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Old 05-23-2008, 03:43 AM   #1
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Default Orion 4800 age vs performance

Just a quick question, I remember when the first Orion LiPo's hit the shops, the lifecycle was quoted at something like 500 cycles.

I have one, I got it secondhand in September 2006, so I'm not certain of its age, but since then its been my only race pack for a 27t TC, and occasionally a 19t 4wd buggy indoors on tarmac.

Its been charged, raced, then topped up, never balanced (the voltage is always very close, about 0.004v at most different), 4 times a race night, once a week.

By my reckoning, thats got to be getting near the 600 cycle figure, so what would be the feel/performance of a pack getting that 'old'?

It don't think it feels different to me, compared to when I got it, but, I recently got a chance to run the 3600 20C pack, and it felt more punchy with a little more top end - would that be down to the 20C rating compared to the 4800's 15C?
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:16 AM   #2
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When yu take into account the capacities and the C rating the 15C 4800 and the 20C 3600 have the same current capacity. I would guess that its the newer cells youre feeling. It may be all in your head too. I would look at lap times if possible in the same vehicle on the same day, back to back if I were you. I had a 4800 that I KNEW had more than 600 cycles on it and I couldn't get any different lap times with it than I could a new 4800. HTH
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:40 AM   #3
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I'm still running my original 4800 and it's running fine. Been almost 2 seasons now so it's got a bunch of runs (and abuse) on it.

The only reason that I'm about to order a new pack is because there are higher C rate cells out there now.
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:43 AM   #4
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That's pretty great life from a battery you acquired second-hand, huh?

It's possible the pack is starting to fade a bit with that many cycles. Those Kokam cells have amazing cycle life, though.

If you want to get a little more punch from your current pack, heat it up before you run it. Pick yourself up a cheap heating pad, wrap it around the pack, and get it to around 130F. It won't have any adverse affects, but will give you back some punch, as LiPos work noticeably better when warm.

The Kokam cells Orion uses are really nice since they're so safe, and have such phenomenal cycle life. The downside is that they've got lower voltage than many of the other LiPos available today. That's definitely not going to get better as the pack ages, but with one of that quality, it should be a slow decline.
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:43 AM   #5
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Could the feel of extra punch be due to weight differences between the 4800 & 3600?
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:44 AM   #6
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I want to add to this question..
Do you really only need one Orion 4800 for the race day and just keep topping it up?
What are the dangers of buying one used? Looks perfect, guys says its perfect.
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:45 AM   #7
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Don't be deceived by C rating, it really ends up not meaning much at all.
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:38 AM   #8
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I only use one battery for race day, run it then top it off immediatley
after the run 3 heats. I will say this after trying lipos, I will never buy more of
the Nimh, but I am only a club racer so take my opinion for squat.

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Old 05-23-2008, 11:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock'sTC3 View Post
I want to add to this question..
Do you really only need one Orion 4800 for the race day and just keep topping it up?
What are the dangers of buying one used? Looks perfect, guys says its perfect.
Just not worth it....and yes, I play, run qualifier, charge, top it, practice...sometime I dont' even remember to charge..and they are still running good. Especially on stock, a 4800 can run 2 heats with a 5 minutes practice. I have done that....but i have so much time so I usually PEAK it after heat or practice.

1 cell of 4800 will work for 1 race day...unless you want to get more run time, get 2, or get a 3600 for practice run...4800 for heat and race.
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:10 AM   #10
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I have a friend whose car was sluggish (no punch) and the only thing we changed was him running one of my newer 3600 LiPo and it transformed his car. He had a 4800 LiPo that was well used over 3 years, so I think it was just a tired pack.
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock'sTC3 View Post
I want to add to this question..
Do you really only need one Orion 4800 for the race day and just keep topping it up?
What are the dangers of buying one used? Looks perfect, guys says its perfect.
Dangers of buying used, overcharged, over discharged, droped and damaged internally are just a few of the really bad things that can happen internally and you'd never know the difference, that was untill it went up in smoke for no apparent reason. Buying lipos used is risky, a visual really doesn't tell you a lot. Cells can have internal damage and still provide many good cycles until they finally fail. If you know the person and trust them to take care of their equipment then you should be safe other wise buyer beware.
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schurcr View Post
Dangers of buying used, overcharged, over discharged, droped and damaged internally are just a few of the really bad things that can happen internally and you'd never know the difference, that was untill it went up in smoke for no apparent reason. Buying lipos used is risky, a visual really doesn't tell you a lot. Cells can have internal damage and still provide many good cycles until they finally fail. If you know the person and trust them to take care of their equipment then you should be safe other wise buyer beware.
Those are definitely goods words of advice. Frankly I think it is a gamble no matter what type of battery it is when you buy used.

As to cycle life, I sold my 4800's last year after 300+ cycles on them. I sold them to local guys that I run with and they both say that they still get great run time and performance. I got them for $130 a piece and sold them for $50 a piece. So it cost me $80 for 300 cycles. Definitely well worth it.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:07 AM   #13
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Thanks for the input guys. I guess this thread is more of an info one, I haven't seen a thead befora bout old LiPo's (because of the new tech in car use, this year a load of guys are probably going to be getting near the quoted life, early adopters etc).

When I tried the new 3600, compared to the 4800 I was turning laptimes about 0.8secs quicker. I'm not a great driver, but I can usually run 5 mins without hitting turn markers, pretty consistant. The car didn't change between runs, just the pack. As the club doesn't run weight rules, I run the car without any lead ballast (or to balance the car), so the only difference was the pack. FYI, the car weighs about 1390g with the 4800 and around 1350g with the 3600.

I have noticed about the temperature thing though. Where we race, its on an agricultural showground, and at each end of the building, there are two massive doors, so the ambient temps are low. At one point this winter, the track temperature was a huge 0.8deg C. However, last night the car was great with my 4800 pack, as punchy as the 3600 felt last month. The track temp then was around 25deg C.

One thing I do feel though is, the punch just drops for the last 2mins of the run, I think that might be down to the motor temps, as the motor is geared right and it comes off the track warm to hot to the touch (but not too hot) but I don't any fans or heatsinks.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:16 AM   #14
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What motor are you running? I noticed the same thing, and thought for sure my LiPo was fading. I'm pretty certain it turned out being heat in the stator core that was causing the issue. I put one of Novak's heat sinks on my motor (I run Novak 13.5/10.5) that forces on to the stator, and the problem went away.

With all that said, the Orion packs have considerably lower voltage than the others. If you're seeing that kind of difference, when you're ready to get a new pack, you might consider something else. The heat thing has been proven time and again. You can make it happen every time with a $10 heating pad.

And the last thing to consider is voltage. If you get a battery with more voltage, you're going to need to gear your motor down to account for it, otherwise you'll generate too much heat. If you're right on the edge with your gearing using the Orion 4800, you're almost definitely going to need to make a change with any other battery, as its voltage will be higher.
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