I'm new to electric models and am looking for a good battery
charger - I only want to buy one. My present model uses a
NiCad battery but my next one will have LiPo's. I would
prefer a charger that would handle both types.
I've noticed that most chargers use a 12V input. Is it
worth $30 more to have both 12V and 115V inputs in one
charger (like the Hobico Elite)? When charging at home with
a 12V charger, do you need a 12V car battery or can you hook
the LiPo charger up directly to a car battery charger as the
How important is the battery conditioning feature? What
about cell balancing?
Any recommendations for a charger?
Don't use a car charger, the output on those is electrically very
noisy. I personally use the DuraTrax ICE charger. To power it I use an
old AT computer power supply. I pulled the 12 volt leads out on one of
the plugs and use those to power the charger, and I have an old hard
drive and cdrom hooked up to the other power plugs to give the 5 volt
rail enough load to have the thing run properly regulated.
Check with a local swap-mart, the old 286/386/486 computers with a
two-piece motherboard power connector are what you want. You should be
able to pick up what you need for far less than what the hobby stores
want for a 12 volt bench power supply.
When you ask for help, you usually get recommendations from people to use
the product they like or use. In this case I'm going to make it YOUR choice.
Go to this web-site:
and enter the word 'charger' in
the search box. You will get a full list of chargers available from Tower
Hobbies. Look over the list carefully. Now here's where YOU make a choice.
Read the specs on ALL the
chargers and decide for youeself.
If you can afford it, pay particular attention to: Accu-Cycle Elite, Triton2
& Triton Jr. (Triton Jr. is mostly for smaller batteries.) Triton2 has a
video you can download. Some others also have videos. Do it! Download and
view as many as you like.
Your choice depends on how much you have to spend and how long you intend to
continue in the hobby of RC. My advice is to buy a versatile (NiCd, NiMH,
LiPo & LiIon) charger. If you take care of it, it will last a lifetime.
I hope my impartial information will help you decide. Good Luck and have a
good time modeling.
Earl Scherzinger 'AMA' #40329
You may, but tour LIPOS won't when you leave it switched to 'Nicad'
I thought the same, and then I thought again. I have a dedicated
autosensing LIPO charger now, Almost no chance of screwing up.
You cannot. You can however use a charger and a car battery together,
although its not a brilliant idea, (lots of ripple) but it gets you out
Yes, it is worth having a charger with mains capability as a 12v power
supply will cost you at least $30 and its one more box on the bench.
Dom;t talk to me about cell balancing..the latest gimmick.
Basically cell balancing will prolong the life of a pack you have almost
destroyed by overdischarging. If you treat your packs right they won;t
need balancing. Treating packs right means using them at less than 70%,
and best less than 50% of the manufacturers assurances of what they will do.
I will get shouted down for that remark, by the way..just watch..
The Emperor Has No Clothes.
What the manufacturer wants you to do is
1/. By the latest mega flow high discharge pack. At twice the market rate
2/. push it to the limit. Till it breaks.
3/. Sell you an even more expensive one AND a balancer to 'keep it in
4/. Sell you another pack when that one dies. Pointing out that 'at high
discharge rates our pack life is only guranteed to 50 cycles'
What *you* WANT to do, is
- buy an older spec cheaper pack that is at least large enough so you
never draw even full throttle on the bench more than 10 times its
capacity rating, and 8 is better. And if you can afford the weight, even
- now you have bags of flying time so don't ever fly the pack anywhere
near flat. Just bring it in after 20 minutes and recharge it.
- because you are not stressing the pack, it doesn't need balancing.
Great. That offsets the cost of the bigger pack.
- because you are not stressing the pack, its probably good for 500
cycles, not 50. Great. It will last two years instead of two weeks.
The hobby shop will hate you, and you will love me.
Another choice is using the charger and a battery that does not hold a
charge very well, from a lawn mower, or motorcycle, or car.
The charger provides a source of continuing power and the old battery acts
as a filter to take the noise (spikes and harmonics) out of the charger.
Also, some chargers will not put out any power unless the see a load, like a
battery. Hooking it up to an electronic device may not make it come on.
The computer power supply sounds good, but go to Red's battery clinic web
page and see what is written there. There are a few tricks to using one, it
And I thought I was the only one cheap enough to do that!
That's my charging workhorse - an old battery no longer serviceable
for starting the family hack, and a 5 buck float charger from Harbor
Freight that is left on continuously.