RCU Review: Eletrifly PowerMatch Power Meter with Balacer


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    Contributed by: Geoff Barber | Published: June 2012 | Views: 15341 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Electrifly PowerMatch Power Meter with Balancing



    Geoff Barber
    (G.Barber)

    Email Me



    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    www.electrifly.com

    If you fly or drive battery powered RC, you undoubtedly use batteries. While there are various types on the market, all batteries must be maintained to run at their best. Some just need a voltage check while others (LiPo and LiFe) need to be balanced to run at their peak efficiency.

    There are several products on the market that can check battery voltage or balance a multiple cell LiPo or LiFe pack. There are also lots of products to check power output of a motor/ESC/battery combination.

    Meet the PowerMatch: A power meter and balancer 3-in-1 tool. The PowerMatch can check voltage on several different styles of batteries from 4V to 30V. In addition to that, this tool can balance multiple cell LiPo and LiFe packs by discharging the high cells to match the lowest.

    But, probably the neatest function of the PowerMatch is the "Power Checker" - the meter is plugged into the ESC and battery and measures the output of the battery. This is really helpful for pilots/drivers that want to get the most performance or longest run-times out of their electric powered RC vehicles.


    • Versatile 3-in-1 tool features Power Checking, Battery Checking and Balancing Modes.
    • Displays voltage, current, power and balancing data on a large 2x16 LCD screen.
    • Perfect for matching power system components in electric models.
    • Sound cues and pushbutton controls simplify operation.

    • None as Tested

    Name:Eletrifly PowerMatch®

    Description: Power Meter with Balacer

    Price: $44.99 (acurate at time of review)

    Stock Number: GPMM3220

    SPECIFICATIONS: ElectriFly PowerMatch
    Voltage Measurement Range: 4-8 NiCd, NiMH cells
    2-7 LiPo, LiFe, Li-Ion cells
    4.0 – 30.0V absolute maximum range
    Power Checker Mode: Measure load current, battery voltage and capacity with data storage
    Battery Checker Mode: Measure individual cell and pack voltages, low and high cell voltages, gap voltage, remaining battery capacity
    Cell Balancer Mode: Discharge balances high-voltage cells to match low-voltage cells
    Lithium balancing accuracy: 10mV per cell
    Lithium balancing connection : ElectriFly® compatible, FlightPower® adapter included
    Lithium max. node current: 180mA max.
    Maximum rated current: (3 second duration) 80A
    Maximum capacity displayed: 65,000mAh (65.0Ah)
    Programming controls: 4 buttons
    Input, connectors: Deans® Ultra Plug® male connector for main input Built-in radio battery connector
    Automatic power-off: After 30 seconds of inactivity
    Output connectors: Deans® Ultra Plug® female connector
    Protection systems: Reverse polarity protection, low LiPo voltage alert with auto-shut down
    Display: 2 x 16 LCD
    Case size: 100 x 65 x 25 mm (3.9 x 2.6 x 1.0")
    Weight: 127.8 g (4.5 oz.)




    The PowerMatch is shipped in a sturdy box - no internal packing is needed due to the robust design of the tool. Along with the meter/balancer, Electrifly included a multi-port adapter and wiring harness for other batteries - more on that in a minute.



    The 2 by 16 LCD display is easy to read from most angles, and the hard plastic case is vented around the internal heat-sink. There are only three buttons on the face of the PowerMatch, making it easy to use!



    The port on the right side of the case allows direct plug-in for most standard balancing plugs, and the left side has a port for checking transmitter and receiver batteries. The main connections to the PowerMatch have Deans Ultra connectors, and the included wiring harness and adapter are plugged into the right side port for use with for FlightPower and Thunder Power batteries.


    Manual


    The included instruction manual is very well written, and has great illustrations. The manual gives you all the specifications, as well as guiding you through using the different functions of the meter/balancer.


    Download the manual (355 KB PDF)




    Batteries and Checking Voltage


    As you can see, the balancing plug is connected directly to the right port for all standard batteries. If using FlightPower or Thunder Power batteries, you must use the included adapter. Transmitter and receiver batteries are simply plugged into the right side port - Don't worry, the PowerMatch has reverse polarity protection. If you plug the battery in incorrectly, the display does not light up - simply remove the plug and re-install the correct way!

    Once the battery has been connected, the PowerMatch display comes on and gives you three options: Battery Checker, Cell Balancer, and Power checker. The Battery Checker function is for checking the remaining voltage.

    With Battery Checker showing on the display, press the Enter button to see the remaining voltage in the battery pack. At this point, you can select which type of battery you have by pushing the Mode button.

    Once the correct battery type is displayed, the PowerMatch will show you the battery type, the voltage, the percentage remaining, and a bar graph of the remaining voltage. Pushing enter again allows you the see the maximum and minimum voltage in multiple cell batteries (LiPo and LiFe) and pushing enter a third time will show you the voltage of cells 1-4. Pushing enter a fourth time, will display the remaining cells 5-7.



    Balancing Packs


    Balancing LiPo and LiFe batteries is important to keep them in their optimal condition. The PowerMatch can easily do so, through discharge balancing. With a battery plugged into the right port, press the mode button once to get Cell Balancer on the display. Pressing enter a second time, the display will tell you the condition of the battery. By pushing and holding the enter button, the PowerMatch will then balance the individual cells.




    Checking Power Output


    Checking power output is easy as well! The PowerMatch is plugged in between the battery and ESC. Power Checker should automatically come up on the display screen. Pressing the enter button will then bring up the display screen, and allow you to see how many Amps and Watts are being drawn with the aircraft/vehicle's motor running. The display will also show you how many Amp-hours have been used while performing the test, as well as the battery's current voltage. This is very useful to determine the correct prop, motor and ESC size for a given project!

    There is one other useful task performed by the PowerMatch. With the correct adapters, the Meter can be installed in-line between a charger and battery to monitor charge and discharge.




    I'm not usually one for gadgets. A lot of the time, I just charge my batteries and go fly. I use the set-up that each manufacturer recommends for their given plane. With that said, I really like the PowerMatch! Its compact size makes it easy to bring with you to the field, and keep at home on your work bench! I like having the ability to easily confirm battery voltage before a flight, as well as check the health of each cell within a LiPo or LiFe pack. I really like the PowerMatch meter/balancer - and for less than $45.00, it's a great deal too!





    Distributed by
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    www.greatplanes.com



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    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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