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Written by Greg Gimlick
Electrics
Column
As seen in the June 2016 issue of
Model Aviation.


I’m not talking about disco dancing—I’m talking about the BUMP Controller from Revolectrix.

Every now and then a product comes along and I scratch my head, thinking it might be an interesting item, but I’m not sure I see its value. That was the case with the BUMP Controller for Revolectrix chargers, but I ordered one when curiosity got the better of me. It turns out that it’s a must-have item!


What Is BUMP?

In company terms, “BUMP is an exclusive new Revolectrix concept for battery management. The BUMP Controller utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) Technology to communicate with any battery equipped with a BUMP Compliant Tag, or ‘BumpTag.’”

In simple terms, it’s a godsend! This device attaches to your Revolectrix charger and reads a little tag you stick on your batteries and automagically sets everything for the proper charge.

Within a few minutes of using it, I was sold! I’ll admit, that’s a big turnaround from my initial thoughts as to whether it was of value. Now I want another charger to connect to it because it will control up to four devices.


Tag ’Em!

Future battery packs from Revolectrix will include a built-in tag, but you don’t have to use Revolectrix packs to utilize the BUMP Controller. I bought a number of blank tags that stick on existing packs. There is a short setup program for setting the parameters that you want for a pack.




Here is a tag sitting on the controller being programmed. The author is entering the battery’s brand name into the parameters.


If you have multiple packs, you copy settings to the next tag. You don’t need to make a new program for every tag—only copy it. I have approximately 20 3S battery packs from various manufacturers, but they all have the same parameters in terms of capacity and discharge/charge rates. I programmed one tag and copied the next dozen or so for those packs.

I programmed and tagged nearly 50 packs in a matter of 20 minutes. Everything is quickly entered via a touch screen on the BUMP Controller.


How Does It Work?

After you tag your packs, you simply “bump” the tag against the front of the controller and it reads the tag, sets the charger, and waits for you to plug the pack into the connectors. Do that, push start, and you’re done!




The home screen is ready for the first bump of your tag for either charging or programming.


There are three parameters you can set for charge rates: accurate, normal, and fast. You might want to set those as 1C, 2C, and 3C charge rates, but that’s only an example. It comes with factory defaults or you can set them for your specific needs.

I have high-voltage packs and regular packs and it was easy to set up for all of my various applications. I love it—no setting anything. Just bump and charge!


But I Parallel Charge ...

No problem, so do I—all of the time! I even parallel charge packs with different capacities, but that’s not a problem because the BUMP Controller knows every pack you connect. Bump each pack and connect it to the charge board. The screen shows each pack that is connected and how many of that type, then it sets the charger per your preprogrammed parameters and off you go.




The BUMP Controller sits on top of a PowerLab 8 charger while two big 6S packs parallel charge.


If you try to connect incompatible packs, it will stop and warn you to make a change. It won’t allow you to accidentally mix cell counts.


Battery Management System

You’re probably tired of me preaching the “management-system” style of LiPo battery ownership, but I practice it and have packs that are still working after several years. The BUMP tags log information each time a battery is charged.

An analysis mode will cycle the battery, compare it with the history, and let you know where you stand. There was a lot of email recently about my 80% rule (read about it in the February 2016 “Electrics” column) and how it can change as packs degrade. With the BUMP system, you can now figure out exactly how much the capacity has changed and adjust your flight times accordingly. BUMP will do the calculations for you!




The BUMP Controller will warn you if something is wrong!



Online Help

The Revolectrix staff has its BUMP beta team online to keep new users up-to-date on developments and to help with technical questions. Search RCGroups for “Revolectrix BUMP” or go to the Revolectrix website for links to videos and help files.

The beta team’s response has been remarkable. There will be future iOS and Android apps to further enhance the BUMP’s capabilities via Bluetooth.


Wrapping It Up

I don’t want to sound like an advertisement, and I really didn’t expect much from this device, but I was absolutely wrong! The FMA Direct PowerLab 8 charger is often referenced in my column. It’s a top-of-the-line charger, but it’s not always the most intuitive unit.




The BUMP Controller is putting a battery pack into storage mode. Everything is viewable via the touch screen.


With the BUMP Controller attached, it is a no-brainer. I love this thing. Charging and keeping track of battery packs has never been this easy for me.
The people at Revolectrix checked to see if I really meant to order more than 100 tags. Well, that’s how many battery packs I manage and it was no easy task until now!

I’m sold on the BUMP Controller and I highly recommend it as an addition to your Revolectrix chargers. Expect to see more about how I use the system in the future.

-Greg Gimlick
maelectrics@gimlick.com


Sources:

RCGroups
www.rcgroups.com

Revolectrix
www.revolectrix.com

Revolectrix USA
(301) 798-2770
www.usastore.revolectrix.com






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