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  #1  
Old 10-14-2020, 08:12 AM
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astronwolf astronwolf is offline
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Default Rocket Club Batteries - suggestions for replacement

Right now I lug two heavy 12V car batteries out to every launch. One battery is used for up to eight model rocket pads, and another is used for a mid-power pad. Occasionally, it feels like I can do better than lugging these big heavy things around.

What are your recommendations for battery power for a rocket club? What is your rocket club using?
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:09 AM
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ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
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I have always used a 6Ah 12V Motorcycle/Jet Ski wet-cell for launching. Same battery I use for my R/C flight box for running a glow-driver Power Panel and Sullivan Hi-Tork Engine Starter.
Provides plenty of power for even 4-engine clusters on 30' leads.
Two of those in parallel should be enough for an 8-pad club launcher.
Lugging two gigantic car/truck batteries even for a club launch is way overkill unless for long-lead HPR systems.
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:15 AM
dholvrsn dholvrsn is offline
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3300MH 11.1V lipo for LPR pads and a huge 11.1 or 14.8v lipo for the big rockets.
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:40 AM
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tbzep tbzep is offline
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The best bang for the buck would be wet cell motorcycle batteries like GH said. You can get them at any Walmart, Home Depot, or automotive store.

A little more compact and practical would be gel cells. You'd probably have to mail order them unless you have a Batteries Plus or similar store around. They are small and can be mounted on their side without spillage. I have a 7AH that I got from Tower Hobbies about 15 years ago that still holds a decent charge.

A marriage of the above two types best attributes would be the AGM glass mat battery. They have similar capacity to the wet cell with the safety and mounting advantages of the old gel cell. The disadvantage is that they are more expensive than either of the two unless you get the ones made in China. They will likely be fine for rockets, but they tend to crap out on a motorcycle after about a year or two. Obviously the wet cell and the AGM can supply a lot more power short term to crank an engine and would be better for club launches, but the gel cell will go a long way too.
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:59 AM
heada heada is offline
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I have a pair of 6000mAh 4S (14.8v) 50C LiPo batteries. I can put both of them in a single hand and they're about a pound each. When connected in parallel, they'll fire just about anything out there including clusters. Each one was about $60 at Amazon

A search for "4S 6000mah lipo" on Amazon will give you a dozen or more options.
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:02 AM
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astronwolf astronwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Lugging two gigantic car/truck batteries even for a club launch is way overkill ...

You got that right.

I used to haul everything in a Toyota Corolla with the seats folded down and it was a tight fit. I'm gradually streamlining and reducing the footprint of our equipment. Just replaced a large, heavy steel pad with a jaw-stand type launcher. Batteries are next on the list.
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:04 PM
Woody's Workshop Woody's Workshop is offline
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I use this SITE . They have good prices on rechargeable batteries.
I selected 6v, 12 a/h batteries and they are $20.
Scroll down the page past the solar charges and they have twin packs for $34.
All prices include shipping and with Free Returns if it isn't what you want.

I bought an extra 12v for my DR driveway grader, and ended up using it for rockets.
It came with a handle for carrying and it weighed much less than a car size battery.
I think I paid $20 for that too, but that was several years ago.
It's got some good stuff, and they have some HF type junk too.
They have a nice, small gravity spray gun kit I plan on getting to paint rockets.
I had one before, but I had to sell it before I even opened the package due to life problems.
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:40 PM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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We (Oregon Rocketry) have been using car charging packs from Harbor Freight.

Portable, built-in charging, a meter, clamps.
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  #9  
Old 10-14-2020, 12:42 PM
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As far as "lugging" stuff goes, been using one of these for the last 8 years.

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  #10  
Old 10-14-2020, 01:52 PM
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BEC BEC is offline
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I second what Stefan and George said. The car jumper packs have a gel battery of the type GH and others mentioned inside, along with a charger, and come in a package with a handle. Several clubs I fly with use this approach. And using a folding wagon to help lug stuff to where you set up your pads is a great help if the ground you're going over is smooth enough.

However: I am currently using a 3s 5000 mAh LiPoly pack on our club's model pads (five/ten pads) and a slightly smaller 3s pack for my personal three pad system. If the wiring of the system is up to the task, one of these will easily fire clusters. A 3-cell or 4-cell LiPoly would be more than enough for your mid-power pad as well.

This is an easy option for me as I've been flying electric powered RC airplanes since the early 1980s and have appropriate chargers for Lipoly batteries. If you don't, you would need one if you went that way.

Batteries the size heada mentioned would run a club rack for a whole season between recharges unless your continuity indication system is a huge power hog or you fly literally thousands of flights.
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