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Faster Charging for Nano/Nano+, in-the-field charging, higher current PD modes.

trontar

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Does the Autel Nano+ charger use PD (Power Delivery) or QuickCharge protocol?

It looks like the wall adapter is supporting USB PD 2.0 1.0.

The small print (through magnifying glass) says:
Output USB-C 5.0v=3.0A, 9.0v=3.0A, 12.0v=2.5A 30.0W
USB-A 5.0v=3.0A, 9.0V=2.0A, 12.0v=1.5A 18.0W

I've been using the big USB-A port. Is charging faster with the small USB-C @30W max??


USB PD 2.0 supports 5V-3A, 9V-3A, 12V-3A (36W), 15V-3A (45W), 20V-5A (100W)

The Autel product page says battery supports charging up to 30W, and it'd be unusual for such a small pack to support a 45W or 100W charging rate.

The battery has a capacity of 2250mAh @ 7.7V = 17.325 Wh. LiFePO4 doesn't charge at constant current but with a CC/CV two-stage process, so we can't estimate charging time based on max wattage the adapter can supply.
Autel says battery takes 90 min to charge, which means average charing power is only 17.3/1.5 = 11.55 Watts. That's well below the 30W spec, even accounting for the second stage, slower CV charge phase.


In the field one could run PD USB chargers off a 24 v battery feeding several EVO Nano chargers.,

To keep up with continous flying one would need to charge about 3 batteries per hour, which would require 5 chargers and a total of 6 batteries, one in the flying Nano+.

It would be nice if we could get a charge time per battery down to under 80 minutes, so only four chargers would be needed for continous flying.
This might be possible if the CC charge mode would take PD 2.0 12V @ 3.0A (36W) instead of just 30W.

I'll try other PD USB power supplies and report back if I can get under 80 minutes full charge time.

Please chime-in if you have done any measurements yourself.
Please let me know if you find anything incorrect in what i've written, thank you.
 
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Autel Nano Charge-Time test results


68 min2022-10-04Autel 30W Adapter + Flight ChargerUSB-C PD Port
116 min2022-10-04Anker Powerport 60W + Flight ChargerUSB-A Port
91 min2022-10-06Anker Powerport 60W + Autel NanoUSB-C PD Port
58 min2022-10-07Autel 30W Adapter + Flight ChargerUSB-C PD Port
71 min2022-10-07Autel 30W Adapter + Flight ChargerUSB-A Port
72 min2022-10-07Autel 30W Adapter + Flight ChargerUSB-A Port
56 min2022-10-07Autel 30W Adapter + Flight ChargerUSB-C PD Port
300+ min2022-10-07Anker Powerport 60W + Autel NanoUSB-C PD Port

Only low-cycle count (<20) battieres were tested.
Batteries were first drained to shutdown using idle Nano+ sitting on floor.
 
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I use a usb c cable which shows the amount of charge, in watts, being passed.
Towards the end, the rate goes down. Apparently it slow charges when close to 100 percent.
I would recommend to disconnect and charge other batteries when the level goes down
 
Time-test results for full charge, new Nano+ battery:
68 min, 2022-10-04, Autel Adapter, USB-C Port
116 min, 2022-10-04, Anker Powerport 60W, USB-A Port

Does PD never work on USB-A form factor ports, even though the power-adapter supports PD?

The power supply is not the only consideration for charging speeds; LiPo's in particular are very susceptible to battery fires and the main cause of LiPo battery fires are due to improper charging. More than likely Autel has taken a conservative approach to the charging process to prevent battery fires and to lengthen the life of the battery, I would not do anything to attempt to change that. Unfortunately, that typically means you need to buy a lot more batteries than you would otherwise need, you also need to handle LiPo's with extreme care (never charge hot, don't leave on the charger, don't use them if they start swelling, dont' take off if the app shows any battery errors, etc, etc.).

I use a usb c cable which shows the amount of charge, in watts, being passed.
Towards the end, the rate goes down. Apparently it slow charges when close to 100 percent.
I would recommend to disconnect and charge other batteries when the level goes down

You should not disconnect the battery until it has reached 100%, the LiPo batteries are multi-cell and there is a balancing circuitry within the batteries or charger that ensures all cells are properly balanced before the charging process is complete. When the output wattage drops, it is probably performing the balancing cycle; skipping this repeatedly could lead to a complete failure in the air, incorrect levels reported to the app, and premature battery failure, and/or shorter battery life. Everything about the charging cycle is meant to reduce the chances of battery fires and extend the life of the batteries.
 
With a 68 minute charge time for one battery, three or four Autel power supplies plus flight chargers could keep you flying indefinitely throughout the day if your flight time + battery change exceeds 22.6 minutes.
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If you use the Autel 30w USB adapters, the source power could be supplied by a large battery + 110/220v inverter, but this is pretty bulky and the additional boost circuit adds losses.
.
There are afordable USB PD chargers for camping/truck/rv that take 24V DC-in. If any of them can match the Autel adapters' 30-Watt 12v PD profile (apparently a PD 1.0 mode), they might also fully charge a Nano+ battery in around 68 minutes. I haven't found one that explicitly advertises this 12v 3-ampere mode though.
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If we take 17.3 Wh as capacity for a Nano+ battery and give ourselves 20 minutes conservative flight time for each, we get an energy consumption of 52 Wh per hour of flight time.
.
That means an 8 hour workday would require 416 Wh portable power source, which could be supplied by just one 20Ah 24v LiFEPo4 battery. They can be bought for camping/RV/boat or solar applications without breaking the bank.
.
I'll continue appending to my charge-time measurements in the second post to this thread as I make them.
 
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With a 68 minute charge time for one battery, three or four Autel power supplies plus flight chargers could keep you flying indefinitely throughout the day if your flight time + battery change exceeds 22.6 minutes.
.
If you use the Autel 30w USB adapters, the source power could be supplied by a large battery + 110/220v inverter, but this is pretty bulky and the additional boost circuit adds losses.
.
There are afordable USB PD chargers for camping/truck/rv that take 24V DC-in. If any of them can match the Autel adapters' 30-Watt 12v PD profile (apparently a PD 1.0 mode), they might also fully charge a Nano+ battery in around 68 minutes. I haven't found one that explicitly advertises this 12v 3-ampere mode though.
.
If we take 17.3 Wh as capacity for a Nano+ battery and give ourselves 20 minutes conservative flight time for each, we get an energy consumption of 52 Wh per hour of flight time.
.
That means an 8 hour workday would require 416 Wh portable power source, which could be supplied by just one 20Ah 24v LiFEPo4 battery. They can be bought for camping/RV/boat or solar applications without breaking the bank.
.
I'll continue appending to my charge-time measurements in the second post to this thread as I make them.

The funny thing is I keep reading about battery breakthroughs. Some new technology right around the corner that will revolutionize batteries. Some new metal, design, material, etc....and yet 10yrs later here we still are fiddling with finicky LiPos.
 
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The power supply is not the only consideration for charging speeds; LiPo's in particular are very susceptible to battery fires and the main cause of LiPo battery fires are due to improper charging. More than likely Autel has taken a conservative approach to the charging process to prevent battery fires and to lengthen the life of the battery, I would not do anything to attempt to change that.
I don't disagree but I'd like to clarify:
The Autel 'Flight Charger' (the bar with the three connections) manages the charge current/voltage and limits it to a safe cc/cv curve -- irrespective of the USB power supply you use to feed it.
It feels like an empty box but there is a lot of smarts in there.
If the name "MDA" is anything to go by, it might be designed by these guys: Charger,Charging cabinet-Shenzhen Modiary Co., Ltd.

What I've found is that the fastest charge (so far) has been with the Autel wall power supply, on the USB-C port. The USB-A on it charges slower.
 
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I don't disagree but I'd like to clarify:
The Autel 'Flight Charger' (the bar with the three connections) manages the charge current/voltage and limits it to a safe cc/cv curve -- irrespective of the USB power supply you use to feed it.
It feels like an empty box but there is a lot of smarts in there.
If the name "MDA" is anything to go by, it might be designed by these guys: Charger,Charging cabinet-Shenzhen Modiary Co., Ltd.

What I've found is that the fastest charge (so far) has been with the Autel wall power supply, on the USB-C port. The USB-A on it charges slower.
If charging one battery, is it quicker or slower just keeping it in the Nano?
 
If charging one battery, is it quicker or slower just keeping it in the Nano?
I will need to do more tests. Today i got a full charge in 91 minutes using the Nano+ internal charging.
I'd be happy to add results from other forum members if they follow the protocol (fully drain battery first in an idle nano+).
It would help if we got a beep on full charge. As it is I have to keep a close eye on things, charging right on my desk, below my monitor.
 
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I just received my Evo Nano Plus 2 days ago, ordered directly from Autel Robotics. Had a few flights today.
First received I charged the batteries and noticed that it charged 1 at a time but not 100% sure.
Today I charged all 3 and it looks like they're being charged simultaneously!! Now the 2 are full and the third is still being charged.

Below is the FW list though, not sure if it means anything.
IMG_1941.png

IMG_1942.png

And this is the photo while it's charging which I posted here: Battery charging protocol


IMG_1951_Lively.gif
 

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Disconnect and reconnect. It's a problem with the lights. It's really only charging one at a time.
If you want to charge faster, use a power meter. When you see the charging speed go down, it's slow charging on the last percents before 100, so remove and charge others
 
If you want to charge faster, use a power meter. When you see the charging speed go down, it's slow charging on the last percents before 100, so remove and charge others

This is still really bad and dangerous advice, you should never disconnect a multi-cell LiPo battery until the charging process is 100% complete. The last 10min or so of the charging process is the balancing cycle. You can read more about the balancing cycle and how important it is with just a little research; here is just one sample article.

The LiPo batteries in drones are multi-cell and there is a balancing circuitry within the batteries or charger that ensures all cells are properly balanced before the charging process is complete. When the output wattage drops, it is probably performing the balancing cycle; skipping this repeatedly or even once could lead to a complete failure in the air, incorrect levels reported to the app, and premature battery failure, and/or shorter battery life. Everything about the charging cycle is meant to reduce the chances of battery fires, extend the life of the batteries, and increase their reliability.

If the manufacturer could safely squeeze even a few seconds faster out of the charging process they would definitely do so.
 
Right, but isn't 100% bad for lipos and why does it take so damn long on the last percents?
I don't believe balancing cycles need to be done each time, just every couple of cycles.
Can you reference your source for this?
 
Right, but isn't 100% bad for lipos and why does it take so damn long on the last percents?
I don't believe balancing cycles need to be done each time, just every couple of cycles.
Can you reference your source for this?

Charging to 100% isn't bad for any battery, that's when you have the most time remaining for use. Yes, charging a LiPo to 100% is considered a charge cycle and with LiPos you typically only get about 2yrs or 200 cycles (whichever comes first), but not charging to 100% is far worse especially since the balancing cycle gets skipped or interrupted when that happens.

There is no real way to know if a LiPo battery pack needs to be balanced until the balancing cycle is performed. Many things can affect when it is needed; everything from ambient temps, age of the battery, discharge cycles, quality of each cell, etc. etc. So instead of playing Russian roulette with the charging process its best to just leave it to the manufacturer to know what is best for the battery and they have chosen to balance the battery every time. If you want more flying time, the safest way to do so is to simply buy more batteries.

I have had the cells become unbalanced in only 4 days, and any drone forum is littered with posts like these where people lost their drone due to battery failures. Most of them can be traced to people who did not properly maintain their batteries and some can be traced to people who just didn't properly seat the battery in the drone.
 
Did some googling on one of the numbers listed on the Nano battery label and it appears that the internals of the Nano battery may be identical to the DJI Mavic Mini II battery.

On my Nano battery there is a string " 2ICP8/34/62 " listed on the right side of the label. This is also on the Mavic mini 2 label.

Looking further the same manufacturer makes the mini 2 battery, Dongguan Poweramp Technology Limited, identical to the Nano battery's label.

Rated capacity is exactly the same as is the nominal voltage and max charge voltage.

Model numbers are similar.

Also appears that the connector might be the same 6-pin connector as the Nano.

Assuming the internal components are the same it might make it easier to find more information about charging since there seems to be more information available in general for the DJI products right now.

If the pinout on the connector is the same you might just be able to use one of the ~$45 Amazon simultaneous charging systems for the mini 2 and charge 4 Nano batteries and the RC all at the same time...
 
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Something like this on amazon.

" Hanatora 6 in 1 Battery Charger for DJI Mini 2,Mini SE Drone,Rapid Multi Parallel Charging Hub Accessories "
 
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Battery Charging data point to add to your list @trontar

Almost new Nano battery (3 charge cycles), allowed to run down to 0% charge in the Nano and then charged after allowing the battery to return to room temperature.

58 min2023-1-14Autel 30W Adapter w/ only USB C port connectedUSB-C PD Port
 
Check out this post on the Mavic forum regarding the battery pinout for the Mavic 2.


I measured the pinout on a couple of my Nano batteries and it appears that the pinout is the same for the Nano and the Mavic 2.

The issue with using a charger made for a different drone is that the BMS (Battery Management System) chip on both the Nano and the Mavic 2 has some custom FW (firmware) installed on the BMS.

Also, since I don't want to damage any of my batteries I haven't opened one up to confirm that the chipset is indeed the same.
 
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More battery info that may be useful. I measured the voltage between all the pins on the 6 pin connector of the Nano battery. I will include an image with my pinout labeling since I couldn't find a convention anywhere online.

I measured between all the pins using a almost brand new Nano battery at 3 different charge states. 100%, 15%, and 0% according to the Autel Sky App.

In order to probe the voltages you have to turn the battery on in the same way you would turn on the drone by holding the power button for about 3 seconds. Probing the terminals before turning the battery on gives 0.0V on all terminals. Once you power on the battery voltages appear across some of the pins.

In the attached table the first pin number was always connected to the positive terminal on the voltmeter.

I would love to get a hold of a dead or damaged nano battery to take it apart and see what's inside. Or maybe someone that has a dead battery could open it up and post some detailed pictures of the chips and cells inside?

I'm also curious if the drone itself has a charging circuit or does it just pass the USB C charger output directly to the battery and let the battery handle the charge control.

Cheers
 

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Bro, just plug it in and let it charge to 100%.

If you want to know more about charging and batteries, here is a good resource:


It also explains why charging slow down when approaching full.

Cheers.
 
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