Following on from the Fusion LX60B I now take an overview of the GT Power X-Drive. Depending on where you buy it and when, it comes a multiple configurations of the front panel. Some are horizontal and some are vertically orientated and this unit also comes in numerable disguises but they all share virtually the same internals. Your never sure which maker is copying who!
The unit I am covering here was purchased from GiantCod now known as GiantShark about 2 years ago for approx £82 GBP. The reason was I wanted to charge multiple batteries at the same time, mostly three cell LiPo which I had lot of and fitted in various aircraft. So, to reduce waiting time between flights this may be the answer. Four independent channels with four independent balance sockets.
Would it do the job intended? Depends on what sort of battery packs you have and quick you want to charge, albiet you should always try to charge at 1C. With four channels you could for instance charge two 3 cell Lipos at 3 amps, charge a receiver 4.8v Nimh pack at say 200maH and charge a single cell glow adaptor niMh or NiCad cell (1.2v) or single cell lead acid 2volts (Pb).
The GT Power is rated at 60 watts per channel totalling 240 watts total output. This is tops so making allowances let's say 20 watts would be more conservative. Lets look at the specifications:
- Max Charge per channel - 6 amps
- Max Discharge rate - 1 amp
- LiPo or LiFe or LiLo - 1 to 6 cells
- NiCad or Nimh - 1 -15 cells
- 5 Charge/Discharge cycles. Refresh packs
- Fast Charge and Storage modes
GT Power X Drive 6 Quattro
The unit comes in a box with balance board adaptor for JST/XH in my case plus a multi-lead for common batteries, Tamiya, Deans, standard flat for receiver packs and 4mm bullet type connectors. On the left side the unit comes with a fitted 12 volt fly lead with 4mm bullet connector ends. These can be inserted into the the two coloured croc clips supplied. Also the exhaust for the two automatic internal fans.
On the right hand side are four pairs of power output sockets (red and black) and below are four balance port sockets. There is also two temp sensor ports for channels 1 & 2 (sensors not supplied - purchase as options) these detect and monitor the temp of the battery packs. *Versions of this unit also have a data ouptput socket for usb so you can download log data. This one doesn't. Personally I feel you don't really need it anyway.
The front panel consists of two LCD displays and four sets of control buttons. Each display handles the info from two ports on two lines. Four sets of buttons Battery type (Stop), Decrease, Increase and Enter (Start). Smooth panel surface, easy to keep clean.
As with most intelligent chargers nowadays it comes pre-configured from the factory for each type of battery, especially LiPO, LiFe, LiLo. So for the quick starter you could effectively plug and charge. The manual is clear and shows a flow chart of the programming menus which is must guide for all of these chargers.
The Unit in Use
Easy to pick up the menus and get charging. If you select a charge rate beyond it's capabilities it will indicate so and give you the option of making some changes. In use I have managed to charge two 3000maH 3 cell LiPo packs easily at 1C and charged a receiver pack (4.8v) at 300maH. Using it with one larger pack I was able to charge 2200 maH 4 cells (14.8v) at 2C but struggled with a 5 cell having to reduce charge rate.
If you are a 2 -3 cell possibly 4 cell user and have quite a few packs then this would be ideal, effectively charging them all at once if necessary or rotating them as you use the packs up whilst flying. You have to bear in mind as the cell count goes up then there is more demand from the charger. If you plan on near future higher cell counts and probably bigger and bigger models then maybe you should look at a more capable charger which in turn the cost starts to increase considerably.
Personally, I like this charger when I am up the field with 3 cell/4cell powered models givingme as much airtime as possible. It is generally in use most days and so far I cannot fault it for what it is designed for.
User Manual available in Resources
- 4 independent channels
- 4 balance ports
- Ease of Use
- Lots of battery types catered for
- Clear manual
- Value for money
- No domestic mains capability (there are other copies/clones with mains input but ups the price)
- Purchase more multi-leads!
- Purchase more balance boards
- Temp Sensors not supplied OEM
As a multi charger it does the job within limitations but as I have said before, if you are not a big cell, big power high volt user then this is not a bad buy. I still have mine two years later although I have acquired a more serious charger for my big aircraft and EDF jet.