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There are several webpages explaining the different batteries available. There are pros and cons to each. There is no perfect solution. These webpages will inform you the best we can, then you can make a decision what you prefer. My preference is Li Ion batteries for planes up to and including 170cc/40% planes. My preference for 210cc and larger planes is LIFE batteries. I do not like LiPoly in planes because they must be removed before charging or else you might burn your plane, car, house, etc.

Because many batteries have been ruined due to faulty charge systems, we are supplying this warning to check your charger, how to check your charger, and a warranty notice regarding the battery packs themselves.
There is NO warranty for Li Ion batteries. They are electrical components which can be damaged very quickly and easily with no visibly signs of damage. To avoid problems, read this notice.

TBM Li-Ion batteries are made to the highest standards of manufacturing. They are tested several times throughout production and are in good working condition when shipped. If a pack is damaged in shipping, please contact us immediately.

We want you to be successful in using these batteries, and are providing the following information about them. Please read everything and contact us with any questions. With careful use of the batteries, they will last 1 to 2 years.

Virtually all battery failures are due to overcharging or overdischarging. Batteries usually fail from faulty chargers, cycling the batteries improperly, or not disconnecting them from switches when not in use. If a cell in a battery is charged up past 4.2v or discharged below 3.4v, damage occurs. How much damage depends on how far and how long and how often the cell is out of that range.

The warning label on the back of the battery reads that 5.0v is the minimum voltage acceptable for a 2-cell pack. This is true for not completely damaging the pack. The pack should be able to be revived and used. If the voltage is below 5v., the damage is probably too severe to trust the pack for service any longer.

Remember that a 4-cell pack is a 2S2P pack. The pack can charge and discharge perfectly even if 2 of the cells are completely dead. If 2 cells are completely dead you have only 1/2 of the capacity of the pack, and only 1/2 of the current capacity of the pack. The only way to know for sure is to cycle the pack from 6.8v to 8.4v when it is new and check the amperage capacity, and then compare this from time to time with the current capacity of your pack doing the same test. Do not cycle the packs below 6.8v.

Out of balance cells will occur. It will happen faster when a cell is out of the range of 3.4v to 4.2v. How fast is determined by how far and how long and how often the cell is out of range. Once the cells are out of balance, they never come back into balance on their own. For instance if a 2-cell pack is charged to 8.4v but one battery is 4.4v and the other is 4.0v which added together makes 8.4v, the cell that is at 4.4v is being damaged. The same for discharging. While the pack may read 6.8v, it could be that one cell is at 3.6v and the other is at 3.2v While these two values added together equal 6.8v, the cell which is at 3.2v is being damaged.

Damaged cells will lose amperage capacity and current capacity until at one point, usually for no apparent reason, one or both cells just go to 0 volts. If only one cell goes to 0 volts, then you will read the voltage for just one cell which will be 3.4v to 4.2v or so. When this happens, replace the battery pack.

ANY NEW CHARGER MUST BE VERIFIED BY THE USER SO THAT THE CHARGER DOES NOT EXCEED 4.2V PER CELL.

  • The first time you charge the batteries, you must disconnect the battery from the charger from time to time (typically every 15 minutes) as it is charging and check the voltage of the battery with a tester which has no load.

  • Be sure that a 7.4v battery does not exceed 8.4v.

  • If the charger does not stop charging all by itself at 8.4v or less, then contact the charger manufacturer for repair or replacement. All Li type chargers shut off automatically.

  • If the battery is overcharged during the charging process, and the charge rate is very low such as .1C, TYPICALLY the battery will not get warm and it will not vent, it simply goes to zero volts.

  • Though we have never experienced it, under certain conditions, it is possible for the battery to get warm and/or vent, and/or explode and cause a fire.



LI-Ion Nano Phosphate Usage Instructions and Warranty
There is no warranty for any batteries. They are electrical components which can be damaged very quickly and easily with no visible signs of damage. To avoid problems, read this notice.
Li Ion Nano Phosphate batteries are made to the highest standards of manufacturing. They are tested several times throughout production and are in good working condition when shipped. If a pack is damaged in shipping, please contact us immediately.
We want you to be successful in using these batteries, and are providing the following information about them. Please read everything carefully and contact us with any questions. With careful use of the batteries, they will last 2 years, 500 cycles or more.

Virtually all battery failures are due to overcharging or overdischarging. Batteries usually fail from faulty chargers, cycling the batteries improperly, or not disconnecting them from switches when not in use. If a pack in a battery is charged up past 7.20v or discharged below 4v, damage occurs. How much damage depends on how far and how long and how often the cell is out of that range.

The warning label on the back of the battery reads that 4.00v is the minimum voltage acceptable for a pack. This is true for not damaging the pack at all. Even as low as 2.00v, the pack should be able to be revived and used, though this will shorten its cycle life.

Remember that a 4-cell pack is a 2S2P pack. The pack can charge and discharge perfectly even if 2 of the cells are completely dead. If 2 cells are completely dead you have only ½ of the amperage capacity of the pack, and only ½ of the current capacity of the pack. The only way to know for sure is to either completely charge or completely discharge the pack with a charger/discharger capable of providing the mah going in or out of the pack.

As the battery wears, it will lose capacity. The only way to know for sure is to cycle the pack from 7.2v to 5v when it is new and check the amperage capacity with a charger/discharger capable of providing the mah going in or out of the pack, and then compare this from time to time with the current capacity of your pack doing the same test. When the capacity is only 80% of original, replace the pack. This type of drop can happen in the first few days if abused, or can happen well past 2 years if taken care of properly.

Out of balance cells do not occur if the packs are used for receivers or ignitions (because they are low current applications) as long as the cells are not overcharged or over-discharged. Once cells are out of balance they will only come back into balance if balanced with an external balancer.

ANY NEW CHARGER MUST BE VERIFIED BY THE USER THAT THE CHARGER DOES NOT EXCEED 7.20V

  • Each time that you charge your battery, check the voltage without a load to be sure that the pack doesn't exceed 7.20v (no load). If the reading is too high, replace the charger. All Li type chargers shut off automatically.

  • If the battery is overcharged during the charging process TYPICALLY the battery will not get warm and it will not vent. It will simply read a higher voltage. This will cause harm over time.

  • We do not believe that it is possible for the battery to explode and cause a fire if overcharged by a typical charger. It is possible for the battery to get hot and possibly catch fire if a high voltage and amperage is put into the battery by an incorrect charger (for instance an automotive 12v battery charger). So these batteries are much safer than Li Poly, a little safer than Li Ion, and about the same as NiMh and NiCad. However, use caution when charging.

FIELD TESTING YOUR BATTERIES:

This is different than other batteries!

Li Phosphate batteries don't drop their voltage much under load, so the typical field voltage load checker can be used, but you must calibrate it to be sure it is giving you the correct information. Wire length, connector condition, tester circuitry and many other variables come into play. The difference from mostly charged and mostly discharged is only 0.20v (very, very little change) under a 1 amp load, so it is imperative to calibrate your meter/tester. This must be done in the plane because the switch, connectors, wire and all will have an effect! I found that a fully charged battery is 7.20v but the voltage under a 1 amp load quickly drops to 6.40v, and then very slowly drops to 6.20v when it is 80% discharged. Your data may be completely different due to the set up that you are using. One way to calibrate your tester is as follows:

1) The tester must read to the 1/100th of a volt, so you must be able to read 7.19v for instance, not just 7.1v or 7.2v. If not, get a tester which reads to 1/100th of a volt.

2) The tester must have a load available to check with. Check the voltage under the highest load you have available, a 1, 1.5, 2 or more amp load will work.

3) You will need a charger which shows how many mah go into the battery when charging.

4) Discharge the battery until your field checker reads 5v under the largest load your checker has available. You can discharge the battery by turning on the radio system in the plane. At 5v, the battery is completely dead.

5) Charge the battery using a charger which tells you the amount of mah going into the battery. Only put in 20% of the battery's capacity. For example if you have a 2400mah battery, put in 480 mah.

6) Use your field volt tester with the load setting you have chosen. The reading obtained is the minimum safe voltage!

7) The minimum safe voltage is the reading you should have left after your last flight, not during your next flight!

8) Your batteries should be sized such that you will have 2 flights left when you ready the minimum safe voltage. By experimenting with flying, testing with the field tester, and charging, by noting the amount of energy going into the battery, you will figure out how many flights you should be getting on your batteries. Do not exceed 80% of this even if your checker says you are good.

9) Since charging the batteries is fast, and it is better to be safe than sorry, charge at the field if there is any doubt.

HOOK UP OF BATTERY, RECEIVER, SWITCH AND REGULATOR

  • Regulators are not necessary! Just plug the battery into the switch!

  • If you are using 2 batteries (as you should) with one receiver, plug one into the battery port and the other into any open port (usually the gear port). All the power in a receiver is connected in a common bus bar, so powering through any port is possible. If you don't have an open port you can use a Y-harness out of any port (for instance the rudder port) and then plug the rudder servo(s) into the Y-harness and the battery/regulator into the Y-harness.

  • If your switch draws power in the off position, disconnect the batteries from the switch at the end of each day. The instructions with the switch regulator will tell you this.

If you have any questions, please contact us!!

The starting voltage for a Li Ion pack is 8.4v so it does need a 6v regulator. Most servos and most receivers don't like voltages much above 6v. These new batteries are much better than the discontinued Li-Metal packs marketed under the Duralite name. The Li-Metal cells were poor technologically which is why no company makes a Li-Metal cell any more. While Li-Metal cells were the premier batteries of their day, Li-Metal cells have been superseded by Li Ion and Li Polymer technology. Li-Ion batteries are used in cell phones and laptop computers and more. These cells are here to stay and just keep getting better and better all the time.

One cell is nominally 3.7v so a 2 cell pack offers "7.4"v. Once charged, the cells are at 8.4v and generally stay above 7.0v. Do not fly if the battery reading is 6.9v or less (under a 1 amp load). Li-Ion batteries are different than NiCad or NiMh. There is no difference in cells which are 7.2v and cells which are 7.4v. They are the same, just a variation in the way that they are named.

If the wrong charger is used on a Li-Ion battery, the cell is destroyed and in extreme cases may start on fire, if the battery is discharged to 2.3v per cell, the battery is ruined. Regulators are required. A field voltage tester with a higher load (typically 1 amp) is necessary. So, a change in equipment is necessary, but once you make the investment in a new charger and checker you will be very happy you did. I use three identical Li Ion packs in each plane. At the end of the day, I plug in the charger. The charger is automatic and takes 3 hours at the most to charge the cells. There is no memory problem like the NiCads have so there's no need to discharge. Also, Li-Ion batteries don't discharge all by themselves like NiCads do. You can charge up your plane in the fall, and in the spring the battery is still fully charged. I feel that the advantages of Li Ion cells far outweigh the disadvantages.

There is no warranty on Li Ion batteries, so please read the warranty and use information carefully. A seemingly minor mistake can kill the battery pack.



How to connect up a pack/switch/regulator
Connect the battery to the switch and then the switch to the regulator and then the regulator into the Rx or ignition. This MUST be done. Do not connect the battery to the regulator! If you connect the pack to the reg, the battery can be drained to 0v in less than a day. In addition to the reg continuing to drain the power from the pack when the switch is off (if connected on the wrong side of the switch), when you charge, you are charging through the reg, and when you check the voltage through the switch you are always going to get a reading of 6v (or what ever the regulated voltage is).

How to tell if you are hard on your batteries
Li Ion batteries last one or two years of constant use in good conditions. They slowly wear out after each cycle. The less the battery is discharged during flying and between charges, the longer it will last.
You are hard on your batteries if:
- you run your batteries down to 6.9v or less each day (even if it's after 10 or 12 flights)
- you only get 2 or 3 flights on your batteries before they are down to 7v or less (because you are pulling too high of a load on them).
This will wear them out more quickly. They can wear out in 200 flights, which for some people may be 6 months. If you are going to fly until your batteries are dead, think about adding more battery power.

You are easy on your batteries if:
You stop flying at 7.3V or more and this is after 4 flights or more, then you are not pushing the batteries that hard and they will make it to 2 years and up to 500 charges.

Replace your batteries if:
- you have noticeably less flight time.
- you cycle your batteries using an Astroflight 109 charger and find that the battery capacity is under 80% of the rated value. You can also check the amount of energy going into the battery using an MPI wattmeter put in line with the charger. Do not discount


Battery Check

I will check the condition of your batteries at no charge! Just send them to me with $4 (shipping and handling back to you) and I'll check them out and return them in 1 day!

- The battery capacities are rated by the manufacturer very conservatively. The capacity depends on the charge cutoff voltage, the charge rate, the discharge rate and the discharge cutoff voltage.
- When a 2-cell pack reads 6.8v under a 1 amp load on a new pack, it has no capacity left.

- When a 2-cell pack reads 6.9v under a 1 amp load on a new pack, there is about 25% of the capacity left.
- Each 15 minute flight on an average 35% airplane uses about 400 mah. This offers 12 flights on two 2-cell packs. When you test the batteries and they show 6.9v, you have enough battery life for a few more flights, but don't do it!! Be safe. When either battery reads 6.9v (or higher), stop flying and recharge.
- My DA-100 draws 800mah, my DA-50 draws 800mah at idle and 900 mah at full throttle. Thus a 2600 mah cell will power the ignition for 3 hours (twelve 15 min flights).
- As batteries age, the amount of flight time will shorten. It's important to check your batteries from time to time using a charger/discharger. An Astroflight 109 and many other brands are good for checking the performance of your Li Ion or Li Poly batteries. The one exception is that most will over discharge the batteries. They will shut off at 6v or less which is damaging to the battery. Unfortunately you must manually shut of the discharging with most dischargers.



4 Battery types to choose from

1) Li Ion Batteries - The battery cells come from primarily one manufacturer, LG Chem, though Samsung, Sanyo and a few others also manufacture Li Ion cells. LG Chem make the best Li Ion batteries at this time. They have the highest discharge rate of any of the Li Ions available. There are only 2 sizes of battery cells to choose from, AA and 5/4AA. The AA cells are used for transmitters and the 5/4 cells are used for ignitions and receivers. These cells are assembled into packs by TBM and others and they are essentially the same product. These were the most commonly used batteries in giant scale for ignitions and receivers in 2007. However, in 2008 the supply of these has dried up and they will be difficult to obtain for model airplanes.They were originally designed for laptop computers. LiIon batteries have the highest capacity to weight ratio of any battery available today for ignitions and receivers.

2) Li Poly Batteries - These batteries are made by many companies and there is a huge variety of packs to choose from. There are literally hundreds of sizes, shapes, capacities and discharge rates. The most recognized company which offers Li Poly batteries for giant scale ignitions and receivers is FlightPower. TBM also assembles it's own packs. Li Poly batteries are slightly heavier than Li Ion, fragile and dangerous, and can be charged and discharged quickly. 6v regulators are required.

3) Li Ion Nano Phosphate Batteries - These batteries are made by just a few companies, the most notable is A123. There are just a few cells to choose from, so pack sizes are limited. This is the latest and greatest technology for 2008. Li Phosphate batteries are heavy, robust, and can be charged and discharged quickly. 6v regulators are not required. These were developed primarily for power tools like cordless drills which require high outputs and quick charges.

4) Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries - This technology has been around for decades, and offered a big weight advantage (energy density) over NiCads. NiMh battery technology has been improving over the years, and really is a viable alternative, especially compared to Li Phosphate.

Li Ion vs. Li Poly vs. Li Phosphate vs. NiMh - It's a difficult call. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. There is no clear cut winner. However, if I had to rank them, I would have different rankings for different applications. After I present the advantages and disadvantages, you can decide, and I'll offer suggestions.

The photo shows the size difference between packs with similar capacities.
Top: A123 4600mAh Li Phosphate
Center: FlightPower 4340mAh LiPoly
Bottom: TBM 5200mAh Li Ion

DETERMINING FACTORS TO CHOOSE THE CORRECT BATTERY FOR YOUR PLANE

COMPARISONS OF 2700 mah BATTERIES

LI ION LI POLY LI PHOS NIMH
COST $32 $35 $60 $48
CAPACITY (mah) 2600 2170 2300 2700
WEIGHT (oz) 3.5 4.5 6.5 6
PHYSICAL SIZE Smallest Medium Small Largest Medium
CHARGE RATE Slow Medium Fast Fast
SAFETY High Low High High
DISCHARGE RATE Good Excellent Excellent Excellent
REGULATOR REQ'D Yes Yes No No
EASE OF USE Med Low High High

The main reasons why one battery type is favored over another is more about the disadvantages than the advantages. Thus I will concentrate on the disadvantages.

NIMH - NiMh batteries were the battery of choice before Lithium batteries entered the scene. NiMh had the drawback of failing under high vibration, but using a redundant system was the perfect solution. The main reason they lost out to Lithiums was weight. That's all, just weight.

LITHIUM IONS - Lithium ions came onto the scene (thanks to Duralite) and their lower weight were their only advantage. However the weight advantage was big enough to warrant the change even with a huge amount of disadvantages like higher prices, need of regulators, need of new chargers, need of new field checker, lower burst amps, can stop working if over charged or over discharged, and slow charge rates. And with all that, they are still the standard because of one advantage - weight.

LITHIUM POLYS - These are just starting to be used in very large planes with powerful servos to keep supplying power when the battery is under a tremendous load. This happens rarely in 100cc planes or smaller. Only in 150cc planes and larger can this happen, and problems are rare, but problems with batteries are of course catastrophic. The weight is higher with Li Polys than Li Ions, so some of the main advantage is lost. The big problem with Li Polys is that they can explode and burn violently if mishandled (a crash for instance), so they should be removed from the plane and placed in a fireproof box during charging, and handled with care in general.

LITHIUM PHOSPHATES - This is new technology, and A123 is the leader. They are big, expensive and heavy but they can pound out the juice, and don't need regulators due to their lower nominal voltages. They charge quickly and are very safe. They are robust. They won't be rendered useless if overcharged or over-discharged (though this is not recommended). TBM will be importing offsets very soon will much better pricing than is available now. A new problem is that the voltage that a fresh and that a dead battery puts out is about the same. Mostly charged they are at 6.40v and mostly discharged they are at 6.20v. With a difference of only 0.20v, you either need a really accurate checker or new way of checking them. Of course a new charger is required and possibly a new field checker. If you're going to use Li Phosphates, you may as well consider NiMh because you may already have a charger and checker and there is little if any advantage of Li Phosphate.

RECOMMENDATIONS (finally) - Well, if you're still hanging in there, and you've digested all this and your eyes aren't glazed over, you must be a real RC enthusiast. Congratulations.
1) Unless you have super power hungry servos on a 150cc plane, and you already have all the Li Ion equipment, I suggest you stick with Li Ions, because they are still the lightest batteries around, and even with the disadvantages, they are the best.
2) If you need or just want high output, or you just can't get the Li Ion's, and you have the Li Ion charger and checker, switch to Li Poly. But BE CAREFUL because you can burn down your house or vehicle!
3) If you don't have Li Ion/Poly checkers and chargers, but you do have a NiMh charger and checker you should consider using NiMh.
4) If you are adventurous, want high output, and must have the latest in technology, then Li Phosphate is for you. I can guarantee that the prices will come down substantially once TBM batteries are available in February. The problem which remains is that they will always be heavy, and you will need a new charger and checker, but you don't need a regulator.

How many amps does a plane draw? TBM conducted its own servo torque testing using the pictured equipment. We monitored the voltage at the Rx, the voltage at the battery, the amp draw at the battery, and the torque of the servo. We used a TBM 2-cell LiIon battery with a MPI Miracle switch (which has a built in 6v regulator). We tested other batteries and other regulators from Fromeco and Smart-Fly and there was no difference in the performance of the 1 servo. We were concerned with moving torque, not holding torque. We are interested in the power available to move a control surface into position. The most powerful servo, and the most power hungry was the JR-8711. It drew as high as 5 amps initially though the load dropped to 4.2 amps in less than a second. Having 13 of these on a very large plane like a 50% plane leads you to conclude that there could be a momentary current draw of 65 amps if all the servos were stalled. To put this in perspective, most of the circuit breakers in your home are 15 amps, and the best 4-cell LiIon has a burst output capacity of 18 amps. IN REALITY a plane with 13 JR-8711 servos will never require 65 amps. We estimate based on some testing that 50% planes will typically pull a peak of 40 amps. See the chart below.

Current Requirements for R/C Planes*

PLANE SIZE Avg Amp Draw Max Burst Amp Draw
50cc 1 5
85cc 1.6 8
100cc 2 10
150cc 4 20
210cc 6 30
300cc 8 40

*Your figures may vary.

Balancing of receiver batteries:

There are many opinions as to balancing of battery packs, and this is ours:

  1. LiIon or LiPoly battery for ignition or Rx do not go out of balance often. We recommend balancing them every few months.
Regarding the PowerExpander, keep this in mind. We ran our own tests on JR-8711 servos. We found that one JR 8711 will not operate properly using any JR plugs between the battery and the servo. Of course there is a JR style plug on the servo, but it you eliminate the others, you will see an increase in performance to just one servo. One JR-8711 servo using a PowerExpander with Dean's plugs from the battery to the switch and regulator will pull 5.2 amps. That same servo will only pull 3.5 amps if the battery, switch and regulators use JR plugs instead. The JR plugs are basically chokes. Only 6 amps can flow through a JR plug at best. If you are trying to run 7 JR-8711 servos at 5 amps each, or 35 amps total, there is no way that the battery can get the amps to the servos if the amperage is flowing through JR plugs. It is impossible. What happens is each servo will only get 1 or 2 amps instead of 5 amps which means less torque and speed, which means less performance. Planes under 100cc size do not need a lot of amperage to operate the servos, so no PowerExpander is required. You will get less performance from your servos, but you will not notice the difference. On a 150cc plane you will notice the performance drop. On a 100cc, you may or you may not notice the performance drop.

25% AIRPLANE BATTERY SETUP- 6 servo setup without smoke (1 servos per aileron, 1 per elevator, 1 per rudder)
LI-ION, LI-POLY 1 - 2-cell (about 2400 mah) Battery for ignition (gas engines only) 
1 - 2-cell (about 2400 mah) Battery for Rx(2 is better for redundancy but are heavy)
2 - 6v MPI regulators ** 
Typically use one Rx and analog servos. If a smoke pump is used, a separate battery is best.

30% AIRPLANE BATTERY SETUP- 6 servo setup without smoke (1 servo per aileron, 1 per elevator, 1 per rudder)
LI-ION, LI-POLY
1 - 2-cell (about 2400 mah) Battery for ignition (gas engines only) 
2 - 2-cell (about 2400 mah) Batteries for Rx 
2 - 6v MPI regulators ** 
Typically use one Rx and analog servos. If a smoke pump is used, a separate battery is best.

33-35% AIRPLANE BATTERY SETUP - 7-9 servo setup with smoke (1-2 servos per aileron, 1 per elevator, 2 per rudder)
LI-ION, LI-POLY
1 - 2-cell (about 2400 mah) Battery for ignition**** 
2 - 2-cell (about 2400 mah) Batteries for Receivers 
3 - 6v MPI regulators** 
Typically use one Rx and digital servos. If a smoke pump is used, the Rx battery can be used, no separate battery is required.

36-40% AIRPLANE BATTERY SETUP - 9 servo setup with smoke (2 servos per aileron, 1 per elevator, 2 per rudder*)
LI-ION, LI-POLY
1 - 2-cell (about 2400 mah) Battery for ignition****
2 - 4-cell (about 4800 mah) Battery for Receivers 
1 - 6v regulator for ignition**
2 - Adjustable Voltage Regulators 
Typically use one receivers and digital servos. If a smoke pump is used a separate battery is best***.

36-40+% AIRPLANE BATTERY SETUP - 11+ servo setup with smoke*** (2-3 servos per aileron, 1-2 per elevator, 2-4 per rudder*)
LI-ION, LI-POLY
1 - 2-cell TBM Li Ion Battery for ignition****
2 - 4-cell TBM Li Ion Battery for Receivers
1 - 2-cell TBM Li Ion Battery for Rudder
1 - 6v regulator for ignition** 
2 - Adjustable Voltage Regulators 
Use Y-harnesses for each pair of batteries into the switches so extra regulators are not required.
Typically use one receiver and digital servos. 
If a smoke pump is used, the Rx battery can be used, no separate battery is required.

Rudder set ups for 40%+ planes is usually two Jumbo servos or three or four high powered small digitals. However, a single Seiko servo can be used which has twice the power of these set ups. The Seiko battery requires its own power source which can be a separate battery or the ignition or receiver battery can be used. We prefer to use a PowerExpander and simply plug both the power and the signal leads into it. When using 4 digitals, it is very difficult to match them up perfectly, consequently there is more power loss and faster battery drain. It is also very expensive to use 4 digitals. 
** Smoke system option: Sullivan makes the best smoke pump now. It's best to run this pump off of the PowerExpander to avoid a separate battery and switch. You can use an unregulated 2-cell battery with switch if you are not using a PowerExpander.
*** Ignition option: Generally the ignition battery is the first to run down if you are using a 2-cell battery pack. Using a 4 cell pack is an option


How to connect up a pack/switch/regulator
Connect the battery to the switch and then the switch to the regulator and then the regulator into the Rx or ignition. This MUST be done. Do not connect the battery to the regulator! If you connect the pack to the reg, the battery can be drained to 0v in less than a day. In addition to the reg continuing to drain the power from the pack when the switch is off (if connected on the wrong side of the switch), when you charge, you are charging through the reg, and when you check the voltage through the switch you are always going to get a reading of 6v (or what ever the regulated voltage is). 

How to tell if you are hard on your batteries
Li Ion batteries last one or two years of constant use in good conditions. They slowly wear out after each cycle. The less the battery is discharged during flying and between charges, the longer it will last. 
You are hard on your batteries if:
- you run your batteries down to 6.9v or less each day (even if it's after 10 or 12 flights)
- you only get 2 or 3 flights on your batteries before they are down to 7v or less (because you are pulling too high of a load on them).
This will wear them out more quickly. They can wear out in 200 flights, which for some people may be 6 months. If you are going to fly until your batteries are dead, think about adding more battery power. 

You are easy on your batteries if:
You stop flying at 7.3V or more and this is after 4 flights or more, then you are not pushing the batteries that hard and they will make it to 2 years and up to 500 charges. 

Replace your batteries if:
- you have noticeably less flight time. 
- you cycle your batteries and find that the battery capacity is under 80% of the rated value.  

Battery Check
- The battery capacities are rated by the manufacturer very conservatively. The capacity depends on the charge cutoff voltage, the charge rate, the discharge rate and the discharge cutoff voltage.  
- When a 2-cell pack reads 6.8v under a 1 amp load on a new pack, it has no capacity left.
- When a 2-cell pack reads 6.9v under a 1 amp load on a new pack, there is about 25% of the capacity left. 
- Each 15 minute flight on an average 35% airplane uses about 400 mah. This offers 12 flights on two 2-cell packs. When you test the batteries and they show 6.9v, you have enough battery life for a few more flights, but don't do it!! Be safe. When either battery reads 6.9v (or higher), stop flying and recharge. 
- Most electronic ignitions draw 800mah. Thus a 2600 mah cell will power the ignition for 3 hours (twelve 15 min flights).
- As batteries age, the amount of flight time will shorten. It's important to check your batteries from time to time (every 6-12 months) using a charger/discharger.  


Want to fly 50 flights without stopping to charge?

It's simple. Between each and every flight, beginning with the first flight of the day, connect the charger to the airplane's batteries and start to charge. Even if it's connected for only a few minutes while you gas up and check things over, it will make a big difference in the number of flights you can get in a day. Do not wait for it to fully charge. When you are ready to fly, then fly.

The way the Ion Cube works is that it pumps in as much juice to the battery as the battery is capable of receiving. The more discharged the battery is, the faster it will take on juice. 2-cell LiIon batteries can receive almost 3 amps when they are fully discharged, but only 0.3 amps when they are close to being fully charged. So if you charge between flights for a few minutes, a lot of juice goes into the battery quickly, and you can fly virtually forever.

The limiting factor is the ignition battery. TBM tests show that a DA-50 ignition pulls 0.9 amps. Therefore a 15 minute flight will use 250mah. At a typical charge rate of 2 amps, it only takes 8 minutes to put 0.250 amps back in. Remember that you will only see a 2 amp charge rate when the battery is about 1/2 used up. If the battery has only 1 flight on it, the charge rate will be about 0.5 amps, because the battery cannot accept juice as fast as it approaches a full charge.

I find this procedure works best with the Ion Cube (with the "Brain"). I've tested the Astroflight 109, E-Flight, Triton, and others, and the Ion Cube ramps up the current the fastest and the highest and offers the best results.

 

Want to get the most flights without charging?

It's simple. Match your regulators on one Rx! TBM testing has found that the output voltage of the regulator, the harder the battery works. If you have 2 batteries on one Rx, then typically the regulator with the highest voltage will make its battery work the hardest. If they run down unevenly, you will have to stop flying sooner, than if they run down together. TBM tested Fromeco, Smart Fly, and MPI regulators, both the fixed output and the adjustable output types. If you find that one battery is consistently lower than the other, reduce its voltage output by 0.1 to 0.2 volts. This will work the other battery harder. Repeat if necessary. We have found that you can get the batteries to discharge within 1% of each other with some simple changes. TBM offers pre-matched fixed output regulators for 100cc and smaller planes.


 

 
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Allied countries of the United States regarding shipment of any products from TBM

WARNING - Gasoline and Turbine powered R/C model aircraft are not manufactured to withstand unlimited G's. Any R/C model aircraft can fail, be it a wing folding up or a fuselage breaking in half under too high of a load. Just as any full size aircraft, model R/C aircraft have a maximum G rating. Because you are not in the plane flying it and experiencing the G's and reading the G-meter, it is more difficult to judge the G's on the aircraft, and it is very easy to exceed the limits of the aircraft. Understand that if you perform a snap roll, parachute, wall, blender, knife edge loop, or pull hard on the elevator at almost any speed, you can be putting in excess of 15 G's, even in excess of 30 G's, and most aircraft can only designed to take 10-12 G's. If you perform any violent maneuver, you can break your plane. When I perform hard maneuvers, especially for the first time on an airframe, I am prepared for a failure and am prepared for it as best I can be. This mainly includes performing the maneuver far enough away from spectators that in event of a failure that I am not endangering others. In addition, be prepared for the manufacturer to not pay for a new airframe which is broken during flight. It is common practice for any manufacturer to not replace an airframe which breaks in the air or upon landing. I have only seen manufacturers replace airframes when they have received many of the same failures and the manufacturer determines that there was a design or manufacturing error. If you break an airframe, and you are the only one to do so, then it is probably not the fault of the manufacturer. Please fly safely, and avoid full throttle operation other than at low airspeeds.

R/C model jets, warbirds, aerobatic planes, DJI S1000 Octocopter, and UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to name a few are not a toy! If misused, it can cause serious bodily harm and property damage. Fly only in open areas, and AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) approved flying sites. Follow all manufacturer instructions included with your plane, radio, servo's, batteries and engine. Aircraft manufacturers guarantees each kit to be free from defects in both material and workmanship at the date of purchase. This warranty does not cover any component assembled by the customer. All parts of high stress must be inspected and reinforced if necessary by a competent builder. Some parts should be glued again. High stress areas such as firewalls, motor boxes, wing mounts, landing gear mounts, etc., are areas of high concern. Seek help if necessary. In not case shall TBM be liable for the cost of any product it offers which is not manufactured by TBM. The liability to the manufacturer cannot exceed the original cost of the purchased item. Further, TBM reserves the right to change or modify this warranty without notice. In that TBM has no control over the final assembly or materials used for final assembly, no liability shall be assumed nor accepted for any damage resulting from the use by the user of the final user-assembled product. By the act of using the user assembled product, the user accepts all resulting liability. The kit manufacturers have provided you with a top quality, thoroughly tested kit and instructions, but ultimately the quality and fly ability of your finished model depends on how you build it; therefore, we cannot in any way guarantee the performance of your completed model, and no representations are expressed or implied as to the performance or safety of your completed model. It is the user's responsibility to inspect each component for worthiness.