Straight out of the box, you'll find all you need to get going including two sets of Hyperion adapters.
|Battery types:||1-6 cells LiPo; 1-6 cells LiIon; 1-6 cells A123 (LiFePO4); 1-16 cells NiCD/NiMH; 1-12 cell lead-acid batteries|
|Balancer:||Built-in (2), with 10A maximum rating and 300mAh maximum balance rate per cell|
|Balancer:||Two Hyperion adapters included; others available|
|Maximum charge output:||360 watts|
|Charge current:||0.1A to 10A, in 0.1A increments|
|Input voltage range:||11V-26V|
|Memories:||20 (10 per charger side)|
|Data port:||Available, with yet-to-be-released software (data cable sold separately)|
|Available From:||Empire Hobby and its distributors|
Here at the Monasterio Electric Aerospace Institute and Crash Test Facility © (motto: "Electrons Rule, Yet Gravity Always Laughs Last" ©), flying day eve protocol is as follows:
Needless to say, this gets old quickly. But hey, what would you expect if you only had one charger? Especially if you had, say, eight packs to pump electrons into all in one day.
So it was time for the Monasterio Institute to find a solution to this dilemma, and the solution was clear: More chargers = more packs charged = less time = productivity.
Now, I must confess I'm a safety freak, and I don't settle for your run-of-the-mill gadget that may possibly turn your front yard into a 4th of July display. I charge and balance every pack every time, and I do so inside a LipoSack inside of a firesafe.
So, here's my wish list: safety first and balancing capabilities/individual-cell monitoring second. That narrows the list quite a bit. I also want it to keep up with my growing demands as a RC fanatic, and I want to save time and trips out to the driveway.
Hyperion has the answer: The new EOS 0610i DUO multichemistry charger. It has it all and then some. It charges and balances at the same time (I feel safer just thinking about it), it can charge up to two 6S LiPo pack (growing demands will be taken care for a while), and it will charge two packs at the same time should I wish to do so. And, by golly, I'll be using that last feature like there's no tomorrow!
It charges all sorts of batteries, from the classic NiCd packs (which I still use on my transmitters) to the up-and-coming A123s (again, no need to upgrade for a while).
So, let's take a look at this new charger, the packs it can charge, its safety features and charge modes, and let's put it out on the driveway to charge some packs and see if it lives up to its potential.
The 0610i DUO charger that Empire Hobby sent for this review comes neatly packed in an attractive box, and many of the features are showcased throughout on the front and on the sides. But aside from pretty pictures, one thing is evident when you pick up the box: This is no flimsy plastic cheap charger; there's some heft to this thing 1.15 pounds to be exact. And that's a good thing: you do want a robust gadget to charge your manly man, dual 6S packs now don't you?
Open up the box, and the first thing that greets you is a piece of paper telling you that there are no instructions for this charger.
The Hyperion HP adapter will fit the following batteries, among others:
The Hyperion XH adapter will fit the following batteries, among others:
The Hyperion TP adapter will fit the following batteries, among others:
The Hyperion EH adapter will fit the following batteries, among others:
These compatibility charts were supplied by a Hyperion dealer and complemented by the author's own experiences. Most of these batteries were not tested for this review, and we recommend that you consult with a Hyperion dealer or the battery's manufacturer if you have questions about your pack's balancing tap and whether it will fit these adapters since some distributors change their balancing taps periodically.
No reason to go into panic mode: The instructions are online, and they can be viewed and downloaded from this PDF here. You can also download the screen flow charts from this other PDF, and these will help you navigate the menus.
Because it's a brand new item, the instructions are a work in progress. No big deal, though after all, if you're reading this review, chances are you do have internet access.
You'll find the charger in all its plastic, metal and wire glory and some accessories:
Empire Hobby also provided three sets of multi-board balancing tap adapters for this review. These cover just about all the bases when it comes to brands of LiPos and number of cells, from Thunder Power to E-Flite to Apogee and anything in between. You can look at the sidebars on the right to find the compatibility of each board.
There are also a couple of accessories you can buy for your 0610i DUO charger:
There are plenty of features to go around in this charger, so let's sort them out and figure out what they are and what they do:
By now you can tell that there are plenty of amps and volts to be delivered from this charger. But in order to take full advantage of it, you'll need a somewhat powerful power supply. You can output a massive 360 watts, and that requires either a handful of volts or a handful of amps from your power supply (or both, which would be even better) if you want to fully appreciate the raw power it delivers. You can still use your standard power supply if you're going to be charging smaller packs (I used my 12V battery booster without a problem), but if you're going to be charging big packs through both ports, you might eventually need something a bit more powerful.
Here's how you can figure out what can deliver all the power you need and then some: Volts x amps = watts. Run through the numbers on your power supply, and see if they will work. For example, a 15-volt, 25-amp power supply will give you a healthy 375 watts for it. The good thing about the Hyperion is that the voltage input range is 11-26 volts, so you can use big, deep-cycle batteries with it. A nice touch, indeed.
We have established some of the main features (and requirements) of this Hyperion charger, so let's get down to business and start charging some batteries so we can head out to the field and discharge them (and then repeat the process all over again).
When you hook up the charger to the power supply, the standard greeting is the Memory setting. There are a few steps you need to get out of the way to charge a pack, and then you'll be on your way to electron transferring bliss.
For the most part, all the options are the same for any battery type. For NiCDs/NiMHs you'll have the option of setting your kind of charge (Linear, Normal or Automatic charge) as well as options for Peak charging.
So now you have a battery pack charging; To charge another one, hit the CH button, and do it all over again.
For safety reasons, balancing, the process by which each cell is adjusted to have the same voltage as its neighbor, is something every RC afficianado should do often if not every time a pack is charged. A balancing charger keeps a cell from overcharging (or overdischarging) over time. Not only will that prevent a puffed/fiery pack should one cell overcharge (i.e., a 2S pack could end up having a cell at 4 volts and the other one at 4.4 volts yet the charger simply senses a "full" 8.4 volts), but it will also make your batteries last longer, and that's a good thing.
The 0610i Duo comes with two built-in balancers, and as I mentioned, there are several adapters available so you can balance most batteries in the market.
Now, let me make this clear: This is not a "true balancing charger in the sense that it does not charge each cell individually. Several chargers let you refill your packs only via the balancing charger and the balancing charger alone therefore charging each LiPo cell to 4.2 volts. This one doesn't do that: It charges the pack and balances each cell at the same time, it doesn't just charge each cell.
It's a subtle difference, but it does still make a difference. I have some small Common Sense RC packs that only have a balancing tap and they attach to an adapter that turns it into the discharge port. I've always charged them through the balancing port, yet with this charger I have to charge them through the discharge adapter, and then balance them afterwards. No big deal, but that pack won't end up balanced.
However, balancing redemption is at hand: You can use this charger as just a balancer; you can take a full pack (or an old one for storing) and just balance the pack without charging it.
You'll notice that, as you get ready to charge two packs at the same time, it will tell you whether you want to charge and balance "solo" or "sync" style. This is used if you want to charge, for example, a 4S 4000mAh pack and a 5S 4000mAh at the same time so that you could connect them in series and turn them into an 9S pack. What Sync would do in this instance would be to balance all nine cells. You should only use this if you're using two packs of the same chemistry and capacity. the number of cells is not an issue, though.
For this review, I tested all sorts of options: 2S and 2S, 2S and 3S, 2S and NiCD, LiPo by itself and everything in between.
The charger performed as advertised: Once you set up all the memories, it's mostly a plug-and-play operation. Hook up, find the correct model, hit Enter a few times, and you're in shape.
The best thing about this charger is that it truly is two chargers in one. You can charge a huge pack on the left and a tiny receiver pack on the right. You can have different voltages, capacities, chemistries, charge rates, you name it. Unless you tell it to "sync" balance, they act as two separate chargers under one common roof.
Balancing goes quite quickly, and the more you balance your packs, the faster it will go. It stops balancing once each cell is within 0.005 volts of each other. That's close. Very close.
As you charge, you can see plenty of data on the screen, not just Voltage: Battery Resistance, Charge Rate, Peak Voltage and (if you have it hooked up) Temperature. In the balance menu, there is plenty of information displayed, from individual voltage to voltage gap between each cell.
You can also set your charge capacity. That last five percent of your charge might just take half an eternity to finish, and the amount of flight time that you're going to get out of that extra five percent might not be worth the time you spend staring at the LCD screen. I personally have set up all my batteries to charge to 95 percent unless I'm in no hurry and can fully charge them while I'm sitting idly at the house.
But you cant just use it as a true plug-and-play charger. There's no option to just hook up a pack and let the charger do its thing (figure out the voltage, capacity and so on). Don't get me wrong, it's nice that you can set up your battery-charging settings down to a T, but what if you don't want to worry about a thing and let technology figure it all out on its own? And what if a fellow club member wants to do a quick charge on a pack? You have to create a new setting (and possibly delete another) for a pack that may only get charged once. Again, no big deal, but I like to worry about as few things as possible.
A thing that surprised me a bit (and a source of much online discussion as of publication time) is what the charger does when it finishes charging: It says it's finished, but it technically still shows that a bit of current is making its way to the pack on an 800mAh LiPo pack, it also said there was a current of 0.02 to 0.03mAh flowing.
I asked Hyperion about it, and the answer I received from the distributors was that the charger does "stop" charging at 100 percent. However, when the balance tap is connected, the charger does not completely shut off since the pack is still connected, and a voltage must be maintained to avoid discharge of the pack. It is a maintenance of the end state of the charge and an insurance that the battery comes off the charger correctly charged and balanced.
There is no a preset storage setting on the 0610i Duo, but you can do so by setting the TCS percentage to between 50 and 60 percent, and that should charge them to a safe level for storage and then stop the charge once the pack gets there. So while there is not a one-click feature for storing your packs, this is part of what the TCS setting is for.
In the following video, I put the Hyperion 0610i Duo to the test and show you how you go about setting up the memory for a pack, hooking it up and watching it charge and then doing the same thing on the right side of the gadget. I used a Common Sense RC 2S 1250mAh pack on one side and a Impulse 3S 900mAh pack on the other side. They are different voltages, different capacities and use different balance taps, and as you'll see, they both charged without a hitch.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN: HOW TO CUSTOMIZE THE CHARGE
There's more to custom options than just charge rates and battery memories. Some of them include:
Here are a few of the safety features:
If you're going to fly electric, the charger is always at the top of the shopping list. You want something that will keep your batteries performing topnotch, something that will grow with your flying styles and something that will keep you safe.
After testing this charger, it's obvious that the Hyperion EOS 0610i Duo does all of the above. It's easy to use, safe and will charge just about anything you hook up to it.
It's a high-tech gadget by all standards, and thanks to the firmware update capabilities via the data port you should be able to upgrade its features (neither the data cable or software was available as of publication time).
Since this review published earlier this year, Hyperion has updated the Duo firmware a good bit. You can hardly tell by the looks of it but when you power it up, you'll be able to notice the difference.
The new model is called Duo II. Visually, the only thing you may find is the new screen. The backlight is yellow and not blue, and the new yellow type is easier on the eyes and has a wider viewing angle. The DUO2 also has a 50-watt-per-channel discharge capability.
You don't need to buy a new Duo II to take advantage of the improvements: The new features are a firmware update away. What you'll need is a USB cable (available here) and an adapter (available here). The firmware (PC only) and details about also are available here.
There are some minor changes that you won't notice right away: New charge curves for lithium batteries, tweaking of wording for when the batteries have finished charging, default settings and the like. But the biggest change is that you can now charge or discharge your batteries for storage via its dedicated store mode. That was one of the minuses I had pointed in the original review, and I'm glad to see that something has been done about it.
In most cases, you'll store a pack which is already flown and below 60% capacity. In that case, store mode is speedy indeed. If you start with a fully charged pack to Store, don't expect to be able to remove electrons as quickly as you added them: The discharge rate is 300mA, so you're going to be staring at the screen a while it discharges (only through the balance taps, by the way, which is a safe thing to do and provides that extra bit of peace of mind. That way, every cell will be at the same capacity when it's all said and done).
There are also a couple other things worth noting that can make your otherwise-drab charging life a bit more exciting:
There are also a number of updates in the new firmware to improve safety and error checking, so it would be a good thing for users of the original DUO to update to v1.9.
After a $20 investment in a set of cables and a few seconds updating the firmware (it took me longer to install the software than to install the firmware), I now have an almost new charger with a couple of nice features.
|Mar 19, 2008, 09:51 AM|
I don't think that charging through the balance connector is safer. This charger has an integrated balancer and if any particular cell volatge gets out of hand it will stop untill the cell voltages are within the normal range. Correct me if I am wrong but I don't think chargers that charge through the balance connector charge the cells individualy. I believe they charge the pack and stop to balance the cells. I have a parkzone charger that only charges through the balance lead of battery packs. It includes adapters for packs without balance connectors. These adapters only use the outermost termials of the balance port on the charger. The outermost wires on a balance connector are the same as the main leads of a pack when it comes to charging. This is the best multichemistry charger available.(IMHO)
|Mar 19, 2008, 11:47 AM|
Thanks for the comments. I personally think it's safer because it takes yet another level of guesswork/potential confusion out of the user's hands. But that's just me.
There are a few chargers (some very popular, including one that I own) that charge each cell individually, and you can't charge any other way. So, technically, one could say that don't balance the packs -- they charge them all to the same voltage. Same difference.
So, are you referring to the Duo being the "best multichemistry charger?"
|Mar 19, 2008, 11:53 AM|
I think to charge cells individually you need a parallel charger.
And high output chargers can't charge through the balance leads b/c of the high current/small wire.
|Mar 19, 2008, 11:57 AM|
I speak for the least sophisticated consumer!
This is a very fine review based on one month's experience with this charger!
The review is fair and "balanced" and reflects my feelings as a CONSUMER!
I'm not an engineer, so I can't hold forth on the design, but I can say that the workmanship of the charger (what I can see) is superb, and it functions very, very well.
My prior experience was with the Cellpro 4s, so if you are coming from the "plug and play" crowd as I did, there is about a 30 minute steep learning curve, but once there, the benefits are fantastic.
I use this little jewel at home to quickly (double time, more or less) refill the days' packs, and a 4s in the field: a perfect combination for my needs.
Thanks for a well-reasoned, concise and accurate review from the perspective of a consumer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, if these old eyes could just see that LCD, or the cable/firmware would allow me to turn up the intensity! Oops, sorry, Mr. Cat, it's just a cable....
|Mar 19, 2008, 12:05 PM|
BTW: Nice review, I just thought the one comment under the minuses section wasn't really a minus. I don't fault you though, with such a great charger it is hard to come up with negatives.
|Mar 19, 2008, 12:10 PM|
Now, say you were charging a 5000mAh pack at 1C. Would 5 amps be too much for the wires? Just wondering...
|Mar 19, 2008, 12:15 PM|
Thanks for the very kind comments. Yes, I'm a consumer, too, so I didn't want to dwell in all the voltage-in, amps-out gobbledygook. Glad you enjoyed it!
I agree that it's not as "easy" to use as a plug-and-play charger (no previous experience required for those, though common sense must prevail ), but once you get it all dialed in, it's quite simple. There are two or three kinds of batteries I use more than others (3S in the 850-1000mAh range), so those all go under the same setting.
|Mar 19, 2008, 12:21 PM|
And, for the record, it is a might fine charger, but just like with any other product out there, it's not perfect -- and it does have some minor minuses, just like every other product out there. Therefore, I always work hard on finding aspects that a product can improve on, hence the "negatives" section. It's not a press release, after all -- it's a review.
And yes, while it has a lot of features, a discharge/cycling would be nice. I have a couple of ancient NiCDs that could use some reviving.
I hear that Hyperion might be coming up with a new-and-improved list of what balancing taps are compatible with what (and yes, they offer a nice selection). If/when that goes live, I'll post a link here.
|Mar 20, 2008, 05:44 AM|
Joined Mar 2006
No mention of how truly dreadful the LCD display is?
Even my cheapest chargers have a better LCD than the DUO (and yes, you can see them at night as well, although I'm not sure how that is important).
|Mar 20, 2008, 06:22 AM|
When the Duo starts charging, does is start out with low amps and ramp up to your max charging amp setting or just start out with your max setting?
Thank you for this review, well written and very informative.
|Mar 20, 2008, 10:31 AM|
The display is not the best I've seen. It seems to be worse in the cold.
|Mar 20, 2008, 01:14 PM|
Yes, I regularly charge 5s 3700 packs simultaneously at 1.5c on this charger and it has no problems. For people who are running 2 packs in series or parallel it is the only way to go.
|Mar 20, 2008, 01:16 PM|
HPSOV: Maybe it's just the fact that my other LCD-equipped charger doesn't have a back-lit display, but I tend to like it. Maybe it's just that I haven't been exposed to better LCD displays? I guess it's just a matter of opinion.
GWW: Yes, the charger takes about three to five seconds to get up to the desired charge rate. It's extremely quick in that regard. I suspect that it might also have something to do with the fact that, unlike plug-and-play chargers that take a while to find the correct charge rate, this one is preset. Nothing wrong with the PNP chargers, it's just the way it is.
Joe: Indeed a great charger for 6S LiPo and A123 packs...
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