Solo flying on MultiStar battery (no smart battery)

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Did a quick flight test of my Solo flying off just the multistar. Full functionality except battery telemetry and using the Fly button for TO. Used Tower's Arm and Takeoff to get airborne then could use either controller for flight. (hard to film and fly at the same time!)

Now, if someone can figure out how to either make an adapter to feed the smbus info to Solo or change settings to send back the battery voltage ...
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I'm not too up on batteries, being new to electric flight, but their availability is a concern, regarding long term sustainability of Solo. Happily motors, props and now apps are all being done. :)

Thanks for posting this, reassuring to see people with your expertise already looking into what can be done.
 
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So fairly new to the Solo, but not multi-rotors. Is there a way to spoof the system into thinking that it is using a 3DR Smart battery by using an Arduino to report the data back?
 
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So fairly new to the Solo, but not multi-rotors. Is there a way to spoof the system into thinking that it is using a 3DR Smart battery by using an Arduino to report the data back?

Brand new to the site, lurking mostly for the past few months. As I understand it, the Arduino has been used to collect SMBus data already, I've found a bit of difficulty in finding an arduino based BMS solution however.

In any case, the Solo adheres to the SMBus v1.1 spec. I've done quite a bit of searching for battery controllers and haven't found any that can handle the sustained or peak amperage draw necessary to avoid brownout.
 
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I've run 20 min flights using all the available function in Tower w/the multistar 5200's and nary a single problem. As I have plenty of 3dr batteries on hand, I really haven't done much since proving its feasibility..
 
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I've run 20 min flights using all the available function in Tower w/the multistar 5200's and nary a single problem. As I have plenty of 3dr batteries on hand, I really haven't done much since proving its feasibility..
out of curiosity, have you measured the packs after a flight to see what their available capacity is at? have you compared it to a Smart battery? I'm curious to see if these end up being better alternatives should smart batteries dry up.
 
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well here the dumb idea of the new month. So since the APM and Pixhawk used a power Module, similar to this one, could it be connected to a battery and output the data for the SOLO similar to the module in the smart battery?
 
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The data could be handled, but the connector used is proprietary and hard to come by for a good price. I do think it would not be hard to gut a solo battery if they go bad and replace the cells. If you have a good method for connecting to the proprietary plugs, building the data adapter in an arduino sounds like a fun project if nobody picks it up before I get a chance to.
 
I have a couple lines out to some suppliers i use to get some parts. I will keep you guys posted if I get any.
 
Yeah, I've found them. At $25 for a plug, I consider that "unavailable". I've also found them at reasonable prices for order quanity >1000 which I've thought about buying and parting out on ebay, but after listing fees and shipping it's still not that great.

For me, I have 5 batteries and figure I'll just cut them open and replace the cells if they start giving out. If that doesn't work, I'll just cut open the shell and replace the plug entirely with something that's actually reasonable, because you're already going to be giving up the sleek look once you give up the OEM battery shell.
 
Hi, guys!
Have you ever considered to forget the SMbus and just using the Pixhawk2 analog inputs for reading battery voltage and current? It's pin 47 and 49 on the 80pin connector. Mission Planner allows you to modify the battery data readout method from SMbus to analog... But I'm not sure if the original Solo firmware actually will read those pins :( If not, we can try the Solo Master alternative firmware.
I get to this conclusion because I bought Solo+controller bargain on Ebay and now I am trying to get them in the air. Everything works fine, the single issue is that the arming must be done with external application (Mission Planner, Tower, etc). After that, the controller seems to acknowledge that the Solo is already armed and responds to stick commands. Till then it reads 0V from battery via telemetry and doesn't want to send the "Arm"signal. But if we can fool it by making the Solo read the analog inputs, then I'm convinced it can be used for arming, too. Any thoughts, suggestions?
 
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Hi, guys!
Have you ever considered to forget the SMbus and just using the Pixhawk2 analog inputs for reading battery voltage and current? It's pin 47 and 49 on the 80pin connector. Mission Planner allows you to modify the battery data readout method from SMbus to analog... But I'm not sure if the original Solo firmware actually will read those pins :( If not, we can try the Solo Master alternative firmware.
I get to this conclusion because I bought Solo+controller bargain on Ebay and now I am trying to get them in the air. Everything works fine, the single issue is that the arming must be done with external application (Mission Planner, Tower, etc). After that, the controller seems to acknowledge that the Solo is already armed and responds to stick commands. Till then it reads 0V from battery via telemetry and doesn't want to send the "Arm"signal. But if we can fool it by making the Solo read the analog inputs, then I'm convinced it can be used for arming, too. Any thoughts, suggestions?

I tried same thing and It's possible to arm by traditional two sticks down. but you have to set fly:manual before doing it.
 
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I tried same thing and It's possible to arm by traditional two sticks down. but you have to set fly:manual before doing it.

Thanks, I will try that.
Right now the Solo is disassembled because I want to add an Arduino "Smart Battery Simulator" / adapter between the current sensor and SMBbus input, as discussed already here, with some modifications.
 
greetings...
I am not an "electric" guy so i don´t know nothing about amps and voltage etc etc etc...
but is there any way to "attach" another (more little) battery -lets say- on the "accesory bay" wich feeds only the gimbal, so the "lipo" will feed only the drone (as if there´s no gimbal)...?
(and obviously disconnect the gimbal from the "main" power)
 
greetings...
I am not an "electric" guy so i don´t know nothing about amps and voltage etc etc etc...
but is there any way to "attach" another (more little) battery -lets say- on the "accesory bay" wich feeds only the gimbal, so the "lipo" will feed only the drone (as if there´s no gimbal)...?
(and obviously disconnect the gimbal from the "main" power)

if you pull main board out. You can see gimbal data cable connection. It is supplying power to gimbal. See attached picture. You can find pins showing 'GIMBAL BAT' and 'GIMBAL GROUND'. I have not measured 'GIMBAL BAT' voltage myself. You could.(Also it has power connection to Gopro. It is obviously 5v. and Ground is separated.) I guess you can try to cut wires and connect those from different power source like other li-ion battery. but It result connect possibly two different(or same?) voltage batteries in parallel. i guess you need additional circuit.(if different voltage) What you want is to cut power to gimbal. That's very simple. Even no need to pull board out. Just cut 'GIMBAL BAT' wire(Red colored) from connector attached to gimbal and put any switch between.
 

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The data could be handled, but the connector used is proprietary and hard to come by for a good price. I do think it would not be hard to gut a solo battery if they go bad and replace the cells. If you have a good method for connecting to the proprietary plugs, building the data adapter in an arduino sounds like a fun project if nobody picks it up before I get a chance to.

I thought about what needed to be done..then when I saw batteries selling for $25.00, I bought 3 of them. It's a no brainer. That's cheap for Lipo's of this size.
 
Could you post a pic of how you connected the Multistar to the Solo? Did you cannibalize a Solo battery to get the female portion of the battery plug?

I've actually cannibalized a charger plug so as to use Solo batteries with other home-made multirotors (thinking it's simpler to buy ONE kind of battery for all my frames)...I've been able to keep using the Solo charger of course, and I've also used my old lipo charger so I can see how many mah gets put back in...see pic.

Thanks...
 

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