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Power supply for a tethered drone

roineust

Jul 2, 2013
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There is a drone which I'm experimenting with and want to move from batteries to a 2-15 meters 14AWG tethered cable.

The drone voltage is 15-21 Volts and consumes up to 200 Amps.

What would be the best method of searching for and the best brand, model and condition new or used, to find a good but not expensive power supply for the drone?
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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14AWG?? For the power cable? At 200A??? Those cables would look like incandescent light bulb filaments if you tried that! You need to be aware of the volt drop caused by cable resistance at those currents.

200A at ~18V (average) means a supply rated at 3.6kW - not something you'd find off-the-shelf (but not impossible in this world I suppose) - but a smaller PSU with a decent PEAK output (depending on the peak period - you don't mention this) could be done using super capacitors but these would be best served being mounted IN the drone.

Is there no way you can use the drone with the proper power pack fitted and just run a 'recharging' supply to them?
 

roineust

Jul 2, 2013
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Batteries are an option, i need to consider the pros and cons of using batteries vs power supply.
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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What are the chances that the following ebay unbranded power supply, would be a bad choice?
Firstly it's unbranded, secondly it's Chinese! Thirdly, where would you expect to plug that thing in? Do you have an electrical outlet that can deliver 6kW? In most homes this would be a connection for a kitchen range/cooker or a dedicated supply line run directly from the main consumer unit. You certainly couldn't run it from a standard domestic socket!
 

roineust

Jul 2, 2013
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Firstly it's unbranded, secondly it's Chinese! Thirdly, where would you expect to plug that thing in? Do you have an electrical outlet that can deliver 6kW? In most homes this would be a connection for a kitchen range/cooker or a dedicated supply line run directly from the main consumer unit. You certainly couldn't run it from a standard domestic socket!
What do you think of the Meanwell SE-1500-15?

SE-1500-15 MEAN WELL | Jameco Electronics
MEAN WELL SE-1500-15 Switching Power Supply, Enclosed. Products in stock and ready to ship. Quotes, samples and datasheets at Jameco Electronics.
www.jameco.com www.jameco.com

Mean Well RSP-1500-15
Mean Well RSP-1500-15 AC-DC Single Output Enclosed power supply; Output 15VDC Single Output at 100A; PFC; forced air cooling
www.meanwell-web.com www.meanwell-web.com

Someone told me that there might be a problem where if i lower the throttle of the drone motors, a lot of current will go back into the power supply and ruin it, does the meanwell SE-1500-15 have protection against such problems?

I see that the difference between the meanwell SE series and the more expensive RSP series is a function called PFC, what does this function do?

Are these model differences of quality and functions (SE vs RSP) important for my application or is the SE good enough for me?
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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Whatever - your problem still remains .... the cabling from the power supply to the drone. Assuming you use cables capable of taking that kind of current they'll be so heavy your drone won't be able to move. The reason the drones are FITTED with high (instantaneous current) batteries is that they are within literal inches (or centimetres) of the load. Check out the size of the wires coming from the battery - at the very short lengths used they have negligible resistance and can deliver 100's of amps of 'instantaneous' current for very brief periods as required. As soon as you introduce cable LENGTH you add resistance and start meeting volt-drop (thereby current limiting) issues. To reduce those resistive losses you have to increase the cross-sectional area of the conductor (heavier gauge) with a consequential increase in weight.

It would be cheaper and easier to use multiple battery packs and change them out/recharge them accordingly.

Lastly, PFC is power factor control - a means of limiting the losses in circuits that have voltage/current out of phase.
 
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