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developing secondary power source for st16 series controller

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past few days I been developing the ability to power the st16 series controller with multi third party power sources. first word of warning before embarking on this .1 after building it never attempt to use it in the field with out fully vetting it out yet. 2 You do so only at your own risk not responsible for your actions only you are. 3 make sure you under stand the basic electronics objectives that are required to make it work correctly.4 use a spare controllers not your primary controller for each air frame you want to use this on. 5 Big one here tape shut the micro usb port on the bottom of the yuneec controller for it will no longer be able to be used when using this project on your yuneec controller anymore.

now on to the basic setup
primary motivator for this.
after 2 melt downs with the h520e battery I had vertigo change the main power connector to first gen h520. Doing so I am secure to know I got a reliable power source for the craft. However that left me with 4 good flight batteries with out ability to use them. Also the st16e was a power hog and can only use 1 st16s/e battery for 2 flights with the 3rd pushing the st16e current power source. That and I did not have enough st16s/e batteries to cover all the flight batteries I have which is 24. I only have 10 st16s/e batteries down 2 and did not want to spend about 180 more for adding two.
knowing the flight batteries voltage range 15.4 to up to just above 17 when fully charged with the right buck converter that has constant current and constant voltage outputs that the end user can set at a specific rate. stripped one of mt st16s and st16e batteries by removing the 3 battery cells and removing the circuit board in that battery making it a dummy pass through connector. I went to ebay and sourced 2 buck converters one for use on for spare. Units obtain gave read outs of amps in and out and voltage in and out. first set the voltage on the one of buck converters to 4.2 volts output and reduced the amperage output to close to zero as possible. placed a 5 amp fuse on the flight battery side and the connected wiring up raw (no mounting frame) to the input of the converter the 15.4 to just over 17 volt side. the 4.2volt output side of the converter was wired to the dummy connector. with the amps set so low that it will not powerup the controller I slowly raised the amperage output of the buck converter up until the st16 controller booted up fully stable with out binding to the drone. ran the test where st16 controller remained on until the battery drained and need to be changed out. the controller will say it is drained before it actually is. Using the voltage reading in and out buck converter will reveal it can run much longer than what the st16 says and the controller was still fully functional. after doing 3 full flight battery runs to establish a base line up time. next there 3 more runs of full flight battery running the data pilot program until the battery need changed out to get a base line running time under that condition. after that you will need to increase the amps out slightly so you can now test it with the drone connected to the remote with out the st16 based controller restarting. once that is set you are good to go to start the next 3 test with full battery in drone no props on just sit idle and full battery in the st16 controller. power up both connect to them in data pilot and sit back and observe them as the batteries run down when the buck converter hits 15.1 volts input side it's ready for change out just before that exit data pilot and go to setting and hit battery it will give you a time reading on how long it was running record that time and repeat 2 more times. (with the h520e only) this will need to be done in this order no payload, e90x, e30zx and so on until all payloads you own have been run 3 times with times recorded on each run. after all that next test run is done out doors with props on drone. This is a grey area I have not done that part yet so I do not know what will happen so hold off for now for that part. you might have to up the amperage slightly again on the buck converter.
amps out put required
2.5 to 2.8 amps for st16s
3.5 to 3.8 amps for st16e
you can use a ac to dc 12 volt 5 amp adapter and wire it into the buck converter as well for possibly unlimited uptime for the controller I have not tested that option out yet. will give updates as soon as I do more with this.
 
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Holy Moly! Terrence, I think Yuneec needs you in their engineering and testing division! That's amazing...
(Do you speak any Chinese?)
 
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establishing the power source is the first part toward the end game. without that I can not move forward at all.
 
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update testing with 5 volt source right to controller. well well looks like the controller will work with 5 volts after all. and the buck rated 10 amps so that should cover amperage side. need to vet this further as this opens up much simpler parts and wiring.
 
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if the battery white papers are correct and what is printed on the st16s and st16e are correct. I am still in power spec for the controller
 
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vetting power source adapter with ac dc laptop power supply with 5 volt 10 amp buck converter. with e30zx the biggest amperage hog camera and obs turned on. If goes as planned this will be a unlimited power source for the st16e and st16s controllers and one of many power sources for both controllers
 
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8 hours and still running strong. buck converter luke warm not even hot at all. now device is pretty much set for flight test when the weather just right.
 
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benching first gen h520 flight battery with st16e with e30zx recording. so far controller is up running 2 hours and counting. instead of the usual two flight batteries per one st16s/e battery I am confident I can do at least 8 full flights with e30zx recording. batteries in the h520e aircraft last 15 min average with e30zx recording high settings. before changing the controller battery. had to readjust buck converter that has voltage and amp read out 's current to max setting. so far stable. the non led 5 volt 10 amp buck will be used in actual test flights do to more cool to the touch. The one being tested running warm not hot but warm.
 
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past few days I been developing the ability to power the st16 series controller with multi third party power sources. first word of warning before embarking on this .1 after building it never attempt to use it in the field with out fully vetting it out yet. 2 You do so only at your own risk not responsible for your actions only you are. 3 make sure you under stand the basic electronics objectives that are required to make it work correctly.4 use a spare controllers not your primary controller for each air frame you want to use this on.

now on to the basic setup
primary motivator for this.
after 2 melt downs with the h520e battery I had vertigo change the main power connector to first gen h520. Doing so I am secure to know I got a reliable power source for the craft. However that left me with 4 good flight batteries with out ability to use them. Also the st16e was a power hog and can only use 1 st16s/e battery for 2 flights with the 3rd pushing the st16e current power source. That and I did not have enough st16s/e batteries to cover all the flight batteries I have which is 24. I only have 10 st16s/e batteries down 2 and did not want to spend about 180 more for adding two.
knowing the flight batteries voltage range 15.4 to up to just above 17 when fully charged with the right buck converter that has constant current and constant voltage outputs that the end user can set at a specific rate. stripped one of mt st16s and st16e batteries by removing the 3 battery cells and removing the circuit board in that battery making it a dummy pass through connector. I went to ebay and sourced 2 buck converters one for use on for spare. Units obtain gave read outs of amps in and out and voltage in and out. first set the voltage on the one of buck converters to 4.2 volts output and reduced the amperage output to close to zero as possible. placed a 5 amp fuse on the flight battery side and the connected wiring up raw (no mounting frame) to the input of the converter the 15.4 to just over 17 volt side. the 4.2volt output side of the converter was wired to the dummy connector. with the amps set so low that it will not powerup the controller I slowly raised the amperage output of the buck converter up until the st16 controller booted up fully stable with out binding to the drone. ran the test where st16 controller remained on until the battery drained and need to be changed out. the controller will say it is drained before it actually is. Using the voltage reading in and out buck converter will reveal it can run much longer than what the st16 says and the controller was still fully functional. after doing 3 full flight battery runs to establish a base line up time. next there 3 more runs of full flight battery running the data pilot program until the battery need changed out to get a base line running time under that condition. after that you will need to increase the amps out slightly so you can now test it with the drone connected to the remote with out the st16 based controller restarting. once that is set you are good to go to start the next 3 test with full battery in drone no props on just sit idle and full battery in the st16 controller. power up both connect to them in data pilot and sit back and observe them as the batteries run down when the buck converter hits 15.1 volts input side it's ready for change out just before that exit data pilot and go to setting and hit battery it will give you a time reading on how long it was running record that time and repeat 2 more times. (with the h520e only) this will need to be done in this order no payload, e90x, e30zx and so on until all payloads you own have been run 3 times with times recorded on each run. after all that next test run is done out doors with props on drone. This is a grey area I have not done that part yet so I do not know what will happen so hold off for now for that part. you might have to up the amperage slightly again on the buck converter.
amps out put required
2.5 to 2.8 amps for st16s
3.5 to 3.8 amps for st16e
you can use a ac to dc 12 volt 5 amp adapter and wire it into the buck converter as well for possibly unlimited uptime for the controller I have not tested that option out yet. will give updates as soon as I do more with this.
What are you thoughts about supplying power while in use? Pushing and pulling power at the same time is usually not recommended for many devices without the correct circuitry. I have tried power bricks and the ports seem to get hot and it usually does little more than maintain the battery level.
 
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one thing with doing big missions with this watch out when recording and or photo if the controller storage fills up data pilot will crash out and the connection to drone will drop out.
 
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no do not use usb tether will not work. only way is to tear down one st16e or s battery and turn it to a dummy pass though plug. to do this you will remove the battery cells and the circuit board and leave the plug circuit board in the now empty battery case install to leads to that connector to a deans plug. on the dc buck converter connect the other deans plug on the output side of it where you get steady 5v or lower out. I am now using a dc buck that is 5v out matches the input spec written st16 controller and buck runs up to 10 amps which is the specs in the battery white papers. been doing dry runs. as soon as the weather breaks I will be doing a flight test.
 
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actually the secondary power source is replacing the primary power source with another one completely not just adding to it. you must understand rule three in the words of warnings listed above before doing this. aka know how of basic to advance electronics concepts and be able to put together the correct parts to match specs to the exact value needed for project to be successful.
 
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actually the secondary power source is replacing the primary power source with another one completely not just adding to it. you must understand rule three in the words of warnings listed above before doing this. aka know how of basic to advance electronics concepts and be able to put together the correct parts to match specs to the exact value needed for project to be successful.
So what would prevent taking the connector out of the stock battery and using a USB adapter to a power brick?
 
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current requirements to run it for one thing. no battery and just the usb in the port will cause the unit to just stall out at initial power boot.
 
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now if there is usb revision that can deliver 4 to 5 amps up to 10 amps to match st16s and st16e battery white papers and can be adapted to 2 wire main connector board on the battery which plugs into st16e or st16s then it may be possible. I do not have the parts to try that. and the micro usb port for charging will not handle the current to run the st16 controllers alone and that runs across the whole st16 family.
 
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another method possible but anti backflow protection is needed at 4 points is a usb that can do 2.5 amps per port. have 4 ports and wired them in parallel to the st16e st16s battery connector head that plugs into the st16s or st16e controller.
 
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as of right now I am confident that I opened up options for running missions of 6 to 8 flight batteries that uses flight batteries to 20 percent each which is about 15min to 20 min each battery pending payload and the st16 controller not have to change the controller battery just swap flight battery as needed and resume. now doing it another matter I have a now have lack of storage issue with the st16s and st16e. I have yet to find a away for all the data to be recorded right to a micro sd card that would be inserted. the sd card would be mounted as d drive like secondary hard disk to a computer and then routing all incoming data to that larger space. or when yuneec enable windows version of data pilot for the h520e to sync with the controller setup a option to record right to said laptop.
 
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the 6 to 8 flight batteries are running off a st16s or st16e using a h480 to h520 flight battery as power source to the st16s or st16e controller. use a ac power source that is adapter to 12volt dc with this project and the only limit to the mission size is how many flight batteries you own that are charged and ready to go. I have not tried a 12 volt of the following golf cart. atv or big deep cycled rv battery yet. that's going to be fun.
 
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if you run from a usb perspective you will have more wires than what is needed with method I am using. also more points of possible failures to protect against.
 
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order the last part auto low voltage cutoff circuit. been manually observing the voltage and cutting it off at 15.1 volts. which is enough runtime for up 8 full flights at 20 min each or 6 full flights at 25 min each. with power to spare. which is 50 percent storage level with the h520 flight battery.
 
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