idea? Eneloops are advertised to hold 75% of their charge for three years.
If you check them and they test good why not spend that $25 on something else.Like something to test capacity.
Batteries are not an item subject to catastrophic failure.
BTW where do you get your Eneloops?

If you have reliable test equipment and use it properly I am sure you can use batteries for as long as you feel comfortable.

Batteries most certainly can and do suffer catastrophic failure. A bad cell can pop up anytime. Internal solser links and insulation can and do fail, even for experienced modelers. The average RC pilot is not checking their batteries like you or I would.

I have seen many batteries fail even after cycling. The trick is to spot a troubled battery before you fly.

I do not use NiCad or NiMh anymore. I am strictly LiPo and LiFe.

I still maintain that the average pilot replace their Rx batteries every 3 years.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:18 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.


ORIGINAL: LesUyeda

''Batteries are not an item subject to catastrophic failure. ''

That's what I said, when I pulled down a plane I hadn't flown for ages. Charge everything the night before and go fly. First flight; fine. I was not going to push my luck by trying twice, but my son wanted to try my plane. You should already be able to see the scenario developing. He taxied out, turned upwind for takeoff, ran up the throttle, and completely lost control of the plane. It weather vened just enough to take it off the runway, and spun itself in, before it got airborne; fortunately. When he went to recover the wreckage, there was no indication of any sort on the voltwatch, and no control. The receiver flight pack had failed. No broken wires, no disconnected connectors. I rest my case.

Les
You case may be rested but I would like to know if you bothered to cycle and test your battery before flying.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:30 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.


ORIGINAL: BuschBarber


ORIGINAL: dirtybird

ORIGINAL: BuschBarber


ORIGINAL: dirtybird

I would test them. If they test 80% of their rated capacity I would use them.
I don't understand why you would throw away good batteries just because they are old.
I have batteries that have been in my drill twelve years.
I have a Multiplex transmitter I bought in 2007 still with the battery it came with. Some times I don't use that transmitter for several months and it never fails when I check the battery capacity.
A drill is not going to drop from 500 ft and hit someone in the head if the batteries fail. I understand your point. It is wise to Cycle your batteries, at least once a year, to determine the Capacity and check for a bad cell. I believe that replacing Tx and Rx batteries every 3 years is a good idea. They are not that expensive compared to the cost of an aircraft. I buy 2cell LiFe Rx batteries and 3cell LiFe Tx batteries (depending upon the voltage requirements of the Tx) for $25 a pack. They charge fast and hold their charge for months. Eneloop cells are the next best choice for Tx batteries.
Tell me why you think replacing batteries every three years is a good idea? Eneloops are advertised to hold 75% of their charge for three years.
If you check them and they test good why not spend that $25 on something else.Like something to test capacity.
Batteries are not an item subject to catastrophic failure.
BTW where do you get your Eneloops?

If you have reliable test equipment and use it properly I am sure you can use batteries for as long as you feel comfortable.

Batteries most certainly can and do suffer catastrophic failure. A bad cell can pop up anytime. Internal solser links and insulation can and do fail, even for experienced modelers. The average RC pilot is not checking their batteries like you or I would.

I have seen many batteries fail even after cycling. The trick is to spot a troubled battery before you fly.

I do not use NiCad or NiMh anymore. I am strictly LiPo and LiFe.

I still maintain that the average pilot replace their Rx batteries every 3 years.
I haven't seen any batteries that had soldered internal connectors.They are spot welded.
BTW You didn't answer my question. Why do you feel they should be replaced every three years?
If you use Lipo's for anything other than primary motor power I wouldn't follow your advise. I don't use them even there. They are too much trouble.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:50 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

I spent the years 1970-1974 as the Seattle area Kraft repair rep.
At that time, Kraft did not have an internal regulator for its electronics. This put its range and reliability in the hands of the battery. The sensitivity of the receiver depended on the battery charge. In those five years, I found two battery packs that were bad that would cause flight problems. One had an internal cell that lost its charge in a very short time. The other had intermittent output under vibration. Its internal connections were not soldered or welded. It just depended on pressure for its connection.
I tested hundreds of battery packs in that time. The most problems were caused by leaving the batteries unused for a long period. It would have a shorted cell. Easily determined if tested. The other problems were caused by improper charging.
You can always have problems with the wiring or connectors. In fact that will be where most of your problems are but that's a wiring failure not a battery failure
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:50 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

There is one possible problem if you are resurrecting any equipment that was powered with NiCad and the batteries were left in the system; Black Wire Disease. It is easy to spot though by a good physical inspection. Should a NiCad have happened to break a seal, the wire can undergo a physical transformation into another compound where it becomes extremely brittle, usually a black or dark violet color and you can not solder to it no matter how hard you try. It also develops a very high resistance to current flow. The only solution is to remove the infected section(s) and replace with new wiring. I have never witnessed this problem where NiMh or other type batteries were used, only with NiCads and then only if the seal at the positive terminal was ruptured or where we used wet cell NiCads on some aircraft.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:06 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.


ORIGINAL: dirtybird


ORIGINAL: BuschBarber


ORIGINAL: dirtybird

ORIGINAL: BuschBarber


ORIGINAL: dirtybird

I would test them. If they test 80% of their rated capacity I would use them.
I don't understand why you would throw away good batteries just because they are old.
I have batteries that have been in my drill twelve years.
I have a Multiplex transmitter I bought in 2007 still with the battery it came with. Some times I don't use that transmitter for several months and it never fails when I check the battery capacity.
A drill is not going to drop from 500 ft and hit someone in the head if the batteries fail. I understand your point. It is wise to Cycle your batteries, at least once a year, to determine the Capacity and check for a bad cell. I believe that replacing Tx and Rx batteries every 3 years is a good idea. They are not that expensive compared to the cost of an aircraft. I buy 2cell LiFe Rx batteries and 3cell LiFe Tx batteries (depending upon the voltage requirements of the Tx) for $25 a pack. They charge fast and hold their charge for months. Eneloop cells are the next best choice for Tx batteries.
Tell me why you think replacing batteries every three years is a good idea? Eneloops are advertised to hold 75% of their charge for three years.
If you check them and they test good why not spend that $25 on something else.Like something to test capacity.
Batteries are not an item subject to catastrophic failure.
BTW where do you get your Eneloops?

If you have reliable test equipment and use it properly I am sure you can use batteries for as long as you feel comfortable.

Batteries most certainly can and do suffer catastrophic failure. A bad cell can pop up anytime. Internal solser links and insulation can and do fail, even for experienced modelers. The average RC pilot is not checking their batteries like you or I would.

I have seen many batteries fail even after cycling. The trick is to spot a troubled battery before you fly.

I do not use NiCad or NiMh anymore. I am strictly LiPo and LiFe.

I still maintain that the average pilot replace their Rx batteries every 3 years.
I haven't seen any batteries that had soldered internal connectors.They are spot welded.
BTW You didn't answer my question. Why do you feel they should be replaced every three years?
If you use Lipo's for anything other than primary motor power I wouldn't follow your advise. I don't use them even there. They are too much trouble.
Solder or Weld, the point is that all batteries we use in our models ate handled frequently. The leads get stressed as does the wire insulation. They are exposed to vibration and temp change. Couple that with the fact that many pilots do not maintain their batteries properly and you end up, over time, with unbalanced cells, etc..

There is no reason to risk your aircraft with 3 year old batteries just to save a few bucks. Batteries are not expensive. I have seen too many crashes due to batteries that were not properly maintained.

With 2.4 systems, it is even more important to have adequate voltage.

Regarding LiPo, LithIon, and LiFe Tx and Rx batteries, many pilots are using them safely and enjoying the lower weight, shorter charge times, hold their charge for months, etc. I don't know what your fear is but it is unfounded. They are totally safe when handled and charged properly.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:13 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

you could see if someone at your flying field has a way to and is willing to cycle your packs couple of times for you, and find the average capacity of the cells.. then you would have an idea as to where your packs stand, and you could decide from there!

Craig..
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:25 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

Bad batteries are probably the number two cause of crashes. Right behind the brain thumb interface. I change them out every three to four years. I run a123 packs now exclusively. When I ran Nicads I did have quite a few that would still cycle well and took a chance one spring Guess what. One failed and put 2k of plane in the swamp. Two packs and two switches go on any plane I really like.
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:46 PM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

[quote]ORIGINAL: BuschBarber


Solder or Weld, the point is that all batteries we use in our models ate handled frequently. The leads get stressed as does the wire insulation. They are exposed to vibration and temp change. Couple that with the fact that many pilots do not maintain their batteries properly and you end up, over time, with unbalanced cells, etc..

There is no reason to risk your aircraft with 3 year old batteries just to save a few bucks. Batteries are not expensive. I have seen too many crashes due to batteries that were not properly maintained.

With 2.4 systems, it is even more important to have adequate voltage.

Regarding LiPo, LithIon, and LiFe Tx and Rx batteries, many pilots are using them safely and enjoying the lower weight, shorter charge times, hold their charge for months, etc. I don't know what your fear is but it is unfounded. They are totally safe when handled and charged properly.
(quote)
Go over to RCG and read the sticky "Lipo fires are real"
You say they are totally safe if handled and charged properly
That means:
1) remove them from where they are installed for charging.
2) watch them while charging. ( how many people do that? with say 4 that means 4 hours with 1c charging and means 4 hours unless you have an expensive charger)
3) Never discharge them more than 80%
4) Store them at room temperature. My garage gets to about 140 degrees in the summer. I have to pull them out and put them in my refrige.
5) A special balancing charger is required.
6) a special fireproof container is required for storage and for transportation.
7) The USPS will not accept them for mailing.

I just don't want to bother with all of that. I use A123's for everything now except the TX

BTW I have 8 aircraft ready to fly. Replacing batteries at $25 for each aircraft means $200.
Thats not cheap. What makes you think new batteries are better than 3yr old properly maintained batteries? Our batteries are sealed so they don't lose any chemicals unless the seal is broken. If the seal is broke or the battery is damaged I sure would replace them.





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Old 08-18-2012, 01:26 PM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.


ORIGINAL: Avistarpilot

Problem is I dont have any way to test the capacity without buying a capacity tester. I will probably keep a close eye on them now and eventually get a new set of batteries for my current plane and tx. I also would like to get an upgraded tx and keep my other tx for a backup or for friends/family that want to give it a go and I can put them on a buddy cord and they can use my old Skysport.
Acutally you did test your capacity. 35% after 3.5 hours is plenty for the transmitter - stick movement doesn't increase transmitter power. The receiver, on the other hand, could be questionable but still seems ok to me.

Speaking of meters, I wish I could find my Hobbico multimeter - or I wish Hobbico still made it. It had a very nice featre of teswting batteries under load.

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:42 PM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.


[quote]ORIGINAL: dirtybird

ORIGINAL: BuschBarber


Solder or Weld, the point is that all batteries we use in our models ate handled frequently. The leads get stressed as does the wire insulation. They are exposed to vibration and temp change. Couple that with the fact that many pilots do not maintain their batteries properly and you end up, over time, with unbalanced cells, etc..

There is no reason to risk your aircraft with 3 year old batteries just to save a few bucks. Batteries are not expensive. I have seen too many crashes due to batteries that were not properly maintained.

With 2.4 systems, it is even more important to have adequate voltage.

Regarding LiPo, LithIon, and LiFe Tx and Rx batteries, many pilots are using them safely and enjoying the lower weight, shorter charge times, hold their charge for months, etc. I don't know what your fear is but it is unfounded. They are totally safe when handled and charged properly.
(quote)
Go over to RCG and read the sticky ''Lipo fires are real''
You say they are totally safe if handled and charged properly
That means:
1) remove them from where they are installed for charging.
2) watch them while charging. ( how many people do that? with say 4 that means 4 hours with 1c charging and means 4 hours unless you have an expensive charger)
3) Never discharge them more than 80%
4) Store them at room temperature. My garage gets to about 140 degrees in the summer. I have to pull them out and put them in my refrige.
5) A special balancing charger is required.
6) a special fireproof container is required for storage and for transportation.
7) The USPS will not accept them for mailing.

I just don't want to bother with all of that. I use A123's for everything now except the TX

BTW I have 8 aircraft ready to fly. Replacing batteries at $25 for each aircraft means $200.
Thats not cheap. What makes you think new batteries are better than 3yr old properly maintained batteries? Our batteries are sealed so they don't lose any chemicals unless the seal is broken. If the seal is broke or the battery is damaged I sure would replace them.





A123 are essentially the same as LiFe. They are Lithium batteries and require a Lithium charger that also supports LiPo, LithIon. I use LiFe exclusively because I do not need a voltage regulator.

I have been flying LiPo powered electrics for years and never had an issue. It is no different using them as Rx and Tx batteries. As I said, usung proper care and handling is the key. I am sure that is the key to your success with batteries.

With regards to replacing the batteries every 3 years, I was referring mainly to NiCad/NiMh, not A123, but someone like yourself, who understands proper maintainence and chatging, has a better feel for when to replace your batteries. There so many I know who do not.

Chargers like my FMA 10s are so easy to use and to determine when cells are going bad.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:08 PM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

I beleave the battery is the weakest link, so when in doubt throw it out.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:19 PM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

 Ken at my club gets the "Save a Plane Award" for this year. I charged my 4.8V, 1500mah NiMh pack just before leaving for the field which was 12 minutes away. It showed 5.6 volts on the scale. Range checked the plane. It was fine. Took off, and made one pass around the field. 25 km winds from the north. Suddenly the plane looped, once, twice ..... throttled back .... nothing .... it just go higher and further away. Yelled back to the guys behind me, "I have nothing. Any suggestions". Ten minutes later, after driting east ward higher until it was a speck, Ken managed to bring it down, and it ran out of fuel on the edge of the field, two feet in the farmer's potato crop. Do damage what so ever. The problem was the battery. It had a voltage reading of 4.3 volts. Didn't hold the charge. The  pack is maybe 2 years old.

Jim
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:49 PM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

Get yourself a decent battery charger cycler, here is a great one..http://www.rcuniverse.com/market/ite...emId=862230..I do not know the seller but for the price this is a fantastic charger that will cycle and charge your tx and rx and then trickle so you can not overcharge. Someday you will outgrow it if you move to the now old world of lipos,A123/life04. As for radios, Futaba makes great radios but I like Spektrum, lots of innexpensive rx choices for every kind of bird. Many micro choices and for larger birds power safe rx's are in my opinion downright fantastic.


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Old 08-19-2012, 06:20 AM
  #23  
yosephwhite
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

I use a peak charger (ProphetSport 4-8 Cell NiCd-NiMH AC/DC Peak Charger by Dynamite) and NiMH batteries in all my planes but I always use my Hangar 9 Digital Variable Load Voltmeter load checker on them before flight at a 1-2amp load to check for problems (if your battery has a problem it will drop off like a rock).
 These items can be bought for around $50-$75 total for both and have worked fine for my plane batteries. I also have a Triton charger but it's kind of a pain to use to charge plane batteries so I use it for myTx and Lipo batteries. One thing you need to know with the new radios is that when the planes battery drops below a certain voltage the receiver will brown out and loose link to the radio this can be intermittent at first depending on how many servos are drawing current from the pack but the receiver will just go dark pretty quickly after the first glitch. I use 5cell packs in my planes just as an added buffer between that cutoff voltage.
 As it was explaned to me wall warts just keep charging and can cook batteries where as the peak chargers top them off with out over charging them which will make them last longer. I'm not plugging the above devices they are just what has been working for me over the last 3-4 years the voltmeter is nice because I can check after a flight and before another flight easly and know if the battery is performing properly or may have an issue, and yes it has saved a plane or two from posable distruction.
 Good luck and most of all have fun!
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:12 AM
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dirtybird
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

Someone has given you bad information. If the wall wart is the one that came with the batteries it will have a 0.1 C rating. Long ago they discovered when charged at that rate a sealed cell will chemically recombine internally and the battery will not overcharge. So if you use the wall wart that came with your equipment you can leave them charging for weeks and not hurt your battery. All you would be doing is wasting electricity.
I always been suspicious about peak chargers. It seems to me that you could harm a NICD when you charge at a rate higher than 0.1C.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:13 AM
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Default RE: What Would You Do?...rx & tx question.

I would do some reading on the Hangtime Hobbies/ No BS Batteries website. There is a wealth of information avaliable there on the subject. I would find someone with a battery cycler who knows how to use it or buy one. Cycle your batteries and see where your at. You need to see at least 80% capacity on a 300 mil amp discharge right after an overnight charge to use them. It is a proven fact that Nicads over a couple of years old show a dramatic increase in failure rates. You also need to use a loaded volt meter to check your receiver battery before each flight. Good battery management is critical. If you don't know what your situation is, your already in trouble and that goes for the rest of the plane as well. The 6EX would be my choice, comes with rechargeable batteries and uses the FAAST system which is the best protocal in the industry.
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