The High Pro Glow

Welcome! The topics introduced in this blog will vary wildly. Here, you will find a lot of odd topics that are here to help somebody in need. I post off-beat information, hard to find history, & stuff that is otherwise seldom regurgitated in our modern place. Sit back & find something interesting. Comment if you have a need or suggestion.

Thank you for crossing paths!

Christopher R. Smith (aka. Littlehorn)

I've got it on! Have you got it on?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"What is the best Balance Charger?"

I'm asked this question almost daily.

Not many people will want to read all of this information. If you wish to remain clueless..skip down to the "Recommended Balance Chargers" section below.

The best balance charger is one that will have more features, adjustability, and reliability than the "dumb" stock chargers. Smart aftermarket balance chargers can provide far better maintenance for expensive batteries and are not expensive.

When choosing an aftermarket balance charger look for...

Features like a display that can provide details about the battery..such as..individual cell voltages, warning and error descriptions, settings options, and possibly a battery internal resistance meter. A very useful and important feature a balance charger should have to help keep Lithium batteries stay healthy is called 'Storage Charge' which allows the battery to be charged to a healthy level before periods it is expected to sit without being used.

A good balance charger should also have adjustable settings. It is important to adjust the charger for different types of batteries, their capacities (MAH rating), charge rates (Amps), and balance charge voltage cut-off limits. Charge rate adjustments being very important since rates too high can harm performance and cell longevity.

The reliability of any charger is something that should be expected to perform when needed. Stock chargers have a few tricks but cannot be fully trusted to treat batteries properly..and without a reliable method of feedback from the stock charger it is almost impossible to know if it is working properly. Furthermore, if the stock charger doesn't operate it can't tell you why. Generally , most chargers are manufactured in China. Some are manufactured better and with quality checks than cheaper chargers. This can become a problem when trusting a charger to treat batteries properly and more so when charging potentially volatile batteries in your home.

There are many great chargers to choose from when upgrading to a better than stock charging setup. The Parrot stock chargers are Balance Chargers..just not stellar performers. A step up are Bebop specified mulitchargers which can charge 3 packs at once. Unfortunately, the ready-made mulitchargers available for Bebops are basically 3 dumb stock chargers in one..with the same lack of information, adjustability, and they use high charge rates that decay cell performance over time.

I will post links with tips on charging Bebop 1, Bebop 2, Bebop 2 Power, and Disco batteries in the comments below.

While there are many chargers to choose from it is important to choose a legitimate brand and not one that is a clone. Good brands are copied and usually the clones are not manufactured to quality standards. Finding a genuine model can be difficult if details are not provided by sellers.

Recommended Balance Chargers:

Genuine SkyRC Imax B6ACv2 - Caution..there are cheap Clones. Be diligent in choosing these chargers from sellers..matching box/unit design with the SkyRC website. Look for "Genuine"  being present in descriptions and a holographic sticker stuck on the bottom of the charger. Newer models should also note "LiHV" battery type compatibility on the box and printed on the face of the charger. This is a popular charger, it contains it's own power supply and has all of the needed functionality and many additional useful features. It is a "4-button" with a typical menu. The menu can be confusing at first or at times when you forget what selections you need..so learn how to use it and make and cheat-sheet of the needed selections for the batteries you intend to charge.

iSDT Brand Chargers - This brand is very good, very easy to use with a very intuitive menu, and they are not yet cloned. These chargers are far better than typical 4-button chargers and have greater versatility. They do require purchasing a separate power supply to support it..and adapting the power supply's connector to an XT-60 type plug to match the charger. However, they can also accept power from several different types of sources such as a wall-plug AC/DC power adapter, a 12 volt automotive type battery, or a larger LiPo battery. Selecting a power supply depends on how much amps are needed to support the charger to charge batteries. I recommend a laptop type wall-plug AC/DC power adapter with an output of 12 volts and at least 5 Amps (5000 mA).

I will add links to these chargers in the future. Until then, if you need help just ask here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Waiting Room Helper

This is an old headphone plug nipped-off for a purpose.

For about 15 years I've carried one of these to silence annoying TVs in different places. I "donate" about 3 a month. I know it might drive the establishment's proprietor insane trying to figure out what happened to the volume..but blaring "The View' in waiting rooms should be illegal.

About 15 years ago my oldest son broke off one in the TV and killed the volume. It took me a few hours or maybe days to figure out this was the problem. Once removed the volume returned.

If you do use this somewhere..use a long one that can be removed so you cannot be sued by the proprietor.

Take this tip and live longer...

I am also offering to sell them for $1 plus shipping if anyone is interested.

Monday, April 16, 2018

For Sale - Bebop 2, Bebop 2 Power, & Disco Balance Charge Cables

Better Balance Charging Setups..Need Cables!


These cables adapt Bebop 2 (LiPo), Bebop 2 Power (LiHV), Bebop-Pro, and the Parrot Disco (LiPo) battery packs to typical aftermarket Balance Chargers..so you can ditch the stock chargers. These cables are built to NASA fabrication standards using the genuine OEM connectors. All 16AWG and 22AWG high-grade silicone wiring and high-quality gold plated connectors. Aftermarket Balance Chargers have specific connections with a few options of different connector types. I can match connectors to chargers upon request. The Red&Black 4mm Banana connectors are for typical 4-button balance chargers, some use Red Dean's T-Plug type connectors, or Yellow XT-60 for iSDT charger and the Parrot Disco charging setups. Other connectors available. If you are not sure what you need, just let me know what charger you have at:  the.littlehorn@gmail.com

The cables prices include USPS shipping within the USA. International shipping can be worked-out. I accept PayPal payments via the links below. It's safe, fast, and easy! Please, add your address in the payment note. Email Me for other payment options.

-- Use the links below to purchase cables --
BEFORE PLACING ORDERS
PLEASE NOTE:
**Prices includes shipping.
(**Please, Contact Me Before Placing International Orders)
-- Please, use the PayPal links provided. It is safe, easy, and free!
-- Please, add a note in PayPal listing the ordered item(s) and your shipping address.
-- Please, combine multi-cable orders into one by changing the total amount in PayPal before completing the payment process.
-- Please, DO NOT inhale fumes from smoking cables.

Parrot Bebop 2, Bebop 2 Power, Bebop-Pro Balance Charge Cable: $33 USD
https://www.paypal.me/Smithium71/33

Parrot Disco Balance Charge Cable: $22 USD
https://www.paypal.me/Smithium71/22

Tap on the images to enlarge.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Drone Search & Recovery Solution!

Search & Recovery 

Drone Reflector Kits
--  Order Below  --

** Ver.2 Reflectors Now Available! **

Losing a drone isn't a fun thing. They experience failures and control can fly-away with the drone. There are several types of devices that help recover a lost drone. If a location aid wasn't on-board..it can be very difficult to locate even during the daylight hours. While GPS/Cellular and RF trackers are invaluable they do have limitations and can be expensive. Combining multiple layers of recovery aids drastically increases any possible recovery especially if a primary means goes down. Adding another layer is easy and inexpensive.

A simple and proven location system for nighttime search & recovery are Drone Reflector Kits. Always Ready! Like Magic..Drone Reflector Kits reflect LED light sources very brightly easily spotted by searchers in the sky or on the ground. Months of research and testing materials resulted in the best reflectors with the most reflective ability. The.High.Pro.Glow Drone Reflectors are extremely reflective from any angle and can be seen from very far distances. Even a low output LED flashlight can cause very bright reflections from the reflectors at night. These reflectors never need batteries nor will they fail if the drone loses power.

WiFi interface was also a consideration while testing. Some available reflective materials caused signal interference between the drone and operator and shortened flight distances considerably. The Drone Reflector Kits offered here do not impact WiFi signal communication.

GPS signals and Magnetometer readings can be influenced by metal and high-powered electrical devices near drone and controller receivers. Electromagnetic frequencies, high-tension power transfer lines, and high-power transmitters of telecommunications facilities. Such influences can distort signal waves and impose errors in orientation data used for control and stability. This problem increases as the proximity to objects decreases. The.High.Pro.Glow reflective materials do not cause these problems. However, it is not recommended to place reflectors directly on or over antenna areas.

The Drone Reflector Kits are easy to apply to any drone surface and can be cut to fit wherever. It is recommended that all sides of the drone have mounted reflectors to improve chances of spotting a drone from all crash angles.

Apply a Reflector Kit to your drone while you still have a chance!

** Version1 Reflectors are visible from 100's of feet. Version2 Reflectors are visible from 1000's of feet (V.2 pics coming soon). Version2 Reflectors are truly amazing! Both versions were developed by NASA and use in their aerospace programs to mark hardware for long-range visibility. These materials are the highest quality most durable reflective material available. If it is good enough for NASA its fantastic for our drones!

Sizes and Shapes - More shapes will be available soon. Chevron shapes up to 2 inches will be added this week. Customs sizes and shapes can be requested.

BEFORE PLACING ORDERS
PLEASE NOTE:
**Prices includes shipping via stamped envelope.
(**International Orders Add $5)
-- Please, use the PayPal links provided. It is safe, easy, and free!
-- Please, add a note in PayPal listing the ordered item(s) and your shipping address.
-- Please, combine multi-kit orders into one by changing the total amount in PayPal before completing the payment process.
-- Please, DO NOT inhale fumes from smoking reflectors.

Reflector Kit Basics:
[ For All Drones ]



KIT/1 - Dash Reflector Kit - (8 pcs. 1"x1/4"). Recommended just under the motor and everywhere else. Perfect kit for all Drones!





KIT/2 - Dot Reflector Kit - (12 pcs. 1/4"). Like Cat's Eyes! Suitable for any location. Dots increase the chances of spotting.
KIT/3 - Strip Reflector Kit - (4 pcs. 2"x1/4"). Recommended for arms, body sides, and under the belly.




KIT/4 - Cube Reflector Kit - (4 pcs. 1"x1"). Recommended for body, nose cowling, arm wraps, and battery.

Reflector Kit Combos:
[ For All Bebops ]



KIT/A - Dots & Dashes (12-Dots & 8-Dashes)
V.2 - PayPal $7.50 or More Now!




KIT/B - Strips & Dashes (4-Strips & 8-Dashes)
V.2 - PayPal $8.50 or More Now!




KIT/C - Cubes & Dashes (2-Cubes 1" & 8-Dashes)
V.2 - PayPal $8.50 or More Now!




KIT/D - Omnipresence (4-Dashes, 12-Dots, 4-Strips, 2-Cubes 1")
V.2 - PayPal $11.50 or More Now!




Reflector Kit Positions...(more pics soon)

Tap on the images to enlarge.



Brighter in-person than in the video below of 4 V.1 Dash Reflectors from 150 feet at night.








Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Of SpaceX, HeavyMetal, and the OV-095

SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy test rocket with a special payload today. The payload was a Tesla Vehicle with a 'Starman' behind the wheel brought to reality by Elon Musk inspired by David Bowie. He's headed to cruise by Mars blaring "Life on Mars" in his topless Cherry-Red Roadster.  -Starman Live-Feed-

The launch was a success. The payload deployed perfectly. The plan included independent landings of the 3 sub-rockets...vertically and fully-automated. The 2 side rockets stuck a synchronized landing near the launch area..so perfectly it looked fake. The 1 center rocket didnt ignite 2 of the 3 rockets needed to land properly on the drone barge at sea. Rocket recovery is a mission bonus..not a measure of mission success. The main objective is the payload delivery to the target orbit.

The similarities to other previous events are rather striking...for instance..

The car and starman in space...as first envisioned in the 1981 movie 'Heavy Metal". -Video-

And the fully-autonomous return and landing of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy's individual sub-rockets. This process has a resemblance to NASA's solution to launch emergencies after liftoff that would prevent achieving orbit..a maneuver called an RTLS or "Return To Launch Site". An RTLS involved flipping the Space Shuttle in a pitch-over maneuver to coast with the large external tank still attached at a high speed backwards through its own fiery thrust plumb(s) to slow the orbiter enough to drop the tank then glide back and land safely. I did say 'backwards' through its own fiery exhaust.

This artist's image of an RTLS hung near NASA's OV-095 Space Shuttle...the only orbiter to have successfully completed RTLS maneuvers so many times. Yes..simulated..but for actual approval and inclusion into nearly every launch software datapack ready for emergency use during flights after the Challenger loss.

Images of the stages of a Space Shuttle RTLS. If it were ever completed successfully in reality...those Astronauts aboard the orbiter would experience the most incredible death-defying few minutes that would have ever occurred in aerospace history.

Today SpaceX gave us something huge...something showing us the advancements of our Humanity. SpaceX pushed the fringes and revealed the possibilities ready to carry us forward to our future in space.

Monday, January 22, 2018

HobbyKing.com Discount Link

    》》》HERE《《《

This is my HobbyKing.com Referral Rewards link. Using it will send me reward points and allow you to gain reward points quicky with your first order!

HobbyKing.com has great products at great prices and perfect service. Rewards Points can be used as discounts for purchases. Give it a try..they even accept PayPal transactions!

Thanks for using it!

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Repairing Parrot Bebop Drones

Parrot Bebop Drones are robust durable aircraft that can endure some ruff flights. The bonus is that Bebops are easily and inexpensively repairable. Bebops do have many design features specifically to increase the chances of surviving hard crashes. Flexible props, prop interruption motor-stop, flexible chassis...however, the limits of engineering will be overwhelmed at some point and parts will fail.

Repairing a Bebop just takes a little time..and minor screw-driver skills. They are easy enough to work on as their design is very intuitive. A few tough aspects might need some explaination..and there are examples..

These Bebop 2 & B2 Power Repair Tutorials/Guides can remove the mysteries.

This Bebop 1 Disassembly & Reassembly Video demonstrates some techniques of the original assemblers.

Start Here for replacement parts.

Crashing can damage more than a Bebop. It can cause confidence issues with operators. The best rebound involves a good understanding of what caused the issue and return to fly again. Just like falling off of a bicycle. Dust yourself off...and get back on!

Have Fun!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Parrot Bebop 2 & Bebop 2 Power Skin Template

Design your Own Bebop 2 Paint Job! I have had this file for a while. I do not have the specs for printing it to the correct size as that info evaporated with a PC and the old files I had for the vinyl printer/cutter I was working with. Sorry! If someone does use this and can offer some detailed feedback..I could edit into this posting for others to use. In any case, please show me the skins you design with this template. Have Fun!

HERE is the template file.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Donate!

I work to help others. If you want to buy me a cup of coffee or a Beer to show your appreciation...here's how...click the link below and type in some amount. Its safe and easy as pie!

PayPal.Chris!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Parrot Bebop 2 & Bebop 2 Power Stock Charge Cable Hack

What?
Here is How To Hack the Parrot Bebop 2 and Bwbop 2 Power Stock Charge Cable into a cable that connects Bebop 2 battery packs to common LiPo Balance Chargers. Hacking your own cable is easy. Soldering is just like gluing stuff but using some heat. Read this information and Hack It.

Why?
- This cable and an upgrade charger can help your expensive batteries perform better and last years instead of months..or weeks. A better charger offers healthier treatments, vital battery information, and can balance cells to a 'Storage' voltage for when packs are not needed. 
- The stock chargers have been known to be weak performers and unhealthy for batteries over time. 
- 4-button type chargers are the most commonly used and the next practical step beyond the stock chargers.
- These adapters provide access to the individual cells enclosed in the Bebop battery pack with cabling needed for balance charging.
- This is the quickest, least-expensive, and easiest way to create this type of cable.
- The stock cable has the OEM battery connector ready so there is no need to purchase a small bulk of OEM connectors when only one is needed.
- This adapter allows quick battery/cell voltage measurements. Always know a pack's voltages.

How To Hack?
Refer to the pictures below for connector orientation and other details.
  1.  Cut stock cable removing smaller connector end. 7 inches shown in the diagram, leave longer if desired.
  2.  Strip only the Black insulation to 1 inch from the stress relief at the back of the stock connector, leave more if desired.
  3.  Cut only the Blue #3 and White #4 wires 2 inches from the stock connector, leave longer if desired.
  4.  Strip sections of insulation from Red #1 & Black #2 wires and 1/8 inch from all other wire ends.
  5.  Add Heatshrink tubing or another type of insulation. Add more and shrink as needed.
  6.  Solder. It helps to use flux and tin each end with solder to aid solder flow when making joints later. No need to twist wires. .just lay the ends flat against eachother and apply heat.
  7.  Perform final Continuity Test matching the wire numbers from connector to connector.
Notes: 
- Plan to stagger the wire lengths, the striped sections, and solder joints to result in a cleaner cable with less mechanical stress. Note the slight staggering shown in the pictures.
- Plan and add heatshrink tubing before soldering. Cover solder joints individually with heatshrink to prevent electrical shorting. This act takes some creativity.
- The stock wiring is stiff so plan to add some support (heatshrink) especially near the banana plugs. Talcum power dusted inside the heatshrink can aid in flex later but is not required.

Part & Tool List:
- Multimeter or Circuit-Tester for checking continuity to locate matching wire-ends.
- Bebop 2 stock charge cable included with all Bebop 2.
- 3S 4-wire JST-XH pigtail 5+ inches in length. Very inexpensive online or at a hobby shop.
- 2 - 4mm Banana Plugs (Red & Black). May be repurposed from cables included with the charger. Very inexpensive online or at an electronics parts shop.
- Heatshrink tubing. Several sizes and color can be used.
- Solder equipment. If you need solder tips watch some YouTube Videos.

Tap on the images to enlarge.


This cable can be used with many types of 4-button balance chargers commonly equipped with two 4mm main Red & Black Banana sockets and a 3S 4-wire HST-XH Balance port. A Genuine SkyRC Imax B6AC V2 has these ports, its inexpensive, has great features, and is a great upgrade from the stock charger. Some chargers use different connectors replacing the 4mm banana plugs with another common type such as yellow XT-60 connectors. iSDT chargers use XT-60 connectors for input power and output charging. These chargers are fantastic, easy to use, small, powerful, very versatile, but a power source is needed..not a convenient option for a beginner.  

For detailed Bebop 2 Battery Charging Information..Read This!  

For detailed Bebop 2 Power Battery Charging information...Read This! (Coming Soon)

If you need some help, let me know. If needed, I can also edit your stock cable and return it for a small fee..email me for arrangements. I also sell complete Balance Cables with OEM connectors for both Bebop 2 and Bebop 2 Power and the Parrot Disco charging setups - HERE.

I hope you had fun developing this skill..if you want to buy me a cup of coffee or a Beer to show your appreciation...here's how...click the link below and type in some amount. Its safe and easy as pie!
Thank You!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

F.I.R.S.T. World Championship 2017 Houston, Texas

The largest robotics competition had to be split into 2 venues in different states. Yes, this event is that big. The actual space needed is enormous. No single complex can accommodate the excitement.

This is the first year of 6 that Houston and the George R. Brown Convention Center will host the F.I.R.S.T. World Championship. Where 6 billion robotics students, coaches, mentors, parents, event coordinators, exhibitors, and service personnel from everywhere will mix for a week.

Since 1998 my experiences of this high energy event have been of places where brains are on full speed..high-intenstity robot action is at every turn..there is no time to rest..go..go..go! This time was the same. I have exactly 4 pictures! One from my 18th floor room at the Marriott Marquis, a blurry one of me, the MCP, and one shot over the GRB towards the obscured San Jacinto Monument. Guess which is which.

I was there as a MINDSTORMS Community Partner (MCP) showing robots with LEGO Education. Meeting all of the attendees is the best part. People from everywhere..all with similar interests and interesting stories.

Being the first year in Houston..the event coordinators and facility workers herded the cats pretty well. The coming years are sure to run even smoother.

Here are some links to people that used their cameras...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Balancing 3-Blade Propellers

The information presented here will grow. It's current form is made available to get folks moving towards saving another Bebop from vibrational induced death. More details will be added as time allows. Corrections and suggestions are always welcomed. Now.. On to the topic...

Balancing propellers greatly reduces vibrations that cause component damage and jello in video recordings. A perfect bench task for rainy days. Balancing is not difficult but does require a little patience and a bit of time..however, the results are well worth the effort.

Parrot Bebop 3-blade props are a patented proprietary design with hubs (holes & w/o holes) that help users install the correct props onto the correct motors. The props without center-holes present a problem for balancing. Balancing 3-Blade Propellers without center holes is possible using one of these optional methods and their tricks.

Starting with new parts is preferred. Balancing damaged parts may not have the desired result. If a rotor cage is warpped, or a motor shaft is bent, or a prop is damaged/bent..you are wasting your time balancing them into the mix. New parts are not balanced. Damaged parts shouldn't be used. Inspect every part very thoroughly before balancing them. 

The Optional Balancing Methods...

1. Non-Powered Dynamic Balancing
Using a Bebop motor bearing shaft to support an uninstalled rotor with a prop attached. Hand-spin and gravity isolating. May be the most inexpensive method to employ..if a sacrificial motor can donate it's bearing shaft. 
Startup cost may be free or $10-$30 USD.
Supplies: one sacrificial motor. See video below.
Pros: Simple process. Low startup skill-level required. Quick to setup and use.
Cons: Analog, one motor sacrificed. Motor not powered through operational range.

2. Dynamic Laser Balancing
Uses laser reflection to visualize vibrations of one assembled motor/rotor/prop mounted on its arm and independently powered through its operational range. Vibrations are isolated while one motor is running as speed is increased. Requires motor circuit isolation and independent power via a 3S LiPo battery, electronic speed control, and a servo motor controller.
Startup cost is about $40 USD.
Supplies: laser, small mirror or piece of a CD-ROM disk, 3S LiPo, ESC, Servo Motor Controller.
Pros: Balances through powered range.
Cons: Motor circuit isolation. Moderate setup, startup skills, and equipment costs. 
Video: coming soon

3. Dynamic Vibration Reduction
Uses a vibration detection and imaging smart phone app to visualize vibrations of an assembled motor/rotor/prop mounted on its arm and independently powered through its operational range. Requires disconnecting one motor for independent power. Vibrations are isolated while one motor is running as speed is increased.
Startup cost is approximately $40 USD before smart phone costs.
Supplies: Smart Phone, 3S LiPo, a 5-6v battery, brushless ESC, Servo Motor Controller.
Pros: Balances through powered range.
Cons: Motor circuit isolation. Moderate setup, startup skills, and equipment costs.
Video: coming soon


Pic of Typical Balancer: 
A typical balancing jig uses a central support rod through a prop's center-hole. Good for props with center-holes..impossible for props w/o center-holes. I wouldn't recommend drilling a hole. Fracturing the plastic hub is easy and risks failure mid-flight.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

'Space Shuttle Door Gunner' My Version...


A 'Space Shuttle Door Gunner' (or, SSDG) is used to describe someone that is bragging about some ultra-cool job position or experience not specifically related to military service. Similar to 'stealing-valor' but the teller usually isn't claiming to be or have been enlisted in the military. Merely some kind of amazing inflated story about their abnormal civilian work.

Stories of being a civilian helping Aliens fight Aliens on the Dark Side of the Moon..and other tall-tales of crazy-heroism, of super-secret operations involving the darkest covert groups doing unimaginable 'work', or living through death-defying acts in that line of work. Ref. the movie "Gravity". Maybe not the healthiest lies..but, still not the types of people that steal valor and need mental help but instead choose to try bragging for 'wows!' or to steal a veteran discount.

Sometimes a story might be legit. Especially, if there actually are space shuttle door gunners fighting aliens on the dark side of the Moon. Sure, why not..? Or, someone might have tales of lesser feats that still might be hard to believe.  The only legitimate reason to practice being a SSDG is story-inflation to score.

In the James Bond movie 'Moonraker'...there is a moment between Bond and Miss Moneypenny that exactly demonstrates the legitimacy of story-inflation to score and its entirely acceptable. As long as scoring IS the result, the ends justify the means. His reason below is even used by a lot of SSDGers. But, this wasn't for Miss Moneypenny and Bond never has to inflate his stories to score with chicks...watch the movie though. Miss Moneypenny had a burning crush for Bond.

Miss Moneypenny: James! But, why are you so late?
James Bond: I fell out of an airplane without a parachute. Who's in there?
Miss Moneypenny: Q and the Minister of Defense.
James Bond: You don't believe me do you?
Miss Moneypenny: No. And you should go right in.

So, I know there were no door gunners in NASA's Space Shuttle program..I Was There..in the bowels.

Maybe 2006, STS OV-095 Payload-Bay
My actual stories sometimes seem like B.S. Its hard to lie when the truth is crazy enough. But, there was a time when 'my office' (my desk, chair, phone, calendar, manuals, file cabinets, and space aircraft bits...but, no mini-guns) happened to actually be in the payload-bay of one of NASA's Space Shuttles...the OV-095. The reasons why the OV-095 payload-bay would become office space is simple. Office space in the Space Shuttle Avionics Integration Labratory Bldg. 16 and 16A was very limited. Since I was tasked with watching every bit of the OV-095 ..my office was smashed into the payload-bay until 'better' office space opened up about 2 years later. I do know that simulated space is still very cold. Here is a picture of me nearly freezing. The blue cabinets were full of computers and other assorted flight support equipment needing a lot of cooling. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Parrot Bebop 1 Battery Balance Port

The Parrot Bebop 1 LiPo battery can be charged with a much better balance charger than the stock charger.  To do so only requires a couple of connections for a B1 battery to hookup to an typical LiPo Balance Charger.  The battery has the required ports just not in the typical locations or using the typical connectors. The B1 battery's balance port is embedded into the battery enclosure above the main power output connector. Those 4-golden contacts require a special balance connector. Reaching them in some way is needed in order to use an aftermarket balance charger. A few options exist to make the connections. One is already in your junk pile...I'll explain...

The easiest, quickest, and cheapest route to the balance port is to use a part from the stock charger..hey, it saves $5-$10 and repurposes a hunk of junk. You might think it's a sacrifice..but the stock charger isn't healthy for any LiPo investment anyway. So, hack it open and remove a little bit of its guts. That is a picture of the 3S 4-wire balance cable removed from the stock charger. This is the part needed to connect between the new charger and the battery's 4-golden contacts for balance charging and to LiPo checkers to measure the individual voltages of the 3 internal cells. The pics below will help you hack the part out. 

Start with 2 screws under the bottom corners of the stock charger's back label.  Some rubber glue is holding components in place..just carefully remove the glue until you free the parts. Separate the halves and disconnect the 4-wire connector without damaging the wires. The rest of the disassembly is just a matter of removing more rubber glue and parts until the little adapter is free from the stock charger.
Once free from the stock charger..the little adapter requires a secure connection to the 4-golden contacts of the battery before charging. Several ways to position the connectors could be developed to accomplish a firm connection. Hot Glue is a great filler. Part of the stock charger's shell could be used as a tray or to fabricate  a special connector for quick and secure connections. The little balance adapter can be stacked on top of the mini-Tamiya connector for the main power connection..as in a picture below. The mini-Tamiya has a lock-clip that can be snipped off to make some room and disconnections easier. Sometimes the springs and 4-golden contacts may need cleaning to make a perfect connection.

The final configuration can look like this: (this example is by Jimmy Thompson)

Option #2 to reach the 4-golden contacts of the balance port requires some time, money., and a bit of luck..since the ready-made part is becoming rare. This Anbee/YX Bebop Charge Adapter Tray/Plate is/was available at Amazon, eBay, and other online shops for about $5. It is usually sold-out in every place other than China..so be prepared to dig for it and wait for it to arrive. It is a structurally stable setup and is worth the price and wait. So, the stock charger's balance adapter might be the best route..but, this jig works very well and can also be used with a LiPo checker to quickly measure voltages. 

It is very important to connect both the main Black/Red power port leads and the Balance lead to the charger to properly 'Balance Charge' multi-cell LiPo packs such as the Bebop 1 3S (3-cell) battery. The charger must be set to 'Balance' charge..not just 'Charge' or 'Fast Charge' unless the charger is actually balancing with those settings.

All LiPo multi-cell battery packs like the Bebop 1 require 'balance' charging to insure the internal cells (3 inside B1 packs) have the same amount of charge to supply the required voltages as needed during a flight. Some of Parrot's stock chargers have a few problems. Mainly, it does not show you the pack voltages or any other information about the battery or its health. Some stock chargers do not fully-charge a pack or balance the cells properly. I recommend finding a better battery charger and picking up a few habits that will make Bebop batteries last a looong time and live very productive lives. Several great balance chargers can provide far more therapy for expensive LiPo batteries. Give one a try and realize why saving expensive LiPo batteries will help the fun keep flying high.

If have a question add it in the comments!

Have Fun!