A way to stay in business with Solo?... batteries

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Part of my business is RPA mapping, I invested heavily in Solo as I also dabble in videography as a hobby and the long-term upgradeable thing.

From 8 working batteries last year, the last few months have been brutal and as of today I'm down to 2 'reliable' batteries. The rest are toast, calibrations do nothing for them. Commercially, I'm done and dusted.

I have to find a way to import from the US at least a few 'new' batteries to finish a standing contract, not an easy thing, but I'm dubious about whether any of them will last more than a few months. My options seem to be buy a dozen new batteries and take a big risk (keep accepting work contracts I might not be able to fulfil if they fail rapidly) or sadly ditch the Solo platform and either go to you know who's platform or drop RPA services from my portfolio. I still haven't succumbed to facebook, so I don't get info from the 3DR groups, but what's install for us? I'm sure this is discussed there at length. Surely I am one of many equally about to be forcibly removed from the Solo community. What I also can't understand is that 3DR would abandon their minimum 10K Site Scan clients who were key to the not complete collapse of the company.

I know Philip is working on a battery, but if that isn't available in two months, I may have reluctantly changed platform to keep earning an RPA livelihood.

Comments and opinions on the status of a new battery would be more than welcome so I can decide my future in the next few days before exploring how to import either a few or a dozen batteries.
 
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Nah haven't really looked, I'll read it out of interest but to be honest I probably won't go there. I'm happy to open up a Solo and replace things, but its not my intention to become a tinkerer, nor would my type of clients be happy with 'uncertified' equipment on the worksite... I am restoring a car, working in science, traveling, making videos, captaining a sporting team, enjoy heavy drinking and have a latin wife... I just don't have time! :)
 
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and have a latin wife... I just don't have time! :)
:p:D I feel you haha XD
All fair points. I'd be sad to have another Solo surveyor go on to other pastures, but such is life. I'll admit, I've been heavily looking at the Anafi and the Bebop2 POWER. Despite the worse camera, I really like the Bebop2 POWER because there is no mechanical gimbal, and the camera pod is sealed. You and I both know/hate dirt, and I think the Bebop2 POWER would hold up way better in that type of envirornment than the Solo gimbal does.
 
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Looks like people are having decent luck marrying fresh 5200mAh cells to a sacrificed Solo BMS unit.
so if the process works and gets refined, will people be offereing them for sale do you think? that would give me a glimmer of hope to at least not look at another platform for a while.
 
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Part of my business is RPA mapping, I invested heavily in Solo as I also dabble in videography as a hobby and the long-term upgradeable thing.

From 8 working batteries last year, the last few months have been brutal and as of today I'm down to 2 'reliable' batteries. The rest are toast, calibrations do nothing for them. Commercially, I'm done and dusted.

I have to find a way to import from the US at least a few 'new' batteries to finish a standing contract, not an easy thing, but I'm dubious about whether any of them will last more than a few months. My options seem to be buy a dozen new batteries and take a big risk (keep accepting work contracts I might not be able to fulfil if they fail rapidly) or sadly ditch the Solo platform and either go to you know who's platform or drop RPA services from my portfolio. I still haven't succumbed to facebook, so I don't get info from the 3DR groups, but what's install for us? I'm sure this is discussed there at length. Surely I am one of many equally about to be forcibly removed from the Solo community. What I also can't understand is that 3DR would abandon their minimum 10K Site Scan clients who were key to the not complete collapse of the company.

I know Philip is working on a battery, but if that isn't available in two months, I may have reluctantly changed platform to keep earning an RPA livelihood.

Comments and opinions on the status of a new battery would be more than welcome so I can decide my future in the next few days before exploring how to import either a few or a dozen batteries.
So I'm the guy that wrote the Battery Mod for Dummies so I guess I should jump in this discussion.

It would seem to me at least if Philip is in fact planning to market a fresh battery he is playing a game of diminishing returns. The longer he waits the fewer "Solo Survivors" there will be left to sell them to. Add the hard cold fact that 3DR got in bed with the enemy so to speak and offers their mapping solution on hardware of other manufacturers.

I'm retired and can't convey the enjoyment I have tinkering on my heavily modded Solos. That said, if I were in business there is no way I could rely on them as front line equipment.

As we are all well aware our Solos would have long ago been tossed aside had it not been for it's open source platform and the amazingly talented and dedicated folks that have kept it very close to current generation equipment. I would speculate that few envisioned Solo to have remained as viable a machine as it it today.

As to what direction I would go in? The so called "Prosumer" grade UAV played an incredibly vital roll to launch the commercial UAV industry. By now those who pioneered the many lucrative avenues of UAV services onto the marketplace have either bit the dirt or become successful to the point of investing in legitimate commercial equipment that provides capable and reliable service to their operators.

So at the end of the day the decision rests soley on the shoulders of the individual operator to make. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
 
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Thanks Mike, wise words. Mapping is a sideline for my private consultancy, something I can easily manage myself to compliment my own science and it gets me out into the field. Upgrading to pro gear will never be an option as I'm not a dedicated surveyor and don't wish to compete with them. I just do 2D maps for land management applications.

I completely agree about the new battery, this same issue will leave very few users. Once you move on there's no going back.
 
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I am restoring a car, working in science, traveling, making videos, captaining a sporting team, enjoy heavy drinking and have a latin wife... I just don't have time! :)
One of the best things I've ever read in this forum...that's a damn good life Damien. :) And that's even not including the wife...that part REALLY puts it over the top. :)
 
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Question...do batteries simply die with age? Even if they are not used and are stored at a reasonable temperature and at the correct charge?

I mean, I know they will to SOME extent...but I have 4 or 5 batteries that have seen little or no use since new...will they remain viable more-or-less indefinitely? Or should I just go ahead and sell them and let someone else get some use out of them?

Thanks...
 
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Question...do batteries simply die with age? Even if they are not used and are stored at a reasonable temperature and at the correct charge?

I mean, I know they will to SOME extent...but I have 4 or 5 batteries that have seen little or no use since new...will they remain viable more-or-less indefinitely? Or should I just go ahead and sell them and let someone else get some use out of them?

Thanks...
All LiPOs have a life expectancy. They derive current from a chemical reaction that eventually runs out in use and to a slower extent in storage. The first run Solo batteries are at or very close to their 4th birthday. The last run was 11/15.
 
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Thanks Mike,

Hmmm...yeah...what I am wondering is how "new" a battery is (or to what percentage it's degraded), when stored correctly, after X number of months or years. I actually have the "Solo Tool" for checking battery status...is Solo Tool a definitive determination of battery health?
 
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Thanks Mike,

Hmmm...yeah...what I am wondering is how "new" a battery is (or to what percentage it's degraded), when stored correctly, after X number of months or years. I actually have the "Solo Tool" for checking battery status...is Solo Tool a definitive determination of battery health?
I won't offer an opinion on the longevity of the Solo battery other to affirm that the never or little used packs are significantly degraded from both a life expectancy as well as capacity.

Originally these batteries provided 5200mAh of capacity and flew well over 100-150 cycles with 18-20 minute sorties. As well are all well aware that is no longer the case.

IMHO I would not campaign a Solo using OEM packs without a battery tester. Solo uses a 4S (4 4.1v cells) that combine to produce it's power output. These cells work in unison and when one fails it takes the pack with it. Additionally a lipo cell on the verge of failure will fail once placed under load. (Can you say 1000' downrange at 250' alt?)

A battery tester will both expose a weak cell as it provides individual cell voltages as well as capacity as it will compare the designed (5200mAh) capacity with the actual capacity or what's left in the battery.
 
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Enjoying the thread and additional battery info from Michael. I have a small stock pile of new batteries and wonder the same situation. This may explain why 2 of my 6 birds with almost hundred hours on them both fell out of the sky late last year due to a bad cell in a battery with low hrs. These batteries are costing me $$ leaving me busted up electronic and plastic parts. I have the refurbished battery link in my favorites for that rainy day but it looks like i may be referring to it sooner than later. Of course this raises the same question of how long much longer can we keep these birds flying. When will it be time to invest elsewhere?
 
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Question...do batteries simply die with age? Even if they are not used and are stored at a reasonable temperature and at the correct charge?

I mean, I know they will to SOME extent...but I have 4 or 5 batteries that have seen little or no use since new...will they remain viable more-or-less indefinitely? Or should I just go ahead and sell them and let someone else get some use out of them?

Thanks...
This is my dilemma. Mine have all been used fairly intensely and are now for all intents and purposes dead. If I buy more 'new' - the better word being unflown - will I get more than some months out of them? I seriously doubt it. I used to get 4-5 years out of Nikon and canon batteries, but they are hardly similar in terms of discharge properties.
 
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Gents,

For what it's worth, I've just landed a reasonable number of brand new, genuine 3DR Solo Batteries.

If you are lucky enough to be 'Down Under' here with me in Australia, then please see my post in the Classifieds Section ;

Attention - All ‘Down Under' Solo Pilots, BRAND NEW BATTERIES! - ( Sealed in original Retail Packaging. )

Let me know if I can help any of you - ( no matter where you are... )


Cheers,

Solo-Loco
'Real Solo Pilots, bust Propellors for Breakfast'

( PS - @Michael Lione ; Quick correction to your above info per 3DR's last run of Batteries - All of mine are from the final Dec'15 build run... )
 
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I won't offer an opinion on the longevity of the Solo battery other to affirm that the never or little used packs are significantly degraded from both a life expectancy as well as capacity.

Originally these batteries provided 5200mAh of capacity and flew well over 100-150 cycles with 18-20 minute sorties. As well are all well aware that is no longer the case.

IMHO I would not campaign a Solo using OEM packs without a battery tester. Solo uses a 4S (4 4.1v cells) that combine to produce it's power output. These cells work in unison and when one fails it takes the pack with it. Additionally a lipo cell on the verge of failure will fail once placed under load. (Can you say 1000' downrange at 250' alt?)

A battery tester will both expose a weak cell as it provides individual cell voltages as well as capacity as it will compare the designed (5200mAh) capacity with the actual capacity or what's left in the battery.
What are some recommended testers?
 

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