Battery recommendations for portable ops?


air.dog@...
 

Greetings everyone!  I'm a new member of this list - first post.  I'm contemplating trying some portable operating with my QCX and am curious as to what you experienced portable operators are using to power your radio.  Any recommendations greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

73 de Tim AA4BI


ajparent1/kb1gmx
 

Try 8-10 AA cells for starters.  If you get into it and do it more then try
2200mah NiMH cells again 8-10 of them.

Either will be the easy and most common and everything else
will higher investment cst.

Allison
-------------------------------
Please reply on list so we can share.
No direct email, it goes to bit bucket due address harvesting in groups.IO


Gwen Patton
 

A good "starter" portable battery pack for QRP is one of the 12v Talentcell packs from Amazon. Here's one I got:  https://www.amazon.com/Talentcell-Rechargeable-6000mAh-Battery-Portable/dp/B00MF70BPU 

It's 6Ah at 12v, which is quite a lot. It gives you 12v at 3A max, and you can charge it while you use it with the y-adapter they provide, if you have mains power for at least part of the time. I have yet to run that one down more than one light in an afternoon's operating in the park.

I also have a more powerful one that also has 9v and 5v USB outputs, so I can make a battery cable for a 4SQRP "Cricket", or run another radio that uses 9v, and I can charge my phone if I've been using it for logging on QRZ or something. But they replaced that model with this one: https://www.amazon.com/TalentCell-Rechargeable-11000mAh-14500mAh-26400mAh/ It's similar to the one I have but has a bit more juice. Mine was 8.3Ah at 12v and a max of 6A. But this one is 11Ah at 12v and gives a max of 6A at 12v. There IS one bigger than this, but by that time you should be looking at a different form factor, and a new battery chemistry. I just got Talentcell's 12Ah LiFePO4 battery, which combines more capacity and more peak power (15A) with the lighter weight of Lithium Iron Phosphate. It can charge from a standard 12v charger that you'd use on a lead-acid battery (it has a management circuit inside), and will charge a lot of times before it starts to lose any capacity. I have a small battery box I'm going to mount it in, and a little Power Pole distribution board for connecting it to gear.

Beyond that, and you're talking some potentially complex stuff, and some serious cost, like battery banks and solar cells and portable generators -- more Field Day level of portable operation. But for near backpacker levels of QRP operation, I'm working on a new system that'll be lighter, potentially cheaper, and more flexible. I want to get it written up for publication before I start yammering about it, though.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
73,
Gwen, NG3P


On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 5:36 PM ajparent1/KB1GMX <kb1gmx@...> wrote:
Try 8-10 AA cells for starters.  If you get into it and do it more then try
2200mah NiMH cells again 8-10 of them.

Either will be the easy and most common and everything else
will higher investment cst.

Allison
-------------------------------
Please reply on list so we can share.
No direct email, it goes to bit bucket due address harvesting in groups.IO


Gwen Patton
 

I forgot to link that 12v 12Ah Talentcell LiFePO4 battery!   https://www.amazon.com/TalentCell-LF120A1-Rechargeable-153-6Wh-Phosphate/dp/B07JF56C7L 

With that one, you're up to $80 or so, and it's starting to get spendy, but still lightweight. 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
73,
Gwen, NG3P


On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 7:30 PM Gwen Patton <ardrhi@...> wrote:
A good "starter" portable battery pack for QRP is one of the 12v Talentcell packs from Amazon. Here's one I got:  https://www.amazon.com/Talentcell-Rechargeable-6000mAh-Battery-Portable/dp/B00MF70BPU 

It's 6Ah at 12v, which is quite a lot. It gives you 12v at 3A max, and you can charge it while you use it with the y-adapter they provide, if you have mains power for at least part of the time. I have yet to run that one down more than one light in an afternoon's operating in the park.

I also have a more powerful one that also has 9v and 5v USB outputs, so I can make a battery cable for a 4SQRP "Cricket", or run another radio that uses 9v, and I can charge my phone if I've been using it for logging on QRZ or something. But they replaced that model with this one: https://www.amazon.com/TalentCell-Rechargeable-11000mAh-14500mAh-26400mAh/ It's similar to the one I have but has a bit more juice. Mine was 8.3Ah at 12v and a max of 6A. But this one is 11Ah at 12v and gives a max of 6A at 12v. There IS one bigger than this, but by that time you should be looking at a different form factor, and a new battery chemistry. I just got Talentcell's 12Ah LiFePO4 battery, which combines more capacity and more peak power (15A) with the lighter weight of Lithium Iron Phosphate. It can charge from a standard 12v charger that you'd use on a lead-acid battery (it has a management circuit inside), and will charge a lot of times before it starts to lose any capacity. I have a small battery box I'm going to mount it in, and a little Power Pole distribution board for connecting it to gear.

Beyond that, and you're talking some potentially complex stuff, and some serious cost, like battery banks and solar cells and portable generators -- more Field Day level of portable operation. But for near backpacker levels of QRP operation, I'm working on a new system that'll be lighter, potentially cheaper, and more flexible. I want to get it written up for publication before I start yammering about it, though.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
73,
Gwen, NG3P


On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 5:36 PM ajparent1/KB1GMX <kb1gmx@...> wrote:
Try 8-10 AA cells for starters.  If you get into it and do it more then try
2200mah NiMH cells again 8-10 of them.

Either will be the easy and most common and everything else
will higher investment cst.

Allison
-------------------------------
Please reply on list so we can share.
No direct email, it goes to bit bucket due address harvesting in groups.IO


Bill Cromwell
 

Hi Tim,

I use 7.5 A-H sealed, lead-acid batteries. They are heavy for backpacking or mountain climbing. They will last you more than a weekend. I use them instead of the lithium technology only because I already have them and they are paid for. Allison suggested AA batteries and if you just want to try it out for cheap that will be hard to beat. I have PFR-3 similar in power requirements and can install eight AA cells inside it. I abandoned them but not because they didn't work. They probably would last longer than a weekend of casual operation. As Allison said, if you like it you can go to the NiMH rechargeable cells to save on cost. If you get rabid go for the lithium batteries unless you already have the S.L.A.B. power.

Enjoy your park bench operation.

73,

Bill KU8H

On 5/12/20 5:15 PM, air.dog via groups.io wrote:
Greetings everyone!  I'm a new member of this list - first post.  I'm contemplating trying some portable operating with my QCX and am curious as to what you experienced portable operators are using to power your radio.  Any recommendations greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
73 de Tim AA4BI
--
bark less - wag more


jjpurdum
 

Hi Tim:

Welcome! You're going to enjoy your QCX!

Part of the answer depends upon what "kind" of portable operation you're thinking about. Sometimes I go on 2-day get-away trips where I drive to a cabin and just throw some wire into the trees for a few days. It I don't have power, I take a 12V motorcycle (SLA) battery. If I'm planning on a hiking trip, I want less weight so I'll use a 20000mAh Li-ion battery pack (e.g., eBay 324087821196). Once I used an SLA and trickle-charged it with a 10W solar panel. Pick one that makes sense to you and what you plan on doing.

Jack, W8TEE

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 5:17:09 PM EDT, air.dog via groups.io <air.dog@...> wrote:


Greetings everyone!  I'm a new member of this list - first post.  I'm contemplating trying some portable operating with my QCX and am curious as to what you experienced portable operators are using to power your radio.  Any recommendations greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

73 de Tim AA4BI


James Sweeden
 

Hi Gwen.  Where should I be watching for your new system?

73,
James/KB7LJP


Gwen Patton
 

I'm going to see who wants to publish it, James. I'm looking at QRP Quarterly as a possibility. They'd like to see it, at least! We'll see. Once it's in the wild, I'll talk about it more.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
73,
Gwen, NG3P


On Wed, May 13, 2020 at 12:13 AM James Sweeden <kb7ljp@q.com> wrote:
Hi Gwen.  Where should I be watching for your new system?

73,
James/KB7LJP


silviocerati@...
 

Consider a3  cell li-Po battery  generaly used for hobby scale model power ?. They will give around 12 volts (may also cosider a 4 cell pack for 16 volts =). You can find a large variety of capacity ranges and for weight/energy ratio they are super. The minor drawback is the almost necessary use of dedicated (balanced) charger


john.rogers@...
 

Tim,
Like Silvio, I also use 3S Lithium Polymer.
Voltage 9 to 12.6 V
I set the battery display steps:
Menu 7.2 Batt Show ON
Menu 7.3 Batt. Full 12600
Menu 7.4 Batt step 600
These settings give me icon bars at:
12.6
12.0
11.4
10.8
10.2
 9.6
 9.0

I use a second 3S in series with the radio battery to power the 50W amp

John AC2SG


N1EDC
 

It's hard to beat LiPo for weight and size.

For truly lightweight portable, I would get one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/Turnigy-Safety-Protected-2200mAh-Transmitter/dp/B00USRD91W/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=protected+3s+lipo&qid=1589465125&sr=8-3

It's very small, has 2.2AH of capacity which is plenty for the QCX, and unlike most drone batteries has a built in protection PCB for added safety.

I built a self contained QCX station with an antenna using this battery in a box about the size of a paperback book!  It has the rig, paddle, battery, step-down charger, antenna, and headphones all tucked in a foil-lined box.  It's a bit difficult to wrangle, but extremely portable!

You'll want a balance charger for it as well.


ajparent1/kb1gmx
 

While Lithum is more compact, much lighter and offers more charge cycles 
for their lifetime it comes with 3-4x the cost of commonly available NiMh.
Safety requires using a proper charger.
 
Why higher cost?  Lithium requires a specific charger so buying that is
often part of the initial purchase and life cycle. Plus any battery of
known quality has a higher cost.  An example 3S1P (three series
1 parallel) 18650 cells (3x 2800mAH LG brand), about $6.50 each
(with solder tabs), battery protection board about 7$,  charger suitable
for that pack 14$.  Up side is those cells should last for many years.
 
There are cheaper lithium but they are often junk or over rated, 
use care. The pouch cells are susceptible to damage so use care if 
damaged can catch fire.  The upside for those is often found cheaper 
and offer lowest weight.  No matter the type battery protection board 
must be used and fuses as secondary protection.
 
I am a long time user of rechargeable batteries, lead acid/gell/AGM, 
NiCd, NiMh, and Lithium tech.  So of the old school NiCd and NiMh are 
used because the radios and gear are already fitted and have suitable 
built in charger.  Some I replaced with NiMh as upgrade.  In cases 
where cheap and high power lead/gell/agm are used where weight doesn't 
matter or its within acceptable weight. My favorite is the classic 
7-8AH gell cell.  However where compact light weight power is desired
Lithium unusually in the form of 18650 cells with suitable protection 
board is my preferred solution.  I also prefer them when I want the 
battery to last through many use cycles.
 
Its why I suggested NiMh as for first time 2.2AH (2200 mAH) is plenty 
to run the QCX for many hours.  Low entry cost and ease of acquisition.
They charge easily and often a 4 pack and matching charger runs about 16$
 
But I also use non-rechargeable AA alkaline cells as they are easy to 
find everywhere, generally cheap and offer easiest way to battery power 
a radio up to the 5 watt region.  Even with these, fuse things please!
Cost to do that?  A 48 pack of AA alkaline cells that are not rechargeable 
is typically 16$  Bjs or similar.  Walmart has Energizer Max 48 pack for 
about 21$.   Either one is enough power at 9-10 cells each group for a 
intense weekend of contesting. using a QCX.  Its by far the cheapest 
way to go for an intro to portable.  For long term use they get expensive,
However when your out in the woords recharging is unlikely or hard and 
a spare set of cells may be easier.
 
The trade up is short term one use non-rechargeable cells.  
Long term, high use, rechargeable cells.  
Least weight, always Lithium.
 
 
Allison
-------------------------------
Please reply on list so we can share.
No Private email, it goes to bit bucket due address harvesting in groups.IO


Arv Evans <arvid.evans@...>
 

Allison

Why don't technically savvy hams build their own lithium ion cell chargers?
It doesn't seem all that difficult.  A voltage regulator for max-charge voltage 
and a shunt regulator to prevent over-charging seems rather easy for a single 
LI cell.  For multiple cells the voltage regulator and shunt charge limiter would 
need to be replicated for each cell.

Arv
_._


On Thu, May 14, 2020 at 10:59 AM ajparent1/KB1GMX <kb1gmx@...> wrote:
While Lithum is more compact, much lighter and offers more charge cycles 
for their lifetime it comes with 3-4x the cost of commonly available NiMh.
Safety requires using a proper charger.
 
Why higher cost?  Lithium requires a specific charger so buying that is
often part of the initial purchase and life cycle. Plus any battery of
known quality has a higher cost.  An example 3S1P (three series
1 parallel) 18650 cells (3x 2800mAH LG brand), about $6.50 each
(with solder tabs), battery protection board about 7$,  charger suitable
for that pack 14$.  Up side is those cells should last for many years.
 
There are cheaper lithium but they are often junk or over rated, 
use care. The pouch cells are susceptible to damage so use care if 
damaged can catch fire.  The upside for those is often found cheaper 
and offer lowest weight.  No matter the type battery protection board 
must be used and fuses as secondary protection.
 
I am a long time user of rechargeable batteries, lead acid/gell/AGM, 
NiCd, NiMh, and Lithium tech.  So of the old school NiCd and NiMh are 
used because the radios and gear are already fitted and have suitable 
built in charger.  Some I replaced with NiMh as upgrade.  In cases 
where cheap and high power lead/gell/agm are used where weight doesn't 
matter or its within acceptable weight. My favorite is the classic 
7-8AH gell cell.  However where compact light weight power is desired
Lithium unusually in the form of 18650 cells with suitable protection 
board is my preferred solution.  I also prefer them when I want the 
battery to last through many use cycles.
 
Its why I suggested NiMh as for first time 2.2AH (2200 mAH) is plenty 
to run the QCX for many hours.  Low entry cost and ease of acquisition.
They charge easily and often a 4 pack and matching charger runs about 16$
 
But I also use non-rechargeable AA alkaline cells as they are easy to 
find everywhere, generally cheap and offer easiest way to battery power 
a radio up to the 5 watt region.  Even with these, fuse things please!
Cost to do that?  A 48 pack of AA alkaline cells that are not rechargeable 
is typically 16$  Bjs or similar.  Walmart has Energizer Max 48 pack for 
about 21$.   Either one is enough power at 9-10 cells each group for a 
intense weekend of contesting. using a QCX.  Its by far the cheapest 
way to go for an intro to portable.  For long term use they get expensive,
However when your out in the woords recharging is unlikely or hard and 
a spare set of cells may be easier.
 
The trade up is short term one use non-rechargeable cells.  
Long term, high use, rechargeable cells.  
Least weight, always Lithium.
 
 
Allison
-------------------------------
Please reply on list so we can share.
No Private email, it goes to bit bucket due address harvesting in groups.IO


Bill Cromwell
 

Hi Arv,

I intend to do just that. I don't know where it will lead exactly but probably not very far from the commercially available charge systems. Since fifth grade I have had the bad attitude "if I can't do it myself it ain't worth having and I don't deserve it". That was more than a month ago and I have made it stick all this time. Wait..it may have been more than two months..or more.

73,

Bill KU8H

On 5/14/20 2:17 PM, Arv Evans wrote:
Allison
Why don't technically savvy hams build their own lithium ion cell chargers?
It doesn't seem all that difficult.  A voltage regulator for max-charge voltage
and a shunt regulator to prevent over-charging seems rather easy for a single
LI cell.  For multiple cells the voltage regulator and shunt charge limiter would
need to be replicated for each cell.
Arv
_._
On Thu, May 14, 2020 at 10:59 AM ajparent1/KB1GMX <kb1gmx@... <mailto:kb1gmx@...>> wrote:
While Lithum is more compact, much lighter and offers more charge
cycles
for their lifetime it comes with 3-4x the cost of commonly available
NiMh.
Safety requires using a proper charger.
Why higher cost?  Lithium requires a specific charger so buying that is
often part of the initial purchase and life cycle. Plus any battery of
known quality has a higher cost.  An example 3S1P (three series
1 parallel) 18650 cells (3x 2800mAH LG brand), about $6.50 each
(with solder tabs), battery protection board about 7$,  charger
suitable
for that pack 14$.  Up side is those cells should last for many years.
There are cheaper lithium but they are often junk or over rated,
use care. The pouch cells are susceptible to damage so use care if
damaged can catch fire.  The upside for those is often found cheaper
and offer lowest weight.  No matter the type battery protection board
must be used and fuses as secondary protection.
I am a long time user of rechargeable batteries, lead acid/gell/AGM,
NiCd, NiMh, and Lithium tech.  So of the old school NiCd and NiMh are
used because the radios and gear are already fitted and have suitable
built in charger.  Some I replaced with NiMh as upgrade.  In cases
where cheap and high power lead/gell/agm are used where weight doesn't
matter or its within acceptable weight. My favorite is the classic
7-8AH gell cell.  However where compact light weight power is desired
Lithium unusually in the form of 18650 cells with suitable protection
board is my preferred solution.  I also prefer them when I want the
battery to last through many use cycles.
Its why I suggested NiMh as for first time 2.2AH (2200 mAH) is plenty
to run the QCX for many hours.  Low entry cost and ease of acquisition.
They charge easily and often a 4 pack and matching charger runs
about 16$
But I also use non-rechargeable AA alkaline cells as they are easy to
find everywhere, generally cheap and offer easiest way to battery power
a radio up to the 5 watt region.  Even with these, fuse things please!
Cost to do that?  A 48 pack of AA alkaline cells that are not
rechargeable
is typically 16$  Bjs or similar.  Walmart has Energizer Max 48 pack
for
about 21$.   Either one is enough power at 9-10 cells each group for a
intense weekend of contesting. using a QCX.  Its by far the cheapest
way to go for an intro to portable.  For long term use they get
expensive,
However when your out in the woords recharging is unlikely or hard and
a spare set of cells may be easier.
The trade up is short term one use non-rechargeable cells.
Long term, high use, rechargeable cells.
Least weight, always Lithium.
Allison
-------------------------------
Please reply on list so we can share.
No Private email, it goes to bit bucket due address harvesting in
groups.IO
--
bark less - wag more


Arv Evans <arvid.evans@...>
 

Bill

Use an LM317 to regulate charge volts to max string voltage and current to 1A.
Put a string of 1N4007's across each cell as secondary voltage limiter and to 
equalize charge across each individual cell.

Sometimes we let the popular media lead us down ill advised and unproductive
pathways.  

Arv  K7HKL


On Thu, May 14, 2020 at 12:43 PM Bill Cromwell <wrcromwell@...> wrote:
Hi Arv,

I intend to do just that. I don't know where it will lead exactly but
probably not very far from the commercially available charge systems.
Since fifth grade I have had the bad attitude "if I can't do it myself
it ain't worth having and I don't deserve it". That was more than a
month ago and I have made it stick all this time. Wait..it may have been
more than two months..or more.

73,

Bill  KU8H

On 5/14/20 2:17 PM, Arv Evans wrote:
> Allison
>
> Why don't technically savvy hams build their own lithium ion cell chargers?
> It doesn't seem all that difficult.  A voltage regulator for max-charge
> voltage
> and a shunt regulator to prevent over-charging seems rather easy for a
> single
> LI cell.  For multiple cells the voltage regulator and shunt charge
> limiter would
> need to be replicated for each cell.
>
> Arv
> _._
>
>
> On Thu, May 14, 2020 at 10:59 AM ajparent1/KB1GMX <kb1gmx@...
> <mailto:kb1gmx@...>> wrote:
>
>     While Lithum is more compact, much lighter and offers more charge
>     cycles
>     for their lifetime it comes with 3-4x the cost of commonly available
>     NiMh.
>     Safety requires using a proper charger.
>     Why higher cost?  Lithium requires a specific charger so buying that is
>     often part of the initial purchase and life cycle. Plus any battery of
>     known quality has a higher cost.  An example 3S1P (three series
>     1 parallel) 18650 cells (3x 2800mAH LG brand), about $6.50 each
>     (with solder tabs), battery protection board about 7$,  charger
>     suitable
>     for that pack 14$.  Up side is those cells should last for many years.
>     There are cheaper lithium but they are often junk or over rated,
>     use care. The pouch cells are susceptible to damage so use care if
>     damaged can catch fire.  The upside for those is often found cheaper
>     and offer lowest weight.  No matter the type battery protection board
>     must be used and fuses as secondary protection.
>     I am a long time user of rechargeable batteries, lead acid/gell/AGM,
>     NiCd, NiMh, and Lithium tech.  So of the old school NiCd and NiMh are
>     used because the radios and gear are already fitted and have suitable
>     built in charger.  Some I replaced with NiMh as upgrade.  In cases
>     where cheap and high power lead/gell/agm are used where weight doesn't
>     matter or its within acceptable weight. My favorite is the classic
>     7-8AH gell cell.  However where compact light weight power is desired
>     Lithium unusually in the form of 18650 cells with suitable protection
>     board is my preferred solution.  I also prefer them when I want the
>     battery to last through many use cycles.
>     Its why I suggested NiMh as for first time 2.2AH (2200 mAH) is plenty
>     to run the QCX for many hours.  Low entry cost and ease of acquisition.
>     They charge easily and often a 4 pack and matching charger runs
>     about 16$
>     But I also use non-rechargeable AA alkaline cells as they are easy to
>     find everywhere, generally cheap and offer easiest way to battery power
>     a radio up to the 5 watt region.  Even with these, fuse things please!
>     Cost to do that?  A 48 pack of AA alkaline cells that are not
>     rechargeable
>     is typically 16$  Bjs or similar.  Walmart has Energizer Max 48 pack
>     for
>     about 21$.   Either one is enough power at 9-10 cells each group for a
>     intense weekend of contesting. using a QCX.  Its by far the cheapest
>     way to go for an intro to portable.  For long term use they get
>     expensive,
>     However when your out in the woords recharging is unlikely or hard and
>     a spare set of cells may be easier.
>     The trade up is short term one use non-rechargeable cells.
>     Long term, high use, rechargeable cells.
>     Least weight, always Lithium.
>     Allison
>     -------------------------------
>     Please reply on list so we can share.
>     No Private email, it goes to bit bucket due address harvesting in
>     groups.IO
>
>

--
bark less - wag more




N1EDC
 

Undoubtedly NiMh is less volatile by nature, but I'm not sure the price difference is that large anymore.

The 2.2AH LiPo I linked is $26 and is nearly packaged as one unit with a protection board - You need only make an adapter for the power plug or snip it off and attach your own connector.

I use a balance charger much like the one below that can be had for under $15, so all in you can be under $40

https://www.amazon.com/Turnigy-Safety-Protected-2200mAh-Transmitter/dp/B00USRD91W/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=protected+3s+lipo&qid=1589465125&sr=8-3

I would definitely agree that building your own lithium pack or using unprotected cells and rigging your own protection system does add additional cost, complexity, and risk, but I think the proliferation of drones and RC toys has really done us a favor in this regard.

I actually use the above charger to charge the lithium batteries on an airsoft rifle as well - Lipo chemistry has become pretty ubiquitous.


john.rogers@...
 

On Wed, May 13, 2020 at 06:46 AM, <john.rogers@...> wrote:
I use a second 3S in series with the radio battery to power the 50W amp
Correction: I use a 3S to power the QCX and 2S in series to power the 50W amp. 6S would be too high voltage. John


Daniel Conklin
 

I use battery packs made from 3x18650s. However, take a look at this study by Gwen, NG3P.  This will be my next experiment. 
https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/message/47469

--
73, Dan - W2DLC