How To/build a Por­ta­ble Charg­ing Sta­tion


Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Jim Ryan

A com­pact so­lu­tion that will pro­vide years of ser­vice

A por­ta­ble charg­ing sta­tion is one of the most im­por­tant pieces of equip­ment for any­one who flies elec­tric air­craft, and while there are some nice com­mer­cial units on the mar­ket, I pre­fer some­thing more com­pact and de­signed to my specs. Here, we’ll cover a sim­ple pro­ce­dure for in­stalling an AC power sup­ply, a charger, and par­al­lel boards in a travel case. While we’ll cover spe­cific choices, this gen­eral pro­ce­dure can be adapted to a va­ri­ety of hard­ware.

There are many power sup­plies tar­geted specif­i­cally for elec­tric fliers, but I pre­fer to use the widely avail­able Hewlett-packard DPS1200FB, which is de­signed for rack servers. De­spite its com­pact size, the DPS-1200 puts out 900 watts on 120-volt AC, and you can find them on ebay for less than $50. There are lots of choices for cases, but I’ve been a fan of Pel­i­can cases for years. Pel­i­cans are ex­tremely tough and com­pletely wa­ter­proof, and if you’ve ever left your charger at the field, you’ll un­der­stand why that’s im­por­tant. For this project, I chose an icharger 406 Duo, which has dual 40-amp out­puts and a split-screen dis­play.

A good charg­ing sta­tion makes fly­ing much more con­ve­nient. This sys­tem can charge up to 12 bat­ter­ies si­mul­ta­ne­ously while pro­vid­ing dual dis­plays of charge sta­tus and in­ter­nal re­sis­tance.

1 Be­fore as­sem­bling your charg­ing sta­tion, you first need to mod­ify the DPS-1200FB power sup­ply so that it can power a charger. As shown here, a 330Ω or 1K re­sis­tor must be sol­dered across ter­mi­nals 33 and 36 to trick the sup­ply into turn­ing on. Then you need to sol­der heavy power leads to the wide power ter­mi­nals la­beled 51 and 64. I in­stall two leads just in case I ever need to power a sec­ond charger.

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