Power supply for a tethered drone

Thread Starter

Kangaroo Jones III

Joined Dec 7, 2016
9
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?
 

bassbindevil

Joined Jan 23, 2014
639
I found one at a surplus dealer, Power Ten 4600D-20250. It's only $2,489 each and requires 3 phase power.
https://www.surplussales.com/PowerSupplies/PowerS-3-1.html
You're probably looking at comparable money for a similar power supply.

Maybe a modified MIG welder and 400,000 uF of filter caps? (based on a rule of thumb of 2000 uF per ampere.) Then you just need 240V power. Or, the simplest solution is three big 6V lead-acid batteries in series. Or, run a big 12V alternator from a small gasoline engine, and fit it with an external regulator that allows adjusting the output higher than normal.
 
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LowQCab

Joined Nov 6, 2012
2,645
The Wire will weigh more than the Batteries that You should be using.
Drones are NOT good at dragging-around a bunch of extra weight,
You will have serious control issues.
It may not be flyable at all.

Those 200-Amp peaks will not make it to the other-end of a 45-foot-long run of ~14-gauge Wire.
You would have to install some MASSIVE Capacitors on the Drone just to keep the Voltage stable.

Just "Bite-the-Bullet" and buy a proper Heavy-Current Li-Po Battery.

You can't "Tether" a Drone,
it will fight You continuously, every step of the way.
The Compass and the Gyro will be continuously going crazy fighting against the "Tether".

The Drone can be set up to automatically maintain a fixed Altitude and GPS-Position,
but it probably won't work inside of a building because of poor GPS-Reception.

Drones require 110% of your attention AT ALL TIMES.
Any Drone that is powerful enough to lift all that heavy Wire
is extremely DANGEROUS to people and property.
Don't give other Drone-Pilots a bad-name by doing anything foolish.

Bad Idea ....... Start over ...........
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djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,672
Since you’re experimenting with the drone, I’m assume that it is operational. Get 15m of electrical cable and attach it to your drone with a piece of string or wire. In a large open field, see if the drone can lift the cable off the ground. Test the maneuverability. Then stake the opposite end to the ground and test the maneuverability again.

See if that changes your design.
 

bassbindevil

Joined Jan 23, 2014
639
It would be better to change the drone motors to run on a much higher voltage, since that would reduce the current and therefore the need for a massive power cable. I didn't consider just how that 200A was going to reach the sky; 2000 volt motors would allow running on 2 amps peak, but perhaps be even more dangerous. Maybe you should just get the biggest possible battery or tag team a pair of drones.
 

Thread Starter

Kangaroo Jones III

Joined Dec 7, 2016
9
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?
 

LowQCab

Joined Nov 6, 2012
2,645
You will need some very large "Bulk-Storage-Capacitors" strapped to the Drone
to have everything function reliably.
These Capacitors will probably weigh as much as the Battery that You should be using.

You have a lot of Resistance in your "Tether-Wiring" that may cause problems with "Voltage-Drop".

The Motors don't generate enough "Back-EMF" to be a problem to any decent Power-Supply,
but the Motors can disrupt the operation of the Flight-Controller, or other Components,
when there is significant Resistance between the Drone and the Power-Source.
That's why the Capacitors are required.
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djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,672
Just to recap, what are you trying to accomplish by tethering the drone?

Because, as far as we can see, the disadvantages of tethering a drone far outweigh the cost of what you need to make thethering practical.
 

LowQCab

Joined Nov 6, 2012
2,645
That's not a "Drone" per-se.
That's a Robot that sticks to the wall and paints a picture, ( which is a very cool trick ).

Use ~10-Gauge, Fine-Stranded-Wire,
do not use Wire with "PVC Insulation", it's too stiff, and will negatively affect maneuverability.

Even with only ~9-feet ( X-2 ) of Wire, You will still need some heavy-duty "Bulk-Storage Capacitors".
Or, since you already have a working Battery installed,
your "Power-Supply" can be set up as a Charger only,
and leave the Batteries installed.
That way the Wiring will not have to handle heavy Power-Surges.

Calculate your charge-times for various levels of Charging-Current .........
10-ga. = ~30-Amps,
12-ga. = ~20-Amps,
14-ga. = ~15-Amps,
This will determine the Wire-Gauge that You need to use.

A "Cell-Balancing-Circuit needs to be installed on the Drone to
protect the individual Cells of the Battery during Charging.
Charging can be continuous, and completely automatic.

Just say if you'd like a Circuit-Schematic for a Cell-Balancer / Charger.
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Janis59

Joined Aug 21, 2017
1,537
Shortly about my experience with drones
First I seen it in Konrad.de when traveled so I see the cheapest was about 60 Eur but then I realized it are able to get up only 20 grams of load what is sure less than camera. But the model what was able to lift 0.5 kg cost 2500 Eur thus I let them stay there. Next time, after some 10 or 15 years I found the action in Ali, thus for some 60 Eur I bought rather bright construction with built in two powerful cameras. Idea was to film me sailing on the sea. But advertised 500 m distance at reality was only 200 m and height instead of advertised 200 m only 30 m. Thus the open sea was too large for so tiny playmate. Next I bought a set of motors, battery and propeller for full DIY project able for 10 kg "insect". but somehow propeller attaching system is not passing to motor and ever nowhere exist the cross-adapters so the project become the long-player.
 
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