Turnigy-5011 Charger Review (aka the $6 charger) - RC Groups
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Mar 08, 2009, 12:53 AM
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SteveM732's Avatar
Mini-Review

Turnigy-5011 Charger Review (aka the $6 charger)


Here is my review of the Turnigy-5011 battery charger, also known as the $6 battery charger. Rather than post the review here I've written it up on my own web server.

If you have any comments on the review please feel free to post them here.

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Mar 08, 2009, 02:02 PM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
Contrary to the disclaimer IMO it was one of the most biased "reviews" I've seen in some time. Maybe you're not affiliated with competitors (maybe ) and certainly not with Turnigy. Reviewing previous posts, it's no secret you have a "thing". Your final comment in the quote below may provide some insight though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM732
Considering the limited capabilities of the Turnigy 5011 I'd say it has a relatively high part count for what it is and considering the poor assembly quality it is more likely to fail than my CellPro Multi4.

Cons:
-User manual is only partially decipherable and may not even apply to this charger
-Output current is about 1/3 of advertised
-Poor build quality raises safety and reliability concerns
-Limited to small 2S and 3S LiPo batteries
-No warranty
-No support
-Deceptive labeling and reviews
-10-30 day shipping time unless a premium is paid
-Not a single penny of what you spend stays in the USA
This is all you can come up with?

If anything is to be criticized it may be the distribution policies. They are sold by at least a dozen companies, domestic and foreign, and over 9 revision levels of the product (that I'm aware of). Some models tested up to 1400ma and others as low as 300ma depending on design goals. I've seen parts count vary from as low as 31 to a high of 70 although none as high as yours. Were you counting screws, labels, and foam peanuts in the shipping box? In any case the reallity was it had fewer components than the FMA unit you compared it with yet still concluded not as reliable. Maybe read up on Navy MIL 217c.

Bottom line: they outsell fancy schmancy chargers 100:1 yet failure reports are virtually non-existant. This cannot be said for the more complicated and more expensive products. Just do a quick search here to see what I mean.

I admit to being biased in their favor simply because, contrary to your opinion, they ARE inherently safer and FAR better bang for the buck. As I said in the other thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rich smith
Out of 30 purchased for me from multiple sources not a single one has shown signs of failure. The same cannot be said for the half dozen high end units I was hired to evaluate. Many "have it out" for these. Probably because having spent big bucks on prestige units, they sense the truth underneath all that macho distain.
Only thing approaching a complaint is they get hot and it's said some make noise. Girls are more sensitive to high pitched sound than guys and it's possible some may "whine" more than others.
Last edited by rich smith; Mar 08, 2009 at 06:11 PM. Reason: typo
Mar 08, 2009, 07:55 PM
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SteveM732's Avatar
The standard RCG review policy is to have the reviewer keep the product after the review is complete, I'd say by comparison I am more unbiased than most RCG (not to mention magazine) reviewers could ever be. Why does posting a product opinion contrary to yours else require you to accuse me of being an employee of Turnigy's competition? Ridiculous straw grasping.

Are we talking about DOD MIL-HDBK-217F? If so you neglect to mention that the reliability prediction equation is not just the part count, but the product of the part count, part quality, and environment. I can help you count the parts in the pictures above if you need me to, but I assure you my part count is accurate and per MIL-HDBK-217F I included the wire jumpers and all connectors. But let's say I somehow got a charger with lots of extra parts and everyone else has ones with fewer parts, that is only 1/3 of the equation. Do you think the quality of the parts used in a $6 charger is up to par? I can't prove this point either way, but it cannot be ignored in favor of simple part counts. The 5011 also runs very hot due to an inefficient power supply which creates a lot of thermal stress, which MIL-HDBK-217F says is a significant failure factor as well. Not mentioned in MIL-HDBK-217F is the quality of the solder paste and flux since these are assumed to be of MIL-STD-202 quality. I have already shown evidence of poor quality soldering that probably does not meet ANSI/J-STD-002 through ANSI/J-STD-006 as required by MIL-STD-202. You can give me a charger made of two parts, but that does not make it safe nor reliable if they are made of sawdust and held together with bubblegum and bailing wire.

I believe I did state that the 5011 does have some points in favor of safety. In fact, if the build quality was not substandard and they were labeled and documented accurately I'd probably agree with you that they are safe.
Mar 08, 2009, 09:07 PM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM732
Are we talking about DOD MIL-HDBK-217F?
No. (Google is not always your friend ) I meant Navy 217c which is much older and has been found to be far more reliable in predicting real world MBTF, specially by non-miltary. More recent standards are considered ridiculously conservative and mainly used by contractors to defraud the gummint (i.e. taxpayers). 217c is based primarily on junction count which gives the el cheapos almost 10:1 advantage over fancy schmancy ones.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM732
Do you think the quality of the parts used in a $6 charger is up to par? I can't prove this point either way, but it cannot be ignored in favor of simple part counts.
Yes. And as they say "proof is in the pudding". Actual failures are rare compared to "real" chargers even though cheapies outnumber them by a huge margin. This only validates the predictions based on low parts count.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM732
You can give me a charger made of two parts, but that does not make it safe nor reliable if they are made of sawdust and held together with bubblegum and bailing wire.
If they are made of 2 parts then that DOES make it's more reliable than 3 parts. Has nothing to do with safety though which, in this case, is due more to foolproof connectors and fewer settings. Human engineering.

Note that these do pass UL and CE which would be impossible if they are as bad as you say.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM732
I believe I did state that the 5011 does have some points in favor of safety. In fact, if the build quality was not substandard and they were labeled and documented accurately I'd probably agree with you that they are safe.
These 2 statements pretty much sum up tactics in your review. Start by saying they "may" be safe then follow with numerous, generally non-sequitor, reasons why they are not. Reliablity and safety are two separate issues and controlled by different design constraints.

IMO build quality is excellent (I've opened more than just one). I believe I'm qualified to judge having manufactured and shipped several hundred thousand board products over the last 30 yrs.. But it's ergonomics (safety and ease of use ) that really set these apart from more expensive ones.

I don't think you would agree with me no matter how they were built or documented. By the way, I can't imagine why any documantation is required at all. I certainly never bothered to read. Just plug in and go.

For one thing, it looks like you need to differentiate between reliability and safety and the factors responsible for each. They're not the same.

PS I don't really think you work for FMA or other Turnigy competitors. FYI, like many chinese products, they are mfg and sold by several unrelated companies. I do wish I worked for Turnigy though because I love their products (motors, ESCs, etc.).
Mar 09, 2009, 12:25 AM
Registered User
HEMICUDA's Avatar
Steve,

I would like to THANK you for taking the time to do a review of this charger.
I for one appreciate your efforts and for NOT sugar coating your results.
That is what's wrong with society today is everyone is worried about someone's feelings. Not to go off topic.
I was about to place my first order with Hobbycity and was going to get 1 of these chargers for a backup for my smaller batts, but I think I'll save my $ and get something else instead. I will still place my order with Hobbycity.

Thanks
Hemicuda
Mar 09, 2009, 12:21 PM
Pirouetting flip master
put apart the biased review.

simple question from a user...
will this $6 charger damage your lipo?
if not, then from my point of view is, you have a lot of lipo...
can buy more charge parallelly
Mar 09, 2009, 12:49 PM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lyclyc
put apart the biased review.

simple question from a user...
will this $6 charger damage your lipo?
if not, then from my point of view is, you have a lot of lipo...
can buy more charge parallelly
Since it has two jacks you can also do two batteries at once on each charger:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=943685

Be prepared for longer charge time. Steve lists "Limited to small 2S and 3S" as a drawback but actually lipos of any capacity are handled. Again this requires more time though. My 2200mah take a couple hours which is not a big problem as I do them overnight. With multiple chargers I typically have 4-8 packs ready to go 1st thing in the morning.
Mar 09, 2009, 01:22 PM
Registered User
SteveM732's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rich smith
My 2200mah take a couple hours which is not a big problem as I do them overnight. With multiple chargers I typically have 4-8 packs ready to go 1st thing in the morning.
I believe I mentioned in my review that this as one of the safety issues with this charger. The very long charge times (6 Watts output max) encourage the charging of packs while unmonitored, or while sleeping as in your case. Please do not advocate unattended charging of LiPo batteries as this is proven to be unsafe and I don't want my review thread to become a list of the quickest ways to burn down your house, please discuss such dangerous and irresponsible acts elsewhere.
Mar 09, 2009, 01:26 PM
Frankenstein recycled packs
rampman's Avatar
Steve, you may want to mention that the output is not polarity protected. I sacrificed one just to know. I lost cell #3 so it still works for a 2S pack.

Rick
Mar 09, 2009, 01:38 PM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rampman
Steve, you may want to mention that the output is not polarity protected. I sacrificed one just to know. I lost cell #3 so it still works for a 2S pack.

Rick
That's ridiculous if you're talking about the Turnigy. Only one size battery is accepted by each connector and they can only be plugged in one way.

You are probably referring to high end chargers which sometimes do have that problem.
Mar 09, 2009, 01:39 PM
Registered User
SteveM732's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rampman
Steve, you may want to mention that the output is not polarity protected. I sacrificed one just to know. I lost cell #3 so it still works for a 2S pack.

Rick
I traced out the input well enough to see that the input was reverse polarity protected but had not done so for the output, mainly because I cannot read the VM7205 datasheet which is where any reverse polarity protection would be at. Thanks for the heads up.
Mar 09, 2009, 01:40 PM
Registered User
SteveM732's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rich smith
That is ridiculous. Only one size battery is accepted by each connector and they can only be plugged in one way.
Some of us build our own battery packs and have been known to make mistakes before, I know I have.
Mar 09, 2009, 01:43 PM
Frankenstein recycled packs
rampman's Avatar
Rich, I wire all of my balance taps "backwards" so they plug directly into my older DN/CSRC chargers.

Rick
Mar 09, 2009, 01:43 PM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM732
Some of us build our own battery packs and have been known to make mistakes before, I know I have.
Steve, I don't understand. The battery was wired wrong?

Are you saying the charger gets damaged if a cell is connected backwards? Or the cell is damaged?
Mar 09, 2009, 01:47 PM
7000mw of raw power!
rich smith's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rampman
Rich, I wire all of my balance taps "backwards" so they plug directly into my older DN/CSRC chargers.
Rick
Ah.. I understand now. That is a real drawback. Hopefully won't happen too often though.

Most of my batteries are "store bought" from china so have standard pinout. The packs I build don't have balance connectors. Just a stubby wire poking out mainly to check balance.


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