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REVIEW: WolfDragon LiPo Low Voltage Alarm



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Old May 6th, 2009, 00:10   #1
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New Jersey, USA
REVIEW: WolfDragon LiPo Low Voltage Alarm

**Originally posted 4/15/2009 on AirsoftMechanics**

So I'm looking for a low voltage alarm for my Li-Polymer batteries since they can get permanently damaged if they go below 3 volts per cell. This crazy guy called WolfDragon tells me he can build one, and here we are literally 2 weeks later and he's already sent me a beta board to test.

I introduce to you the WolfDragon LiPO PCB Lite Alarm. The version I received has an audible Piezo buzzer alarm which retails for $17.50. He will also offer a version with a visible LED alarm for $15.

Don't get confused when you see similar products on the market, even for as cheap as $5-10. Those are made for the RC car crowd and our energy usage requirements are a lot different. With those cheaper models you can easily set off the alarm every trigger pull because the voltage can momentarily drop below 3 volts per cell when under drain (especially in high power guns). This computerized version WolfDragon made doesn't do this and monitors the voltage looking for the moment the battery truly drops below is safety point.

The product comes to you in two small packages:

The left package has the board, buzzer alarm, shrink wrap to cover everything, and a sticker with the version information. The right package has the plug that goes on the balance port of your LiPo battery complete with wires, along with an extra female port if your battery is missing it, and some shrink wrap.

Close-up of the alarm board front and back. It's approximately 23 x 16 x 6mm in size

Size comparison to some 6mm BB's and a penny.

Installing the buzzer alarm is simple. The wires are color coded, and the board is marked with A+ and A- (alarm positive and alarm negative wire). Since I wanted this as compact as possible I removed the wire and soldered the alarm directly onto the board.

Installing the balance plug wires is also simple. Black wire goes on the "G" (Ground/Negative), and for a three cell pack (11.1v) I installed the other wires in sequence on B1, B2, and B3. A 2-cell/7.4 pack would go on G B1 & B2, and a 4-cell/14.8v pack on G B1 B2 B3 B4.

This is the board installed on an Intellect 11.1v 20C 1400mah battery (if you're wondering the tan colored part is a 30 amp resettable fuse courtesy of Gandolf).

When the board is first plugged in the buzzer goes off twice with an intermittent LED flash, then flashes three times and you know the board is working properly.

I requested this board to fit in incredibly small spaces since I only use Lipo's when I'm really cramped for space. This shows how an 11.1v 1400mah LiPo, with 30 amp automatically resettable fuse, and a low voltage alarm all fit in the buffer tube of a standard M4 rifle (don't mind the butchered stock, that's an old project).

My other gun which is tight on space is a VFC AIMS AK47; which holds the battery in the same space as any other folding stock AK does (along the top of the gun), and this alarm still fits perfectly.

My first test was to use a fully charged battery. My gun is shooting 400 FPS with .2's at 30 RPS and I dumped an entire 300 round hi-cap in one trigger pull and the alarm did not go off. I proceeded to shoot another 300 round hi-cap with 100+ shots in semi-auto in very quick succession, then mixed it up with semi-auto and bursts and the alarm did not go off.

I then discharged the 11.1v battery to 9.1 volts (when I snapped the picture it dropped to 9.04 volts. On the first shot the alarm went off just as it should. I charged it up a little more to 9.2 volts and for a little bit (before it dropped below 9.1 volts) the alarm wouldn't go off. It seems to be very precise in it's voltage sensing as advertised.

I will be doing real world torture tests when I attend Battle For Tolland and Op Pine Plains in May, and will be trying this out in my 540 FPS with .25's semi-auto DM rifle as well.

This board seems perfect and extremely reasonable in price considering if you drop the voltage of your pack the first time you will damage it and can loose mah capacity forever (these 1400mah batteries cost $50 each for example and I would hate to damage one of my $80+ LiPo packs because of something stupid like a few extra shots which drop the battery below 3 volts per cell).

My only advice is to use a very fine soldering tip; the connections on the board are very small and if you use a larger tip, or have the soldering iron too hot you may run into problems.

If you're wondering why to purchase this alarm where there are other non-Airsoft-specific alarms for $5-10, then the answer is simple; those commonly give annoying false voltage readings because our batteries can drop to below 3 volts per cell for a split second since our guns pull a lot more amps on the first shot (read this post for more first hand experience with that problem: ). This alarm doesn't have that problem since it's programmed to read the true voltage of the battery pack when it's not under strain.


4/25/2009 UPDATE

I switched in a 600 FPS Guarder SP170 spring into my DM rifle and did some test firing. Shot about 1,000 rounds and the alarm didn't chirp one bit. Tried to do 50 shots in under a minute semi-auto, and ran some 100 round bursts to torture test the device. No dice. It works as advertised.

The real test will be next weekend at Battle For Tolland/Tribal Wars in Massachusetts when I'll surely use up two to three batteries in short order.


5/3/2009 UPDATE

I went through 2 batteries and 6,000+ rounds at Battle For Tolland in MA this weekend. The alarm went off perfectly when it was time to change both batteries. When I went to charge the batteries the next day they were right above 9 volts like they should be (and above the danger zone). This is a keeper and I'll be getting a couple extras for my other guns when they're released.


5/6/2009 UPDATE

The boards are now out of beta phase and ready to order (if the mods deem this advertising by posting a link of where to get this product, please remove this latest update).
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Old May 6th, 2009, 01:14   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Downtown Montreal
I have a question regard to this PCB, So basically the Alarm will only go off when the battery drop to 3 V each cell but it doesn't automatic stop the the battery discharge, right ? I'm looking for something that can stop prevent the battery continue discharge when it drop to 3 V. It mean, your gun won't fire anymore when the battery drop to 3 V. Thanks in advance.


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Old May 6th, 2009, 17:13   #3
Join Date: Sep 2007
You are correct, the LiPO PCB Lite is only an audible or visual alarm to a indicate that a single cell has dropped below 3.0V steady state, meaning that it is effectively dead.

IF you want your AEG to stop firing, the other board I make will be of interest to you.

You have to have a MOSFET Trigger for the PCB V3.X to control the firing of the AEG. I am assuming that you do not have a computerized MOSFET Trigger like an SW-COMPUTER (and that you do have a MOSFET Trigger), therefore you would need the "Trigger Mod" which would let the PCB V3.X directly control whether or not the AEG fires. If you pull the trigger and the PCB V3.X sees that a cell has dropped blow 3.0V steady state, it won't let your AEG fire, thus stopping the battery from further discharging.

Here is a link to that PCB (as with Trichrome's post, if the mods deem this is advertising by posting a link of where to get this product, please by all means remove it):

TONS more information on that board and the Trigger Mod are on that page, just look through the manual and you will see wiring diagrams as well as logic diagrams.

It does cost a bit more, but the control and isolation circuits are the driver for the price.

I do not frequent these boards very often, if you have questions I can be found at the airsoftmechanics forums or just send me an email (you can find that address on my site).

Last edited by WolfDragon; May 6th, 2009 at 17:16.. Reason: typos
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 03:05   #4
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Ningbo, China
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Great DYI stuff.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 22:04   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Cornwall, Ontario
That's a pretty slick little setup. It makes me want to break out my electronics kit (electronics technologist here).

Looks like he got around picking up the voltage drop by putting a capacitor on the detection side of the circuit. Basically just buffering the voltage (smooths the curve) a bit so that any spikes/drops aren't going to set the buzzer off.

*ninja edit* I really like the mosfet setup. I want to use burst fire. I'm not a huge fan of full auto. Would be pretty good for all newbs that just hose people with ammo on full auto.
Originally Posted by LoveMyStubby
How to avoid getting shot: Law Enforcement arrives, drop the gun and listen to the commands. It doesn't matter if it's an airsoft gun, knife, rake, salad spoon, or a dildo, if they think innocent people are at risk, they will shoot.

Last edited by Talon97; January 28th, 2010 at 22:46..
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