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Recommend me a battery charger

Rdub

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I'm sure there's info on here.... But I figure I'd throw this question out there again. I'm an oldie who's becoming a newbie again. Im currently using the old MRC rb 465 charger from the days of late 80's early 90's.
Looking for a charger that will do my Nimh packs and the LiPo's I will eventually have!!!
What do you guys suggest?
Thanks!

How to choose an RC LiPo charger
 

Rdub

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Thanks guys! I just checked it out and seems pretty good for the price. @justatree when you say banana plugs..... You mean plugs to go into charger with the other end to fit your battery..... In my case Deans connectors?
 

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That Ultra power charger has come up on a few threads now.. I was looking at the UP stuff on Amazon, and came across this Ultra Power charger - 2 channel, 12A/120W per channel, AC/DC. $106 with Amazon Prime free shipping. Looks very interesting. 120W per channel would let you charge 2 6s 5000mah packs at 1C - not bad for a $100 charger!

I payed $99 for my Prophet Sport Duo, and it is half the charger, and not nearly enough power now that I am running mostly 4s. I may sell my PSD and buy one of those...
 

OrangeDRAGON

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Here is my thoughts on the Ultra Power chargers...

Since they are made in China, there do seem to be a few duds. Between myself, my brother, my father, and two friends - 5 units - we had 1 that didn't work out of the box, and one that failed within the first few uses. Fortunately we had all ordered them via an "Amazon Prime" vendor and got replacements with no hassle at all.

That disclaimer said, they have a ton of features for the price (battery setting memory slots, storage mode, nimh cycle, nimh re-peak, etc.).

They do NOT come with the DC power cord, but I used an EC3-to-Banana charge lead and plug into a 12v-cigarette lighter-to-banana-post adapter for use in the car.

They have an internal fan that kicks on when needed, and its quite loud. For low-current charging (about 3A or less) it won't kick on for me, but above that or when discharging it will run. I certainly don't mind it, its built well and I'd rather have an overpowered fan then a hot plastic unit with an under-powered fan.

For the ~$85 I spent on this I'd rather use this until it dies and buy another one in a couple years, than spend $140-160 for a more 'name brand' charger.

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Rdub

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Hey guys ..... I know this is an old thread but I'm just about to pull the trigger in this charger(dynamite prophet duo) I will be ordering my first Lipo battery shortly too. From what I see there is no discharge or storage. Am I going to regret this purchase, or should I look to something with more features?
 

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Correct, there is no discharge or storage mode. If you never run 4s, it will be OK, but not great. My PSD will shut down one channel (error code = thermal shutdown) if I try to charge 2 2s lipos at 6 amps (max charge rate).

Also, as I have said before, now that I am running 4s and 2s, I find that I am really wanting more power than the 50w/channel that this charger can (almost) push. I am really thinking of selling my PSD and getting either the 2 channel Reaktor charger from Hobby King(2 channels, 20a/300w per channel DC only), or the UP120AC (2 channel 12A/120w per channel, AC/DC) from Amazon listed above.

The PSD is not a bad charger, but it is not a great charger either...
 

OrangeDRAGON

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I have only heard good things about the PSD charger. It doesn't have some of the features as @Jerry-rigged mentioned, probably the most important to me are storage mode because I can easily go days/week between runs and I want to easily keep the batteries at storage voltage.

The Ultra Power series of chargers are nicely made, metal/heatsink exterior, and lots of features - but they seem to suffer a few more random quality control issues (to me at least) - but your getting the features of a name brand charger thats nearly twice the price so just buy from a easily exchangeable vendor to protect yourself.

I was also a little annoyed that a DC power cord wasn't included, since being able to quick charge while 'in the field' is something I'd consider a necessity, but like I said a couple extra parts took care of that.

I also want to add from what I've been able to decipher on various .hk websites, UltraPower allows other brands to license and then re-brand and re-distribute the chargers and/or the internals. So I've come across a couple other brands that are essentially the exact same charger or the same charger/features/display in a different case - no idea of they are any better/worse, just stating what I've seen.
 

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Well, my Prophet Sport Duo has died, so I find myself charger shopping again.

Previously, I had said I was looking at the Reaktor 2x300w 20a DC only charger from Hobbyking, and the
UP120AC Duo Dual 2 Port from Amazon. These two chargers are still on my list, but I am expanding my search a bit before I spend my $$$...

I am also looking at maybe getting 2 single channel chargers. Cost wise, it will be similar to a two port charger. Note - these are DC only, you will need a 12v PSU.

Turnigy Reaktor 250W 10A 1-6S Balance Charger I read this a rebrand of the popular iCharger, and has a very good reputation. It is also sold under a few different brands, like the Banggood.com Charsoon. This is an intresting charger to me because although it is 'only' 10 amps, it can handle 250W - What this means for us, is that it can push that 10 amps regardless of whether you are charging a small 2s pack, or a big 6s pack. At $50 for the Turnigy branded version, this seems like a great deal for a charger than can handle almost any battery you throw at it.

Turnigy Accucel-6 80W 10A Balancer/Charger LiHV Capable - Another Hobbyking charger that I have come across in my research - this one is cheaper $30, and still 10A, but only 80W. So you will still be able to charge your 4s, 5000mah pack at 1c, but anything bigger, and charge times will get long.





So those chargers I mentioned are DC only. And what is the point of trying to save a few bucks on a DC only, of you have to shell out a bunch of money for a 12v Power Supply Unit (PSU)?

I bet most of us have an old, outdated, or dead PC taking up space in our garage or elsewhere. The good news, you can pull the power supply, and easily 'convert' it for powering a hobby charger. For these pics, I am looking at a smallish, 300w PSU. (Forgive me, but I missed some pics at the start of this...)

In a nutshell, when you pull the PSU from a PC, you will have a small box, with a ton of colored wires, going to a dozen different sized plugs. Don't get overwhelmed, we will be removing most of those wires.

First, inspect it. There should be a label similar to this:
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This is the Faceplate, and it shows all the info about the different voltages available, and how many amps are on each bus. For this PSU, there are 2 +12v bus's. We don't care about the rest. You might do some quick math to make sure your PSU has enough watts for your application. Remember Volts * Amps = Watts. So 12V*8a=96W, on bus +12v1. Not a lot. Bus +12V2 has 174w output. remember we cannot combine these bus's. We can use them to power two different chargers at the same time, though. Assuming the chargers can keep up, bus +12v1 can handle up to a 4s 5000mah at 1c, and bus +12v2 can power a charger pushing 2c to that same battery.

Ok, math over for now. Look at the mess of wires. Note that most all of them are yellow, black, or orange, with a few other colors scattered in the mix. Each color represents a different bus/voltage inside the PSU. All the yellow is +12v, connect to the same solder point inside the case. Same with all the black (Common/Ground), and all the orange(+5v).

Find the green wire. It will go to the big 20-pin plug. Note the position, and find a black wire on a pin near it. Get a paper-clip (or similar small bendy wire) and jumper between the green pin and a black pin. Now plug in the PSU. Did the fan come on? If yes, Great! Pull the jumper. Did the fan stop? Great! the green wire is the on/off switch for most PSU's. If you have a multimeter, set it to 0-20vdc, plug the jumper back in between green and black (this should turn the PSU back on). Now use the multimeter to measure between any black (common) and any yellow (should be +12v) If you got +12v, we are ready of move on. Feel free to check the voltage of some of the other colors. also, look for a square 4-pin plug by itself - it will have 2 yellow and 2 black. If your PSU has 2 +12v bus, these two yellow will most likely be the second bus. The yellow wires may be yellow with a stripe - mine were yellow/black.

Unplug the charger, and give it 1-24 hours to "rest" to self-discharge all the capacitors inside. You can leave the green wire jumpered during this process to help it bleed off the power...

Now the fun part.

Cut off all the plugs, but leave the wires long. Sort all the wires by color, and bundle them together. Open the case, and enjoy cutting that "Warranty void if Damaged" sticker. If needed to get good access to the buses, unscrew the main PSU board from the internal case. Once you get it open, sort out the wires again, and it is time to start cutting -

Clip most of the wires off - leave all the yellow and black for now. Also leave the green wire long.
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sort out 5 black wires, and clip the rest off. Check out the yellow buses - if there is 2 (like on mine) save the two yellow/black from +12v2 and 2 wires from +12v1. Clip the extra yellow wires. Once I was done clipping wires, I coated the ends with liquid electrical tape. Put the case back together, and I added wire wrap to tidy up the bundles.

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Tie the green wire to one of the black wires. You could put an on/off switch here, as the green wire tells the PSU to power on.

Divide the 4 black into 2 groups, and match them up with the two groups of yellow wires - 2 yellow and 2 black in each group. Add connectors on the yellow/black pairs and heat shrink if needed. done!


FYI, I used a pair of wires for each power lead, because the 14a this PSU can supply is more than one single 18g wire should take, safely. A pair of 18g is safe, though.


That is all there is to converting the PC power supply to power a hobby charger. Really, though, if you did not want to open the case, you could clip all the extra wires an inch or three outside the case, and tape them all together. Also, if you want to get fancy, you could drill the case to mount bullet connectors on the case - then you would have a clean box with no exposed wires. All depends on how much work you want to do.
 
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