Remote-controlled vehicles are not just for kids. Hobbyists also take great pleasure in spending an afternoon outdoors flying around their RC helicopters or RC planes, sailing on the lake with their RC boats, or just roaming around the park with their RC cars.
In order to make sure that your RC vehicles perform well, you need to power them up using good batteries. For many hobbyists, LiPo batteries have become their item of choice for powering their RC vehicles.
That’s not enough though, because you also need to have a reliable LiPo charger on hand to ensure that the batteries and the vehicles will be able to function well for as long as possible.
In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the top LiPo battery chargers on the market, and we’ll also discuss some other important matters concerning those batteries.
|Product Name||Input Voltage||Charge Current||Discharge Current|
|Tenergy TB6-B Balance Charger/Discharger||AC: 100-240V, DC: 11-18V||0.1-5.A||0.1-1.0A||Check Price|
|Traxxas EZ-Peak Plus NiMH/LiPo Fast Charger||AC: 100-240V||1-4A||500mAh||Check Price|
|HTRC 80W 6A DC Lipo Charger||DC: 11-18V||0.1-6A||0.1-2A||Check Price|
|Venom RC Pro 2 AC/DC LiPo and NiMH Battery Charger||AC: 100-240V, DC: 11-18V||0.1-7A||0.1-1A||Check Price|
|Venom 2-4 Cell AC/DC RC LiPo Dual Battery Balance Charger||AC: 100-240V, DC: 10-18V||0.1-3A||Not Indicated||Check Price|
|ProLead RC B680AC CAR Dual Power Battery Charger||AC: 100-240V, DC: 11-18V||0.1-6A||0.1-2A||Check Price|
The same thing applies for Tenergy’s TB6-B Balance Charger/Discharger, but even among similar items, its versatility stands out.
To take full advantage of this charger’s versatility, the good people at Tenergy decided to include an octopus multi-charging harness.
Beyond having the ability to function well with a wide variety of battery packs, this charger can also be used for different applications.
If you need something that can handle charging and discharging cycles for your batteries, then this item can help you out, and the same is true if you are looking for a balancer for Li-Ion and LiPo batteries. Storing battery data is also something this charger can do for you, and it has enough space for five batteries.
When it comes to charging, this item is still capable of performing well, but it does lag behind competitors that can be paired up better with higher-capacity batteries. That lower limit significantly shrinks the market for this charger.
The user interface on this charger is a bit clunky but you should be able to get the hang of it after awhile. The problem though is that it can be a real challenge to use this item the first few times.
You won’t find much help from the instruction manual as well as it does not cover everything it needs to and it’s not written in a clear manner. It will take some time, but eventually, you will be able to get the most out of this charger.
Let’s be honest, using LiPo battery chargers can be a bit of a hassle. Not only do you have to keep an eye on them while they’re working, but you also have to follow certain steps before you can even get the charging process underway.
Getting the chance to play around with RC vehicles is worth the trouble of charging batteries, but it would still be nice if that part of the process was made easier. The EZ-Peak Fast Charger from Traxxas does exactly that.
After starting the charging process, you can monitor the rate at which your batteries are charging by keeping an eye on the LED progress bar. You will know the plugged-in battery is good to go when the light on the charger turns green.
It’s intuitive, convenient, and a real time-saver for you.
Thanks to the separate balance connectors installed on this charger, you can still use it for older LiPo batteries that are not ID-equipped.
The manufacturers boast about this being a fast charger, but you shouldn’t really bank on that. It’s not slow either, but you should still temper your expectations regarding how quickly it will be able to inject new life into your batteries.
A cooling fan has been added to help protect this charger and the batteries that are connected to it. The fan works well enough, but the noise it produces is unpleasant. Prepare for the noise adequately if you are going to use this charger.
If you use plenty of batteries for your different RC vehicles, then you are likely familiar with how inconvenient it is to get them all properly charged. Doing so takes so much time, and there are situations when it will not seem worth it to go through all that trouble.
To help out hobbyists, HTRC’s LiPo Charger Balance Discharger offers a ton of storage space. To be more specific, this particular device is capable of storing data for up to 20 packs. Considering that having enough space to store data for five batteries is already considered a good feature for LiPo chargers, you can imagine just how better is to have all that extra space available to you.
With all that storage space available to be used, you won’t have to spend as much time prepping your batteries for charging because this device will already take care of that.
Another notable feature of this LiPo charger is its ability to check the internal resistance of lithium batteries. You should not shy away from using that feature if you opt to purchase this charger because it will help you figure out early on if something is wrong with your batteries.
There’s a lot to love about this charger, but it is not without flaws.
Arguably the most pressing issue it has it that it has a tendency to heat up. There’s a cooling feature included in this charger, but there are times when it just does not work well enough resulting in the device getting too hot for comfort.
This charger isn’t going to explode on you or anything like that, but it will be best if you regularly check on its temperature while in use. Doing that simple task will allow this charger to work longer for you.
When you’re just starting out with the hobby of collecting and operating RC vehicles, things can seem quite intimidating. There are so many factors to take into consideration before purchasing an RC vehicle, and when you get to the part where you have to choose a charger, you are given even more things to worry about.
The beauty of Venom RC’s Pro 2 AC/DC LiPo Battery Charger is that it’s simple to use and features enough safeguards that you will be able to use it frequently without worry even if you are new to this particular pursuit.
The interface used for this charger is easy to interpret and interact with. The buttons are placed where you need them to be and the information displayed onscreen is easy to read.
To further protect you from harm, this charger has an auto shutdown feature. Veteran hobbyists may hear about those features and not be impressed at all, but again, if you’re new to this whole thing, you should make use of every safety feature that is provided to you.
While having those safety features around is certainly a good thing, what you may not like as much is the speed at which this device charges your batteries. This charger simply does not fill up your batteries as quickly as many other alternatives on the market, and it would be understandable if you see that as a deal-breaker.
This is a great LiPo charger for those starting out, but those who already know how to work with these devices will likely prefer something that is capable of doing more.
Unforeseen circumstances often cause inconvenience. You may have been planning to spend the bulk of your weekend outdoors piloting your RC vehicles, but your plans can get derailed in a hurry by a broken LiPo charger.
A LiPo charger probably isn’t going to be the most expensive gadget you’ll buy, but you still may find it difficult to find a suitable replacement in a hurry if you don’t have a lot of money to spend.
If you don’t have money saved up for a LiPo charger but still find yourself needing one, then perhaps you should consider getting Venom RC’s Dual Battery Balance Charger.
It’s among the least expensive LiPo chargers you will find, and despite its low price tag, you’re still getting a device that provides the essential functionalities you need.
Data regarding the batteries you are plugging into this charger are conveyed to you clearly via the user interface, and there are safety features included that will prevent overheating.
Still, you’re not getting the most feature-rich charger if you choose to purchase this item.
For instance, if you need something for discharging your LiPo batteries, it would probably be best if you saved up for a different charger. This item also lacks in the convenience department because there’s no room for storing your battery data.
You’re getting what you pay for if you choose to buy this charger. What that means is that you will receive something that will safely charge your LiPo batteries, but it also won’t have certain features that you have come to expect from standard LiPo chargers.
Generally speaking, charging LiPo batteries takes time. Spending your afternoon keeping watch over some batteries being charged may not be an ideal use of your time, but it’s necessary for your hobby and your safety.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with having a faster charger, and that is precisely what you are getting from ProLead RC’s B680AC CAR Dual Power Battery Charger.
After you plug in your batteries, you can expect them to be fully charged in about 40 to 50 minutes. That’s a huge difference, and it gives you more time to spend at your favorite driving spots.
The additional cooling fan also ensures that this charger will be safe to use even if you do choose to hook it up to your car battery. More safety features such as the timers and buzzers will help you avoid any trouble while using this charger.
Beyond all that, you also get many of the features that are included in most LiPo battery chargers such as data storage, cycling, and balancing.
The only issue with this charger is that it isn’t as durable as many of the other alternatives.
Don’t be surprised if this charger stops working as intended near the 1-year mark.
It’s not that expensive so you can choose to just get a replacement charger after the model you’re currently using breaks down, but still, that substandard durability takes a lot of away from what otherwise could have been the shining example for LiPo battery chargers.
When you do get the time to go out to have fun with your RC vehicles, you want to be able to do so for as long as possible. That’s why many people prefer reaching for those high-capacity LiPo batteries. The issue of course is that not all LiPo chargers are ideally suited to use for those high-capacity batteries, but that is not the case with Keenstone’s offering.
Even if you prefer to use a 10000mAh battery, the Keenstone LiPo Battery Charger/Discharger will be able to keep up with you.
You can set the charge rate for this item up to 10A, so even if you are using a 10000 mAh battery, you’ll still be able to go at the same rate as if you were charging something with a smaller capacity.
Discharging the LiPo batteries plugged into this item can also be done faster, although you should always remember to stick to the manufacturer recommendations to avoid any issues.
The folks at Keenstone also give you many of the features you want to see in a LiPo battery charger such as the ability to balance the load, go through charging and discharging cycles, and also storing battery data.
This charger also features great design. The user interface is not cluttered and the buttons are clearly marked so that you can perform the function you need quickly.
At the price you can get it at, it presents terrific value.
The only real issue is that it’s a disruptive device. Things can get really loud when you are using this charger, and while you can appreciate that the noises are being produced by safety features designed to protect you and the batteries, the sounds can still be unpleasant to deal with.
Other than that relatively minor issue, you should come away pleased from purchasing this charger.
It’s time we learned more about the LiPo battery charger, and in this section of the article, we will talk about the features you should look for when shopping for one as well as the things you must do when you are using the aforementioned device.
The most important thing you need to do when looking for a LiPo charger is to find something that will work well with the LiPo batteries in your possession.
For instance, if the LiPo batteries you’re using feature a higher capacity, then you should be on the market for a charger that is capable of working on a higher wattage level, according to Roger’s Hobby Center.
As much as possible, you should also look for a LiPo charger that can handle additional tasks such as discharging, balancing, and storing data. The good news for you is that LiPo chargers that feature those functionalities are easy to find these days.
Also, try to find a LiPo charger that has built-in safety features such as timers or limiters. A cooling fan would be great too. Even if you try to keep a close watch over your batteries while they are charging, there may still be times when you forget about them, so having safeguards in place is essential.
It’s no secret that LiPo batteries need special attention when they are being charged, but the things you need to do aren’t all that complicated.
First off, you have to heed what the manufacturers of the LiPo batteries are telling you. The article from Roger’s Hobby Center linked to above urges you to look for the maximum safe charge rate on the label of the battery and then go with that.
You should also charge the batteries outdoors, and if possible, keep them inside a fireproof container of some kind.
Even after doing all of that, you still shouldn’t leave the batteries behind to go do something else as you never know when something can go wrong. Maybe take something to read with you while you’re waiting for the batteries to charge or just relax on a lawn chair. Just be sure that you don’t do anything that will keep you away from the charging batteries for any extended period of time.
LiPo batteries are preferred by many hobbyists because they can hold plenty of power while remaining lightweight. If you like seeing your RC vehicles moving around quickly, then LiPo batteries will work for you.
Thanks to more LiPo battery chargers hitting the market, it’s easier to make the transition to using those batteries, if you haven’t already.
As you have seen from this article, there are LiPo chargers suited for all kinds of hobbyists. Be sure to pick the right one out for yourself, and you too will be able to get the most out of your RC vehicles.
Gareth Otwell is a 28-year-old tech geek. Currently working at a big IT company. He chooses to widen the topics he writes about so as to provide his readers with an all-in-one go-to platform that they can use to research for just about anything. Read more