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What Charger

Quad Charger Decision

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John Mc18/10/2016 19:48:54
23 forum posts

After many years of IC flying I am finally starting to get into Electric flying for my smaller models using 3S and 4S Lipos. I am also enviously eyeing club mate’s models which use 5S.

I have two Lipo chargers, one is a 50 watt Fusion Elysium plus a 90 watt Eclipse which I bought last year. Both chargers are simple to use and can charge both battery sizes no problem.

If I could stay on the right side of Father Christmas I could buy another Eclipse for £100 which I am very pleased with so I can charge three batteries at once using three separate chargers.

So what’s my problem?

I now am seeing quad chargers becoming more available but the ones I am interested in - AC/DC with a built in PSU have four outputs of 50 watts each totalling 200 watts. I see the Lipro Quad 6 for £190 and am strongly tempted to get one rather than another Eclipse.

So what option should I take? Another 90 watt charger or a Quad 50watt one?

Opinions and advice would be appreciated

John

MattyB18/10/2016 20:06:29
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Sorry, but my vote is for neither. Chargers with integrated PSUs are generally very limited in power, and if the integrated PSU dies the whole charger is history.

Instead gget yourself a decent 250-350W charger (an iCharger 106/206b or one of the HK Turnigy Reaktor clones based on them). Add a matching DC PSU of 250/350W (500W server PSUs can be sourced on eBay for ~£20 and concerted in an hour or so) and a parallel charge board and you have much more flexibility to fast charge a single pack at high C ratings or multiple packs of the same cell count in parallel at 1-2C. It will also be a better solution if you do choose to move up to bigger pack sizes and cell counts.

Edited By MattyB on 18/10/2016 20:14:09

Steve Hargreaves - Moderator18/10/2016 20:12:46
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50W doesn't sound very much when it comes to charging John...even if there are 4 of them. On a 3S battery that equates to around 4A max charge current on a 6S only 2A. Many Lipos now can be charged at 2C & if you move towards bigger batteries I can see you wanting another bigger charger soon.

As far as the PSU for your charger is concerned there are interesting threads on the forum about converting an Xbox PSU (200Watts) & even a computer server PSU (500watts) to power our chargers & these PSUs can be obtained very cheaply....

Percy Verance18/10/2016 20:20:18
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8108 forum posts
155 photos

Hi John

Like you I've spent most of my model flying career piloting models with i.c. engines. However, I'm also beginning to make the effort to gain electric flying experience, as future flying field preservation may well depend on it.

I did a little bit of homework and decided I needed a relatively future-proof charger which was capable of charging and balancing up to two 6 cell packs simultaneously, and not take forever to charge them. I ended up with the HiTec X2 which has two 400 watt outputs. A really serious bit of kit this, with battery clamps of the type seen on car jump leads. The instruction book supplied was all in German, but I soon found an English one on the HiTec RCD site.

At the other end of the scale though, the Overlander TS80 touch screen job belonging to a fellow club member looks very impressive for the money....... Anyone whom didn't anticipate ever flying models needing over 4 cell packs might be ok with one of these. Only 80watts output, but that may be enough for some folk.

 

 

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 18/10/2016 20:47:14

G194018/10/2016 20:29:26
3523 forum posts
1 photos

Yes, what Matty says. I have a Graupner Ultramat 16 which has a built-in power supply but with the option for an external 12 volt DC input. It's OK on mains and that's how I usually use it but it works better with the external supply.

I also have an iCharger 308 duo which is effectively 2 x 30 amp chargers in one package. That only works with an external supply.

At the field I use an old lead acid battery that came out of our 2.5l diesel engined campervan when it didn't prove man enough to start the engine after a few days rest without a hook-up. At home I have a an old server PSU like Matty's which can deliver up to 47 amps at 12 volts! I've never actually tried it at that but it works well and they're very cheap on eBay and are easy to convert.

Geoff

Edited By Geoff Sleath on 18/10/2016 20:30:38

Percy Verance18/10/2016 20:52:42
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8108 forum posts
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Hi Geoff

I have an old-ish Graupner charger too, an Ultra Duo Plus 30. Like you I use it on mains for bench charging of transmitter and receiver batteries, plus any others I may have lying about. Good solid reliable charger.

Edited By Percy Verance on 18/10/2016 20:54:14

Adrian Smith 118/10/2016 22:04:18
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2317 forum posts
1102 photos

Like Percy I have just ventured into electric after a long time in IC (still doing IC of course). After a discussion with George at 4-Max on chargers and wanting to keep to a modest budget he advised me, for what I wanted, to have the GT Power A612-D for my lipos. They are 6S and after some maths over the phone he suggested a 200W output model charger. Admittedly, I can only do one Lipo at a time which is fine by me. One thing he did mention that mains only chargers were less powerful which I don't quite understand. However, this charger does either mains or battery. Obviously, if I wanted to move on to 8S or 10S lipos I would need a different charger. However, this one is fine for now.

G194019/10/2016 00:16:13
3523 forum posts
1 photos

It's just that the mains powered supply built into the charger would have to be very expensive to be able to source a lot of current. They in-built power supply is fine on my Graupner for charging 2200 mA 3S LiPos at 1C (2.2 amps) but won't push out 5 amps to charge a 5000mAh 4S at 1C. It'll charge the bigger battery OK but at a lower rate. It works fine if I connect it to either a good 12v battery or, better, the server power supply.

A mains powered charger without the external option (if there are any?) limits its use. You couldn't use it away from either.

Geoff

Percy Verance19/10/2016 07:30:37
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8108 forum posts
155 photos

And that's just why my recently acquired Hitec X2, with two 400 watt outputs, has no mains input Geoff. You'd need a very large PSU to feed it. A large 80 amp caravan battery does the job on the field nicely though, topped up in between sessions by the solar panel on the roof of the club hut.

And yes Geoff, there are chargers out there with a mains but no 12v input. A  newer club member unknowingly bought one without realising it would be useless on the field. The LMS did happily exchange it for a suitable equivalent though, so all was well in the end.

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 19/10/2016 07:38:25

Bob Cotsford19/10/2016 10:50:51
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8146 forum posts
449 photos

Server power supplies are very cheap and supply a regulated output that will be more than enough for a quad charger or two. They are also compact! I bought mine of the BMFA classified ready fitted with 4mm connections and modified for variable fan speed for around £35 and it's a 47A unit. They are available from ebay for around £15 unmodified.

I'm thinking of getting a quad charger for home use but ideally I want something capable of 4 * 6S at around 4A - any suggestions that won't break the bank?

John Mc19/10/2016 20:28:56
23 forum posts

Thanks for the advice all.

I agree a 4 X 50 watt charger is not future proof. I will shelve that idea and do the maths - plus research some of the ideas you have given me. I think I need to up my budge a bit.

John Lee19/10/2016 22:27:00
686 forum posts
52 photos
Posted by Bob Cotsford on 19/10/2016 10:50:51:

I'm thinking of getting a quad charger for home use but ideally I want something capable of 4 * 6S at around 4A - any suggestions that won't break the bank?

Hitec H4 does just that Bob. Mine's 3 years old now & has been very reliable. It's 120 watt per channel but you can bridge 2 channels for 240 watt. All the outputs are independent so you can mix & match battery capacities & chemistries. Typically at the end of a day's flying I may have used 1300Mah 3 cell, 2200, 3 cell 2700 4 cell, 5000Mah 6 cell and I can have any mixture of these of these charging simultaneously.

G194019/10/2016 23:53:55
3523 forum posts
1 photos

I'm not sure the capabilities of a charger should be expressed in watts.

As an example: my icharger (308 duo) is capable of delivering 30 amps into an 8 cell LiPo on each side (it's 2 identical chargers in one case). So that's 30 amps at (say) 30 volts or 30 x 30 = 900 watts? Not really. Ideally the source resistance is zero so the charger itself dissipates zero watts and delivers 30 amps into the battery. It's just a current source (actually a voltage limited current source for the LiPo so the current gradually reduces as the target 4.2v/cell is reached.)

Perhaps the power rating is used as a shorthand but it's not an accurate figure. Of course to use both sides of the charger at its nominal full capacity would need a better power supply than my 47 amp 12v server supply but I think it's more than I'll ever need.

Geoff

Percy Verance20/10/2016 07:32:52
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8108 forum posts
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John

A few weeks ago when I was making an initial enquiry at my LMS regarding the availability of the various HiTec chargers, the shop owner mentioned the Hitec H4, and in all honesty it's the charger I was leaning towards. After a phone call to J Perkins though, he discovered it was out of stock and had now been discontinued. A shame that, as it's a nice looking bit of kit. Anyway, the X2 seemed like an appropriate solution too (although not the cheapest at £190!), so I went with that in the end. I don't ever envisage using anything larger than a 6 cell pack, so it'll be more than adequate for my future needs, although the X2 will handle 10 cell packs.

Incidentally. it was pointed out to me there are two versions of the HiTec X2, one with 2 x 400 watt outputs - which I have - and another with 2 x 700 watt outputs. However, it was mentioned this would need two beefy batteries hooked up together to provide all the ooomph it could potentially deliver, but who on earth wants to lug two huge batteries about? A further reason for choosing the slightly less powerful version of the X2 I thought......

Interestingly, at the same time I purchased the X2, I picked up my Mpx Heron glider, and in the box was a 2016 Mpx catalogue. I noticed a range of upcoming Multiplex chargers with what was termed the BID (Battery Identification System). It seems you acquire a small chip type item - a bit like a memory card but smaller - and this is attached to each battery you use. The chip is programmed with all the relevant battery info, such as cell type and number, capacity, number of cycles and battery health etc. Then at the point of charging you hook up the chip, in a similar way to the balance lead, and all the battery info is immediately picked up by the charger, which then does it's thing! No further button pressing is required. Sounds too good to be true? I guess we'll eventually find out...... From that though, I gather it'll probably only work correctly with the chip installed on a new battery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 20/10/2016 08:03:54

Bob Cotsford20/10/2016 10:11:09
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8146 forum posts
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Thanks chaps, I've ordered the Hitec from Slough Models for £179. It's not exactly cheap but hopefully it will see me through the next few years. The only thing is that it doesn't list what leads it comes with, some other options for quad chargers are only supplied with one output lead and balance connector - where's the sense in that?

IanN20/10/2016 10:32:23
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Posted by Geoff Sleath on 19/10/2016 23:53:55:

I'm not sure the capabilities of a charger should be expressed in watts.

Geoff

Funnily enough, I'm just asking myself that same question.

My battery needs to date have been relatively modest - 2 and 3s up to 2200 - and two of these have been absolutely brilliant for that, have provided sterling service and will continue to do so

b6ac 80w.jpg

However, I've now moved up a little and have 4 x 5000 4s to play with for a project. As just one of those at 1c will take 84 watts (16.8v x 5a, yes?), and I'm (a) a fan of parallel charging and (b) would like to go to 2c sometimes, it's clear the B6AC won't cut the mustard

I've been looking at the icharger 306B, and the equivalent HK clone Turnigy Reaktor. Both claim 1000w (albeit at 23v input - although that's not a problem as I have a couple of PSUs that will deliver that) or 500w at 12v input.

That sounds all well and good as to put my 4 batteries on at 1c will need 84 x 4 = 336w, and at 2c 168 x 4 = 672w. So, easily within the wattage the charger is claimed to deliver. However, both chargers quote a charging current range of up to 30a, which surely limits me to a max of 7.5a per battery if charging all 4, so 1.5c max?

So, maybe the wattage isn't the whole story - not all it's cracked up to be?

Don't get me wrong, I still think these chargers look like very capable choices and will probably suit my needs. In reality I probably wouldn't have the need to charge all 4 at 2c very often, However, I've never been totally confident at working out the electric side of things and just want to be sure that my numbers above are correct.

Am I barking up the right tree - even if it's at the wrong cats? wink

John Lee20/10/2016 13:11:15
686 forum posts
52 photos
Posted by Bob Cotsford on 20/10/2016 10:11:09:

Thanks chaps, I've ordered the Hitec from Slough Models for £179. It's not exactly cheap but hopefully it will see me through the next few years. The only thing is that it doesn't list what leads it comes with, some other options for quad chargers are only supplied with one output lead and balance connector - where's the sense in that?

My H4 came with a couple of the Bridge connectors for joining the two to one outputs and a handful of leads, most of which are still in their sealed packs as they included Tamiya, Traxxas and Deans none of which I use. There were no EC5 or XT60 when I bought mine, so had to buy/make these up subsequently. The outputs are standard 6 cell balance ports & 4mm banana sockets. Hope it works out well for you Bob.

Bob Cotsford20/10/2016 14:19:16
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8146 forum posts
449 photos

I just read the email from Slough and that showed just £79. Well, I thought, am I on a winner or have they packed the wrong charger? I phoned them up and unfortunately it was a mistake on the email notification. It really is £179.

At least it's in the post and due for delivery tomorrow. A lack of XT60s is a pain in the rear but easily fixed via HK - if they are in stock!

As for watts output, I guess I like it as I can convert to estimated amps in required regardless of battery size so I know whether my 47A power supply can cope. Specifying a different amp rating and watts output capability isn't so clever though.

Percy Verance20/10/2016 16:05:19
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8108 forum posts
155 photos

You managed to bag an H4 then Bob? Nice work there. My LMS rang Perkins on my behalf but it was too late, all gone.

My X2 came with 3 leads. A Deans, a Green Mpx high current multi pin job, and one of those little piddling red connector leads JST? There were 2 balance boards, one of which seemed faulty, as it refused to register the cell count of all the batteries I attempted to balance using it. A replacement board worked perfectly.

Edited By Percy Verance on 20/10/2016 16:07:25

Bob Cotsford20/10/2016 18:03:43
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8146 forum posts
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Yes Brian, the last one in stock at Slough. Other places were listing them at anything up to £220! I've order some multi-adaptors and balance boards from HK so that I can keep my existing leads for non-volatile (ie NiMh, Pb and LiFe) charging in the garage. I'll have to change the supplied Deans connectors to XT which is odd as HK batteries seem to come mainly with XT these days.

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