For years ProgressiveRC has offered the most tricked out cases in the world for special event prizes and our sponsored pilots.  Customers have frequently asked for non-standard options they’ve seen on these projects such as USB charging and lighting which we’ve had to reserve for special applications.  We’re happy to announce that we are now able to offer these options to our customers through the “PRC Custom Shop.”  


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0 Comments | Posted in Products By David

One of our reps, Sam2b, asked us about wire, efficiency, and performance as it applies to high performance electric helis.  We did some quick math and realized there was significant power to be gained back by rewiring his bird.  Following is his account and video detailing the upgrade.

 

"I cut out 2' of wire and gained back 52% of lost power from wire resistance. I stupidly installed this 2' of wire when I first built the heli and didn't dawn on me until winter 2012. I performed this modification during recent frame conversion and new Vbar Silerline install. Overall now this heli feels and performs very well even with 2 year old batteries.

- Sam2b"

 

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0 Comments | Posted in Technical By Sam

C Rating Insanity

Dec 18, 2012 10:57:00 AM

A few weeks ago David wrote a post about our experience testing batteries with high C ratings. Today I'd like to follow up on that and take a moment to reflect on what C ratings actually mean.

A 1C discharge rate, by definition, means that you're going to discharge your battery in an hour. 2C is half an hour, 10C is six minutes, 30C is two minutes, etc. 65C, which by this point seems to be almost a baseline in the market, means your battery will be drained in 55 seconds.

That's how I usually think about C ratings, in terms of time. Yesterday, though, I started thinking about it another way, in terms of current draw. Looked at this way, a 1C discharge rate means you're pulling amperage equal to the capacity of your battery. For example a 5000mAh battery at 1C is pulling 5A, 2C is 10A, 10C is 50A, 30C is 150A, etc. 65C would be pulling 325A. Are your connectors ready for that? For a point of reference, EC5s – one of the best connector options available - are only rated to around 120A continuous.

There are batteries out there, though - I won't name names - that make 65C-rated packs look like paragons of honesty. Yesterday I was looking at an 8000mAh pack that was rated to 150C. 150C. Not only would that discharge the battery in 24 seconds - and blow it up in the process - the current draw would be a ridiculous 1200 amps!

The marketing is mind-blowing, but the math is simple. And the nice thing about math is that it doesn't care about marketing. So the next time you're shopping for batteries, run the numbers, figure out what your model actually needs, and see if what's being advertised makes any kind of rational sense.

0 Comments | Posted in Technical By Robin

Store Those LiPos Correctly!

Dec 5, 2012 3:31:00 PM

With winter rapidly approaching, us hobbyists begin to find it quite difficult to get any flights in! While it may be tempting to leave your batteries charged and ready to go at a moment’s notice (such as a 10 minute burst of sun in the middle of stormy Seattle day), this is quite bad for the life of your batteries. Winter is a good reminder to check all your batteries, and make sure they are at storage voltage!

Lithium batteries have come a long way, and have significantly propelled our hobby (pun intended) with more power, longer run times, and less weight. In order to maintain the quality of Lithium batteries, they must be taken care of appropriately.

When you buy our Spyder batteries, you may notice that all of the cells arrive at about 3.8 volts. The reason for this is LiPos like to be stored around half full. You can see from this chart that there is virtually no degradation when properly storing a LiPo, 40% full and at or below room temperature. If you were to store your battery fully charged however, after 1 year at room temperature, you will lose 20% of the capacity of the battery. So your 3S 2200mAh is now a 3S 1760mAh, and you can quickly see how easy it is to over-discharge the pack and things will degrade even more.


Image from www.batteryuniversity.com


So after a day at the field, track, or yard, check those batteries! If they are between 3.75 and 3.9 volts, they are ready for storage, any more or less, and use the storage function on your charger to bring them up, or drain them down to the appropriate voltage. Keep in mind if the battery needs to be discharged from full, this could take a while on a charger (that’s a lot of energy / heat to dissipate!) so running the battery down part way on your model is usually the quickest way to do it.

0 Comments | Posted in Technical By Yarden

Sneak Preview: The Hardline PowerLab

Oct 30, 2012 2:06:47 PM

If we were to make a list of most requested products, one item would win by a landslide: putting the PowerLab 8 in a Hardline Case. Ever since we brought out the Hardline Case, the PL8 has been the final frontier. Three times the size of the iCharger 306B, the PL8 just wasn't suited to being mounted in the case.

So we decided to put two of them in there. With a 2000W power supply.



And then we threw some LEDs in too, because awesome.

We'll have deck options for one PL8 or two - even with two of them running full tilt, it stays nice and cool under there thanks to a large fan at the back of the case drawing cool air down through the vent holes in the deck.

It's been a long haul, but we're putting the final pieces in place to get this up for sale. Watch this space!
0 Comments | Posted in Products By Robin

EC5s and Gender Confusion

Oct 26, 2012 7:48:33 PM

One of the questions we get asked a lot here is “do I need male or female EC5 connectors?” There is a lot of confusion surrounding EC5 connectors and gender, and it all stems from the way the EC5 connector is designed. EC5s are made with female bullets in a male housing, and male bullets in a female housing:

Male EC5 on Left, Female EC5 on Right.


A lot of people identify these connectors based on their internal bullets. Here at ProgressiveRC we follow the industry standard convention (set by JST connectors, etc) of naming all of our connectors based on the gender of the housing. All of our connectors follow this standard with the greatest confusion surrounding EC5 and EC3 connectors. To continue with our example of EC5 connectors, this means our Male EC5 connectors have a male housing and female bullets, and the Female EC5 has a female housing and male bullets.

All of our EC5 charging cables (and boards) have a Female EC5 connector (female housing, male bullets). Spyder batteries 4000 mAh and up come with Male EC5 connectors (male housing, female bullets).

As far as chargers go, the FMA PowerLab 6 and 8 both use a male EC5, and the new iCharger 4010Duo has a female EC5 connector.

This may be an uphill battle but I hope this post clears some confusion and will help out the next time someone is trying to figure out which connector they need!

1 Comments | Posted in Products By Yarden

Sometimes More C's Isn't More Better

Oct 23, 2012 11:18:06 AM

Three years back when SpyderBatteries - then based in Austin, Texas - brought us their 30C rated packs for independent testing, we were frankly blown away by the results. We performed initial qualification testing at 30C and found they outperformed every 45C+ rated pack we could test them against.

Moving forward a couple of years to present day, Spyder packs have proven their performance and longevity. In the same period of time, other manufacturers have marched forward with 50C and even 60C+ rated packs. The manufacturer of our cells has also offered updated product lines, including “improved” 40C rated cells, followed by presumably better 45C rated cells. With increased C ratings the respective pack weights have gone up, and the capacity has gone down.

Rather than choosing to quickly package and release these packs to consumers, we take the unconventional next step of qualifying the manufacturer’s cells against their ratings. To provide a glimpse, here’s a snapshot from discharge testing at around a kW of power to illustrate this point. Three different cells are shown: a 45C 5000mAh sample from last week, a 40C 5000mAh sample from 2010, and an original 30C 5300mAh sample tested three years ago:



Lo and behold, much to our surprise we found that the newer 40C and 45C rated cells did not perform any better than our high performing 30C rated cells under load. Testing shows the 30C cell held the highest average voltage under load and provided the greatest capacity, while ringing in at a lower weight than the higher C rated packs.

So we’re not just going to slap a 45C label on them and put them up for sale. We’re committed to marketing our batteries honestly. Until we see higher rated packs that outperform our current generation, we’ll stick with the 30C packs that even now, outperform optimistically higher C rated packs.

Testing is forever ongoing here, and we’ll keep you posted when real progress is made in this arena. But for now, it would seem more Cs on the label are not always better, and it makes me wonder what is being sold out there…
0 Comments | Posted in Technical By David

Welcome to the PRC Blog!

Oct 22, 2012 3:30:59 PM

We'll be using this blog for any number of things as we move forward: technical articles, in-depth looks at new products, sneak peeks of prototypes we're working on - basically anything that we think is interesting, now we've got a space to share it with you!

I can't think of a better way to kick this off than with the most exciting new product we've had come through in a while - the upcoming iCharger 4010Duo.

We've all been waiting a long time for this bad boy - we were hoping to have a prototype to show off at IRCHA 2011 - but now that it's here, it's clear that it was worth the wait. The PowerLab 8 has been the king of chargers for a long time, with its 40 amp charge rate and its ability to handle packs up to 8S. The 4010 will give you 40 amps too - on each channel.

That's not even the most exciting part, though. Not once you realize that you can combine the two output channels in synchronous mode and charge at up to 70 amps! For those of you working with large capacity packs, get ready to revolutionize your charging.

December can't get here fast enough!
1 Comments | Posted in Products By Robin

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