Lipo Charger Comparison

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Greywolf74

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These are all the lipo chargers I either currently own or used to own over the course of my stint in RCs. I'll list both the specs and my thoughts on each.


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iMax B6 Clone

Input Voltage: 11~18v
Circuit power: Max Charge: 50W / Max Discharge: 5W
Charge Current Range: .1~5.0A
Discharge current range: .1~1.0A
Ni-MH/NiCd cells: 1~15
Li-ion/Poly cells: 1~6
Pb battery voltage: 2~20v
Weight: 277g
Dimensions: 133x87x33mm

Originally I only bought this charger as a cheap means to charge my NiXX packs thus freeing up my other two high quality chargers for LiPos.

Pros:
1) Dirt Cheap

Cons)
1) extremely cheap build quality for internals
2) not as accurate as higher quality chargers
3) doesn't read IR of cells
4) No updatable firmware
5) no PC support
6) No cycle mode for LiPo

Overall value for price, Id give this charger a 5/10.
Overall quality of this unit 4/10

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Hobbyking Eco 8

Input Voltage: 11~18v
Circuit power: Max Charge: 150W / Max Discharge: 5W
Charge Current Range: .1~7.0A
Ni-MH/NiCd cells: 1~27
Li-ion/Poly cells: 1~8
Pb battery voltage: 2~36v
Weight: 574g
Dimensions: 170x110x35mm

Pros:
1) Good price
2) 150W
3) 8S max

Cons:
1) not as accurate as higher quality chargers
2) Unit went up in smoke shooting sparks out of the front fan area while charging a 3S 5000mAh lipo at 1C approx 8 months after purchase. I also had several other lipos mysteriously puff on me for no apparent reason during the last couple months I used this charger. I can't say 100% for certain but I'm reasonably sure that this charger damaged them.
3) doesn't read IR of cells
4) No updatable firmware
5) no PC support (technically you could hook it to a PC but the software was terrible and I had a very difficult time actually getting it to work. Even then it wouldnt always connect to the PC software.
6) No cycle mode for LiPo

Overall value for price, Id give this charger a 4.5/10.
Overall quality of this unit 3/10

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LRP Quadra Pro 2 (discontinued)

Could find a decent list of specs on this unit online. This is about all I could find.

DC Alligator Clips
AC & DC Input
Blue Backlit LCD Display
Compatible With NiMH/LiPo/Fe Batteries
100-240V AC
11-15V DC
1-5 Cells LiPo
1-14 Cells NiMH/NiCD
5A max charge

Pros:
1) AC/DC

Cons:
1) This unit (had I bought it at its retail price of $169) would have been a slap in the face. This unit came only with a DC power cord and an AC power cord. LRP excepts you to buy the balancing board and all charging cables separately from them.
2) 5S max. For $169 it should do 6S
3) 50W max. Again for $169 it should have been able to put out 8-10A
4) doesn't read IR of cells
5) No updatable firmware
6) no PC support
7) No cycle mode for LiPo

Overall value for price, Id give this charger a 1/10.
Overall quality of this unit 6.5/10

10906299_782259081821241_1079635538140413957_n.jpg

Generic 4 button 200W Chinese lipo charger (discontinued)

Couldnt find a complete list of specs

Lipo/Life/lilo up to 6S
NiXX 1-18 cells
PB 2-20V
Charging 200W/10A

Pros:
1) Cheap
2) 200W/10A

Cons:
1) Voltage reading isnt as accurate as higher quality chargers
2) doesn't read IR of cells
3) No updatable firmware
4) no PC support
5) No cycle mode for LiPo

Overall value for price, Id give this charger a 6/10.
Overall quality of this unit 5/10

10915277_782258755154607_4655732837638922790_n.jpg

Dynamite Passport Ultra. (Discontinued)

Input: AC 100 to 240V DC 11 to 18V
Battery Type: Ni-Cd/Ni-MH/Li-Po/Li-Fe/Pb
Battery Cell:
Ni-Cd/Ni-MH; 1 to 14-Cell
(1.2 to 16.8V)
Li-Po; 1S to 6S (3.7~22.2V)
Li-Fe; 1S to 6S (3.2~19.2V)
Pb; 2V, 6V or 12V
Charge Rate: 0.1A ~ 8.0A (0.1A Per gradation)
Discharge Rate: 0.1A ~ 5.0A (0.1A Per gradation)
Charging Capacity: 1 to 9900mAh
Safety Timer: 10 to 720 minutes or OFF
Trickle Charge Rate: 0.05 to 0.2A or OFF
Peak Sensitivity (-ΔV): 0~15mV

I really liked this charger. It claims 8A charge but I never seen it do more than 6A.

Pros:
1) Easy to navigate menus
2) AC or DC input
3) Highly accurate Voltage reading
4) Not overpriced for the features.

Cons:
1) Center menu button on the wheel stopped clicking after awhile. The button still worked just felt kinda sloppy after that.
2) doesn't read IR of cells
3) No updatable firmware
4) no PC support
5) No cycle mode for LiPo

Overall value for price, Id give this charger a 8/10.
Overall quality of this unit 8/10

10835004_782259051821244_5001605324176874449_o.jpg

Duratrax ICE (Discontinued) (Still own but never use anymore)

This charger is very old (it was the very first one I had) and is hard to compare against the rest of these chargers.

Input Voltage:
11-15V DC
Battery Types, # of cells:
1-10 Nickel-Cadmium cells (1.2 - 12.0V NiCd)
1-10 Nickel-Metal Hydride cells (1.2 - 12.0V NiMH)
1-4 Lithium-Ion or Lithium-Polymer cells
(3.6 - 14.8V Li-Ion/Li-Po)
Battery Capacity Range:
100-9900mAh
Fast charge current:
0.1 - 8.0A (1C max for Li-Ion/Li-Po)
Fast charge methods:
linear, reflex, impulse and 4-step
Fast charge termination:
peak detection for NiCd and NiMH
constant current/constant voltage for
Li-Ion/Li-Po (cc/cv)
optional thermal cutoff for all battery types
Peak Sensitivity:
0 - 25mV adjustable
Trickle Charge Current:
0 - 500mA (n/a for Li-Ion/Li-Po)
Top-off Charge:
0 - 1000mA (NiMH only)
Discharge Current:
0.1 - 10.0A adjustable (2C max for Li-Ion/Li-Po)
Discharge Cutoff Voltage:
0.1 - 1.1V per cell NiCd & NiMH
2.5 - 3.7V per cell Li-Ion/Li-Po
Temperature Cutoff Range:
50 - 132° F
Cycle Count:
1-10 cycles (n/a for Li-Ion/Li-Po)
Cycle Cool-off Delay:
1-30 minutes adjustable
Battery Memories:
10 battery memories
Display Type:
8 x 21 LCD (168 characters max)
Graphical Displays:
graphs charge and discharge voltage curves
Output Connectors:
banana jacks (two adapter leads included)
Motor Break-in:
1.0 - 8.0V selectable, 1 - 180 minutes,
10A constant, 30A surge

Pros:
1) motor break in settings
2) has held up extremely well over the years
3) Accurate Voltage reading

Cons:
1) No internal balancing. Required the use of an external balancer like an Astro Blinkie.
2) Model memory set up was a hassle.
3) doesn't read IR of cells
4) No updatable firmware
5) no PC support
6) No cycle mode for LiPo

Overall value for price, Id give this charger a 7/10. (For its time)
Overall quality of this unit 8/10 (For Its time)


10923737_782258948487921_8321989802809567282_o.jpg

Orion Advantage Touch (discontinued) (Currently Owned)

Touch screen charger with 400x240 pixel TFT-LCD screen
Charges 1S to 6S LiPo, LiFe and LiIon batteries, 1 to 15 cell NiMh/NiCd batteries and 2 to 20V lead batteries
Charge current 0.1-5A (50W max)
Discharge current 0.1-1A (5W max)
Dual power input, 100-240VAC, 11-18VDC
Innovative ATTS Touch optimized software
High precision HPC charge system
Setup Assistant
Graphic data display
Functions : charge, discharge, cycle, storage, balancing
Balance only function mode
Auto start function
Switchable balance function
External balancing board for XH, TP/FP, EH, HP/PQ type connectors
TRX, Deans, Tamiya, BEC, Futaba and crocodile clips charge cables included
Multi-language interface
Optional temp probe available for temperature monitoring
Adjustable delta-peak
Switchable trickle charge
Compact size

Pros:
1) Touch Screen
2) Reads IR of cells
5) cycle mode for LiPo
6) Tons of features and programability
7) AC/DC
8) Charge and discharge curve graphic engine
9) Highly accurate Voltage reading
10) Menus easy to navigate

Cons:
1) Small screen
2) very expensive for a 50W Charger ($169)

Overall value for price, Id give this charger a 7/10.
Overall quality of this unit 8/10

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Thunder Power TP820CD (Currently Own)

Type: Dual Port Multi-Chemistry DC Charger/Discharger/Cycler with Integrated Balancers
Battery Cell Counts/Types (Per Port): 1-8S LiPo/LiIon/LiFe (A123), 1-24 cell NiCd/NiMH and 6-30V Pb (lead-acid)
Balancer (Per Port): Integrated for 2-8S LiPo/LiIon/LiFe (A123) with balance connector adapter board for Thunder Power and JST-XH connectors
Input Power: 10.5-28.0V DC (40 amps max)
Charge Power: 800 watts max (400 watts max per port) w/24.0-28.0V input (see manual for additional information regarding input and output power)
Charge Current (Per Port): 0.2 to 20 amps in 0.01 amp increments
Charge Voltage: 50% storage and adjustable end voltage for LiPo/LiIon/LiFe (A123), adjustable delta peak sensitivity and end voltage for NiCd/NiMH and end voltage for Pb (Lead Acid)
Discharge Power: 100 watts max (50 watts max per port)
Discharge Current (Per Port): 0.2 to 10 amps in 0.01 amp increments
Discharge Voltage: Adjustable low voltage cutoff for LiPo/LiIon/LiFe (A123), NiCd/NiMH and Pb (lead-acid)
Cycles: 1 to 15 times with data stored for all cycles
Memories: 24 user-programmable
Firmware: User-updatable using USB

Pros:
1) Dual charging ports (400W/20A per channel)
2) Reads IR of cells
3) Updatable firmware
4) PC support
5) cycle mode for LiPo
6) Tons of features and programability
7) Highly accurate Volatge reading
8) 100W discharge rate

Cons:
1) Menus not the easiest to navigate
2) very expensive ($270)
3) fans are a bit loud giving how expensive the unit is but they arent unbearable.
4) No temp sensor ports

Overall value for price, Id give this charger a 7/10.
Overall quality of this unit 8/10

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Revolectrix Powerlab 6 (Currently own)

For Battery types: Lithium Polymer (1s to 6s balanced, 1s to 2s unbalanced), Lithium Ion (1s to 6s balanced, 1s to 2s unbalanced), Lithium Manganese (1s to 6s balanced, 1s to 2s unbalanced), A123 (LiFePO4) (1s to 6s balanced, 1s to 8s unbalanced), NiCd (1s to 19s), NiMH (1s to 19s), 6v, 12v, 24v Lead Acid batteries (Flooded, Gel, AGM, SLA)

Pack capacity: 20 mAh to 360Ah

Input voltage: 10-32VDC, reverse polarity protected

Input current: 1A to 40A, software limited

Power conversion: Synchronous DC/DC converter, supports multiple switcher frequencies of 31.25 kHz, 62.5 kHz, 125 kHz; user selectable by preset, 85% to 93% efficiency depending on output current

Output battery charge current: Adjustable range 10mA to 40A, limited by 40A input current*

Output battery discharge current: Internal discharge 10mA to 8A, 50W max Regenerative discharge 10mA to 40A, 1000W max**

Continuous max output power: 408W @ +12VDC input, 1000W @ +30VDC

Cell balancing: Resolution 78uV (16 bit) for 1s-8s Li or A123 (LiFePO4) balanced charging

Voltage calibration: Cell voltage measurements are factory calibrated to a standard traceable to NIST; calibration is to +/- 6 mV

Current calibration: Charge current is factory calibrated on a 4A standard; calibration is to +/- 1mA

Measurement accuracy:
Voltage resolution: 78uV (16 bit)
Voltage tolerance: +/- 6mV
Charge current: +/- 1%
Capacity added to pack: +/- 1%
Percent capacity (“Fuel”): +/- 5% (with accurate fuel table defined for battery being charged)

Serial data output: 19.2kbps, 8 bits, 1 start bit, 1 stop bit, no parity

Data integrity: Checksum, CRC checking

Cooling fans: Single, 13 CFM, 50mm diameter

Heat sink: Internal 120W aluminum, thin finned

Output battery connector: “Cellpro” compatible, JST PA series, 9 position

LCD: 2 line, 16 character, light grey/blue backlit

Pros:
1) 1000W/40A max!
2) Extremely accurate Voltage reading
3) Most features of any charger I've ever owned or seen
4) Made in the USA
5) Menus are easy to navigate
6) 25 memory pre-sets that are completely customizable
7) Reads IR of cells
8) Updatable firmware
9) PC support
10) cycle mode for LiPo
11) charge leads have built in 40A blade fuse
12) "daisy-chainable" Safe Parallel adapters
13) ability to run multiple Powerlab 6 units in parallel for even more charging power.
14) heady duty 40A parallel charging board available (additional purchase)
15) Cost is much more reasonable for this unit compared to other high wattage high end units ($175)
16) Regenerative discharge function if set up properly for it

Cons:
1) Unit requires additional purchase of charging leads and balancing board, however this to me on this particular unit wasn't as big of a con as some other units because I would think that most people that are using this kind of power are going to buy and use the parallel cahrging board instead anyway but its about the only possible con I can think of.

Overall value for price, Id give this charger a 9/10.
Overall quality of this unit 10/10
 
Last edited:

RCMechanic

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Thanks for the reviews other brands I recommend are IMAX and SJ Specifically the swallow.
 

Greywolf74

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I've never heard of SJ. I'll have to check em out.
I'm personally to the point that if it doesn't read IR of cells, cycles lipos, has charge/discharge graphs (built in is fine but PC graphs are better), at least 10A output, and has upgradable firmware then I'm not interested in it.
 

RCMechanic

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Couldn't agree more!
I figured with the auto detection of voltages with certain charges are very handy for bringing up the voltage of batteries that won't allow charge too. Just a tip.
 
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