$99 Breeze, first impressions/experiences

Discussion in 'Breeze' started by HarveyH54, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    If you try cutting a slot in the seam at the location you will later cut out for the adapter, you might be able to keep the case pretty. Like you, I care more about function, but I do like "pretty" when I can have both.

    My Venom shows cell voltage, and total Ma hours for the charge, and those looked good. But the charger doesn't measure internal resistance. (I overlooked that shortcoming when I was deciding which charger to get. Now I have a charger that's plenty good enough to use, but is missing a rather useful function. I still have to read resistance with a multimeter.)[/QUOTE]
    Yeah, it's my hope to do no damage at all, regardless of what I'm planning to do, left over parts can still be used for other things. Unfortunately, some cases are tricky, or were never intended to be opened. Lot of stuff is cheaper to replace, than repair for warranty work, case damage would obviously void the warranty.
    I went with SkyRC D100, did a lot of looking around, and seemed like it was common, and well built. Unfortunately, there were quite a few similar chargers, mostly the label was the only difference. SkyRC seemed to have a line of similar models, unlike the brands, so figured it was the original. $99 free shipping from China, but it's unusually well built, feature rich, and have had a glitch, runs cool, not even warm. I still don't leave it unattended, but not concerned if I need to leave the room for a few minutes, or longer. The discharge mode is too slow, but understandable, since that energy is converted to heat, bad for electronics. I made a quicker way, safe, and cheap too. I just put a car lighter socket on an EC3 cable, and use a 300 watt inverter to power a 100w incandescent light bulb. The inverter has a low voltage shut off, so you can still start your car, and it works out pretty close to the recommended storage voltage. I still put the battery on the charger, and finish the job, for long periods of no flying (rainy season).
    Pretty sure the internal resistance readings are rough, a reference. A very tiny value, I'm sure the test leads would have a large impact. Still, I does let you know if the resistance is growing, and if one cell if getting worse than others. One really weak cell, is all it takes to cause a major failure in flight. If they are all getting old about the same rate, you just get shorter flights. I usually just use the balance charge mode for the Q500 batteries, takes longer, but should keep the batteries happier, longer. I'm not sure if anyone ever made a study on it, just something that seemed reasonable to me, doesn't seem to hurt the batteries. I know fast charging is a bad thing. Never really been in a hurry, charge the day before, since morning is generally my best flying time, seldom fly more than two batteries, unless I travel.
    I haven't been able to do much flyin past couple of days, the cold front(s) we've gotten lately have brought a lot of gusty wind. Wasn't too bad this evening, but could tell it was still a little too much for the Breeze, even the gimbal didn't smooth it all out this time. Mostly, I was curious to see what I could get away with. The Q500 would have been fine, sort of a maybe day, since there were stronger gusts sometimes. This little Breeze is full of surprises, it's still got the newness factor, but think it's better for everyday flying, and the Q500 better for travel, like down to the lake, where I need more range.
     
  2. WTFDproject

    WTFDproject Well-Known Member
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    [QUOTE="I went with SkyRC D100, did a lot of looking around, and seemed like it was common, and well built. The discharge mode is too slow, but understandable..
    [/QUOTE]
    I wish I had internal resistance, but was otherwise OK with the Venon until today. The backlight started flashing on and off, then quit altogether. My old eyes needed that backlight. I find it very hard to see now. I might try to fix it, not sure. I'm not going to send it back under warranty, that just takes too much time.
    The discharge rate is very slow for a reason. When discharged very slowly, there is no significant voltage rebound at the end. For general use, a small rebound isn't much to worry about, and is lots better than storing at full charge. It's sounds like your method incorporates the best of both approaches, and would work very well.

    I would ask a favor of you. I noticed a difference in end voltage between the standard charger mode and the Venom charger via the adapter. The standard charger finishes with a voltage of 12.61v overall. The Venom charger ends with 12.59v. Not much difference, but the 12.61v is slightly above the max recommended voltage. (Both voltage readings are from the Venom display). I wasn't recording the Breeze readings from prior to the MOD, so I don't know if the MOD affected the settings on the Breeze charger, or if it was already a little high.
    Will you take voltage readings at the end of your next Breeze Battery charge? I'm too lazy to undo the MOD just to find out, but it may be something I need to do if your charger finishes at 12.6v or less.
     
  3. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    I was just about to see about cracking open the charger, logged in to take another look at the open case, where the best place to start. Just had a little sprinkle of rain, could get a little more, hope it clears off some, kind of breezy. Tomorrow is suppose to be wet all day, as another cold front passes through. Really hadn't expected to do any flying. Got the battery on charge now, let you know about the voltage in about a half hour. Was about 56%, might be sooner.

    The Yuneec battery popped open pretty easy. Just clipped the wires, since I'll be adding or replacing them anyway. The cells didn't look all that bad, but It wasn't charging right, or lasting very long. I filled a plastic container with salt water, and tossed them in. Could have sworn it was fully discharged, but it started bubbling pretty good. Put it out in the middle of a concrete slab. I don't expect any fireworks, but it's my first time.

    A couple of hundred millivolts shouldn't matter much, should be within tolerance. My bench meter could be off by that much (never calibrate). Most of the stuff I work on isn't that exact, a tenth of a volt one way of the other doesn't worry me.

    Going to see what sort of deal our sponsors have on chargers and blades. I did some looking at getting a second charger, hoping to find a cheap one, but $25 +shipping seems to be the best deal. Didn't check what shipping would cost. Figure I might as well support the forum.

    Just finished charging, got 12.61v on both meters. I'll check again before I fly, if it clears up a little. Have you tried shining a light on your charger LCD? Works sometimes, not a great solution. I haven't had a lot of success with LCDs and microcontroller projects, but I'm either using salvage, ones bought cheap, surplus. My last one wouldn't light up, but it's easy to read without the light.
     
  4. WTFDproject

    WTFDproject Well-Known Member
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    The 12.61 reading makes feel OK with what I have. I think it's just a normal variation between the two chargers, and not a difference due to the mod.
    I added another picture to Post #18 with the modified harness laid in. There is nothing to mount it too, so I laid the charger board in the bottom of the case, held the new connector in place by hand, and pumped a lot of hot glue over the connector and board. When it cooled, I used a razor knife to free up the glue from the side of the case, and everything fit perfectly when assembled. The charger board is normally attached to the top half of the case, but sits firmly in it's normal position when laid in the bottom.
    Yeah, there is a work light on my bench. If I shine it on the front of the charger, I can see things without much trouble. Still might try to fix it. I've got some backlight panels around here somewhere, left over from Spectrum DX6i controllers. They MIGHT work, but there are some variations on voltages of those things. Worth a try anyway. Got them mixed up before, and not much happens except they don't work.
    I missed a deal on a charger on eBay last night. Had an alarm set so I could bid on it. Alarm didn't go off, missed it by 10 minutes. No one else bid on it, which means I would have gotten it for $5, plus another 5 or so for shipping. Oh Well. The seller relisted it for the standard $25 +shipping that you see everywhere, so it's off my radar now.
     
  5. WTFDproject

    WTFDproject Well-Known Member
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    Oh, I saw your note and forgot why I got on the forum. I tried a newer smart phone with the Breeze controller, and everything started right up. I had to pair the Bluetooth and WiFi, then the controller vibrated, and was ready to do it's thing. I guess I'll have to get a newer phone at some point, but not going to do that just for the controller. To much life left in the old phone to retire it just yet.
     
  6. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    Okay, after sitting for a couple hours, the battery read 12.60v. Figured it drop a little.

    I bought mine as a controller/screen for a couple action cameras that had WiFi. Paid $78, for a refurbished S5, which was only two models old. Figured I could go wrong with it, and sort of thought about using it for some of those free WiFi hotspots. Haven't had any luck with the hotspots, and the action camera range wasn't what I was hoping for. Thought I could set the camera out in the backyard, and sit in the house to control it. Only about 30 feet, before the signal gets iffy.

    Flew the Breeze down to 60%, got close to 300 feet away. Still don't want to push the max distance yet, but getting close.

    Spent $50 and some change with our sponsor, charger, and two sets of blades. Shouldn't need the blades, but thought it best to have them, if they go short sometime. I got free shipping, which was good, since they charge the same as most any place else for OEM parts. They want $399 for a Breeze, which was a surprise. Didn't check what was included, but figure it was same as I got for $99. Almost gave up on checking out though, wasn't going so smoothly. Ended up creating an account, then going back to checkout. Still took a while to get through.
     
  7. WTFDproject

    WTFDproject Well-Known Member
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    @HarveyH54 , have you tried flying in the "Follow Me" mode? I tried it today, and it did not work. The Breeze reports that the "phone GPS is weak". I'm thinking it's just another issue with using an outdated phone?
     
  8. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    I've avoided the 'Smart-Modes' on the Q500, and not real confident the Breeze will be much different. Seems like the smart mode is the cause of many crashes and fly away. I've had two crashes from accidental smart mode activations. There is no obstacle detection or avoidance, and I have to travel some to be reasonably free of trees. Considered the orbit mode, since you can clearly define it's path, but still want a lot of open ground, before trying.
     
  9. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    I got my second charger yesterday from Vertigo drones, and finally got around to popping it open today. Managed to do it with very little damage, might not even show when I put it back together. Weren't kidding about not much room. I have to go back to the Vertigo website, and check something. The charger didn't come with a power cord, but remember seeing them sold separately. Not a real big deal for this, don't need it, and pretty sure I have one that'll fit anyway. Just want to see if one was include, or if they made mention it was sold separately.
    Thinking to mount mine at the end, over the power cord socket. Looks like enough room for it. My hands are feeling like they want to cramp up on me some. That case wasn't fun to pop open at all, think there was some glue in there. fortunately just a spot or two. Need to dig out an EC3 socket and balance cable, see were they might fit, and how. Only had one bad battery, much easier to cut one hole in the case. I've got some stuff called Shape-lock plastic, melts with a heat gun, and works a lot like hot glue, but strong, not flexible when it cools. Can be filed or sanded, little more heat gives it a polished finish.
     
  10. WTFDproject

    WTFDproject Well-Known Member
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    How did you get the case open?

    Posts pics when you get it done. I might do the next one that way instead of making a mount on the side. Supposed to be one coming in the mail today.

    I had never heard of that plastic. I see it on amazon. I think I'll get some. Looks to be a handy thing to have around.
     
  11. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    It goes by a few other names, should do a little research, watch a few videos. Practice a little, before going at a really project. My first few uses were kind of messy, until I tried the heat gun, and learned a few things about handling it. It melts pretty easy, and you don't want to liquify it, sticks to everything that way. It's not hard to figure out how much heat you need, for what you want it to do. Come to think about it, hot glue use to be messy too.

    I got a surprise in the mailbox today, my GiFi batteries arrived. Only two weeks this time. The label said Hawthorne, Ca. Must have some distribution facility there. Glad they came quick, but I really liked getting the Q500 batteries fresh from the factory. Much to windy to fly, and a little overcast. Doesn't really look like rain. I'd like to see if these 1700 mAH batteries last noticeably longer, but windy days aren't a good test for that.

    I'll take some pictures before I re-assembly everything, and after it's done. Figure on going with a lighter gauge wire. I'm not going to be pushing the current that high for charging. 20-22 gauge should be plenty. Should handle about 5 amps, without heat, and I'm likely to charge at 3 amps. My charger's discharge cycle is 2 amps max.
     
  12. haedu babaganush

    haedu babaganush New Member

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    Well being away I somehow missed getting a breeze for 99 bucks. Who was selling them for that price or did you pick it up as a used item? thanks.
     
  13. WTFDproject

    WTFDproject Well-Known Member
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    "WOOT" was selling them. Woot is part of Amazon now. They sold two batches of them, new, and with the controllers. More might show up, but they get gone pretty quick now that folks know to look for them. I bought one from the second batch just after they listed them. I don't know how many they had, but they were all gone within a few hours.
     
  14. Jagerbomb52

    Jagerbomb52 Guest

    Just to add to that, WOOT will not ship to Canada.
    With the exception of Shirt.Woot!, we do not currently ship outside of the contiguous 48 United States. Certain sales or products may not be eligible to ship to specific states. At this time, we do not ship to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, or Mexico.
     
  15. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    #35 HarveyH54, Feb 1, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
    I've got a set of tools for popping cases, though I'm no expert at it. I started at the end with power cord, on the right side of where the plug goes, there was a small gap. I got the corner to pop, and I shoved in a wedge. Started working down the right-hand side, but it got real hard about two inches from the corner, glued I guess. Moved the wedge around, and tried the other side, did a little better, but got to another tough spot. Had a good gap on the end, so shoved a piece of scrap plastic in there, removed wedge, went back to the right with a different tool, seemed to work better, got up to the front corner. From there, I most just pulled, pushed, twisted, eventually got one side and both ends. The left side was really stuck though. I tried prying a little, opposite of where I suspected the glue was, and eventually, it popped, rest came pretty easy. I just took my time with it, almost stopped, it was rough on my hands. I knew it would have been a better weekend project, but the weather wasn't good flying, and sort of wanted a peek, so I could plan out what I was going to do.

    Charging a Gifi battery, seems to be taking an unusually long time, about 45 minutes, still just flashing green (why I hate stock chargers). The D100 would tell me how much time is left, or I could watch the voltage, or percentage. I'll give it another 15 minutes, and pull it off, check with a meter.

    Think cutting a hole for the new connectors should go real easy over the power plug, already started. Kind of thinking about just a cut on each side, and heating the plastic enough to bend the flap in for support.

    Green light flashing, means it ain't charging. Pulled it off, 11.6v, storage. Got the other Gifi on, flashing red, so it's a go, I guess. Could have sworn it flashed green while charging, green-red for balance.
     
  16. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    Don't remember how it was listed, but mine looked new, in every way. Definitely didn't look used or open-box. I don't mind refurbished, sometimes better than you'd get new, and at a considerable discount. You get the newest firmware, and anything upgrade, that you might have need to send it in for. I'm mostly interest in function, a few blemishes don't bother, probably would take long for me to add some of my own anyway. Bought a $79 refurbished Galaxy S5, looked new, except for the little USB door, not a scratch on the rest of it.

    The Breeze is still listed most every where for $399. Wish I'd known more, and how well it works, I'd have bought a second one. Parts ain't cheap. They come back up at $99, will definitely pick up another, maybe two. Lot more convenient than the Q500+, and works about as well, for the flying I do.
     
  17. WTFDproject

    WTFDproject Well-Known Member
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    If the GiFi is still flashing green, I don't think it has started charging. I'm having problems with both my
    GiFi Batteries. They go to "charger error" as soon as I plug them in. If I pull them out an reseat them several times, they start charging. It doesn't matter what charge they have on them. It did it on the first charge, after flight, even did it when I plugged in a fully charged battery. The stock battery shows no problem at all.

    I don't have my charger with the adapter anymore. My Grandson adopted it last weekend. I have to make another now. I have another stock charger, and I will try to follow the plan you used. Maybe I can stay patient enough to get it to work.
     
  18. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    Both my GiFi batteries are a tight fit, why it felt seated, but not making contact. I get the blue light every time, have to pull the battery, and re-insert to start the charge.

    The Gifi batteries are barely giving me 11 minutes flight, but could be the wind, still a little gusty, and a little more of a breeze then I'd like. Least the cold front is passed, should calm down some.

    Had a very disappointing day with the charger project, kind of rushed it a little, wanted to get a Gifi hooked up to the D100, and see what's going on. Something went wrong with the wiring, only getting 7.8 volts out, battery reads 12.6 volts.. Least there was no smoke or flames. Got to take it apart, and check the wires. I used heat shrink on all connections, but it was a tight fit, and had to do some bending near the solder joints. Another disappointment, was the case doesn't snap back together. Guess that's a good thing, since I have to go back through it. Insead of the power cord end, I went with the other end.

    The soldering didn't go very smoothly, wonder if they used that lead-free stuff. Got the wires on, but took longer, and a few attempts.
     
  19. WTFDproject

    WTFDproject Well-Known Member
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    I'll pay more attention to the battery fit next time I charge the Gifi batteries. I just assumed it was something about the battery, and never considered that I might not be getting it all the way into the contacts.
    I got about 12 minutes on the first charge, then about 14 (I think) on the second. Should increase some each time for the first few cycles.
    Voltage could be one connection not made, but look also to ensure two of the balance wires are not reversed. that would certainly be easy to do.
    I didn't notice a problem with the solder, but the only original solder I worked with was on the two main charge connections at the connector itself. The other joints were all new.
     
  20. HarveyH54

    HarveyH54 Active Member

    Got it fix, charging the battery I flew this morning right now. The cell resistance doesn't look good, 20,21,21 mOhms. My Q500 batteries are all under 12 mOhms. Only one flight each on the GiFi batteries, so I'll keep watch.

    The negative lead at the battery came off, it was the first I soldered, seemed solid enough, but might have been cold, didn't want to melt plastic.

    I set my charger for 3 amps, and it almost done, 22 minutes, and 99%. Will get some pics of the cell resistance of all three batteries, and my build. Might take a while to upload, got to transfer to the computer, resize, and upload (dial-up internet).
     
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