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Old 10-24-2007, 10:27 PM   #361
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Default Battery Wars!

Hey Gang,

This is a bit of a different request - I'm hoping to turn the thread around for a bit to kick of a bit of a discussion about all of the latest things going on in the battery world.

Straight up - We need to know what you are interested in running, and what batts are allowed by your local clubs, series, etc. because we need to make some decisions about what we can best serve racers with.

So far this season, we have had pretty good results with the EP cells matched by Trinity. However, the new EP4600 cell is going to cause a bit of grief for some of you in series or clubs where there is a 4300mah limit for this season.

On the flip side, IB4200's are still popular, and we have recently experimented with Corally and SMC cells and they are working well too.

So.... we want to hear from you. What are you keen on running, and what cells would you like to see us supporting going forward?


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Old 10-25-2007, 12:36 AM   #362
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i want ep 4200!!!!

lol

what happened to the 4200s

i like them

matt
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:43 AM   #363
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lipos would be nice
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:44 AM   #364
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Quote:
Originally Posted by more$thanbrains View Post
i want ep 4200!!!!

lol

what happened to the 4200s

i like them

matt

Yeah - I know! What happened there is that the 4600 has the volts, IR, and generally the same or better performance, with more capacity, and the price stayed the same. So, they figured nobody would really want 4200 still.

This is probably true in the long run, but right now, for series already underway and so forth that have a 4300mah limit, we need to find a solution for you guys!

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Old 10-25-2007, 07:52 AM   #365
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Originally Posted by C_Suzuki View Post
lipos would be nice
Agreed. We are already stocking LiPo's, but most of the racing clubs still don't allow them. They are going to be the battery of the future I think. Especially as LiMn becomes popular with the manufacturer's.
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Old 10-25-2007, 10:29 AM   #366
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The LiPo front is also a canundrum for a variety of reasons and clubs and governing bodies will all have to wrestle with more than a few issues. For example, consider:

1. Pricing is all over the map. Duralite, TrakPower, Orion etc all set the retail bar with the hard case versions yet we are seeing new entrants into the market at up to 40% less in cost than the early adopters. Racers now have more choice than a couple of months ago and either the early leaders will need to drop price, or racers will take their dollar elsewhere if performance is maintained in the lower-cost hard case products.

2. Not all batterries fit into all vehicles making this a moot point (or a very expensive one) for some drivers who would become unfairly disadvantaged in classes where voltage at high load is important (NiMh simply can't compete);

3. Impact on CoG, balance and physics of the chassis performance due to the weight differential. As recently read in a number of forums and magazines, this is/was causing a reaction insofar as car design is concerned and the consumer again pays the price for the market shift, like it or not.

4. If a club adopts LiPo and or other emerging technology as their power source that is not endorsed at other clubs/regions, the cost to the racer will increase significantly as they must re-purchase power to meet the standards of the race director/committee if they travel out of town for an event.

Just a few considerations for LiPo advocates. While I am neither here nor there personally, these are some of the concerns that racers have raised. Certianly frustrating for some and as executive committees and independent racers make their choices, we'll all need to live with and accept the consequences on way or another. This is in part the essence of what we are grappling with - what product and support is required to meet your needs?

What are your thoughts? What power source would you prefer and is there a particular manufacturer/brand you have in mind?

Looking forward to your input.

Phil
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Old 10-25-2007, 10:29 AM   #367
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The LiPo front is also a canundrum for a variety of reasons and clubs and governing bodies will all have to wrestle with more than a few issues. For example, consider:

1. Pricing is all over the map. Duralite, TrakPower, Orion etc all set the retail bar with the hard case versions yet we are seeing new entrants into the market at up to 40% less in cost than the early adopters. Racers now have more choice than a couple of months ago and either the early leaders will need to drop price, or racers will take their dollar elsewhere if performance is maintained in the lower-cost hard case products.

2. Not all batterries fit into all vehicles making this a moot point (or a very expensive one) for some drivers who would become unfairly disadvantaged in classes where voltage at high load is important (NiMh simply can't compete);

3. Impact on CoG, balance and physics of the chassis performance due to the weight differential. As recently read in a number of forums and magazines, this is/was causing a reaction insofar as car design is concerned and the consumer again pays the price for the market shift, like it or not.

4. If a club adopts LiPo and or other emerging technology as their power source that is not endorsed at other clubs/regions, the cost to the racer will increase significantly as they must re-purchase power to meet the standards of the race director/committee if they travel out of town for an event.

Just a few considerations for LiPo advocates. While I am neither here nor there personally, these are some of the concerns that racers have raised. Certianly frustrating for some and as executive committees and independent racers make their choices, we'll all need to live with and accept the consequences on way or another. This is in part the essence of what we are grappling with - what product and support is required to meet your needs?

What are your thoughts? What power source would you prefer and is there a particular manufacturer/brand you have in mind?

Looking forward to your input.

Phil
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Old 10-25-2007, 10:30 AM   #368
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Ah, yes. The old double post move. How on earth????
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:35 PM   #369
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDaddyT View Post
we need to find a solution for you guys!

cover up the capacity numbers with dekels

or just dont say anything

matt
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:42 PM   #370
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Originally Posted by more$thanbrains View Post
cover up the capacity numbers with dekels

or just dont say anything

matt
That's one of the more creative solutions we've heard. Probably one of the easiest to implement too.
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Old 10-25-2007, 03:29 PM   #371
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I would think sooner or later that the mah level of a battery won't matter unless they make the races longer. I almost think that setting a battery limit in a series right now is not necessary just setting a type of cell would be fine. With the capacity of batteries right now it doesn't make as big of a deal as it would have in the past if a bigger battery came out during the racing season. I am not complaining about the battery limits set in some series but setting them will always have the situation of someone needing some batteries in the middle of the season and the battery companies moving onto bigger capacity batteries by then making it harder to get those smaller cells LOL fun and games LOL
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Old 10-25-2007, 03:36 PM   #372
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It's a good point Kevin. I find right now that I often discharge up to 2000 mah out of a pack after racing a 5 minute heat in stock or 19T. The marginal difference in drop-off/voltage between cells of differing capacity is probably not significant since most modern cells don't seem to drop off much until the last 30sec of run-time anyhow (which we're not hitting if we've still got 1/2 a pack left).

I guess maybe it's a bigger factor in 12th scale or mod. Then again, most guys seem to be able to drive those cars pretty much flat out for a heat as well. The extra efficiency of brushless in mod tends to mitigate the capacity issue a bit and 4200mah is enough to make 8 minutes in 12th scale stock and 19T without having to hold back.

I agree with you..... maybe capacity is a non-issue unless races get longer!
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:42 PM   #373
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The problem isn't with mAh - its with the continued increase in voltage. I'll likely grab a set of 4600EP for Cleveland but to have a new set of higher voltage batteries available makes the old packs next to useless esp in 12th scale where we have multiple heats that have only seconds spread between the racers. These slight voltage differences can make a difference and its not fair to have those who can't afford to buy new packs at a disadvantage two weeks after they bought their new packs. The battery wars are rediculous and a mAh limit is set in place to keep racing fun, fair and affordable.

As far as pricing goes its no different than the various cells used for racing. The better performing cells are usually more expensive because more care in engineering and better components, etc are used. Cells from China may be 40% cheaper but time and experience will show what cells perform better. I know with Duralite at least they use the highest grade cells and they cost more retail. Flyers who want the top performing cells fly with FlightPower packs. There are plenty of cheaper cells out there and its the racer's choice which cells they use. Regardless even at $120 a TracPower 4900 mAh battery will give 100 race worthy cycles - with the 100th cycle being very close to the same performance as the first cycle. That means instead of four $60 battery packs (assuming 4 last you a whole season and they definately won't be the same performance by the end of the season) you need one $120 pack - thats half the price of the NiMh. They don't need to be maintained other than not being over discharged which is a simple task and most ESC already perform this function. Most chargers charge LiPo and LiMn. Battery maintainance is minimal - you no longer need a Doctorate to own batteries or follow any Voodoo to maintain them.

As far as weight distrubution ask any mechanical engineer and I'm sure they would rather deal with a lighter material that a heavy one. With a lighter material its far easier to add weight where you want it and balance the vehicle. You easily do this with the current vehicles as the LiPo has a higer charge density and are lighter. Now you can more easily balance your vehicle out even on your current vehicles.

As for pack not fitting there are plenty of options - Team Orion makes a 3800 that will fit in any vehicle and although I haven't tested them I suspect they will have the run time of a 4200 (the LiMn have proved to work that way and the LiPo is very similar).

Lastly if you can afford to race out of town you can probably buy a battery pack to go with the rules of the race...

Kurk
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Old 10-25-2007, 09:06 PM   #374
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Lots of good points in there Kurk. Thanks for the post. There's lots to discuss:


Quote:
Originally Posted by FricFrac View Post
The problem isn't with mAh - its with the continued increase in voltage. I'll likely grab a set of 4600EP for Cleveland but to have a new set of higher voltage batteries available makes the old packs next to useless esp in 12th scale where we have multiple heats that have only seconds spread between the racers. These slight voltage differences can make a difference and its not fair to have those who can't afford to buy new packs at a disadvantage two weeks after they bought their new packs. The battery wars are rediculous and a mAh limit is set in place to keep racing fun, fair and affordable.
New cells in the middle of a season in a spec class are definitely a drag. Even if the difference is subtle, I can definitely appreciate what you are saying from the fairness point of view if you've got a tight field. It would suck to see someone pull ahead in the rankings just because they could afford the latest and greatest cell.

We got word that some 4600 packs are on their way as of today so I'll post the numbers up once they arrive for comparison. I honestly have no idea what they are going to be, so I won't even speculate.

The problem in the industry in general with regard to voltage, #'s, etc. right now is that the companies constantly iterate the "same" cells with the same shrink wrap all the time behind the scenes as well. I saw it all the time with the IB cells coming through. Each batch had progressively "better" numbers (reliability aside), yet they still had identical IB4200 WC stamps on the shrink.

So it would be tough to guarantee fairness no matter what - there's nothing stopping someone from buying new IB4200 cells and running them each week to meet the spec but still buy their way to the top.

That said, the point is well taken - a cell with 4600 shrink wrap is 100% guaranteed to be a major revision on the previous version, so I don't think there's any getting around that. And to your point, yes, I do think it's crap to introduce a change like that if a season or series has started with a different spec.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FricFrac View Post
As far as pricing goes its no different than the various cells used for racing. The better performing cells are usually more expensive because more care in engineering and better components, etc are used. Cells from China may be 40% cheaper but time and experience will show what cells perform better. I know with Duralite at least they use the highest grade cells and they cost more retail. Flyers who want the top performing cells fly with FlightPower packs. There are plenty of cheaper cells out there and its the racer's choice which cells they use. Regardless even at $120 a TracPower 4900 mAh battery will give 100 race worthy cycles - with the 100th cycle being very close to the same performance as the first cycle. That means instead of four $60 battery packs (assuming 4 last you a whole season and they definately won't be the same performance by the end of the season) you need one $120 pack - thats half the price of the NiMh. They don't need to be maintained other than not being over discharged which is a simple task and most ESC already perform this function. Most chargers charge LiPo and LiMn. Battery maintainance is minimal - you no longer need a Doctorate to own batteries or follow any Voodoo to maintain them.
Honestly, I think all that's left is some sort of industry/regulatory/racing body sanctioning of some form of Lithium based pack and it will take off like wildfire. LiMn seems to have a lot of potential because of the more mellow failures. Momentum seems to be building a lot for this - as you said, most newer electronics are already LiPo/LiMn friendly, so it's coming.

That said, it won't solve the short term problems at hand with the current series and clubs and everything else right now either. Hopefully by next year we are seeing a shift in consciousness by the regulatory bodies as well as the spread of the safer LiMn packs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FricFrac View Post
As far as weight distrubution ask any mechanical engineer and I'm sure they would rather deal with a lighter material that a heavy one. With a lighter material its far easier to add weight where you want it and balance the vehicle. You easily do this with the current vehicles as the LiPo has a higer charge density and are lighter. Now you can more easily balance your vehicle out even on your current vehicles.

As for pack not fitting there are plenty of options - Team Orion makes a 3800 that will fit in any vehicle and although I haven't tested them I suspect they will have the run time of a 4200 (the LiMn have proved to work that way and the LiPo is very similar).
This is a big one - again, I think if some sort of form factor starts to win out or gets regulated then manufacturer's will adjust chassis designs. Currently, the defacto standard is the hard cased brick packs, which is a simple and safe design, but rules out about 1/2 of the modern chassis. The Orion 3800 race spec pack is definitely a contender for compatibility though....

Quote:
Originally Posted by FricFrac View Post
Lastly if you can afford to race out of town you can probably buy a battery pack to go with the rules of the race...
Kurk
I agree. There is a definite distinction to be made between clubs looking for a fair playing field, and what you need to do to be competitive out of town or at a national event and so forth. Right now, it looks a bit gross for maintaining that nice playing field for the local racers because of the volatility in the market, which is the problem we need to solve.

Guys that hit the road a lot tend to just do what it takes to be competitive - they're the guys running the baddest-ass batteries at any cost, and typically their only complaints are when we don't have them in stock!

For everyone else - we're all ears.... we definitely appreciate the feedback!
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Old 10-25-2007, 09:57 PM   #375
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Great info guys.....interesting stuff.....this hobby is changing all the time. Anytime that there is a competitive "sport" or hobby involving going faster...there will always be changes and improvements. Our hobby is also somewhat split...the guys that are club racing and just out for fun and then the guys that compete(but still have fun!)
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