A Lipo charger is not something you should not take for granted, although most do (myself included). Over the last few years Lipo chargers have become more and more popular, the rise in DIY drones has contributed. One area of concern which has always remained common in the R/C industry is “cheap & fake” knock off chargers.
It’s safer to avoid cheap lipo chargers. When a lipo battery is charging, the charger needs to constantly monitor the battery to keep it stable. This is one of the main reasons you cannot charge a lipo battery with a normal charger. When a lipo battery is overcharged above 4.20v per cell, you run the risk of the battery exploding.
Cheap chargers have poor electrical components, voltage readings are often inaccurate and the chargers can short circuit. Where there is supply and demand you will always find cheap alternatives. This does not mean you have to spend a fortune on a charger, and you can put additional safety measures in place. Such as lipo charging bags, and charging with a temperature sensor.
My personal favorite is the Turnigy Reaktor 10a charger. I have used both of mine for the past 4 years with no issues. It’s not the best aesthetically pleasing charger on the market (does not have a touch screen), but it can charge up to 10 amps and is very accurate when compared to a voltage meter.
The Turnigy charger runs off an external power supply at 10 -18v DC. This allows you to power the charger of a car battery when mains power is not available. If you want to charge from the mains you will need an external power supply. I recommend the Turnigy Reaktor Pro 16A power supply. This power supply runs on 100 – 240V ac, so will work in the US and European countries.
Charging & Discharging.
When it comes to picking a Lipo charger it’s important to look at the specs sheet, one important point to look for is the charging & discharging current. The Turnigy Reaktor can balance charge 1-6 sell Lipo batteries up to a current of 10 amps, and the maximum discharge rating is 7 amps.
Below is an example of how long you can expect different batteries to charge at various currents.
|Battery||Charging Current (Example A)||Charging Current (Example B)||Charging Current (Example C)||Time (100% Charge)|
|6,000 MAH||3 Amps||6 Amps||9 Amps||A= 2 Hours | B= 1 Hour | C= 40 Minutes|
|3,000 MAH||1.5 Amps||3 Amps||6 Amps||A= 2 Hours | B= 1 Hour | C= 30 Minutes|
|5,000 MAH||2.5 Amps||5 Amps||10 Amps||A= 2 Hours | B= 1 Hour | C= 30 Minutes|
I would recommend you balance charge Lipo batteries every once in a while. Normal charging can be slightly faster, regularly charging with out balancing can result in imbalanced cells. To balance charge simply plug in the balance connector and the normal battery connector. The Turnigy charger will automatically balance charge when the balance lead is connected, even if you choose the normal charge option.
IR (internal resistance) check is a nice option you don’t get on many lipo chargers. Checking the internal resistance is a good way to measure battery health. Batteries with a high internal resistance will be slightly weaker.
Turnigy Reaktor 250w Features.
|In the Box:||1 x Turnigy Reaktor 250W charger2 x Alligator Clips +/-1 x XT60 / T connector charge lead1 x JST / Futaba Charge Lead|
|Dimensions:||140 x 80 x 30mm|
|Battery Setup Memory:||10|
|Pb Battery Voltage:||2 ~ 24V|
|NiCd/NiMH Cell Count:||1 ~ 17 series|
|Cell Count:||1 ~ 6 series|
|Current Drain For Balancing LiPoly:||300mAh/cellLithium (Li-poly/LiIo/LiFe)|
|Maximum Discharge Capacity:||20W|
|Maximum Charge Capacity:||250W|
|Discharge Current:||0.05 ~ 7A|
|Input Voltage:||10 ~ 18V DC|
|Charge Current:||0.05 ~ 10A|