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Old 04-21-2015, 01:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default my quest for a new charging case

So after last year of getting together my first charging case, I quickly realized once I got my 700 how it really didn't fit my needs. It worked and worked well, but the flow of it I was not happy with. It was too small and I was always worried that while at the field the wind could come up and close one on my 12c stick packs and it'd go up in flames and not much I could do. So all last year I've been pondering to come up with something that's more for my needs. One of the things I didn't like was that my 12c sticks would take up both channels of my 4010 Duo. I run flight packs instead of BECs, so I often ran into a jam of needed to get a flight pack on the charger. I quickly found myself having a battery line up waiting to be charged. While I could charge faster (normally I only charge at 2C and rarely go any faster unless I'm in a big hurry, like first flight of the day) I prefer to charge slow and go easy on my packs and equipment.

I currently am flying a Synergy E7SE and E5s, that I just stretched late in the year last year. I have found out that by stretching my E5, my flight times have reduced significantly, and I'm only doing forward flight and some big air stuff. I'm toying with a motor and lipo change to 7c. While looking through all my charging stuff, I had to come up with how to charge 7c lipos, and that got me thinking even more. More cables, more boards to carry around, and well it was adding up quickly.

So I've come up with some solutions and figure I'd share some of what I've already done, and my progress. I've bought a new case, a SeaHorse 920, with wheels. This will have some weight to it, as I'm hoping to have a field tool kit with me instead of having to haul my whole rc shop with me. I've gotten some materials to make the deck lid, and have the lid shape cut out. Before I could do the final lay out, I needed a few major pieces.

So on that quest, here's what I used to have:





Nothing too fancy. I liked having an outlet to plug whatever in, and I could monitor the current being used, so if someone else needed to plug their case in, they could. It also had USB hook ups for cell phone charging. What didn't work so well was under the lid, stuff would lose it's stick and then I'd have to restick it with velcro and if you got too much on it, you almost broke it trying to get it back off again.

So I pulled all the parts out of that unit and set it aside. I started laying out me new configuration.

Here I was making a template for the new deck:

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Old 04-21-2015, 01:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So I quickly realized that space is a premium. I had thought up a new way to hook my lipos up from watching the charger case thread. I needed a new balance board, but with my own twist to it. Not only did I need one of them, I needed 2, cause I picked up another 4010 Duo, so that should solve my not having enough channels problem. After spending a lot of time online with a 3D cad program, looking at specs for parts, and drawing them up, I had come up with a design. Now how to get them to a part in my hands, well I'll just have to get some tools and start building.

I ordered a mill from Grizzly, only to find out it was on back order till February 7th. I thought that's fine, I'll still have time to make everything. Well long story short, it didn't show up till mid March, and there were some nice days to be out flying, but well my charger was in pieces. Here it finally showed up:



Since it was heavy and big enough, I couldn't get it down in my basement, down 20 flights of stairs, so had to get some wrenches out and disassemble and take it down in pieces. Here the column and spindle are removed.



Column and spindle on the dolly to go down the steps.




Temporary place to set the column and spindle in on one of the work benches in the shop.



I then got the stand and the base with the table down in the basement.

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Old 04-21-2015, 01:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Now it was time to do some reassembly. Here I got the base and table on the stand.



Here I got the column and spindle put back on. I had some aligning to do, and while I know it's not perfect, for what I'm doing I got it close enough till I get more time and better aids in getting it trammed in perfectly.



Here I got the DRO (digital read outs) reinstalled and parallel to the axis. This has some neat functions on it that will become very handy!!

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Old 04-21-2015, 01:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Why do I feel like I'm about to be shown what's what

With a mill can I assume you are going to do a lot of metal work in your charging case?

Looking forward to seeing where you go with this.
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Old 04-21-2015, 01:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Now that my mill was setup and going, time to get into the good stuff. I decided to build my own balance board. The ones I had only went up to a 6 cell lipo. With toying with going to a 7c in my E5s, I came up with a new board. I also wanted to be able to use my parallel boards if I wanted to, so I added another plug to the design. I found a program online to do my layouts and to make my measurements how my spacing and how big then thing would be and such.

I found a guide online for making my own circuit board. While I did do this while I was in college, I only did it once and didn't remember some of the steps. Following a guide, I started creating.

This is the board with the pattern ironed on to the board, and sitting in the sink waiting for the paper to get waterlogged so I could run the excess off.



After the pattern was transferred I quickly ran into a problem. The layout I had, would have had all the leads connected together. So using a scribe I had to scratch off all the excess where I didn't want copper.



After over an hour in Ferric Chloride, the unwanted copper was removed and I was left with my traces.



Using some wet fine sand paper, I cleaned the ink protected copper off and exposed my new copper traces.



Using my new mill, was I was able to trim the board down to the specs I made in my program and then on to the not so fun part, drilling all 88 holes in order so the connectors would fit!!



I quickly found out how straight these needed to be, and to learn to trust my DRO and not my pattern. There was a very small shift in the pattern and well the first connector didn't want to fit so I had to go back and redrill and got it to fit like it's suppose to.

Here is the board all drilled. All 88 holes done, 2.5mm between the pins, and about 12 mm from on connector to the other.

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Old 04-21-2015, 01:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkovalcson View Post
Why do I feel like I'm about to be shown what's what

With a mill can I assume you are going to do a lot of metal work in your charging case?

Looking forward to seeing where you go with this.
I'm not planning any metal work at all. All expanded PVC and high density polyethylene.
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Old 04-21-2015, 01:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I'm not planning any metal work at all. All expanded PVC and high density polyethylene.
Oh, custom balance boards!

We have some interesting skill sets in these forums
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Old 04-21-2015, 01:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Test fitting all my connectors and yup all the holes were drilled right and connectors dropped right in, nice and snuggly.



Here's the back side with the connectors just sitting in there.



Time to fire up the soldering iron and melt some solder.



Here's the other half of the board.



So not that I have the basic board done, I can work on the holder for it. Here I machined out the holder out of polyethylene. It's hard to see cause it's black, so not the easiest to photograph.

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Old 04-21-2015, 02:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Test fitting the board in the holder.



I made the end pieces and did another test fit. So far so good.



A view from the end of the holder.



So I quickly realized I made a pretty big mistake. I put one whole side of the connectors on wrong. I wasn't sure if I'd have to start over, as the tools I had were limited. I realized I might have my old solder sucker from college but where. I found it out in the garage in the bottom of my toolbox and it was time to find out if it worked and I still had the skills to desolder after I figured out which side was pin 1 and everything would work like it was suppose to.



I reflowed the solder and I had a few pieces of the copper trace that took a little beating to, so I had to bridge the solder. Not my best looking work, but it should be functional.

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Old 04-21-2015, 02:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Time to start attaching wires.



Here I got all the wires attached. I chose to move then around as things were getting pretty tight from one pin to another.



After getting one channels wires on, I needed to get some hold for the power plugs before the other wires were in.



Here's a test fit of both channels power plugs that are actually mounted on the holder and help hold the board in place.



Here's what the board holder looks like and the cut outs I made for the wires to pass through. This is just a prototype to see how things would work so I had to improvise on the spot here and there.

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Last edited by Grimmy; 04-21-2015 at 09:20 PM..
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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After honing up my soldering skills on the first channel, I wasn't the happiest with it, but it would work. Here's my take on the second channel. Much better and cleaner looking.



Another angle of it. I was able to use just the 2 plugs to keep the wires as close as possible and not have the thing look like a nasty spider.



So I got all the wires soldered on, time to put the connectors on so I can plug it into my 4010 Duo.



I really hate messing with small wire, as my work calls for it some times. Just have to have patience as you can't rush in doing this stuff. The wire I was using is either 20 or 22 gauge. I had crimp on ends I had to put on, and well I didn't have the right crimper, I had one that worked from my servo lead building kit from Hanson Hobbies. I just needed to not crimp down all the way. Here's what I had to deal with, all 22 of them!



With that done, I just did some assemble, and I ran into a few snags. I didn't have enough room under the board for all the wires to be twisted around as I had to fold the wires to get the board into the holder. I ended up taking another millimeter off the bottom of the cutout in the holder to give more room and that helped quite a bit. Another thing I found out was the orientation of the holes for the wires. I made some notes one the second piece, but for now, it was time to try this out!



I didn't have the power plugs wired up, but that's pretty simple stuff. All the cells and counts worked just like I expected it to. So with that done, and some notes taken and some design changes, it was off to start on board #2 for the second 4010 Duo.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default start of board 2

Board 2 is pretty much a repeat of board 1, the prototype. One thing I did different and well I really forgot till it was too late, was I shined up the copper before ironing on my pattern. The transfer was much better than the first one.



Another thing I wanted to try, was to clean up the pads a little better and the 3 pads on the 11 pin plugs I wanted a little more room to get some solder down. I had the room for it, so I just drew the boxed a little bitter with permanent marker. One the bottom of the board I did another test with a thinker marker.



One thing I didn't get any pics of in the first board was the process of dipping the board and letting the chloride eat the copper away. I tired to get some pics of that here to share.



Here the board is in for about 30 second and you can see it already starting to go to work. I tried to get other pics later but the chemical was getting pretty dirty and I couldn't get a good pic to show what was happening. Caution to anyone trying this, this chemical stains yellow really bad!! Also, don't use an aluminum pie container, it will eat right through it!! Find something plastic to put everything in.



While the board was soaking in the chloride, it was time to get started on the next board holder. Here I was only taking off a little bit but you can see the mess that it makes. Little black fuzzies every where and they stick to everything!!

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Old 04-21-2015, 02:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Here's the only other in process of the board I was able to get while in the chloride. Just about done.



Board finished in the chloride. Looks like the permanent marker worked well!



While the board was done, I was hogging out material on the holder. You have to look close, but it's in there some where!



So I didn't take pics of all the steps as I did on board 1. Things went much much faster with board 2. I also got some other supplies. I got some flux in a pen and decided to give it a try on my board and wires. I will say to anyone soldering, get some flux, you will thank me later. I should have known this, but all the times I've soldered over the years (I'm an electrician) I've only used flux core solder. Well using flux here, I was almost instantly laying solder down and the touch of it. I did the same with the wires, as I cut them small, and it instantly took solder. No more burning fingers holding wires!!! The solder flowed on the board much better, as you can see in the follow pic. Almost looks like I know what I'm doing now! haha



Here the whole board is soldered. I was pretty happy when how it turned out. All joints actually look pretty close to the same.

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Old 04-21-2015, 02:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Just putting the holes in the board for the power connections, and getting things lined up to machine out the bottom of the holder board.



Here's one of the changes that I made for the wires.








Thanks as far as I got last night. I know it's a lot of pics, but well I been wanting to get this done so I can get back to working on the charger lids and get things squared away for when warm and calm weather gets here. I'm hoping tonight I'll get all my wires soldered on, ends crimped on and maybe get the board in the holder to start to get some layout done.


So I've come up with a dual balance board, and making 2 of them for my dual 4010 Duo's that's going in my charging case. Will get some more pics and post as the progress moves (hopefully forward) as I have a few other things planned on my case. I wish I could say I'm half done, but I'm far from that.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:44 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkovalcson View Post
Oh, custom balance boards!

We have some interesting skill sets in these forums
Yup, I looked around and couldn't find anyone that made a balance board with a 7c connector on it. Plus this way I also have the same plug that's on my 4010 Duo, so I can plug my parallel boards right into it as well. I will not have to touch the front ports of my charger, as all that stuff will be on the balance board, and off to the sides of my charging deck.

After I got the 2 board done, I had a brain fart and thought I should have added an 8c port, but I'd have to redo everything and I'm already tight on room. Plus I can make my own custom balance cable use use the 11 pin plug for that if I go that route.

It's all a work in progress, but things have gone well. Doing the design in CAD really helped see how things would work. Not knowing how the solder was going to affect things, threw me a curve ball, but it was quickly taken care of.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:53 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Fortunately the MPA boards for my PL8's go up as high as 8S, but they are also larger and probably wouldn't fit in your space.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:57 PM   #17 (permalink)
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NM.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Nice job bud. Looking forward to seeing it in person. I'm thinking of redoing my case also. Of course it won't be a "pimp" as yours.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:39 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Nice. did you buy a mill just for this project? How far are you from the quad cities?
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:11 PM   #20 (permalink)
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If you're worried about the lid closing, under a fiver on eBay will get you a lid stay, they're designed for cupboards and the like and just add a bit of extra friction.

My case is a little ghetto, but the lid support works great, it will hold it open at any angle, so no risk of the wind slamming it down.

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