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Pumpkin drop event

What do you think about Venom chargers?

#1
Since I started with RC cars I have owned a small single 1-6 cell programmable charger. That was 4 years ago and all I needed to charge was 2 to 3 2 cell 3000 mah batteries. Now that I have got into flying stuff I have found myself with an array of batteries of varying sizes. My main pack size is 6 2200 3 cell 45-90 C Turnigy nano techs perfect for the Versa-copter for 7-12 minute flights with FPV depending on how I fly. Anyway it takes me a good hour and a bit to fly all 6 packs but I end up sitting around for more than 6 hours charging.

I was particularly interested in the new venom series which I caught a glimpse of on a Flite Fest 2016 video. The product Venom Pro Quad charger with 4 separate chargers seems like a good upgrade from my old charger and would cut my charge time down to around 2 hours for 8 batteries in total. I would charge in parallel but I'm not a fan of toasting 3 good batteries if one is not quite right, that and safety is a pretty big priority and parallel charging can go sideways pretty fast.

Does anyone know anything about these chargers? They seem pretty decent compared to the iCharger 406 Duo that Rotor Riot had a part on a few months back which comes in at around $300 and you still have to pick up a power supply and the parallel charging boards afterwards.

Yes, I know they are considerably different but I will only ever go up to 4S on quads and planes so I'm not too worried about the low charge current of 0.1-7 amps per point in the Venom Pro Quad.

Anyone have an opinion on these chargers or chargers you personally use?
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#2
While I've never used them, they charged a ton of batteries at FTFF. Not that this necessarily factors into your decision, but the Venom guys were enormously generous, providing everyone who registered for our Community Build Nites with batteries for their plane. Super nice guys, too. I believe they will really stand behind their products if there is a problem.
 

makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#3
I had one battery charged by the Venom guys (heh, I didn't fly enough to really need more, and came back home with fully charged packs!) and it was more just to see how that service went. I was impressed, and now my Flyzone battery has a nice Venom sticker on it! :D

Asbjørn/FlyingCirkus was staying with me a few days before we drove down to FF, and he observed me charging up batteries for the event with my two IMAX B6 chargers. They're great mid-level/starter chargers, and since I have to pack everything from a 3rd floor walkup, I like their light-weight/compact setups. That said, his comment to me "I call them battery destroyers" surprised me, and he elaborated by saying that they didn't start balancing until one of the cells reach 4.2V, which I also noticed. It was at this point that I learned that the higher-end chargers aren't just more expensive due to their higher output and multiple charging capabilities, but also in their software implementation for controlling the charge cycle.

I actually asked the Venom guys whether the new Pro Quad does the balance charging at the beginning, and they confirmed it will. When I got back, I was looking around and I see they actually have a slightly discounted version of the Pro Duo (older 2 charger version) that is a better fit for my smaller space / needs:

https://www.amazon.com/Venom-RC-Battery-Balance-Charger/dp/B000QVK1B6

I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but it's in my shopping cart.

Adding: Thinking about this more, I actually don't see how chargers can do the "balancing" before a cell reaches 4.2V unless it not only can discharge from the balance port, but can also charge from it... hmm... at any rate, I think this might not be so important. If I think about it, all chargers basically charge serially (via the big banana plug output ports to your battery main discharge lead/connector) and balance by reading the individual cell voltages via the balance plug, and I assume discharge from each individual cell as needed.

Anyway, a new charger would make charging multiple packs faster/easier for me, so I think it's worthwhile for me to get the Duo...
 
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#4
Thank you both for the information on the Venom chargers. It is on my consideration list now especially the quad one. I was thinking about getting an Alien RR5 race quad but I would be happy to stick with my Versa-copter V2 for 6 months or so before I jump on that and just be able to charge and fly more frequently by putting some money into a charger behind the scenes, something which is generally overlooked. Especially since getting a race quad like that would require getting 4 cell batteries, only getting around 3 minutes of flight time, etc. I would need to upgrade my charger at that point either way.

Quads chew batteries like there is no tomorrow, feels like I'm on the ground every 30 seconds whereas with a plane I can be up there for 10 minutes and the cells only just get down to 3.8 each...

It sounds like they are a reliable brand. Thank you for the input.
 
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rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#5
putting some money into a charger behind the scenes, something which is generally overlooked.
Very true - the charger and transmitter tend to stay on the ground, out of harms way, and be used across multiple airframes.

When it comes to planning out RC hobby spending, those are the areas that it's better to spend a little more in the long term - it'll probably be with you longer than any particular plane or multi-rotor that will be eaten by a tree or turn into a lawn dart eventually.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#6
Asbjørn/FlyingCirkus was staying with me a few days before we drove down to FF, and he observed me charging up batteries for the event with my two IMAX B6 chargers. They're great mid-level/starter chargers, and since I have to pack everything from a 3rd floor walkup, I like their light-weight/compact setups. That said, his comment to me "I call them battery destroyers" surprised me, and he elaborated by saying that they didn't start balancing until one of the cells reach 4.2V, which I also noticed. It was at this point that I learned that the higher-end chargers aren't just more expensive due to their higher output and multiple charging capabilities, but also in their software implementation for controlling the charge cycle.

I find that interesting. I have a Sky Charge branded B6 clone and It DEFINATLY balances the batteries the entire time.
I see it every time I charge but its more predominant when you are breaking in new batteries as they usually are never a balanced discharge when first using them. I just did a battery that started with 3.73 3.76 3.76 and 3.69 on the cells and it brought them up within the first few minutes to even charge and raised them .01 v each time it went thru the charge program until they were finished. The Current didn't start to drop til after it hit 4.2v per cell when it went into "Trickle" mode as I call it to finish the charge.

That all said I saw the video about that Venom 4 port charger and that is something I will look at over time as I gather more and more batteries. (Also by then hopefully the pricing drops a little). I used Venom tires on my rc cars and they make a great product. I have only nitro cars n trucks left so I never got to test their batteries. Maybe the next time I order batteries I will give them a shot and if they are solid the charger will go on the to do list.
 
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#8
Well I decided to go for it and the charger arrived while I was out. I looked the charger over so far. It's smaller than I thought it would be which is a good thing. No damage visually except a few superficial scratches here and there. I was amazed that there was no other damage as it came in its own box 60% smaller than the box it was shipped in with absolutely no packing materials, nothing, no packing peanuts, bubble wrap, butchers paper, foam inserts, not even a single piece of styro-foam in the entire box... I couldn't believe it especially when they sent it from Ohio on a plane to Australia.

Flite Test takes more care with their wonderful foam kits than they do with a $300 dollar charger (AU)...

Either way, reminded me why I don't like buying from large companies, at least hobby king puts the air packets in their packages even if all they send me is a motor and a bunch of props.
 
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#9
1st charge cycle (skip to end for first impressions)

The ProQuad has the same simple display as the older balance chargers and is easy to use if you have already used a 4 button style charger before. I am currently balance charging 4 2200 mah 45C-90C from storage for the weekend, one on each channel. You can set them to show the voltage per cell and then cycle through them and it will keep what was last on the screen for each channel when you return to it, which is handy if you like to see the cell voltages rather than the totals.

So far I have noticed that it varies the input current and it appears to balance the cells as it charges with most cells within ~0.03 volts of each other ~15 minutes in from balance charge from storage (the storage was not balanced very well). Differences may be observed between my old charger and the Pro Quad as my original charger is more than 4 years old so it may not be accurate.

I did notice a feature I did not have on my previous charger. You are able to check the battery voltage levels with the charger in a different menu. I used it briefly after charging the batteries. Seems like a good feature to use if you are unsure if you charged the battery or not previously.

The charger does have two fans, although slightly louder than my desktop with a dust clogged fan. The fan is not super quite but it’s nothing to worry too much about especially if you have some other source of sound such as music or the TV. I was sitting within 50 cm, around foot and a half and it was 'loud' but nothing to be too annoyed about.

The leads are quite long and will be good for charging within a lipo bag which is nice for safety reasons. The bullet connectors (banana clips?) appear to be 4mm which means your standard charge cable for Fat-shark batteries will work.

I found that ~1.0 A or lower on all the channels the fans turned off so I'm assuming that the fans are triggered but the charge current being supplied to the batteries. I will have to try and charge smaller batteries possibly two 1000 mah at 1C or two 850 mah to see if it causes the fans to turn on or not.

What I think so far based on this short charge cycle.
The charger works as it was intended and does it very well. The menu is simple and it does a good job at keeping the cells balanced in balance mode. The Battery tester for checking cell voltages reads 4.19 for each cell after charging with the exception of one of the batteries which I left longer with two cells and 4.20 and one at 4.19, an acceptable difference.

Other than the LED's on channel 3 and 4 which were 1-2mm off to the right and balance port connector on the main body (the edge of the connector was just pushed in a bit and the tiny plastic piece at the bottom bent in) I see nothing wrong with the charger. I am being a bit over the top about the small faults or manufacturing quirks. The big thing I was not happy with was the way it was shipped however I am not sure that is across the board or just an odd occurrence.

I did find something odd about pressing stop while the alarm for full charge is still going off; it sets off a constant tone like a heart monitor going on flat line. Family members were yelling "it's dead". The only way I stopped it was by restarting the charge then exiting straight away. I wonder if it is something wrong in the programming I will just have to let the alarm time out.

Overall it will be nice the charge 4 batteries within or at least around an hour instead of 4 hours to 6 hours.
 
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