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Old 02-22-2013, 01:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default FAQ - Powerlab Quick Start Guide

I put this short list together to answer some of the common questions new owners have.

Quick Start Guide
There a quick start guide called the "Quick Reference" to get you up and running quickly. This is in the manual page 7.

Increase the supply limit
The default supply limit is set to 25 amps so you don't overload and burn up an under powered, power supply. Because the Powerlab will pull the full 40 amps, there is real potential to damage a power supply that is not capable and does not have built in protection. You can quickly change the default setting if you have the USB connection and the Powerlab software. You can also change it from the console. See the Smart Power Management section starting page 9.

The "Supply Low Voltage" limit used to throttle back the charge rate if the supply voltage drops below the set value. Many supplies already have this protection built-in. If this value is set to high, the charger will start limiting current inappropriately. For most supplies, changing the default is not necessary and may result in lower charge rates.


Change Wiring Mode
The Powerlab arrives in the FMA wiring mode. This mode is compatible with all the FMA balance adapters for the Powerlab6 and Powerlab8. However, to use the Revolectrix MPA (Multi-port Adapter) or the SPA (Single Port Safe Parallel Adapter), or any other parallel board, the wiring mode will needs to changed to JST-XH/EH. Like the supply limit, using the Powerlab software is the easiest method to change this setting. But it can also be changed in on the console of the unit. Step by step instructions on page 60 in the manual. Also covered in this post along with an image where to change it in the software.

Preset #3 for High Power Charging
Presets #1 and #2 are specifically tuned for charging under 10 amps. For charging over 10 amps use Preset #3 which will max the charger's output, given a sufficient power supply.

Preset #3 defaults to a termination of C/10 (same as generic faster charge present #2). This is setting is typically sufficient for most scenarios and is the default on many other chargers. If you want a more accurate charge, use Library Preset #3 Generic High P. Accurate. See "Copy a Library Preset" page 35.

Charging 1s Cells
Wiring requirement and current options for charging 1s cells varies by model and wiring mode. Details below.
  • Powerlab8 in FMA wiring mode - Up to 40 amps without a balance connector attached using a high power preset.
  • Powerlab6 (either wiring mode) and Powerlab8 in JST-XH wiring mode - 1s cells can be charged up to 2 amps using the small unbalanced preset. To exceed 2 amps of charge rate, a balance cable must be added in parallel with the charge cable. With a balance cable, up to 40 amps with a high power preset.
Wiring of the balance cable to the main leads is different for each wiring mode. Details are as follows:
  • JST-XH Wiring mode - Pin 1 (black) goes to pack negative. Pin 2 (white) goes to pack positive.
  • FMA wiring mode - Pin1 (black) goes to pack negative. Pin 9 (red) goes to pack positive.
See the attached image the wiring diagram from the manual.

Balance cable http://www.usastore.revolectrix.com/Products_2/Cellpro-PowerLab-Adapters_2/Cellpro-JST-PA-Battery-Pigtail-10-9-Position

Powerlab manuals http://revolectrix.com/downloads.htm

Non FMA Parallel Boards
As described in the wiring mode section, all parallel board require the JST-XH wiring mode. This includes boards the MPA as well boards from other vendors. To connect the parallel board to the Powerlab, the parallel board vendor will need to provide a cable goes between the Powerlab and the board. The original FMA balance adapters cannot used between the 3rd party parallel board and the charger. This is because the original FMA boards required the FMA wiring mode which is not compatible with the parallel board's wiring.

The cable that runs between the charger and the parallel board is referred to as the interconnect cable. There are currently two different wiring pinouts being used between different parallel board vendors. It is important that you get the correct interconnect cable that matches the parallel board you purchased. FMA does provide a plug and play parallel board solution in the form of the MPA.

Examples of interconnect cables.
http://epbuddy.com/index.php?main_pa...roducts_id=243
http://www.progressiverc.com/fma-pl8...rge-board.html
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Great FAQ! I think it will really help a new user not get frustrated with a Powerlab.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default FAQ - Powerlab Quick Start Guide

so is this difficult to charge all my 1s lipos?
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by racerjeffrc View Post
so is this difficult to charge all my 1s lipos?
I wouldn't say that. There are some 1s charging scenarios that will require a balance lead be run in parallel with the main leads. It may not be required, depending on your 1s charging scenario.
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Old 06-10-2013, 04:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: FAQ - Powerlab Quick Start Guide

hi ...

thank you for this tutorial setting. but I had trouble understanding the difference between the preset 1 and 2 are given as a lower charge for 10 amps.

What is benefit of use relative to each other? Thank you.

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Old 06-10-2013, 10:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Preset 1 uses a lower charge termination current (C/20). The charge termination current for preset 2 is C/10. C/10 will be faster but not completely fill the pack to 100%. Resting voltage of the cells will be slightly lower than C/20. Also as packs age, using C/20 can result in very long balance times. For field charging use fast. When you have more time you can use accurate.

Since balancing starts at 3.8v per cell most packs will be completely balanced by the time the pack reaches 4.2v per cell. Using the faster charge will not result in less balanced pack.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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How can I charge multiple 3s packs using only the balance leads (with the discharge leads disconnected). Ty in advance.

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Old 12-10-2014, 12:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jermo View Post
How can I charge multiple 3s packs using only the balance leads (with the discharge leads disconnected). Ty in advance.

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You'd need a parallel board specifically wired to work in FMA wiring mode, or you could make a jumper from the main leads to pins 1 and 4. But I wouldn't. Current and quality of charging will be limited.
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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so you are saying I should change the wiring on the MPA interconnect to support FMA wiring mode, put the charger into FMA mode, and then the MPA board will function correctly?

Am I understanding correctly?

Seems logical. I only wonder why FMA didn't do this to start with.
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jermo View Post
so you are saying I should change the wiring on the MPA interconnect to support FMA wiring mode, put the charger into FMA mode, and then the MPA board will function correctly?

Am I understanding correctly?

Seems logical. I only wonder why FMA didn't do this to start with.
The problem is that FMA wiring mode requires the pin for pack positive always be connected to same pin. In JST-XH wiring mode the pack positive is just the last pin in the series. So if you mod the MPA for FMA wiring mode for 3s packs, then MPA will ONLY work for 3s packs.

There may be better ways to approach this. What is your scenario? Pack size and desired charge rate per pack?
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Old 12-11-2014, 11:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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3s 450mAH packs x 4. I just ordered adapters to convert JST to deans so I can use the board. that seemed to be the least expensive/most adaptive solution.

slight learning curve.
jer
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jermo View Post
3s 450mAH packs x 4. I just ordered adapters to convert JST to deans so I can use the board. that seemed to be the least expensive/most adaptive solution.

slight learning curve.
jer
If the packs have the little red two pin JST connector (like those on the 180CFX) that is exactly what I would do. That allows the main charge current to flow through the main leads. Less stress on the balance wires and connector. Plus the IR readings will be more accurate. Just in case you switched the wiring mode to FMA, be sure to switch back to JST-XH wiring mode for that setup.
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Ty sir

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Old 03-09-2015, 09:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Greg, can you tell me how the C/xx termination setting works? I understand it has an effect on pack charging times and pack capacity but how. What does the number mean. What is the charger doing based on what that number is?
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Old 03-09-2015, 01:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The LiPo program charges in two phases. In the first phase the charger charges at current level set by the user. For example you set the charge rate at 10 amps. The charger will hold the charge current at 10 amps until at least one cell reaches 4.2v. This phase is called the constant current or CC phase.

One the first cell reaches 4.2v per cell, the charger switches over to the constant voltage stage. This stage is required because if you stop charging as soon as one cell hits 4.2v, the voltage of the pack will sag a fair amount. This phase keeps the cells at 4.2v while slowing tapering off the current level. As the CV phase progresses, lower current levels are required to keep the voltage at 4.2v.

The termination setting determines how low the current needs to drop before ending the charge cycle. With a value of C/10, the termination current divided by 10 of the charge current. With a charge current of 10 amps the termination would occur at approximately 1 amp. With the termination set to C/20 the termination would be set the charge current divided by 20, or 500ma.

For most scenarios, a setting of C/10 provides the best balance of charge time vs state of charge. A setting of C/20 will may get the cells closer to 4.2v resting. But its not really required. A setting of C/5 will slightly under charge the packs but provide faster charge times. The undercharge will not be significant and may not be enough to impact your flight times.
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I recently bought a Powerlab 8x2 which still is in transit and after reading up on it I hope I did not make a mistake. I have a Hyperion Super Duo right now and I am using EP Buddy V3 parallel charging boards with EC5 connectors on them. I have made a bunch of adapters to go from EC5 to whatever connector I need. When I receive the new charger in the mail am I going to be able to plug my EP Buddy boards into it or will I need to purchase something to make it work?
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raydee View Post
I recently bought a Powerlab 8x2 which still is in transit and after reading up on it I hope I did not make a mistake. I have a Hyperion Super Duo right now and I am using EP Buddy V3 parallel charging boards with EC5 connectors on them. I have made a bunch of adapters to go from EC5 to whatever connector I need. When I receive the new charger in the mail am I going to be able to plug my EP Buddy boards into it or will I need to purchase something to make it work?
You will need a new interconnect cable to go between the charger and the parallel board. BuddyRC sells these. Check with BuddyRC to get correct cable for your board, and let them know you are using a Powerlab. As you may have seen above, you will need to run JST-XH wiring mode.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:07 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Ok so there is no way to go from the board that comes with the Powerlab to the EP Buddy board in the mean time? I remember doing this with my Hyperion charger too because the parallel board came with a connector that would not fit directy into the charger but fit into the Hyperion 7 cell balance board in the 6 cell connector.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:27 PM   #19 (permalink)
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It depends what package you purchased. Did your Powerlab order include any adapter boards?
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:32 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregor99 View Post
It depends what package you purchased. Did your Powerlab order include any adapter boards?
http://www.usastore.revolectrix.com/...l-PowerLab_166

That is the package I ordered.
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