High current car charger for P4P batteries...

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#1
Posting this again....

Anybody out there using a high-current charger that connects directly to your car's battery as opposed to the cigarette lighter? When I was flying Phantom 1's, there were a gazillion chargers out there that I could plug directly into my car battery. How is it that later technology has dropped this most awesome of field chargers????

For the love of all that is holy, I sure hope someone replies this time. There HAS to be something SOMEWHERE.

D
 
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#2
Hi

I am in NO way having a go at you here take this exactly as typed. No smart mouthery intended.

How high a current charger are you after? It's not the best thing for batteries to be charged at greater than 1C, you will seriously reduce the battery life if you try and "fast charge". So the larger 5870mAh battery really shouldn't be charged at more than 5.87A, which in the real world with losses through heat and voltage drop on the cables ads up to about 75or so minutes charging from dead flat. I never run them dead flat so I charge them in close to 65 minutes.

The standard DJI car charger is capable of that and charging your controller at the same time. You can also use it with the DJI charging dock which will charge 3 batteries sequentially starting with the one that has the greatest charge remaining.

Perhaps you are chasing a charger that will charge more than one battery simultaneously? They are out there, I haven't looked for a while but I've seen them. They do tend to be fairly intense on your car's electrical system unless you have a secondary battery and as you said, certainly something you'd want to connect straight to the battery not through the internal charger socket.

Personally I prefer to keep the standard DJI charger and dock as it also allows me to charge to a storage setting at the flick of a switch and rather than charge multiple batteries simultaneously I prefer to have more batteries.

Being a commercial operator I can often be on the job for most of a day, I find 5 or 6 batteries a good number. Using the conventional wisdom that you let the battery cool for as long as it was in the air before charging I use the first battery, place it on a surface to cool and then use the second battery, when that one is done I put it on a surface to cool and put the first battery on the mobile charger and starting using the third battery and then cascade them shufflijng each one step along as I go. That way I have one in the bird, one cooling and others in various states of charge and it keeps me in the air without long breaks. I run the engine periodically.

If that doesn't suit your needs and you are happy to take the hit in battery life I'll have a quick web search or most likely one of the other members can just tell you which way to go off the top of your head.

Edit. I may have spoken too soon, I can find a dual mobile battery charger but it runs from the internal socket ... you could fit battery clips of course. It seems most people are buying a high capacity 110/240v charger and using an inverter connected to the battery.

Check this thread

Car charger for the Phantom 4 Pro?


Regards
Ari
 
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#3
Hi

Perhaps you are chasing a charger that will charge more than one battery simultaneously?
Exactly. I would like to charge at least 3 batteries in parallel...maybe 4.



They are out there, I haven't looked for a while but I've seen them.
They seem to have gone extinct. I've had no luck finding one.




They do tend to be fairly intense on your car's electrical system unless you have a secondary battery and as you said, certainly something you'd want to connect straight to the battery not through the internal charger socket.
I've done the math, and charging 3 batteries @ 100w/each will pull 25 amps. Thatsalotta current. I only use really good 5-year batteries. The one in my Civic (drone car) is a 50+ amp hour battery. So I figure I can charge for an hour safely before I need to start the engine. If I have to leave the engine running, I will. I do that in the winter anyway for those cold, cold mapping gigs.



Personally I prefer to keep the standard DJI charger and dock as it also allows me to charge to a storage setting at the flick of a switch and rather than charge multiple batteries simultaneously I prefer to have more batteries.
I have 10 batteries, but I have some 12+ battery gigs coming up soon. I honestly don't wish to buy more batteries.

In the past for REALLY big jobs I have brought along a generator and a pair of parallel chargers for a total of 6 batteries charging at once. But I'd like to avoid the putt-putt (generator) for these medium jobs in the 10-20 battery range.


Being a commercial operator I can often be on the job for most of a day, I find 5 or 6 batteries a good number.
Sometimes my partner joins me and we'll have 2 drones flying simultaneously, which burns through batteries twice as fast. For those gigs 10 batteries and the generator are necessary.


If that doesn't suit your needs and you are happy to take the hit in battery life I'll have a quick web search or most likely one of the other members can just tell you which way to go off the top of your head.

Edit. I may have spoken too soon, I can find a dual mobile battery charger but it runs from the internal socket ...
Yep. That's all I can find. No good. At best, those sockets source 10 amps, which is far short my needs.




...you could fit battery clips of course. It seems most people are buying a high capacity 110/240v charger and using an inverter connected to the battery.
Yep. But converting DC to AC and then back to DC again is horribly inefficient. I'd rather just find a good parallel charger that will run directly off a car battery via clamps like I used to do in the old days.


I checked the first page of this thread and didn't find anything to meet my needs. Looks like I might be bringing a putt-putt along to the next gig...<sigh>....

D
 
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#5
Exactly. I would like to charge at least 3 batteries in parallel...maybe 4.
Thought that might be the case

They seem to have gone extinct. I've had no luck finding one.
Yes you're right, they were there to be had when I bought the P4P's for the company but not now.

I've done the math, and charging 3 batteries @ 100w/each will pull 25 amps. Thatsalotta current. I only use really good 5-year batteries. The one in my Civic (drone car) is a 50+ amp hour battery. So I figure I can charge for an hour safely before I need to start the engine. If I have to leave the engine running, I will. I do that in the winter anyway for those cold, cold mapping gigs.
You're current calculations are "close enough for country" and I'd want to be running a dedicated power line for that, well TBH I already have a 50amp feed into the cabin of my car being a Radio Ham as well but where as the Radio equipment can take the voltage drop in 5 meters of cable the R.P.A. chargers are a different matter. You pretty much have to run the motor just to keep the voltage up let alone the battery charged ... of course over here it's not winter that's the issue. At 54 I'm yet to see snow fall in my life lol

I have 10 batteries, but I have some 12+ battery gigs coming up soon. I honestly don't wish to buy more batteries.

In the past for REALLY big jobs I have brought along a generator and a pair of parallel chargers for a total of 6 batteries charging at once. But I'd like to avoid the putt-putt (generator) for these medium jobs in the 10-20 battery range.
Doesn't matter how many batteries you have it's always " just a couple more". Been the generator route also, very noisy, dirty and uneconomical.

Sometimes my partner joins me and we'll have 2 drones flying simultaneously, which burns through batteries twice as fast. For those gigs 10 batteries and the generator are necessary.
Partner? You don't mean you let your wife near the aircraft!! .... I never realised I was dealing with someone who was unbalanced :p (Go on, tell my wife I said that, I'll come back and haunt you lol)

Yep. That's all I can find. No good. At best, those sockets source 10 amps, which is far short my needs.
Agreed

Yep. But converting DC to AC and then back to DC again is horribly inefficient. I'd rather just find a good parallel charger that will run directly off a car battery via clamps like I used to do in the old days.
Tell me about it, Technician was my first trade. I don't want to do the efficiency figures. I don't need to know.

When you first posted I thought to myself "this shouldn't be so hard" but it seems like in reality we are very short of options.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Regards
Ari
 
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#6
Why not get an car inverter?
Hi Ansia

For the average recreational pilot or someone who does small jobs you can go that route without too many issues. Not so much when you are talking in the realms of 5+ batteries and maybe more than one aircraft type on the job.

I know a couple of other people (commercial operators) who do this and have burnt out several inverters because of the high duty cycle. You realistically need a 300w of inverter per P4P battery (for any sort of longevity) so as you can see if you are doing multiple batteries from multiple aircraft models you are suddenly looking at a awfully big inverter and because as stated above, the efficiency of converting from 13.8v up to 110v (240 for us here) and then using switch mode supplies to step back down again you the losses are uneconomic and you are really committing to a multiple battery solution for your vehicle and the need to run the engine almost continually.

One of those commercial operators I know uses a generator and is currently constructing a 1Kw solar array for the top of the truck to feed the secondary battery, being Australia sun we have plenty of but it's still only going to be a help not a total answer.

Regards
Ari
 
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#7
Hi Ansia

For the average recreational pilot or someone who does small jobs you can go that route without too many issues. Not so much when you are talking in the realms of 5+ batteries and maybe more than one aircraft type on the job.

I know a couple of other people (commercial operators) who do this and have burnt out several inverters because of the high duty cycle. You realistically need a 300w of inverter per P4P battery (for any sort of longevity) so as you can see if you are doing multiple batteries from multiple aircraft models you are suddenly looking at a awfully big inverter and because as stated above, the efficiency of converting from 13.8v up to 110v (240 for us here) and then using switch mode supplies to step back down again you the losses are uneconomic and you are really committing to a multiple battery solution for your vehicle and the need to run the engine almost continually.

One of those commercial operators I know uses a generator and is currently constructing a 1Kw solar array for the top of the truck to feed the secondary battery, being Australia sun we have plenty of but it's still only going to be a help not a total answer.

Regards
Ari
You are correct on where the most I've flown for a job are 6 batteries. I don't get such huge jobs that require an arsenal of batteries. I currently own 4 batteries. What I usually do is spend the first 2, fly the third (why they cool down), fly the 4th while the 1st 2 charge, and take a little break while they finish charging. My inverter is 1,000w, so I really haven't had any problems. Good to know that they can burn themselves out. I will keep this in mind. Thanks!
 
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#8
Lets look at it straight ...

Ciggy socket is only good for max 100W average ... based on 10A fuse on a nominal 12 - 14V circuit. That means hit 120 - 140W and that fuse goes Bye Bye.

OK - so now we need to hit direct to the car battery to get the power needed ... based on a P4 battery :

Capacity :5350 mAh
Nominal Voltage :15.2 V
Full voltage : 17.4V

OP wants to charge 4 parallel ... so that is still 15.2 - 17.4V but now we are looking at 4 x 1C of 5.3A = 21.2A but trouble is the car battery is not high enough voltage so requires charger to compensate. We are looking for 4 x 5.3 x 17.4 = 348W +10% losses = 383W.
At average car voltage lets say is 13V ... that means about 29A needed

To do this would require a high power LiPo programmable charger ... you can get them with multiple outlet to charge in parallel but they are not cheap ... brands such as Powerlabs etc. With those - you do not need a hub or gimcky holder ... just adaptor plugs to connect the batterys to the charger outputs.

Be ready for a shock on price though.

You may be able to find similar to the ANBEE 3+1 P3 charger for the P4 ... but that is mains powered and would require a decent inverter ... at least 400W ... preferably 500W.

Here's a car voltage adaptor ..

https://www.amazon.com/Anbee-Intelligent-Quadcopter-Batteries-Controller/dp/B07D3P3TLZ

but only 2 batterys.

Nigel
 
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#9
If you are driving from location to location, then an inverter makes sense, as you can charge while driving and not run your starting battery down. In my Sportsmobile, I have an AMG 4D house battery (huge) and a Tripplite 2000w inverter. I'm covered but I still prefer to save charging to when I'm driving, when I can. I use this charger.


powerextra.jpg
 
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#11
I have a Goal Zero Yeti 400 power pak. It is very versatile with a built in 400 watt full sine wave inverter, 12 vdc ports, solar panel ports, and anderson connectors for extra batteries. I have one extra AGM battery for it and if I am at the vehicle I can plug in there too. I have a dual port 12 vdc charger plugged into two P4P triple charging trays. I can Charge 6 P4 batteries in 3.5 hours. This is not using the inverter on the Yeti, just the 12 VDC cig port. I use the inverter for my 19" monitor to have a larger view screen.
 
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#12
If you are driving from location to location, then an inverter makes sense, as you can charge while driving and not run your starting battery down.
I have a 90 amp alternator in my Civic. No amount of drone battery charging will drain that battery while the car idles. I have a digital volt meter that reads to the 1/10th decimal point. If I'm suffering a current deficit, I will know immediately. That said, I generally don't drive around from location to location. If I'm doing a large job in the 2,000 acre range, we MAY mobilize once or twice the entire day. Even then, changing location happens fairly quickly - usually under 20 minutes. That's not enough "down time" to warrant hardware that allows us to charge while driving. That said, my business partner DOES have a 1500 watt inverter installed in his truck. So, when he's with me, we''re in good shape. I'm still getting my work flow down for large jobs that's just me, but when my business partner is with me, we have no battery issues.



In my Sportsmobile, I have an AMG 4D house battery (huge) and a Tripplite 2000w inverter. I'm covered but I still prefer to save charging to when I'm driving, when I can. I use this charger.


View attachment 108103
I have that same charger, but shelved it after I found this one:

1549314337887.png


Not only does it charge faster, but it runs cooler. MUCH cooler. I don't know about your blue charger, but my charger used to get SUPER hot. That tells me it's not engineered very well. The Sunny charger stays cool to the touch. Too bad it doesn't have a DC-in port. It would be perfect if it did.

D
 
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#13
You probably don't want a high current charger, not without a dedicated auxiliary battery setup to run it.

DC-AC inverters are not horribly inefficient. 90%+ efficiencies are common for better quality units and they will give a lot more options obviously as to what they might be used for.

Your big problem is your vehicle battery. You said it is 50Ah capacity? That seems unlikely. There are two ratings commonly used to compare cranking battery performance. Cold cranking amps (CCA) being the batteries ability to supply short term current, in the case of the civic which is a small car this is probably around 400A. The second rating is the battery ability to continue to power the vehicle electrics without a charge being applied. This is called Reserve Capacity (RC). If the figure you are quoting is RC (almost certainly will be if you pulled it from the battery specs) then 50 means the battery can deliver 25A for 50 minutes until the terminal voltage falls below 10.5V. As a rough comparison this puts the battery at around 20Ah. From memory RC is measured at 25degC, lower temps will provide less performance. Take a cranking battery down to 10.5V and you won't just find the car probably won't start, you will have reduced the battery service life (sulfation reactions start below about 12.4V).
 
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#14
You probably don't want a high current charger, not without a dedicated auxiliary battery setup to run it.

DC-AC inverters are not horribly inefficient. 90%+ efficiencies are common for better quality units and they will give a lot more options obviously as to what they might be used for.

Your big problem is your vehicle battery. You said it is 50Ah capacity? That seems unlikely. There are two ratings commonly used to compare cranking battery performance. Cold cranking amps (CCA) being the batteries ability to supply short term current, in the case of the civic which is a small car this is probably around 400A. The second rating is the battery ability to continue to power the vehicle electrics without a charge being applied. This is called Reserve Capacity (RC). If the figure you are quoting is RC (almost certainly will be if you pulled it from the battery specs) then 50 means the battery can deliver 25A for 50 minutes until the terminal voltage falls below 10.5V. As a rough comparison this puts the battery at around 20Ah. From memory RC is measured at 25degC, lower temps will provide less performance. Take a cranking battery down to 10.5V and you won't just find the car probably won't start, you will have reduced the battery service life (sulfation reactions start below about 12.4V).
50Ah = 50 Amp Hours = draw 50 amps for 1 hour before significant voltage drop. Or 25 amps for 2 hours or 10 amps for 5 hours, etc. You get the point. That said, safe to say I can pull 25 amps of current very safely for 1 hour, at which point I would probably start the car to avoid further discharge. I have a 90 amp alternator in my car, which can hold the batteries voltage @ idle with every single item on in the car, including AC + high beams + wipers, etc.

So the "problem" is NOT electrics. I got that covered. The problem is that I can't find a 3-battery high capacity charger that I can just connect directly to my car battery. 13 comments in, we're no closer to solving that problem than I was before starting the thread.

D
 
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#15
50Ah = 50 Amp Hours = draw 50 amps for 1 hour before significant voltage drop. Or 25 amps for 2 hours or 10 amps for 5 hours, etc. You get the point. That said, safe to say I can pull 25 amps of current very safely for 1 hour, at which point I would probably start the car to avoid further discharge. I have a 90 amp alternator in my car, which can hold the batteries voltage @ idle with every single item on in the car, including AC + high beams + wipers, etc.

So the "problem" is NOT electrics. I got that covered. The problem is that I can't find a 3-battery high capacity charger that I can just connect directly to my car battery. 13 comments in, we're no closer to solving that problem than I was before starting the thread.

D
Actually I don't get the point. There is a big difference between RC and Ah ratings. Automotive cranking batteries almost always carry an RC rating.

Could you please tell me what battery you have in the civic? I will get one for the Missus car- 25A for an hour and still able to start is exceptional performance from a small battery. It would mean she could leave the headlights on for almost 6 hours without needing roadside assistance instead of 2.

You have had 13 seemingly genuine attempts to assist you and your complaining- nice one!
 
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#16
Actually I don't get the point. There is a big difference between RC and Ah ratings. Automotive cranking batteries almost always carry an RC rating.
Batteries

The author covers Amp Hours AND Reserve Capacity.



Could you please tell me what battery you have in the civic?
Duralast 5-year battery.



I will get one for the Missus car- 25A for an hour and still able to start is exceptional performance from a small battery. It would mean she could leave the headlights on for almost 6 hours without needing roadside assistance instead of 2.
Exactly. Not remarkable. Not since 1974...





You have had 13 seemingly genuine attempts to assist you and your complaining- nice one!
I make every effort to keep threads from going south. Why? Because it's a pet peeve, I suppose. Why is it a pet peeve? Because I honestly loathe wading through irrelevant responses to seemingly simple questions. You'll never see me do that to people. Ever. I either answer their question, or I don't. I read their entire question so's not to answer questions they did NOT ask, or ignore questions they DID ask. Call me an a**hole.

My question was very direct:

"Anybody out there using a high-current charger that connects directly to your car's battery as opposed to the cigarette lighter?"

I didn't write it in Spanish. I didn't use kolij-level vernacular. I didn't ask for "work arounds." I asked a very simple, straight forward question. Yet, despite my best efforts, this turns into the "power converter thread." Yes...I get a little bugged. Nothing personal. I didn't call anybody a name. I simply stated that the question hasn't been answered yet.

Peace out.

D
 
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#17
Batteries

The author covers Amp Hours AND Reserve Capacity.





Duralast 5-year battery.





Exactly. Not remarkable. Not since 1974...







I make every effort to keep threads from going south. Why? Because it's a pet peeve, I suppose. Why is it a pet peeve? Because I honestly loathe wading through irrelevant responses to seemingly simple questions. You'll never see me do that to people. Ever. I either answer their question, or I don't. I read their entire question so's not to answer questions they did NOT ask, or ignore questions they DID ask. Call me an a**hole.

My question was very direct:

"Anybody out there using a high-current charger that connects directly to your car's battery as opposed to the cigarette lighter?"

I didn't write it in Spanish. I didn't use kolij-level vernacular. I didn't ask for "work arounds." I asked a very simple, straight forward question. Yet, despite my best efforts, this turns into the "power converter thread." Yes...I get a little bugged. Nothing personal. I didn't call anybody a name. I simply stated that the question hasn't been answered yet.

Peace out.

D
Ok- so the answer is probably not as it seems what you are after isn't available. If it existed it would probably be on @msinger phantom help website.

It seems @solentlife has offered the best solution. Essentially do what you did with the phantom 1. An RC charger that supports HiV LiPO with the required ratings and aftermarket P4 battery connectors should do the job nicely.

Next option would be a DC-DC boost converter and cables. They are available with constant voltage and user set output however to get the current rating you require at 12V input will probably run you the same outlay as a dedicated charger.
 
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#18
Batteries

The author covers Amp Hours AND Reserve Capacity.





Duralast 5-year battery.





Exactly. Not remarkable. Not since 1974...







I make every effort to keep threads from going south. Why? Because it's a pet peeve, I suppose. Why is it a pet peeve? Because I honestly loathe wading through irrelevant responses to seemingly simple questions. You'll never see me do that to people. Ever. I either answer their question, or I don't. I read their entire question so's not to answer questions they did NOT ask, or ignore questions they DID ask. Call me an a**hole.

My question was very direct:

"Anybody out there using a high-current charger that connects directly to your car's battery as opposed to the cigarette lighter?"

I didn't write it in Spanish. I didn't use kolij-level vernacular. I didn't ask for "work arounds." I asked a very simple, straight forward question. Yet, despite my best efforts, this turns into the "power converter thread." Yes...I get a little bugged. Nothing personal. I didn't call anybody a name. I simply stated that the question hasn't been answered yet.

Peace out.

D
I'll write your answer in spanish.



No.
 
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#19
Ok- so the answer is probably not as it seems what you are after isn't available.
Seems that way. I haven't given up yet.



If it existed it would probably be on @msinger phantom help website.
I will check that out. Thanx.





It seems @solentlife has offered the best solution. Essentially do what you did with the phantom 1. An RC charger that supports HiV LiPO with the required ratings and aftermarket P4 battery connectors should do the job nicely.
Ironically, I actually have a 3 battery charger (charges in series) that accepts DC. AND I purchased a DC cable that goes from clamps -> P4 Interface. But it doesn't work! Argh. I'll have to do some troubleshooting, which will involve acquiring the pinout for P4 batteries and chargers - which, of course, will not be available through DJI. Another man hunt...




Next option would be a DC-DC boost converter and cables.
Yep. I was hoping to not have to reinvent the wheel. But it looks like the wheel hasn't been invented yet...<:^/



They are available with constant voltage and user set output however to get the current rating you require at 12V input will probably run you the same outlay as a dedicated charger.
I've already got DC->DC voltage converters. They're really kewl digital jobbies that are programmable. I forget how much current they source, but it's a start.

I'll keep this thread posted if I find anything.

D
 
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#20
There are threads around here with the battery connector details.

The duralast 5year batteries look good- 85RC is high for a small battery but that is still only 35Ah.

Good luck.....
 

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