Toy helicopter charging fix

[Onefivefour] was surprised that his E-flite Blade MCX radio controlled helicopter came with a charger that used AA batteries to recharge the lithium batteries in the flying unit. Yeah, that’s a bit crazy. He set out to modify the base unit to work with AC power. There are four batteries inside this base unit, one of them powers the charge detector circuit and the others are used to juice-up the chopper’s rechargeable cells. He took a 5V regulated charger from a Motorola cellphone and modified it to interface with the contacts for the three AA cells. Like the Magic Trackpad hack, he did this without altering the holder by cutting a couple of pencils to length and attaching the positive and negative contacts from the AC charger to them. Check out the video after the break for a walk though, noting how he still has the option to go back to battery power if he so chooses.

Comments

  1. Ronin says:

    Talk about timing. I literally just walked in from the other room after using the exact same helicopter as this. I had always thought about doing something similar, but I’m glad i saw this first because I had no idea one of the batteries powered something different. Thanks a mil!

  2. S says:

    Doesn’t that charger have a barrel jack on the side that accepts 6V provided by an AC power supply you can buy separately?

  3. zeneslev says:

    I love the pencil inserts

  4. jeditalian says:

    i always do this, even if it’s just permanantly sticking a phone charger and a couple rechargeable batteries in a game boy. that ‘hack’ wasn’t done very professionally though, all i had was a phone charger and rechargeable batteries on hand, so i ended up putting 5V through 2 rechargeable AA’s but it works fine. plug it in when the light changes from green.. i do usually unplug it for game saves just to be safe.
    i found some kind of flying thingamajigger like that and did the same thing with a properly rated phone charger and less duct tape. actually, no duct tape was involved. it was the only way i could figure out how to charge that tiny little LiPo, which i have yet to find a use for.

  5. prof1990 says:

    why he did not just build in a charger socket is a mystery to me, didn’t even know this would qualify as a hack.

    just build in a socket and use a diode to prevent charging unchargeable batteries

  6. waltor says:

    I did this to my mcx charger also, but i just soldered the power adapter on.

  7. Sometimes a hack need not be pretty, just functional ;-)

  8. moddersunited says:

    I agree with Jeditalian, not only is this hack years behind its time, but its the most unprofessional one I’ve seen to date. Theres even a hack out there that allows you to use a wallwart as well as keep the charger battery operated

  9. woutervddn says:

    well besides the critics above I must say I never thought about using pencils for this job. I’ve been searching for a good way to overcome the use of batteries. And although this hack could have been done cleaner there isn’t a need for it. It works and that’s all it must do. When I’d use it I would make it cleaner as it would be quiet permanent, but I’ve never seen “nice and goodlooking” in the hack definition

  10. M4CGYV3R says:

    I got one of these for XMas, and I don’t honestly see the problem with using AA batteries…

    Not that it mattered, since the thing wouldn’t spin up fast enough to lift off no matter what charge it had.

  11. Todd says:

    All of the later mcx chargers have a 5V jack on the side of the unit…

  12. gyro_john says:

    I got one for Christmas too. When it flattened the first set of AAs for two flights, I removed the batteries, installed a 1/8″ audio jack across the battery compartment wires, and now I power it from an LM317 set to 6V, housed in a pill bottle and alligator-clipped to my motorcycle battery. I can fly that sucker for a week and not have to recharge my bike battery.

  13. Nick Short says:

    It might have been a good idea to extend this parallel a little bit to the other battery. He could have easily used a voltage divider to drop a parallel 5v branch down to 1.5v.

  14. HaDAk says:

    Interesting concept. Tough to watch, being that the entire video is out of focus. Or is it that I’ve had one too many beers?

  15. Ph says:

    This is a money saver for sure. Thanks!

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