3DR Solo with LiIon 9000mAh battery | up to 30min flight time

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I did fly in hover to have comparable results with other people testing. If you read the first post you would have noticed that the LiIon battery weighs only 100g more than the original one. Which for me is not too much.
 
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I don't fly just hovering.
If the flight is just hovering of course it would be a shorter flight time.

If I wanted something to just hovering I attach to a tether for power.

9000mah battery weighs way too. much.
I want to believe everything I hear or read, but i don't until I see it, in short I need to see it to believe it, I've been very involved in making my own 3rd party batteries for my SOLO successfully and currently putting cycles on multiple homemade packs, i have studied flight times in many different scenarios with different capacity batteries using both lipo and li-ion chemistries ranging in capacity from 5200 mah to 9000 mah, 26 mins on a stock 3dr battery with gimbal and GP is a miracle, one of the masterminds behind the development of the SOLO, Phillip Rowse, has himself responded to my facebook posts and said he has clock 21 mins on standard gimble at the most......26 mins sounds like a stretch bud please post a log, this is no pissing contest, this is me wanting to see this miracle of science.....
 
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I have some questions for OP. I built the battery with Samsung 30Qs, but I'm only getting a 10 minute flight time with the gimbal and gopro installed. I did the following when building the battery:
1. I built the battery
2. I connected it to a bms from an old Solo battery.
3. I charged it with the Solo charger until all the lights went out.
4. I connected it to the Solo.
5. I turned on the Solo.
6. I calibrated the Solo using SidePilot for iOS.
7. I changed the parameters to your specifications using SidePilot for iOS.
8. I flew the Solo using SidePilot for iOS.

As I said it only flew for about 10 minutes before RTL. Is there something else I need to do, like calibrating the battery first? The old battery I took the bms from would only last about 2 minutes before RTL. The old battery would continue to fly a good 5 minutes after reporting that it had 0% charge. Could my problem be a bad bms, or something I'm not doing with the new Li-Ion battery?
 
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Because the SMART Battery electronics have a pre determined capacity which is 5200mAh which cannot be changed so its reporting to the flight controller all sorts of nonsense because you have a 9000mah pack but the SMART BMS only sees it as a 5200mAh pack, you need to eliminate the SMART BMS from your homemade pack because it is not compatible for charging or for flying in the SOLO, for the SMART BMS to work you need to make a Li-ION pack that's as close to 5200mAh as possible if you want to re-use the SMART BMS from the SOLO stock battery packs.
 
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I gave it another go with the same procedure I used previously and this time the battery lasted 21 minutes and 45 seconds. This is a definite improvement. Maybe the new battery just needed a couple charge cycles to reach peak capacity? The only problem I have now is the controller stopped reporting the battery percentage at 62% and was stuck there for the last 10 minutes of flight.
 
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I gave it another go with the same procedure I used previously and this time the battery lasted 21 minutes and 45 seconds. This is a definite improvement. Maybe the new battery just needed a couple charge cycles to reach peak capacity? The only problem I have now is the controller stopped reporting the battery percentage at 62% and was stuck there for the last 10 minutes of flight.
because once disconnecting the smart bms from a battery pack you need to complete a calibration cycle to train it what 0 capacity and full capacity is, and it may never show the correct battery percentage due to the fact the bms is programmed for a 5200mah battery so it may never work as you expect, at best you can fly by voltage and disable the battery failsafe voltage parameter so it doesn't send you packing even though you still have capacity to burn, the fact of the matter is the bms is NOT programmed for a 9000 mah battery capacity so it will always act not as you expect when looking at battery percentage remaining
 
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you need to train that bms by taking that lion pack safely to its lowest voltage by completing a discharge cycle than charge it to full capacity, battery calibration is critical for the bms to learn min and max capacity of whatever new battery pack you attach it to.
 
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the smart bms uses a mathematical formula known as coulomb counting in order to determine fuel gauge level so that's why the predetermined 5200mah capacity works against you because it thinks the battery is a 5200mah battery even though its a 9000 mah battery
 
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A short update:
Replaced the Pixhawk Cube 2.0 with the Pixhawk Cube 2.1 (modified black one) and redid the cabling such that it is much nicer now. The bower board (ACSP7) is soldered as close as possible to the Solo carrier board. I cut the cables coming from the carrier board short like below in the picture.

soldered.jpg
finished.jpg
 
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Any further updates? My last solo battery died permanently today so I am sourcing some 18650s to build a pack. I really like the power module method so I’m going to go that way. How is the pack you built holding up over time? It’s really too bad that AP doesn’t have an API like DJI so we could use 3rd party apps like Litchi or Autoflight to give “solo-like” moves to any AP powered multi rotor. If that functionality existed, I wouldn’t even bother with solo but anyhoo, here I am.
Thanks for all the effort on this and sharing the info in this post.
 
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Hi

The batteries are doing great, as expected. No problem at all. I have more than 50 flights with the drone on 2 packs and still getting ~20min flight time with the gimbal without going to the edge. With the Cube 2.1 I have full power available which gives me more than 50A in flight (~700w !). I disabled the internal compass of the Pixhawk (in parameters) and only use the leg compass because of the interference with the metal shells of the 18650 batteries.

My Upgrades:
- Cube 2.1
- Solex
- OpenSolo
- ArduPilot 3.6.1 (Thanks Matt!)
- Ublox M8N GPS
- MA 10" propellers (quieter and a tiny bit more efficient)
- 18650 battery with power module
- Artoo battery upgrade: Went from 2S1P 2600mAh to 2S2P 18650GA, 6700mAh total. I just replaced the cells and using the BMS of the 2600mAh battery - it works.

Overall very happy with the drone. Though would like to do a gimbal upgrade with Storm32 to be able to use other cameras, like GP7. But no time so far unfortunately.
Oh and if somebody knows where the DCDC step down converter (aka BEC) for 5V on the Solo board is please let me know. I would like to solder a capacitor to the output to smoothen the voltage.

Will take it for a flight today ; )
 

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