After the reviews of lesser chargers now lets take look at a more serious charger/discharger, the iCharger 306B. This small unit can really give a big punch for it's size. This particular unit sits in the mid-range for iChargers. I purchased this charger after studying many other similar chargers, comparing price and capabilities. My main reason for another charger was I have a Hangar 9 Beast which has big 6 cell 5000maH LiPo packs plus a Eflite Habu EDF which also is greedy for LiPo 4000maH power. My LX60B and GT Power X Drive would charge these large packs but oh so slowly. Winter time with short daylight hours, then charge time is elevated to the top of the list. Even during Summer season, waiting for an hour or two to charge just one big pack is not my idea of fun.
Advertised as: The iCharger 306B is a multi-function charging and balancing unit for up to 6s lithium polymer and up to 25 NiMH/NiCD cells. The iCharger 306B can charge at up 30 amps with a maximum output power of 1000W (at 24V) or 500W (at 12V).
The iCharger range of battery chargers from Junsi are made in China and are well known for their accurate balance and internal resistance measurement, giving you more power over your batteries and allowing unrivalled monitoring of your packs through their support for LogView software.
Most surprising is the dimensions of the iCharger 306B. The very efficient internal DC/DC conversion results in a unit measuring only 143×123x46mm (5.6×4.8×1.8") and the light-weight of only 750g makes the iCharger 306B a very portable and worthwhile addition.
The iCharger 306B has integrated JST-XH sockets for 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s Li-Po batteries as well as a temperature sensor port. Since most popular battery packs feature JST-XH type balance connectors, this means a separate balance board is in most cases not required to charge and balance your batteries with the iCharger 306B, which makes the 306B great value for money.
This small charger can output up to 30 amps with a 24 volt input and 15 amps at 12 volt. I am looking to charge those big packs at least at 1C maybe 2C at times. The C rating also depends on the maker, some makers are a bit optimistic on actual charge rates. 5C is quite a normal claim generally.
ICharger 306B (1000 Watts)
Capable of handling 2 - 6 cell LiPos up to 30 amp (24 volt input) NiMh/NiCad 1 - 25 cells. 10 User memories. It has a PC connection utilising USB.
A satin black, compact synchronous charger / discharger, capable of charging Lipo, LiFe, Li-Ion, NiMh and NiCad. One set of power outputs and a built in 1 - 6 cell balance ports (JST/XH) Internal automatic cooling fan. USB data port to read logfiles. Temp sensor port. Fitted input power silicon lead with 4mm bullet connectors and push on crocodile clips.
Although the LCD screen is small but it does show the info you require by alternating the display info whilst working. It uses four buttons on the front panel to make changes and uses a menu tree which you scroll throught to accesss the set up you require. Included in the box is the user manual on a mini disc, the files are in pdf format. The manual is quite extensive and takes some serious reading but once you have mastered using the buttons, accessing the functions becomes clearer. The "i" in the charger's name I would believe means intelligent - ie; if you have made a set up which is not valid or achievable it will say so or just ignore your request. A safety feature I would suggest.
For Lipo packs you can charge, discharge, cycle and put battery to storage state. The latter if you do not intend to use the pack for some time bringing the capacity up or down to around to 50 - 60%. You also have "balance" charge and fast charge options too. If you plug in the jst/xh plug in first the unit will automatically detect number of cells but the display will show low volts or main input until you plug in the main battery lead.
The LCD Screen
|Battery Type||Charge/Discharge Current||Pack Voltage|
|Mode: Charge/Discharge/Storage||Amount of Charge/Discharge||Time in Mins - Secs|
- Battery type will display the pack type, LiPo, Pb (lead acid), NiCad, NiMh. If the type is Lipo when in use the display will alternate, eg 4 Cell pack = LiPo - Lip4 - Lipo - Lip4
- Current being input or taken out
- The real time status of the battery pack in volts
- Mode - Self explanatory
- Amount fo charge /discharge in milliamps. Gives you an indication of how much is being put back into the pack or taken out.
- Time elapsed to complete the selected job.
This is the mid range of high current chargers. For power capability versus price I don't think you could do better. If you were considering using it at home from a variable power supply unit then the cost would rocket mainly due to the power supply unit, price range £150 upwards. Although I have the advantage of charging from a solar powered charge station, I do use it at home from a diesel car battery which is kept usually on trickle charge so always available. You could charge off your car battery but I would not consider it for numerous charges, just now few possibly depending of course on your car battery's capacity.
I have used this charger for a few months now and it has handled all the jobs I wanted it to do. I have charged my six cell packs effortlessly from a high current 12 volt supply at 1C, in other words 5 amps. Unit hardly gets warm. I see no reason not to be able to charge at 2C but my choice is to stick to 1C for pack longevity.