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  1. #1

    Chargers for beginners?

    Hello! My son and I are assembling the Dynam PBY Catalina that we received as a gift 2-3 years ago. I've just learned a lot about LIPOs and want to do things safely. The PBY came with a battery (but is missing its charge balancer) and I have no charger.
    (1) Is the existing battery safe, or do I need to replace it due to age? It's a Dynam LIPO 2200mA H 11.1 V, 20C, and it seems to have a charge on it per my multimeter. If I need to replace it, what battery would you recommend?
    (2) Exactly which charger should we get? If I charge via the small plugs, does that eliminate the risk of unbalanced charging? If the charger has a balancer built in, am I ok? I don't need a big, fancy, professional charger here- this is our very first adventure into RC airplanes and it is likely we will crash the PBY within a few flights!
    (3) Is it possible for us to successfully fly a 4 channel PBY as a novice, or is the challenge too difficult with training on a super basic plane?
    (4) Is it reasonable to store our batteries in one of the fire safety bags made for these batteries?

    Thanks a lot for your help and advice!

  2. #2
    Cardboard Boy Fluburtur's Avatar
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    Jul 2016
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    France
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    314
    For chargers you could get a Turnigy P606 (I have one of those) or a Imax B6.
    The turnigy one doesn't have the storage charge function which sucks but it's fairly good, as for the Imax it's pretty popular so I guess you can look reviews for it on the internet.

    You can probably test your battery by charging it at 1C and then discharging it while monitoring it, if nothing bad happens then I guess it's still good but others will have to confirm that.

    I usually store my batteries in the worst conditions and that's clearly not an example but I always monitor them when I charge them and put them in a metal box when I can't watch over them for a while, most evens require lipo bags I think so it's always good to have one.

    As for flying the plane, can't say for sure since I never flow one of those.

  3. #3
    Old and Bold RC PILOT
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
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    1,811
    Well I received a gift of an FMS P40 800mm 15 months ago, (notoriously difficult for a beginner to fly successfully), and it was one of the last of the production and must have sat on the store shelf for years before my son purchased it. The LiPo was included and so I assumed that it was at least suspect and as parts are not available for the plane I put it aside for a later day, (battery still in the box with the plane).

    Anyway last week I decided that I would stop the complaints by flying it for my son's benefit regardless of the outcome. So I dug the battery out and followed my standard procedure for LiPo charging in that I refrigerated the battery first and then balance charged it. Battery health still unknown I returned it to the refrigerator for storage.

    Last weekend I took the P40 to the field plugged the battery in and the critics were correct it swung violently on take off and when tested it stalled viciously without warning but I flew the full battery charge through it and landed safely. Back home I again followed my cool, charge, cool procedure and the battery took its full rating in charge amount. So the age of the battery is less important than its history.

    Regardless of the projected life of the model buy a balance charger it should last many years and if you decide to quit the hobby later it will still have some value. As for flying the model you have I am not familiar with it though I would recommend that you consider learning to fly on a disposable trainer first like the FT Tiny Trainer. Being easy to build and repair you will learn to fly and get past the crashes a lot sooner and be more encouraged at your skill growth if you do not crash your expensive or irreplaceable aircraft on your first attempt.

    As for recommending a charger I would ask that you check what is available locally as I live in AUS and local product availability is different to what you will have where you reside.

    As for flying your plane as a novice, well yes if you add plenty of Expo and reduce the control throws a little from those recommended BUT that would be as a novice, (some basic flying skill) if you are a newbie, (yet to fly successfully anything), then the answer is no!

    The fire safe bags are used to ensure that if a LiPo "Goes up", (catches fire), the fire will not spread and cause a far more serious blaze like property damage. I use a metal refrigerator that manages temperature and has room so that none of my batteries can contact any other battery. Also I charge on a metal platform on a concrete floor away from other combustible materials. Never charge a damaged or hot LiPo battery!

    So my recommendations are;

    Buy a proper balance charger
    Get a cheap and expendable trainer aircraft and destroy/rebuild it a few dozen times first.
    Buy a couple of batteries for the trainer and another battery for the PBY as there is nothing worse than finding a faulty battery when you get to the field and have no battery to have a fly!

    Finally above all else "HAVE FUN!"
    Hopefully making a difference!

  4. #4
    Eternal Student ElectriSean's Avatar
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    Mar 2016
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    Alberta Canada
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    1,133
    What voltage was your battery showing? If it was properly storage charged, chances are it's still got some life in it. As long as none of the cells are below 3V you should be fine. You will probably want to invest in a lipo checker (something like https://store.flitetest.com/battery-voltage-alarm-1-8s/) will let you see individual cell voltages. You can also get the measurements from the balance lead with a regular multimeter, but that can be a bit tricky.
    Purple || Green || (Purple && Green)

  5. #5
    Build cheap, crash cheap varg's Avatar
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    May 2017
    Location
    Palm Beach County, FL
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    88
    I'd avoid the Imax B6 just because it is so hard to find the real thing, there are crummy knockoffs being sold everywhere and they are mostly trash. I really like my ISDT SC608, it's very compact and has a good menu system. It has an XT60 connector so you'd want some adapters and a 12V+ power supply rated of ample wattage for home use. Most chargers need a similar power supply, few have an integrated mains adapter simply because they're likely to get hooked up to a car for field use.

    That PBY shouldn't be a hard airplane to fly, it's a pretty docile design, but it's pretty, and that makes the inevitable crash painful. I'm pretty sure replacement parts are still available for that model unless they've updated it over the years but it's still better to gain proficiency on something simple and durable like an FT foamboard plane, that way you can have a laugh over a crash.
    Built: 56" Custom Sportster V2, A6M2 Zero (speed wing), KFm4 swappable flying wing, FT 3D, Cubly Stick, Baby Bugatti, Profile KFm4 FT 3D
    Bought: Durafly Excalibur

    Member of the cramming planes into a small car squad

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