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Changing Batteries Without the Help of Human Hands

#1
I think it would be really significant and cool if a drone or rc plane could connect to new batteries and toss the old batteries without a person touching it. I want to see a drone pull a pony express and swap batteries on its own over a flying course. Of course I don't mean just installing an onboard switch or something. And almost as cool would be watching a gas powered rc plane refuel in flight.
 

agentkbl

Illegal Squid Fighting?
#2
that would be awesome. you would need some kind of low friction connector I think for the servos to handle it well though.
 

gijoecam

Rank: Plane Smasher
#3
It would be very possible if the battery/air vehicle interface was spring loaded contacts rather than a plug and receptacle. (Think about how the battery in a non-iphone smartphone inserts) Then you'd only have to worry about the mechanics of physically dropping the old/inserting the new, and how to power it during the transition.

In this challenge, does the bird have to do the swap, or could the 'docking station' do the physical swap?
 

Fluburtur

Cardboard Boy
#4
I was thinking about adding a "battery disconnecter" to my mini talon in case I land far away from me, so then I don't have to worry about the battery getting too discharged.

That would def be an interesting challenge, maybe make a plane with 3d printed battery bays or something, just have metal contacts instead of standard connectors (or very slidey connectors) and once a battery is empty a spring loaded ejection mechanism throws it out (bonus points if parachute and precision landing of the battery) You could use a rather large capacitor for the little time it will take the 2nd battery to connect but with a 3d printed bay it wouldn't take long.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#6
I want to see a drone pull a pony express and swap batteries on its own over a flying course. Of course I don't mean just installing an onboard switch or something. And almost as cool would be watching a gas powered rc plane refuel in flight.
Comparing the gas model and the electric model is fine if you just remember that the battery is comparable in function to the Gas tank and the battery charge is equivalent to the gas itself.

Perhaps an external charging circuit from an external battery source would be a better option than swapping out "Gas Tanks".

Knowing the current used by the craft in flight and the maximum fast charge rate of the flight battery you could find/design/make a current limiting fast charging circuit with an allowance of extra current for the craft flying current usage.

With a little more sophistication you could also include either a voltage limit to the charge circuit or even have the chanrge cirsuit carried on the craft itself. With the charge/run current circuit sorted out and possibly on board the craft then all you would need is a method of connecting to a high current power source in the correct polarity. Therefore the "Towing" cable could actually be the high current leads to the craft charging circuit.

Technically once all the number crunching is completed it could be possible to have the craft perpetually airborne as long as ground based current sources could be accessed.

The same arrangement would also be applicable in Air to Air refueling of conventional Electrical RC aircraft.

Have fun!