One of Mr Steele’s latest videos caught my attention. He recently made a video discussing everything that he takes to the field for a day of flying. We’ve discussed before on Propwashed that being prepared for a day at the field keeps you in the air longer – which means more time to practice. Obviously I was fascinated by what one of the best pilots in the world had to say about his gear prep.
Check it out!
One thing that caught my attention was his use of covers on the connectors of each battery to indicate if they were charged. I had never heard of this before! When I go to the field, I am totally guilty of creating two separate piles of batteries. More than once I have accidentally put a discharged battery back into my battery bag without thinking. I of course came across that pack later, only to wonder why I have an empty battery in my bag. Similarly, I can sheepishly admit that I have tried to recharge a full battery because I didn’t put the completed battery in the ‘charged pile’
No longer will I make these memory mistakes!
After a bit of Googling, I found that this was actually a relatively common gear addition. Here were the most common suggestions that we found:
Rubber / vinyl caps
This is the solution Steele suggested in his video – using a stretchy rubber cap to fit over the end of your battery connector. When I looked around a few forums, I saw people recommend the GetFPV replacement landing gear covers. Sure enough, the product details state that these are also shipped with their Lumenier batteries and if replacement covers are needed, these are the ones you want. Interestingly enough, these are actually listed as replacement end caps for the QAV landing gear – so one can assume that similar landing gear covers may work as well. Some other enterprising individuals recommended using the ends of tent poles (they do look similar) as another option.
My issue with this? Four caps seem pricey at $3 + shipping (assuming this isn’t on an addon order). Similarly, it seems that with time, these covers may lose their elasticity and be prone to falling off the connectors.
Price per connector: $0.75 + shipping (would be wise to add to a larger order to minimize shipping costs)
Using a male XT60 connector
The DIY solution! If you have a ton of spare XT60 connectors lying around and a soldering iron, you could make your own battery caps. Check out this video from Andrew W on his process for making these connector covers:
This would definitely take a bit more time than ordering some parts from GetFPV or Amazon, but it is a potential solution.
Price per connector: Assuming Amazon listing of $3.25 for 5 pairs: $0.65 + 5 extra female connectors
The true budget solution! Get an XT60 connector you don’t care about, wrap that sucker in some heat shrink, and apply heat. Within seconds you should have a basic molded cover. I highly doubt the structural integrity of this cover lasting over the long term, but I do have to admit that it works. If you are looking for something that you immediately have on hand, and will cost you next to nothing, this may be the solution for you. Careful though that you don’t apply direct heat to the connector and warp the shape. Again, if you go this route I would recommend using a spare connector you don’t care about melting for your mold.
Price per connector: I mean, its heat shrink. Like literally an inch of heat shrink. You probably have a ton of this at home taking up space from the last time you sealed up your ESCs. $0.02 a connector? Maybe?
3D printed covers
Now we are talking! If you have read some of my other posts, you know that I have a soft spot for 3D printing. Sure enough, when searching for XT-60 connector covers, a few posts pop up selling 3D printed covers in a variety of colors. HobbyKing, for example, has paired green and red caps to signify charged and discharged batteries. While I think signifying between the two is unnecessary (I like cap on, cap off personally), the price is pretty hard to beat at $2.73 for 5 pairs (10 total if you don’t care about color).
Similarly, there are a ton of eBay listings for XT60 caps that have clearly been 3D printed. One of the best deals I saw was 12 for $5.95 with free shipping, but when I checked later to get a link the listing was gone. I am sure that these type of covers pop up randomly across sites like eBay, etsy, and other online creator shops. Just search for “buy xt60 connector protective cover” and a bunch of shops will pop up. Here, let me Google that for you!
Price per connector: using Hobbyking: $0.27 + shipping (would be wise to add to a larger order to minimize shipping costs). Using eBay: ~$0.89 shipped, but I have seen cheaper packs. This will likely depend on what is listed during the given day.
Assuming you have a 3D printer and filament lying around, you could print your own covers. A quick search on Thingiverse yields quite a few results!
I downloaded a few models and tested them out. In the end I settled with this one as working best with our Lulzbot Mini using 3mm filament.
Check out the completed result! Fits snugly and feels pretty durable. Definitely a step up from the heat shrink covers I created.
Customization is one of the coolest parts about this hobby and community. You can get advice from so many sources, and apply a personal twist on your own gear. I went from watching a video and thinking, “Hey that’s cool” to printing up covers in just a few hours.
Have some suggestions of your own that can help improve our flying experience? Let us know in the comments below – maybe we will get similar inspiration and make a post documenting your tip!