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Author Topic: Best portable battey pack for QRP HF/CW  (Read 708 times)

caulktel

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Best portable battey pack for QRP HF/CW
« on: May 11, 2017, 06:46:24 PM »
I'm sorry for asking this again, but is there any new technology in the way of portable battery packs? what do you all recommend? I'm tired of getting burned, (literally), from EBay LiPo packs, it seems they are all garbage. I have been looking at LifePO4 packs but they are so expensive. Any recommendations? I only want to run a 8 to 10 watt LNR Precision FX-4A for as long as possible at 11-12 volts with as little weight as possible, (I know the same thing everybody wants).

Joel
N6ALT

gil

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Re: Best portable battey pack for QRP HF/CW
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2017, 07:10:48 PM »
Hello,

I now use 18650 cells. I bought three-cell holders wired in series, which give me 12.6V max, more like 12V after the cells have been off the charger for a bit.

I lost a bunch of LIPO 3S packs because I let their voltage go too low, below 3V per cell. The 18650 might be a little more resilient, but I don't let them go below 3V. I am now very careful about cell minimum voltage and I haven't lost one yet. If you lose a cell you don't lose a whole pack...

I got a bunch of free cells out of old laptop batteries. Usually, they contain six 18650 cells. Even if the battery is bad there are probably only one or two bad cells in it. Ask around, lots of people keep them, along with their old laptops.

For me, 18650s are more economical and practical for the reasons mentioned above.

Gil.

caulktel

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Re: Best portable battey pack for QRP HF/CW
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2017, 07:44:01 PM »
Hi Gil,

That is a good idea as im a computer tech and have a whole pile of bad laptop batteries that I could slavage them from. Now to build or buy a sutible charger for them. Thanks for the tip.

Joel
N6ALT

PS, I enjoyed your video on the 10 most important prepping points and agree.

gil

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Re: Best portable battey pack for QRP HF/CW
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2017, 04:05:51 AM »
Hi Joel. For charging I got two Nitecore UM10 USB chargers. I can plug both into my 14W solar panel. Nitecore and Xtar also make 2-cell chargers. I plan on getting one so I can charge three cells at once.

Gil

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caulktel

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Re: Best portable battey pack for QRP HF/CW
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2017, 11:05:00 AM »
Gil,

I took my first Gateway Laptop battery pack apart and found 2 bad cells out of 6. The other 4 have 3.7 to 3.8 volts on them. I'm charging them one at a time in a cheapo Chinese 16850 charger for my LED torch. I will look at the charger you suggested and read up on the 16850 chemistry to see how to properly charge them. I know multiple battery packs need to use some kind of load leveling circuit, so I will investigate that as well. Thanks a lot for the tip.

Joel
N6ALT

gil

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Re: Best portable battey pack for QRP HF/CW
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2017, 04:39:25 PM »
Yep, they sell balancing charger boards on Ebay for a few dollars. I just charge them out of the holder...

Gil.