Guide to A123 battery packs

Charles Preston, a member of the Buddipole User Group email reflector has just posted links to two clear and useful guides to using the A123 Battery Packs available from Buddipole. While the Buddipole site links to documents about the batteries there’s very little practical information available about how to nurture these batteries. Similarly the Cellpro Multi4 charger documentation is more geared to the primary market – radio controlled airplane enthusiasts – so it’s great to see advice directly relevant to our intended use.

The Revolectrix CellPRO Multi4 charger
The Revolectrix CellPRO Multi4 charger

The first document is a Guide for Buddipole A123 Battery Packs and it explains how to maintain them and likely operating times for popular transceivers. The core of the document is how to charge the A123 Packs using the Multi4 charger (also available from the Buddipole site). There’s also mention of how to approach charging the Battery Packs with a solar panel and mention of the Genasun GV-4 Li 14.2 V MPPT controller. also sell a version of this charger designed for LiFePO4 batteries. Prices between US$110-119.

It’s great to have all of this information available.

The second document is Charging a Buddipole 4S2P or 4S4P A123 battery pack with a Cellpro 10s charger and focusses on the larger charger.

Three cheers for Charles Preston!

A123 batteries

There’s been a great explanation posted on the Buddipole list about the practicalities of using the A123 battery packs Buddipole sell from their site.

A123 4S2P battery
A123 4S2P battery

The advantages of the A123 chemistry are low weight, fast charge times and ability to deliver high current. As well their voltage – 13.2v for a four cell pack such as the one shown – is well-suited to modern amateur radio gear.

The email exchange is yet another example of how an innocent newbie’s question can draw out the best information which benefits the broader group. Mark KD5RXT’s explanation of duty cycle and the unique qualities of this new battery chemistry are almost text-book ready!

I’m still keen to find out more about the selection of the best solar cell and charger system to keep such a battery topped up. I sense that a system that could take advantage of its fast charge rate might dwarf the rest of the radio gear. And I also sense that current portable solar panels, especially the expensive roll-up ones might barely keep track even at QRPp levels.