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Newbie to Electric Pattern

Old 01-29-2012, 10:30 AM
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dakoris73
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Default Newbie to Electric Pattern

Hello everyone;

I'm new to the Electric Pattern scene, and flew a couple competitions last year with a 46 Glow size plane. I'm now in the process of getting a newer pattern plane to fly with this year, and its an electric setup. So, I have a few items of curiousity about this, and who else to ask but the folks who actually fly and use electric??? The plane I'm acquiring is an older Focus, which will use a 10s battery setup, or so I've been told and I will be flying the Sportsman and possibily Intermediate sequences this year. Therefore, I looking for opinions on the following:

- Charger setup: I am going to need to upgrade to one that can handle 10s or 12s packs, so What chargers would you recommend to consider, and where would I find them? I've seen a few CellPro chargers out at the fields at a competition I was at, but not sure where to get one. Also, will I need to get a separate power supply / generator for this setup?

- Batteries: Apparently I'm gonna have to get used to working with 2 5s packs in series, but what brands would you recommend? On my smaller electrics, I've been using the skypoly lipo's, but have heard some iffy info about the larger packs.

As far as cost goes for these, I'm hoping to stay under about the $600 mark for at least 2 chargers and 3 sets of batteries, but is also flexible depending on what I find out from you folks...... Hopefully this all makes sense.....

Thank you for all your opinions and looking forward to another fun year in Pattern Flying.

Mikey
Old 01-29-2012, 10:47 AM
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Gulliver
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

You can get the Cellpro her - [link=http://www.revolectrix.com/]Cellpro[/link]
Old 01-29-2012, 11:40 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Hobby partz sky lipos 20C work great.

Chuck
Old 01-31-2012, 06:35 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Mikey

I note you say you are going to buy "at least two chargers and three sets of batteries". Why? one charger is all you need to start with and you will get by on two battery packs. You will need a 12volt power supply to use your cellpro off the mains and a heavy duty battery for field charging, The cellpro will charge your 5S packs at 2C in 30 minutes and if you leave home with your two packs charged you can have 6 flights in a three hour period which I find is enough for me.

John
Old 01-31-2012, 04:33 PM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

I use the iCharger 1010. I have 2 of them, but if you already have a smaller charger you probably can get away with one. It's nice to have a separate charger for your radio/Rx batteries at the contest field.

If you're going to fly at contests, you will want at least 3 battery packs (battery 'pack' meaning a 10S set). Some days we fly 4 rounds in one day, and I don't know about the upper classes but it always seems that Sportsman and Intermediate often have back-to-back rounds. Need to have 2 packs ready for flight if one is on the charger.

5 packs is over-kill. I generally use 3 packs, but will use 4 on contest weekends.

With 4 packs, you can fly a contest without needing to charge at the field, but you won't get any warmup if there are 4 flights that day. You can charge one pack off your car battery.

I have 5 packs. As I said, it's over-kill, at least for me. I don't fly 10 rounds in a day any more, usually 4-6. One of my packs is pretty heavy and the power sucks, so I use 4/5. I often think I'll fly more than 4 rounds in a day, but many times that doesn't happen. On a long, fun day, I'll fly the 4 and recharge 2, for 6 rounds.

I LOVE the Rhino packs (Hobbycity.com) but they are getting harder to find in the sizes/capacities I want. You should be able to get away with 4000mah packs and keep weight down. It's about 300g savings dropping from 5000 to 4000 (I just did

Zippy packs are really cheap, not the best performing out of my bunch, but very acceptable. If I didn't have to pay over $1000/mo in student loans, I'd buy 4 packs from F3AUnlimited.com as they are light and good performing packs. But, I'm on a tight-ish budget and fly Zippy and Blue Lipo (Hobbypartz.com, very light).

These cheap Chinese packs are coming out to about $80-$90 per pack (10s).

I have a 12V power converter - the Iota 55 (55A). I made a charge box and mounted my chargers and power supply. It plugs into the wall, and plugs into the electric outlets at the field I fly at. The power chord is on a quick-disconnect, so I can bypass the 12V converter and plug my setup into a 12V battery if need be.

Ideally I'd have a Honda 1000W generator, but one of these lottery tickets needs to pay off first.

Long story short, 3 packs at $90 ea and a charger at about $110 should run you about $400. I think 4 is a nice number though, so under $500.
Old 02-03-2012, 05:32 AM
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dakoris73
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Thank you for your comments so far. The reason I was looking for 2 chargers is that I could have two batteries charging in case I needed them during a competition event. that also explains the desire for having 3 battery packs, or so I've been told.

I'm still open to any and all ideas regarding electric flight and pattern flying. I'm getting really excited about this upcoming year, and hoping that my flight performances will improve this upcoming season. Please keep your comments coming as I'm sure there are others who may be wondering the same things as well.

Thanks again, and looking forward to hearing and learning more about the various setup options for battery charging.

Mikey
Old 02-03-2012, 06:13 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

I have the dual charger (cellPro 10s) and dual power supply setup for the exact reason you mentioned: redundancy. It actually helped me once when the bearing on of the vent fans becomes bad to avoid a total down-time.

What plane do you plan to acquire or already acquired? The combination of the plane and the motor determines the choice of batteries.
Old 02-03-2012, 06:27 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern


ORIGINAL: dakoris73


Thanks again, and looking forward to hearing and learning more about the various setup options for battery charging.

Mikey
I spent the last half of last year getting back into the hobby after a 10 year absence, flying my first electric (WInd 110), and practicing the Sportsman pattern. I expectsessions spent practicing to beat least10 times that of actually competing. Therefore, I oriented my battery/charging requirementsto facilitatehow Ispend most ofmy time. I like to practice in intervals similar to the way a runnerpractices for a race. Relatively short, focused, intense sessions. That means Ifly, rest, fly, rest, etc., and the rest periods are fixed, not variable. I started off with three flight packs and found I preferedto get in at least a 4th flight, andamax5 flights for a practice session. Iroutinely fly 8 minute flights. I don't like charging at the field. So after a half season of using 3 packs, I opted for 5. I place priority on what Ineed for practicing the way I like to practice. The contest scenario is therefore the exception.

I also opted for the Powerlab 8 charger because of its parallel charging capability. I can charge 3 flights packs at 1C in less than an hour. I do all my charging at home although Ido carry the Powerlab with me to the field. There is now a less expensive PowerLab 6.

Lots of options but I strongly suggest that you not skimp on your charger. You can always offset the charger investment by making an initial purchase ofless expensive batteries or a small number of batteries. Over time you can build up tothe level of packs that suits your practice and competition style/priorities.
Old 02-03-2012, 07:05 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern


ORIGINAL: dakoris73

Hello everyone;

I'm new to the Electric Pattern scene, and flew a couple competitions last year with a 46 Glow size plane. I'm now in the process of getting a newer pattern plane to fly with this year, and its an electric setup. So, I have a few items of curiousity about this, and who else to ask but the folks who actually fly and use electric??? The plane I'm acquiring is an older Focus, which will use a 10s battery setup, or so I've been told and I will be flying the Sportsman and possibily Intermediate sequences this year. Therefore, I looking for opinions on the following:

- Charger setup: I am going to need to upgrade to one that can handle 10s or 12s packs, so What chargers would you recommend to consider, and where would I find them? I've seen a few CellPro chargers out at the fields at a competition I was at, but not sure where to get one. Also, will I need to get a separate power supply / generator for this setup?

- Batteries: Apparently I'm gonna have to get used to working with 2 5s packs in series, but what brands would you recommend? On my smaller electrics, I've been using the skypoly lipo's, but have heard some iffy info about the larger packs.

As far as cost goes for these, I'm hoping to stay under about the $600 mark for at least 2 chargers and 3 sets of batteries, but is also flexible depending on what I find out from you folks...... Hopefully this all makes sense.....

Thank you for all your opinions and looking forward to another fun year in Pattern Flying.

Mikey
Mikey,
Are you sure you need a 10S pack? The 2M wide bodies use those packs and the Focus is smaller than that. Obviously, it depends on what motor you are using but you may be able to use 8S packs instead. This will save you a great deal of weight. In pattern, you cannot use 12S packs at all. We are limited to the voltage that can be supplied to the aircraft motor. The largest you can run is a 10S. The Cellpro charger is wonderful. I have both the Cellpro 10S and the 10XP. The XP will charge many different chemistries and also discharge a full pack (you don't want to leave them sitting fully charged for more than a week or so. Chris Moon at F3AUnlimited.com has the chargers. If you use the SkyLipo's, you will need the KO/GP boards for them. The other boards are for Thunderpower and PolyQuest connectors (labeled TP/PQ). Those are sold seperately but usually on Chris' site, you can find package deals that'll fit your needs. If you go with the Cellpro, I'd definitely recommend buying the PC connector. It allows you to easily program the charger with presets and the sort. It's really inexpensive. You don't have to have it but it sure makes it quick and easy. Good luck!

Scott

Old 02-10-2012, 01:33 AM
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dakoris73
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Thank you guys for all your information and assistance with your comments.

I've just acquired an older Focus pattern plane, and with the weight of the Focus frame, I'm pretty sure that I will need to be running a 10S setup for this plane. The motor that I was given with this plane is a Tacon 160 (http://www.hobbypartz.com/96m608-big...335-245kv.html), but after doing some research on this, I'm not too sure this will actually pull this plane successfully enough for the Sportsman and Intermediate Pattern levels. I've also noticed that I will also need to complete the electric conversion from a nitro setup to an electric setup, which should be a "fun" undertaking. Any thoughts on how to make this "easier"???????

I'm still debating on what charger options are available or used out in the field. Due to my recently limited budget, I am looking for a solid, reliable charger to get me through at least 2-3 seasons at least.

Thanks again, and any info you can offer would be very gratefully appreciated.

Mikey
Old 03-15-2012, 06:11 PM
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dakoris73
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Hey Guys;
Its me again, and I'm looking at what chargers were available and am leaning more to the CellPro10 charger. On the F3A unlimited website, I'm seeing that there appears to be a new charger, the CellPro10XP. So now, I'm wondering if anyone is using this new charger and your thoughts on this. I know the CellPro10S has been a great charger for everyone, and wondering if getting the 10XP would be as good as the 10S.

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions and comments.

Mikey
Old 03-16-2012, 09:00 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

I too, am a newbie to electric after several years of flying glow. All of my information has come long distance; I’m about the only serious pattern flyer in Minnesota. The best advice I can give beyond what you’re already doing; trolling on the internet; is to find someone with a system that works and copy it. That way you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Check out the Prolog thread in the Electric Pattern forum. The guy that started it is from Omaha also. He has been flying electric for a few years so he has a good idea of setups and equipment, and he is a good flyer. See what he uses and how he uses it. Ask about sources; ask about his satisfaction level with his choices and methods; given the opportunity would he make the same choices, etc. Take notes and pictures. I had the advantage of knowing I was going to do that for this year so I was gathering information from mid-summer on, but with a person or more in your area already flying electric pattern you can you can get up to speed faster than I could. I know this person picked the brains of some fairly well established experts on his way to the change.

My setup (without having done much more to this point than still finishing up the plane build but have the equipment in hand):

Power Supply for the charger – surplus Dell server power supply “converted” to run without the server. Why? Because it was a lot cheaper: $22 shipped instead of quite a bit more for an off the shelf supply. It was also fun to work on. Originally I was planning to get one of the Iota 50 amp supplies from f3a-unlimited but a guy I talked to at a contest late last fall was doing it and I went with it too. I see f3a-unlimited has a different supply now that costs less than what I remember the Iota’s did. If Chris is selling it, he is likely to be using it, too.

Charger: CellPro10XP; I was going to get the CellPro10S but they replaced it with the 10XP; panic time…! Besides the endorsement of seeing numerous 10S’s in use the idea that the 10XP could handle NiCd’s and NiMH as well appealed to me. I still will have Transmitter and other batteries to take care of.

Motor Batteries: the rhinos referenced in places; 5S 4900 mah; cheaper, heavier…but not bad, I have seen a lot of people using them. I got enough for four sets. If a pre-contest flight occurs on Saturday, that pack should have time to be charged before it is needed for the fourth round. My own personal schedule rarely has time for more than four practice flights in a session.

ESC: Ice 80 HV from Castle based on the group I am copying

Motor: go with whatever your mentor is using, he can help with setting it up, maintaining it, what props to use, etc.

Hope this helps. I expect to be in Omaha for the pattern contest in August electric or not. It would be good to meet you then if not before.

Throw your questions out there; they will get answered!

Good Luck! Tom
Old 03-16-2012, 09:09 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern


ORIGINAL: dakoris73

Hey Guys;
Its me again, and I'm looking at what chargers were available and am leaning more to the CellPro10 charger. On the F3A unlimited website, I'm seeing that there appears to be a new charger, the CellPro10XP. So now, I'm wondering if anyone is using this new charger and your thoughts on this. I know the CellPro10S has been a great charger for everyone, and wondering if getting the 10XP would be as good as the 10S.

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions and comments.

Mikey
I have 2 of the 10XP chargers and they are working great. I'm using a Meanwell 1000-watt (43A/24v) PS which powers them simultaneously to charge 2 10S packs (2 x 5S in series, actually) @ 2C. It can also charge just about any other battery chemistry in use today and is highly customizable with the USB link and downloadable software.
Old 03-16-2012, 11:25 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

10XP can provide extra charging capability (e.g, at 2C instead of 1C) than 10S. At 2C charging rate, you could complete the charging in half amount of the time than 1C. But the packs have to be rated at 2C or more. Considering the trend with which the new packs can take be charged, it is a good idea to go with 10XP.

I would also recommend build some redundancy into your equipment: two chargers, two power supplies, etc. to minimize down-time.
Old 03-16-2012, 11:33 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Agreed very handy in this regard. Actually charges up to 3C Auto, but also manually selectable up to 15 amps in 0.1-amp increments.

Right now I am charging a 2S LiIon 2600mAh which I use as a Tx battery. Also charges LiFe, NiCd, NiMH, A123, lead acid, etc.

I have a 75-amp 13.8v PS in the attic if all else fails.
Old 03-18-2012, 07:17 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Hi,

I use Hyperion EOS 0720i Super DUO3 charger. I use 6S LiPo packs (for my Sebart Wind S 50E) and I can charge two packs at the same time with this charger,at the fieldI use 80 Ah marine battery as source. At home I have the charger connected to a power supply.

/Bo
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:11 AM
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dakoris73
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Thank you all for your great and insightful comments. Its sure nice to see how helpful everyone's been regarding all my newbie questions. with that in mind, I am going ahead with the purchase of the CellPro 10xp as suggested by you folks, and now to find a good power supply to power this with. Being on a limited budget, I kinda have to buy things one at a time, so I figure I will start with one charger and power supply for now, and then get a second charger when money is more available for this.

tggilkey - I have been following the PROLOG thread very intently, and I also know Robert who is doing that thread, and he has been a great help for bouncing ideas and opinions around with. I do like to get other folks opinions just in case so that I have a good, well rounded idea of things....... hehehehehehhehehehehe

I see you mentioned using a Computer Server power supply, and I'm a bit intrigued by this. Is there documentation or instructions out there somehow showing how to set this up? As luck would have it, I happen to have several desktop power supplies and a couple server power supplies available, and could save a few bucks with using one of these instead. How challenging would it be to create / modify one of these to work with a pair of CellPro 10xp chargers adequately while charging at either a 1C or 2C charge rate for 2 pair of 10s 4900 mAh lipo packs?

Thanks again, and I'm so looking forward to another exciting year in Pattern Competitions.

Mikey
Old 03-20-2012, 03:04 PM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Look in the batteries and chargers section on RCG. It isn't hard to convert them even to run them in series for 24v. Take your time read all the threads you are poking around some high voltage stuff but it us not impossible.

Old 03-21-2012, 05:49 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Mikey

I sent you an email summarizing a bunch of stuff gathered from various places. Holler if you need more!

Tom
Old 03-23-2012, 01:41 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

tggilkey - Thank you very much for your email. I have been reading through this to see if its something I can do.

I do have another question for you guys: What battery packs is anyone using? I was looking for a 10s Lipo setup (2 x 5s lipo packs) and the various brands and pricing makes things really interesting. can those of you are using the Rhino, Zippy, or turnigy packs put your opinion of these packs for those of us who are still new and learning about this whole new world?

In particular, I was seeing that Hobbypartz was offering the Turnigy 5s 25c 5000mAh lipo packs are listed at $49.00/pack,(http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...arehouse_.html) and the Rhino 5s 20c 4900 mAh lipo packs for $64.95/pack (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idproduct=7654). With these prices, its making the jump to electric a bit more affordable these days.....

Thanks,
Mikey
Old 03-23-2012, 05:38 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern


ORIGINAL: dakoris73

tggilkey - Thank you very much for your email. I have been reading through this to see if its something I can do.

I do have another question for you guys: What battery packs is anyone using? I was looking for a 10s Lipo setup (2 x 5s lipo packs) and the various brands and pricing makes things really interesting. can those of you are using the Rhino, Zippy, or turnigy packs put your opinion of these packs for those of us who are still new and learning about this whole new world?

In particular, I was seeing that Hobbypartz was offering the Turnigy 5s 25c 5000mAh lipo packs are listed at $49.00/pack,(http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...arehouse_.html) and the Rhino 5s 20c 4900 mAh lipo packs for $64.95/pack (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idproduct=7654). With these prices, its making the jump to electric a bit more affordable these days.....

Thanks,
Mikey
Mikey,
HobbyPartz sells the "Sky Lipo" packs. If you are on a budget, these packs are tremendous. I have 2 sets of 10S packs (2x5S in series) of the 4400mah packs. They weigh 1140g per 10S and last through the pattern without coming close to the 20% cut off. I'm actually tracking flights on these packs to get a $/flight figure vs. the more expensive packs and so far, it's a good deal. Each 5S pack is around $40 and HobbyPartz is here in the USA. Nothing wrong with the HobbyKing stuff at all but this is yet another good option. If it is in your budget, have a look at Chris' batteries on F3A Unlimited. Chris supports pattern like no other. Any time I can, I support him.

Old 03-23-2012, 10:06 PM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

Ifyou choose to go with hobby city take the Rhino's. Scott's suggestions are very good though.

Volkert
Old 03-24-2012, 07:50 AM
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Default RE: Newbie to Electric Pattern

+1 for the HobbyPartz [link=http://www.hobbypartz.com/77p-sl4400-5s1p-40c-5555.html]Sky Lipo 4400 40C[/link] packs. Best value yet, IMHO.

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