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Battery Life - Real-time meter

Old 10-24-2007, 05:48 PM
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SackOHammers
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Default Battery Life - Real-time meter

I'm just sort of starting out in this hobby... still flying my SuperCub.

I have a question... it seems something like this would be completely feasible, and maybe something already exists... especially with all of the advances in radios these days.

What about getting feedback to your transmitter about battery life on your ship while it is airborn? This would involve a small circuit on the plane that is monitoring the voltage and/or current on the battery and transmitting that information back to the radio. Seems like these computer radios have big LCD screens... they should be able to display an extra number or two. Sure, it would also take up a channel. But also, I realize that communication now is one-way only. Your handheld is a transmitter while you have a receiver in the plane. With the way improvements are moving in this hobby.... what would it take to start getting some feedback from your plane to your hands? Even things like telemetry, atmospheric conditions, etc. might be possible. But honestly... I'm just thinking it would be nice to know, for sure, how much battery you've got left.... or how much gas you've got left in your petrol tank.

Is there anything like that out there already? Or should I get my lawyers to pen up a contract real quick for the TX/RX manufacturers out there?
Old 10-25-2007, 09:02 AM
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Hatty
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Default RE: Battery Life - Real-time meter

I don't know of anything like that out there, but it is a good idea for those who aren't experienced enough to feel when the battery is about dead, or for those who do aerobatics and want to know if they have enough power to perform moves. I wouldn't mind having something like that, as long as the circuit is small and light weight.

That said, I can go ahead and tell you that this circuit would most likely have to be made by the manufacturer of the battery you use and not from your radio supplier. This is because each battery curve is different, even within the same battery chemistry. Also, the software analyzing the battery would produce results that are only estimations. There is not a 100% way (that I know of) of determining battery capacity because the voltage of a pack varies greatly with the amount of current you are pulling, how old the pack is and how well it has been treated over the years. Basically what I'm getting at is it would be very difficult to do this.

Actually, if you come up with, or know someone who comes up with a circuit that can accurately monitor the voltage of a battery pack, then please let me know, because I have a project that would love to have something like that.
Old 10-25-2007, 05:20 PM
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Default RE: Battery Life - Real-time meter

[link=http://www.eagletreesystems.com/Plane/plane.html]Real-time in-flight telemetry for R/C aircraft is currently available from Eagle Tree.[/link] The data don't appear on your transmitter display, however. That might be a worthwhile innovation.

- Jeff
Old 10-26-2007, 04:02 AM
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Red B.
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Default RE: Battery Life - Real-time meter

ORIGINAL: Hatty
Actually, if you come up with, or know someone who comes up with a circuit that can accurately monitor the voltage of a battery pack, then please let me know, because I have a project that would love to have something like that.
It is in the pipe-line. [link=http://www.graupner.de/en/freie-artikel/graupner-ifs-das-24-ghz-system-von-graupner.html]Graupner[/link] have the following on their web-site presentation of their 2.4 GHz Tx/Rx radio sets :

"Telemetry unit (in preparation)
The transmitter module features a socket for a separate telemetry display, consisting of a large, backlit, four-line LCD screen with twenty characters per line. The unit is simply attached to the existing aerial socket. Airborne sensors in your model are connected to the Graupner IFS receiver, and provide real-time information about the current status of your model. Up to 256 different sensors can be connected and addressed simultaneously via the telemetry module. The standard module displays battery voltage, temperature in the model and altitude. Additional sensors such as airspeed, various temperature indicators (exhaust gas temperature, battery temperature, …) and many other functions will be available in due course. The pilot or operator receives audio feedback via an integral headphone socket. The telemetry unit is able to emit alarm sounds and / or human speech output if a particular event occurs (insufficient speed, insufficient height, low battery voltage …)."

At first it appears that it will function much like the Eagle Tree system, but using the Tx/Rx radio link for transmitting telemetry data. I would expect that eventually the display will be an an integrated part of the Tx.

While waiting for this I will continue to use my ACT receivers that have a data-logging feature (signal strength and battery voltage). After a flight I can use my PDA to read out the data using a wireless IR-interface.
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Old 10-29-2007, 11:44 AM
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Default RE: Battery Life - Real-time meter

Good stuff, thanks for the replies.

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