Check the “Tank” Before You Fly
There’s a lot I like about flying electric airplanes. No coming home greasy after flying smelling like nitro, no clean up, no safety hazard leaning around props adjusting needle valves, no frustrating days trying to start balky engines.
It’s not all perfect, there are a few things I don’t like about electric power. I miss the sound of a four stroke engine on a fly-by on a summer afternoon, going pockapockapocka. I miss buying a gallon of 15-percent nitro fuel for $25 that will last me for weeks.
Mostly I miss being able to count the turns of my six-shooter fuel pump and know my tank was full, or popping a hatch and seeing how much/little fuel I had in the tank. One day I had a 3S battery pack plugged into my power meter, and read 10.9v on the pack. I muttered that I was an analog guy in a digital world, and why couldn’t someone come up with a simple device that I could plug a battery pack into that would translate numbers into a simple graphic that would interpret the numbers for me and tell me how full or empty the bloody pack was.
Well, I guess I muttered louder that I thought, because for my birthday in March I was given the Futaba BR-3000 Battery Checker, and somehow Futaba heard me loud and clear. A palm-sized device with a large LCD screen, it works with Li-Fe, Li-Po, Li-Ion, NiCd and NiMH batteries.
Operation is bone simple. Plug the balancing jack into the side of the BR-3000. Select the type of battery. Read the display. Can it be any easier?
In the simplest mode the display will show a graphic of how much “fuel” is left in the battery as a graph and a percentage. For further information use the CELL button the show max-min differences between each cell, or the capacity of each cell can be displayed. If you leave a Lithium pack attached for longer than 5 seconds the BR-3000 will even balance the pack for you.
I’m loving this thing. The BR-3000 is perfectly sized for my hand and the transmitter case. It is definitely one of those devices that I now wonder how I lived without.