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View Full Version : LiPo charger for $50 or less


newbee E-flier
10-21-2005, 07:31 PM
I am looking for a LiPo charger that is decent and 50 dollars or less. I would like to get your input.

I don't need to know that the Triton or ICE are good chargers are good ones. I know they are. I just do not need to spend a lot of money right now.

I see thet Apache has about 3 different ones that are in my price line. Anyone have any idea on these?

BTW, I have a power supply with plenty of power, so that is not an issue. I have read that some chargers require a lot of input power to work correctly.

FinnFlyer
10-21-2005, 08:20 PM
For the majority of park flying, and price, I think the Apache 2030 is hard to beat.:D

Mike Freas
10-21-2005, 08:27 PM
How many cells are you looking to charge? Check this charger out. It's more than 50 bucks but everyone at my field has at least one.

DYMOND DELTA X 3 PLUS LIPO NIMH NICAD PB CHARGER 1-5 cells Lipo 1-14 NICAD/NIMH Lead acid batteries too. Automatic cycling features. The best features and easy to use. Save cell count detection. Up to 5 A charge current. Discharge Charge cycles available. 2 line digital readout give you all the information for best battery management.

http://www.rc-dymond.com/order_chargers_dy.htm

rcers
10-21-2005, 09:04 PM
Here is a great writeup on the cheapies....

http://www.rcgroups.com/links/index.php?id=4676

I use the PolyCharge single for about $25 it is fine. Just wished it had a 1.5amp rate as high instead of 1amp.

Mike

TManiaci
10-21-2005, 09:48 PM
I'll offer an opinion...

Buy a good one... you'll be pizzt when you need more amperage or other features that a cheapie can't offer. This is a hobby that drive you to better and better toys. We all generate a pile of old, inadequate goodies as we move on to the tools you "really" need to do it right.

I like the Triton, others are similar.

rcers
10-21-2005, 09:50 PM
I'll offer an opinion...

Buy a good one.

Yes I agree 100%.


I like the Triton, others are similar

This too! The triton is my primary charger, the PolyCharge 4 is nice too. I use the PolyCharge single as my "take to the field charger". I don't have to worry about it as much!

Mike

TManiaci
10-21-2005, 10:09 PM
Another argument "against" low-cost (cheap) chargers... they can easily cause a battery failure/fire because many don't "automatically" test for the proper settings for a given battery (voltage and amperage capacities). See some shocking statistics here...

http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1584

I'll bet most of these (charging related failures) would have been prevented if they had been using a decent "intellegent" charger.

ForestCam
10-22-2005, 12:32 AM
For the majority of park flying, and price, I think the Apache 2030 is hard to beat.:D
I've got a 2020 and it DOES NOT let you charge at the wrong voltage.

The only thing I don't like about the 2030 is it's a "do it all" charger and I prefer to charge my Nimh packs on a Nimh charger and my lipos on a lipo charger.

Apache 2020 $29.95 plus shipping (http://www.allerc.com/product_info.php?cPath=9&products_id=1320)



I'll bet most of these (charging related failures) would have been prevented if they had been using a decent "intellegent" charger.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING! And just because you may have what you think is an "intellegent" charger is no excuse for not checking the settings EVERY TIME YOU USE IT!

ragbag
10-22-2005, 01:06 AM
I like the Multiplex LN 5014. BUT!!!!
I reach for the Apache when I want to balance a couple of cells real slow.

I started out with the Apache 1215, Nova 250, cried for a Astro 109 and never got it, went with the LN 5014 when I convinced myself I needed bigger, can't remember the FMA model that I have also.

MHO, get the Apache and grow into the game. By the time you outgrow the wizbang that we have today, you will have a better choice later, I'll bet.

Like I said, my $.02 worth.
By George

TManiaci
10-22-2005, 01:12 AM
Wow, don't get all up in a bunch Forrest...

I read the specs on the Apache... sure seems to indicate there are a number of "manual" settings, and it does NOT say it auto-detects if you set it up wrong.

I will tell you... there ARE intelligent chargers. The Triton, for example, will not let you screw up, period. It refuses to charge if it detects any abnormalities in the battery's response to a number of intital testing modes before charge startup. Pick a wrong voltage, hook it up backwards, select a mAH too high, wrong battery type... it tells you so, stops and compalins.

I'm not saying the Apache is a bad charger... I'm not a critic, but it's apparently not dummy-proof. Sure, we should take "responsibility" for our actions, no argument there. But, we ALL make mistakes sometimes. Particularly when you have several battery sizes and types that you charge regularly with one charger.

Don't shoot the messenger! I'm just tell'in you facts, you get what you pay for. That's true in every aspect of this hobby... you can't argue that point. True, $29 is a great value for a multi-battery type all purpose charger, amazing in fact. But...

newbee E-flier
10-22-2005, 06:12 AM
WOW! Thanks for all your ideas. Since i have a Super Turbo and a 110D, I don't need a multi charger. I am aware of the dangers of LiPos and will probably go for the Apache 2030 for now and charge the LiPos on my driveway. That way there should be no colateral damage if the silly thing decides to explode, burst into flames, etc.

ForestCam
10-22-2005, 08:10 AM
I charge mine next to my computer desk and they never get above room temp.

Don't charge my lipo powered cell phone or my li-ion camcorder batteries in the driveway either. :D

qban_flyer
10-22-2005, 08:51 AM
WOW! Thanks for all your ideas. Since i have a Super Turbo and a 110D, I don't need a multi charger. I am aware of the dangers of LiPos and will probably go for the Apache 2030 for now and charge the LiPos on my driveway. That way there should be no colateral damage if the silly thing decides to explode, burst into flames, etc.

No need to go to your driveway to charge your Li-Pos. I charge mine in the basement, my bedroom and or kitchen. I just put them inside a 1/2" thick ceramic container that will hold back a fire, should one ever begin and let them rip. Photos of it attached below.

So far no problems. I got my container from Suzie Goose Hobbies in Rockville, MD as a gift from a good friend of mine. They sell them for $17.50 and will customize the looks if one so desires and or choose from different sizes and shapes.

Suzie Goose can be reached through Suzgoose@aol.com or by phone @ 301-279-2966 and ask for Roy Smith. He is there from 10 am through 1 pm EST weekdays. Best bet for anyone interested will be to e-mail them.

TManiaci
10-22-2005, 04:40 PM
I charge mine next to my computer desk and they never get above room temp.

Don't charge my lipo powered cell phone or my li-ion camcorder batteries in the driveway either. :D

Yea... but do you throw you cell phone or camcorder into the air, overload and abuse them multiple time is a day?;)

I use a small metal bread pad. Some guys at the field have special ceramic pots with lids designed for this purpose... don't know where they got them, but they even have a notch in the lid for the wires.

Nitro Blast
10-22-2005, 04:46 PM
It's more than 50 bucks but everyone at my field has at least one.


SEFSD Field? If so I dont have one, so not everyone there has one!
Now Tritons, I have two.

Twmaster
10-22-2005, 04:50 PM
Hey Q I didn't know Roy had those. Must get one.

TMan: www.batterybunker.net has those pots youmentioned. One of the flyers in our Saturday flying cabal has one of these. Very nicely made.

As for cheapo chargers I have the Poly Charge and it works just fine. It also has more then enough automatic safeguards to keep me happy. And it's less than $25 new. There was a guy selling them on RCG for $21 shipped.

qban_flyer
10-22-2005, 06:52 PM
Hey Q I didn't know Roy had those. Must get one.

TMan: www.batterybunker.net (http://www.batterybunker.net) has those pots youmentioned. One of the flyers in our Saturday flying cabal has one of these. Very nicely made.

As for cheapo chargers I have the Poly Charge and it works just fine. It also has more then enough automatic safeguards to keep me happy. And it's less than $25 new. There was a guy selling them on RCG for $21 shipped.

I like those "Cheapo Li-Po" (no rhyme or pun intended) chargers too. It's nice to have two packs charging independently from one another.

Part of Roy's business is ceramics and he's been using one of those "safes" himself for almost one year now. I must say that his are nicer looking than plain brown ones. Below are three photos of Roy's own personal one. He charges the same price for them regardless of size (I believe), the only thing he charges extra for is to customize them. They are capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures (as in a fire).

Mine is still awaiting a ceramic safe Qban flag decal or Coat of Arms (Shield) before it is glazed and re-fired. In the meantime I just use it in its plain Jane version.

qban_flyer
10-22-2005, 07:23 PM
I use a small metal bread pad. Some guys at the field have special ceramic pots with lids designed for this purpose... don't know where they got them, but they even have a notch in the lid for the wires.

The problem with a metal pan is that it is "conductive" in regards to electrical power and heat. The last thing one needs is to accidentally short one of these Li-Pos, or get one on fire inside a metal container.

You'll be safer charging them while they are sitting on a brick or concrete slab. I suppose a stone slab will do fine as well.

flyranger
10-22-2005, 07:56 PM
I use a pyrex glass dish from the local thrift store, about $1.50

newbee E-flier
10-22-2005, 09:29 PM
I have an old crock pot that has a cover that I will use.

qban_flyer
10-22-2005, 10:46 PM
I use a pyrex glass dish from the local thrift store, about $1.50

I have no clue as to what "vintage" your Pyrex might be, but all I can say is that I was preparing some instant mashed potatoes in one of the "new" ones over a gas flame. The thing shattered making a humongous mess.

I don't trust Pyrex types and fire anymore. Got burned once, that's good enough for me to get the message LOUD & CLEAR!

qban_flyer
10-22-2005, 10:50 PM
I have an old crock pot that has a cover that I will use.

Now, that's a very good idea. A good old crock pot should be just right for Li-Po charging purposes. Large enough for any battery pack size and it can be used to cook vittles when not charging batteries.

Talk about a multi purpose device.

ForestCam
10-23-2005, 02:13 AM
Yea... but do you throw you cell phone or camcorder into the air, overload and abuse them multiple time is a day?;)

Well as a matter of fact... LOL

Poweredge
10-23-2005, 10:27 PM
This is a nice charger for the money. Lipo, Nicad, Nimh, ect....

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6007478752&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1

TManiaci
10-23-2005, 10:51 PM
RC Guy,

That looks very much like an Apachee with some different graphics.

I'll throw out one more thing about "better" chargers for you guys to consider. When you get "anal" about how well your plane and hardware is performing, you will be very interested in the data the "display style" chargers provide. It's very telling when you can see the mAH's it takes to charge a dead battery, and how long it takes to charge it. This data is a good indication of battery quality, particularly if you keep data notes on new stuff.

However... if you have a wattmeter, you CAN hook it in series with the charger and get this data that way too. Cool trick, and really helps to give you a better feel for how your batteries are perfoming.

Vamooska
10-25-2005, 09:00 PM
For another source, you can check the Joy Charger at:
www.vampowerpro.com (http://www.vampowerpro.com) It also has the capability of charging up to 8 cell Nicad and NimH packs. Not bad for 36.95
Vammy

RMS
10-27-2005, 01:34 PM
I have an apache ($49 to $59 depending where you get it). For some reason I have not used it. I mainly use my Eflight Celextra or something like that. It sells for $44 and charges up to 3 cells. The charge rates (I may be wrong on some of the lower numbers) are 250, 500, 1500 and 2000mah. It has never failed me.

vicman
10-27-2005, 08:09 PM
:cool: I am very happy with my Hobbico MKII.

GeneL
11-08-2005, 06:22 PM
Hi! I have been using this system and am quite satisfied:) http://www.amondotech.com/index.asp

qban_flyer
11-08-2005, 06:40 PM
Hi! I have been using this system and am quite satisfied:) http://www.amondotech.com/index.asp

I am impressed with the one linked below. I may have to add that one to my two Tritons.:)

http://www.amondotech.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=849

roccobro
11-09-2005, 01:06 AM
WOW! Thanks for all your ideas. Since i have a Super Turbo and a 110D, I don't need a multi charger.
I read that a chip change will make your 110D able to charge lipos. Call AF and ask them about it. Heard it was $15 for the chip...

I have the rebadged graupner "quattro" that is on sale for $25 at Hobby People every once in a while. I use it at the field and the AP 109 at home. Never a problem.

Justin

Nitro Blast
11-12-2005, 01:04 AM
Wow.. for the price I just got one for the field box.

runwaydodger
11-15-2005, 05:03 PM
the poly-charger works for me. i once left my battery on and forgot it, went to my neighbors house, it was so loud when the alarm sounded that you couldnt help but hear it. plus it cherges the battery and dont even get it warm. not bad for 20.00 bucks.

whattheheli
03-11-2007, 10:34 PM
Yea... but do you throw you cell phone or camcorder into the air, overload and abuse them multiple time is a day?;)

I use a small metal bread pad. Some guys at the field have special ceramic pots with lids designed for this purpose... don't know where they got them, but they even have a notch in the lid for the wires.


seems to me if you buy the right battery you wont overload or abuse them every day or ever hardly ! just a thought ! i have my lipo setup and the only thing that gets hot is the esc and motor charger and lipo only get louk worm !

Pig
03-25-2007, 07:46 AM
Ok, I'm feeling pretty stupid about this. I've read through several threads on this topic, and I still feel stupid about it. I have a semi reasonable idea of how to charge these, but I'm trying to find a charger that makes sense with this reasonable idea. (btw, my experience with batteries is limited to NiMH and NiCads)

I now own a PolyQuest 20C 3 Cell 2100 mAh battery. On the battery, there's a dangly bit with a connector that's for charging. The two long leads (that I've soldered to Deans connectors) is what connects up to the ESC to supply power.

My confusion is looking through the chargers listed in this thread (and others), I don't see the matching connectors to the dangly bit on my battery.

So the question is, do you charge the batteries through the two leads or do you have to get a balancer and use the dangly bit connector? Or, do these chargers (like the Apache) have the charging connector for the dangly bit hidden somewhere (that doesn't show up in any picture)?

I'm guessing there's an adapter cable involved, but how do you know what type of connector you have? Is there a legend somewhere that shows the different types of connectors?

I'm sure the answer is simple, but I feel like a moron with a battery that can burn down my house if I do this wrong.

Mike Freas
03-26-2007, 09:57 PM
Pig,

The smaller connector is your balancing tab. For a 3 cell pack like you have it will have 4 wires, one wire for each cell and a common ground. Some chargers like the CellPro charge through that tab and others charge through your main set of wires (the one that connects to the ESC). If you charge using the main leads then a balancer could be used at the same time connected to you balancing tab.

I know it's confusing and there are thousands of different parts and chargers to choose from.

I'm sure you have had many people suggest different chargers but the FMA cell pro is just about fool proof and provides many layers of protection against over charging.

The bottom line is ensure you set your charger to lipo and never charge above 1C, for your 2100 mah pack that would be 2.1 AMPS

supi7
04-04-2007, 06:55 AM
I am looking for a LiPo charger that is decent and 50 dollars or less. I would like to get your input.

I don't need to know that the Triton or ICE are good chargers are good ones. I know they are. I just do not need to spend a lot of money right now.

I see thet Apache has about 3 different ones that are in my price line. Anyone have any idea on these?

BTW, I have a power supply with plenty of power, so that is not an issue. I have read that some chargers require a lot of input power to work correctly.


TrueRC has a limited stock of Smart Charger 2020 for $25
its mainly for smaller lipo packs.
Very nice charger for the price. It small but does a good job.

Best Wishes,

Dan
TrueRC