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  1. Brahma

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    I have ten batteries and move around quite a bit. I'm having trouble coming up with a viable solution with charging in the field. I have a 4 port Venom charger at the base that I "could" take with me and buy a Honda EU2000i generator, but even the Venom takes over an hour to charge.

    Any other ideas? Buying more batteries seems ridiculous...
     
  2. 10-8

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  3. Brahma

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    The problem is that flight times at sites are way less than an hour, so the generator won't have time to charge them, unless I can figure out a way to do it enroute.
     
  4. 10-8

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    Sorry, my assumption was based on your 4 port charger, Could you not charge 4 batteries in the time to fly 2, or even 4? Even at 15min a flight?
     
  5. Brahma

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    No.
     
  6. terrence davidson

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    unfortunately I would never recommend charging batteries while on the move (by on the move actual physical movement by car from flight location to another even at short distances) due to risk that may come up mostly potential battery problems that can be severe. also depending on the distance to the flight site transporting the battery in storage mode is recommended for me that's when I go over 300 miles from home base location.
     
    #6 terrence davidson, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  7. Steve Carr

    Steve Carr Moderator
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    Hmm.......I've charged batteries on the road many times. I just put them in a metal can while charging.
    Doesn't your Venom charger have a DC input on the back to connect to the vehicle?
     
    10-8 likes this.
  8. NorWiscPilot

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    Not on the 4-port. :(

    The Two Port vertical Venom shows ac/dc. But then it is only two ports, and extra cables necessary.

    Jeff
     
  9. PatR

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    There are several ways to to handle field charging, and if charging multiple batteries at one time a portable generator is the best. You’ll have to adjust your travel schedule to suit the task.

    Something that may not be obvious even when charging just a single battery, a 1c charge rate will take close to an hour to replenish a discharged battery. Even when only partially depleted the charger will reduce the charge rate to suit the charge state of the battery so even at 1c you’re looking at close to an hour to replenish a half charged battery.

    Another factor is available amperage to supply a multi port charger. As an example, if you have a 4 port, 20A charger, that amp rating does not mean the charger will deliver 20A to each port when more than one battery is being charged. (20A was used as that is what most house circuits are provided). The available amperage will be divided up by the number of ports in use so if you are charging 4 batteries each port will be capable of delivering up to 5A for charging. Now the tricky part. If the power supply for the charger is not capable of providing a full 20A to the charger the current available to each port in use will be reduced to that which is available. Say you only had a current supply of 10A to the charger there would only be 2.5A provided to each of the 4 ports in use. Your 1C charge rate will be reduced to less than half if what is needed to charge a (example) 6000mA battery at 1C so they will take longer to charge. Bear in mind your car’s cigarette lighter or USB port is likely only a 5A circuit;). Check the size of the fuse used in the circuit or the vehicle owner’s manual to determine what the maximum amperage is. If you elect to use a generator, which is the least abusive method for your car’s electrical system, you’ll need to size it based upon the needed demand.

    Next route would be to install a power inverter in your vehicle’s charging circuit for use when the car is running. One large enough to handle a 4 port charger will be kind of pricy. You don’t want to charge a bunch of batteries with the engine off as the car’s battery can be depleted to a state where it will no longer start the car. That can happen fairly quick when trying to charge a lot if batteries.

    Another option is to carry a long (14awg minimum) extension cord to use with your charger when a wall outlet might be available. It never hurts to ask a customer if you can charge some batteries at the site if such could be done.

    Any way you go there has to be enough available current to meet the demand. If the current isn’t there the charging cycle will take longer. The more batteries we need to maintain the more we have to look at stepping up with the peripheral equipment we need to maintain them in the manner we need them handled. It can get complicated and expensive. Big aerial outfits haul trailers equipped with all they need for maintenance to sites, including custom designed charging stations. That doesn’t work for the small operator but it shows we have to plan and allow for what we need to keep on hand. It often seems that buying the aircraft is just the entry portal for a lot more spending to obtain things like effective computers, post processing programs, charges, batteries, battery storage containers, monitors, cables, SD cards, data storage devices, and all sorts of other stuff that in combination end up costing far more than the aircraft...

    I have a small 1200W two stroke generator to handle minor battery charging and a 3500W generator for use on trips where I’ll be “away” for several days. The small one is good for a two port charger but does require over an hour to get it done. Remember to adjust the time cut off in your charger to longer than 90 minutes to prevent early termination of a charge cycle.
     
    #9 PatR, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  10. NorWiscPilot

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    PatR,

    Let's dream a bit here... (my way of preemptively stealing a Prince line if I go way off base)...

    The Venom 4-port charger is a 400W output unit, 100w per port. So in theory, it is going to need to draw 400w when it has to send 100w to each of the four ports at the same time. My simple mind would think "hey, I should be able to use a 400w inverter to power this thing!" Of course, I'd go a bit higher with the inverter, say 800w - 1200w.

    Here is an alternative to the current suggestions:

    Instead of risking a long walk home if one were to drain the support vehicle's battery, get a deep cycle battery or two such as the 12 volt marine type. Everything I was taught, being on the water, is the design of a deep cycle battery allows it to be drained without hurting them (too much). Electric trolling motors use them for that very reason.

    This alternative eliminates to hassle of generators and fuel for them, along with the noise. One could also eliminate the inverters altogether by using a couple AC/DC chargers meant for this very flexibility we are talking about.

    Just some ideas I have floating around in my head!

    Jeff
     
  11. PatR

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    There are lots of ideas, it's just the one that works best for each of us that can be difficult to come up with. The one thing that forms the functional basis for all of them is the basic electrical power equation:

    DC watts to amps calculation formula
    The current I in amps (A) is equal to the power P in watts (W), divided by the voltage V in volts (V):

    I(A) = P(W) / V(V)

    So amps are equal to watts divided by volts.

    amp = watt / volt
     
  12. Brahma

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    Thanks guys. It's obvious a generator is needed.
     
  13. RichA

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    I use a deep cycle marine battery, as suggested above, and a solar panel to keep the marine battery topped up. I'm comfortable running this setup while driving between sites - all the pieces are securely mounted and the batteries are in recharge bags. Lots less expensive than a generator and all DC.
     
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  14. claudius62

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    Otherwise you have that, nice but a little bulky ..
    capture_03142018_165204.jpg
     
  15. Brahma

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    If the H480's batteries are 16.5 volts at full charge, I don't see how a deep cycle marine battery is topping them up.
     
  16. arruntus

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    The batteries of the H480 are LIPO. 4.2 volts per cell, are 4 cells therefore 16.8 volts in total. Change the batteries to the calculator ;)
     
  17. Steve Carr

    Steve Carr Moderator
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    I think most of the chargers have a DC input of 11-18 volts. Even the H charger comes with a 12v cord to use in the field. The internal power supply converts it to the voltage needed for charging.
     
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  18. Angrysnowman1

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    Have one of these and they frequently go on sale for around $650. Super quiet and more than enough power to do anything you could need as far as charging goes. Also it has electric start and both 120v AC and 12v DC.
    3500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator
     
  19. TopDown1

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    Brahma, which 4-port Venom Charger are you using with the H520 Batteries? The only solution I can find (on Amazon) explicitly states will only work with 480 Batteries.
     
  20. Brahma

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    Sorry- I have an H480, not a H520. I would be using my H480 battery inventory with the H520.