Our Design Partner, FMA Direct

Our in-house staff of engineers is constantly at work developing new products, and improving existing designs for the R/C industry.

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FAQS | CELLPRO POWERLAB BATTERY WORKSTATION AND ACCESSORIES

I'm using Windows Vista or Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (or 32-bit). Do I have to have the FUIM2/FUIM3 connected to the USB device before connecting it to my computer? I ask because I keep getting "no driver found for your device."

1) Leave the FUIM2/FUIM3 disconnected from the PowerLab and from your PC's USB port.
2) Launch the PowerLab CCS application.
3) Click the download USB driver link from the application window.
4) Pick the correct driver from the web page. If your device is FUIM2, use the Driver for Win Vista x32 or x64 bit. If it's the FUIM3, there's only one driver.
5) Follow the on screen instructions. If you have attempted to load the driver before, what might happen is an uninstall first. If you see that the program wants to uninstall the driver, let it. Then go back to the website and install it again.
6) Now launch the CCS application again.
7) Plug the USB end of the interface into your USB port at this time. Win7 should tell you the driver is loaded now.
8) Plug the other end of the cable into the PowerLab's PC port and apply power.
9) Click the firmware you wish to install, then choose Update Firmware.

What makes the Safe Parallel Adapters safer than "conventional" parallel charging solutions?

The Safe Parallel Adapters add additional safety when parallel charging as follows:

1) Each cell of the pack delivers current through a self-resetting polyfuse. In the event that current should ever exceed 1A to an individual cell in the battery pack, the polyfuse goes to a state of high resitance. This generates heat, and a lot of it.

2) Each polyfuse also has a special adhesive sticker attached to them. The material used contains a special "thermochromic ink". The normal color of the label is red. If the temperature exceeds a certain high temperature, as when the polyfuse is protecting the wiring and the PowerLab, the color of the label turns black.

3) If you ever see the thermochromic label turn black, disconnect the packs IMMEDIATELY. If you do not, there is a likelihood the batteries will be damaged irreversibly. There is also the potential of fire in this case where the customer ignores the temp indicator label color change.

4) So the combination of the polyfuses, and the high temp indicators are what create the extra level of safety not found in other parallel adapters.

5) Some events that can cause the polyfuses to go to a state of high resistance:

a) customer connects two different cell count batteries together in parallel
b) customer has a pack with a shorted or near-shorted cell or shorted wiring.
c) customer finds a way to connect cells together in a manner that is incorrect, reverse polarity for example.

6) In addition to the Safe Parallel Adapters, the other safety feature utilized, and not found on other brand accessories are the fuses on the main charge leads. Currently, REVOLECTRIX offers the new 40A cables that come equipped with two 40A fuses; one in the red lead and one in the black lead. These protect the batteries, the PL8 itself, and all wiring from the mistake whereby the customer connects the balance leads to the adapter, and then connects the main charge leads from the batteries in reverse polarity. In our opinion, any attempts to charge at high current without the added "last resort" protection of fuses in the main charge leads is frought with peril. Note, always connect the balance leads to the Safe Parallel Adapters first, and then connect the main charge leads together. The PowerLab also contains internal surge protection circuitry that discharges the output capacitors in the unit via the balance connectors. This proper sequence of connecting will prevent sparking on the main charge leads when connected.

7) Finally, the polyfuses are self-resetting. This occurs automatically when the connection or battery problem has been removed. The polyfuses will cool quickly. The temp labels may require a bit more time to return to normal "red" color. Also, cell imbalance between two packs connected in parallel via the Safe Parallel Adapters is not likely to trip the polyfuses; at least we have not witnessed this in our testing, even when a fully charged pack is connected to a dead pack. But for the record, we do not advise customers connect fully charged packs with completely dead packs during parallel charging. Although this will likely not create a safey hazard, it might not be good for the life expectancy of the packs. In this regard, even when using Safe Parallel Adapters, best practices still apply.

In summary, the Safe Parallel Adapters will prevent damage to all wiring and the PL8. When used correctly (meaning disconnecting the packs immediately in the event of a black temp label indication), they will prevent fire when used in combination with fused main charge leads. But they will not necessarily prevent damage to the batteries themselves in the event that customer connects different cell count batteries together in parallel, or has packs with shorted or near-shorted cells.

When using Safe Parallel Adapters, can PowerLab see the individual cells within the battery packs connected in parallel?

When two packs are connected in parallel using balance adapters (preferably REVOLECTRIX Safe Parallel Adapters), all of the individual cells are connected together. The PL8 does not see the individual cells any more. But it does not matter. Imagine one cell at 3.8v and another cell at 3.5v. After you connect them together, there is only one voltage, say 3.6v. Current flows between the individual cells to equalize the voltage per ohm's law. The cell with a lower voltage prior to connecting the cells together will receive current from the higher voltage cell (charging the lower cell). Self-equalizing MEANS the cells are self-balancing. Now the PL8 only has to look at each of the the paralleled cell voltages of the pack. By end of charge, the exact same thing is accomplished as what would happen if the packs were charged and balanced separately. There is no dis-advantage to parallel charging from a balancing standpoint.