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Of Batteries and the Typhoon H

PatR

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As many are aware, the Typhoon H battery supply appears to be drying up. Either there are few to be found or their apparent age (bases on case labels) is long in the tooth. I have embarked on a battery research project to develop the means to adapt after market batteries for use in the Typhoon H. Once the research is completed I'll start another thread to show how to do it but until then there are some considerations that are sort of important that I'd like to see H owners kick around a bit. This thread is for discussing those considerations. Ya'll should view each paragraph as a series of questions but formatted more like data points. I'd really like to know what ya'll think. I may not make use of any of it but, I'm certain to be influenced by some of it. It's a little more complicated that it might first appear and I know darn well that whatever I put out there is going to be criticized to death. That's OK as the general principle is adaptive.

The Typhoon H has a few design factors that have to be considered, along with cosmetics that will be more important for some people than others. The Typhoon H hard case battery is designed to fit a specific dimension within the aircraft, with the battery bay a plastic fixed box structure under the airframe. So whatever battery is used it has to fit the width and height of the battery box. However, we have a battery bay length of 132-133mm that can either be adhered to or exceeded. This is where primary considerations come into play as batteries vary considerably in length and weight. Do we consider longer batteries that will protrude aft of the H body or might only batteries that fit completely within the bay be the only consideration? If electing to use only batteries that will be concealed within the aircraft are selected the number of batteries that could be used decreases significantly.

Battery weights obviously vary considerably, with battery weight variably induced by C rating, mA ratings, manufacturing processes, and quality levels. Using 6 factory batteries as weight samples, the Typhoon H battery has an average weight of 571.26 grams. The weight spread between the 6 sample batteries ranged from 565.1g to 575.7g. The case by itself weighs 42 grams, +/- 5 grams. Just for general info purposes, the UltraX batteries average 565 grams using only two to obtain that average. That takes us to alternative battery weights. After a full day of research I've come up with 11 different batteries that "could" be used in the existing Typhoon H battery bay, but lengths, C ratings, weights, and mA capacities vary considerably. Surprisingly, a dimensionally smaller battery will not necessarily lighter than a dimensionally larger battery. The same applies to lower versus higher mA capacities.

The most common battery capacity available runs between 5000 and 5200mA. Although Yuneec labels their factory battery as 5200mA I don't believe that for a second. Without going into detail there are several factors that strongly suggest it is a 6300mA battery so selecting a 5000mA to 5200mA battery would, IMHO, leave everyone with a lot less flight time than they currently experience. As there is considerable expense with buying and trying a bunch of different capacities my mission statement for this endeavor will only make use of just one battery brand, in one size, and one capacity. I just don't foresee people contributing funds to expand the battery sample base. As things stand, the highest capacity battery I've found that will reasonably fit the battery bay is a 6800mA RC car battery that weighs 594 grams (a gain of 18.3g over the heaviest sample stock battery) with a length of 138mm, or 6mm (0.23") greater in length than a stock Typhoon H battery. Other options weigh up to 619 grams with lengths as great as 168mm, which would leave 1.42" of battery extending to the rear of the aircraft body. There are of course larger batteries but the weights rise accordingly and generate questions related to effects on CG, aircraft stability, and increased power demands that would significantly offset increases in capacity.

Now we come to battery structure. Those that are only accustomed to proprietary batteries are used to having a hard shell case. Although that does make battery handling and protection simpler it is not the lipo battery industry standard. Soft wrappers are more the norm. A hard case adds battery weight and increases battery dimensions. Do operators have the ability to adapt to a battery structure different from what they are accustomed to? Can they alter their battery handling practices to allow safe handling of their batteries? Will they tolerate a battery security method that will require a little more personal effort and be a lot more visible on the exterior of the aircraft? Just how important are cosmetics?

Finally we come to price. How much will people be willing to pay for an alternative battery? Using 11 battery candidates the price range for an alternative battery runs from $32.81 to $149.00. There is one that costs over $200.00 but I don't see anyone going there unless they are procuring for a government agency. The $32.81 candidate is a 20C, 5000mA battery and in all probability not a good choice. The cheapest, but not a good idea. The $149.00 candidate is an 80C (waaaay more than we need) 6800mA, hard cased RC car battery. Unfortunately, the battery manufactures appear to be gravitating towards high C ratings. We don't need much if anything over 15C-20C but most of the batteries out there are in the 40C-80C range, costing us more in money and useless weight.

Something else to consider is that battery manufacturers are constantly introducing new batteries of various capacities and dimensions all the time. They are also constantly phasing out batteries of various capacities and dimensions, so whatever battery I land on may not be available next week, next month, or next year. Because of that the method of adaptation has to maintain the flexibility necessary to cross over to other batteries as they come and go.

So, your thoughts and comments:cool:
 
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Pat,

Thanks for your efforts & starting this thread. I for one am waiting with bated breath. I'm a newbie with the Typhoon H. I got it 10 days ago, but I first got into the hobby back in '12 (before the first Phantom started a massive surge in "drone" tech). Back then we just bought batteries & strapped them down with velcro like the racers do. I got caught up in life & fell out of the hobby, but the Typhoon H just dragged me back in. I would say I'd do anything to keep it flying (this thing is a blast) & could care less what it looked like. Let them hang out the back... at least it's in the air. Curious to know if you've seen this video on YouTube?
 
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PatR

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I have and admire the method but that's an awful lot of battery and I have concerns with it's overall impact on system performance. It would need a lot of long term test data to convince me it is not detrimental to the flight controller and ESC's. For batteries close to the factory battery dimensions and weight I think it's an ideal solution.
 
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How about putting new cells in the proprietary case?
 

Steve Carr

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How about putting new cells in the proprietary case?
That has been done....sort of.....A few people have removed the old cells and connection board and have fitted the case with new connectors to accommodate an aftermarket battery.
 

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Since the dimensions are the same, there are a lot of Plus pilots that would be likely, very interested in a lower cost battery.
 

PatR

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How about putting new cells in the proprietary case?

Grumpy,

There’s a lot of soldering required in replacing the battery in a Yuneec case. Very few would be capable of doing it correctly, and mistakes would end up costing the aircraft or burning down the shop.

That doesn’t factor in reusing the case after separating the two sides as they don’t like to separate cleanly without using heat to soften the adhesive on the lapped joint. The application of heat using a heat gun is a very subjective process, as is separating the case without introducing deformities. You don’t know you applied too much heat until it’s too late and the possibility of battery thermal runaway presents itself. Heat applied directly to lipo’s is dangerous.

I don’t recall if I captured pictures of the PC boards inside the case prior to separating them. If I did I’ll post one or two of them later for visual reference.

One of the principles of this undertaking is in developing a process that most with decent soldering skills can undertake with minimum risk and very low cost. it will be presented with two goals in mind, a best way and an easier way. Only those with excellent soldering skills would be qualified to utilize the best way. Because of that the best method will have minimal explanation as those with the skills will immediately understand how to do it. None of it has any intent with teaching people how to use tools. They already do or they should have someone else do it.

I’m not very good at holding hands[emoji6]
 
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Grumpy,

There’s a lot of soldering required in replacing the battery in a Yuneec case. Very few would be capable of doing it correctly, and mistakes would end up costing the aircraft or burning down the shop.

That doesn’t factor in reusing the case after separating the two sides as they don’t like to separate cleanly without using heat to soften the adhesive on the lapped joint. The application of heat using a heat gun is a very subjective process. You don’t know you applied too much heat until it’s too late and the possibility of battery thermal runaway presents itself. Heat applied directly to lipo’s is dangerous.

I don’t recall if I captured pictures of the PC boards inside the case prior to separating them. If I did I’ll post one or two of them later for visual reference.

One of the principles of my undertaking is in developing a process that most with decent soldering skills can undertake with minimum risk. it will be presented with two goals in mind, a best way and an easier way. Only those with excellent soldering skills would be qualified to utilize the best way. Because of that the best method will have minimal explanation as those with the skills will immediately understand how to do it.
Bring it on. I've been soldering for 50 years. I've got a handle on it.
 

PatR

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Since the dimensions are the same, there are a lot of Plus pilots that would be likely, very interested in a lower cost battery.

Bear in mind the lower cost batteries fall mostly in the 5000-5200mA range so flight time would would be penalized. Recognizing the two most common complaints revolve around battery cost and flight time the concept of an alternative battery ends up FUBAR if either cost or flight time does not benefit. One has to outshine the other. It’s one of those situations we can improve on one or the other, but not both.
 
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If I remember the Plus batteries are running $179, so even a $100 - $120 battery would be a savings... and Plus owners using H batteries will already be familiar with the approximate reduction in flight time.
 

Phaedrus

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I think you are on the right track with the lower C rated packs. The stock battery is very low C, I've seen it quoted at 4C. I've tracked my usage and calculated an average load of around 20 amps. A 6,000 mAh pack at even 20C will handle a continuous load of 120 amps without any serious voltage depression. More C rating is just more weight with no net benefit.

Pattern planes we generally run 25C to 35C and can pull close to 100 amps on long uplines. We use 5,000 mAh packs running in a 5S2P (42 volt) arrangement.

IF batteries ever become an issue for my H+ I will likely pop the top and solder in a wire with a plug that connects outside the shell. Easy and simple. Folks need to keep in mind that the H+ cells are LiHV with a full charge voltage of 4.35 volts per cell as opposed to the H which are regular lipos that top out at 4.2 volts per cell.
 
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Yes the voltage differences exist, but the H batteries can be used in the H Plus, so in theory so could any H battery replacement. At this point I'll concede the issue, as I did not intend this thread to get off track.
 
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PatR

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For the purpose of this discussion, consider the stock battery case a casualty of war and dispensed with, along with the latch mechanism. Too many have failed to use that correctly anyway.
 
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Grumpy,

There’s a lot of soldering required in replacing the battery in a Yuneec case. Very few would be capable of doing it correctly, and mistakes would end up costing the aircraft or burning down the shop.

That doesn’t factor in reusing the case after separating the two sides as they don’t like to separate cleanly without using heat to soften the adhesive on the lapped joint. The application of heat using a heat gun is a very subjective process, as is separating the case without introducing deformities. You don’t know you applied too much heat until it’s too late and the possibility of battery thermal runaway presents itself. Heat applied directly to lipo’s is dangerous.

I don’t recall if I captured pictures of the PC boards inside the case prior to separating them. If I did I’ll post one or two of them later for visual reference.

One of the principles of this undertaking is in developing a process that most with decent soldering skills can undertake with minimum risk and very low cost. it will be presented with two goals in mind, a best way and an easier way. Only those with excellent soldering skills would be qualified to utilize the best way. Because of that the best method will have minimal explanation as those with the skills will immediately understand how to do it. None of it has any intent with teaching people how to use tools. They already do or they should have someone else do it.

I’m not very good at holding hands[emoji6]

Y'all are way smarter than I am so I'll fall in that "have someone else do it" category. Whether that monster 8000mah battery was used, or not, I liked that concept of a plug-n-play adapter that a regular lipo could slip into. Too bad that ebay link is old. It'd be great to get one to try out.
 
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6500 mAh battery.
135 x 44 x 29
11.1v 30C
Brand ZOP Power
from banggood.com
Weight not sure but less than OEM Yuneec battery.

Best of luck.
 
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There are a few guys on here intelligent enough to make these battery’s...... probably better than the oem. If someone pulled it off they would have a small fortune
 
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