Least expensive Li-Po charger that will charge a 3s1p Etec? - RC Groups
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Oct 01, 2003, 08:56 PM
CO of The Flying Circus
The Blue Max's Avatar

Least expensive Li-Po charger that will charge a 3s1p Etec?

I am ready to take the plunge into Li-Po batteries but don't have alot of money to spend. I am hearing ALOT of different opinions, good and bad, about different chargers. If anyone can reccomend a good Li-Po charger that won't bust the bank and will safely charge an Etec 3s1p pack I would appreciate it tremendously!

P.S. I have read numerous threads about the dangers of charging Li-Po batteries and I have already built a box from ceramic tile that can withstand thousands of degree's of heat. I just don't know which charger is best.
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Oct 01, 2003, 09:25 PM
Registered User
WJ Birmingham's Avatar

Charger prices usually are based on functionality. The more cells it can charge, and the more gradiants of charging rates it has, the more costly it will be.
Oct 01, 2003, 10:07 PM
CO of The Flying Circus
The Blue Max's Avatar
Thanks WJ, I just checked out your site. Which charger would you reccomend of the three on your site? The BEL for $35.00 looks good for me right now but I notice that if you use it for three cells you would have to run the car engine to have enough voltage, am I correct? I would like to get the Apache but after paying for my first Li-Po pack I don't know if I can afford it right now, and I noticed that it said "only one left". When do you expect to get the BEL in stock and are you getting more of the Apache's?
Oct 01, 2003, 10:16 PM
Registered User
WJ Birmingham's Avatar
Apaches are easy to come by. BELs are expected to ship to me on the 10th of this month. So I should have them around the 15th.

The BELs are a nice little unit. Quite handy as they don't weigh much and you can stick them in your shirt pocket to carry around if need be.

I wouldn't carry a junk product. It wouldn't be good for my business. They all are great chargers, and increment in cost depending on features.

If you're going to do 3 cells, yes, the BEL has no step up circuit for incoming voltage, so you'd need a supply voltage of greater than 12.6v, but less than 15. 15+ Volts will overvoltage the charger and blow it up.

Most don't do Lipo charging in their cars, especially unattended.

There's a 13 amp power supply available here on the Ezone for about 19.00 shipped to your door. I'd suggest buying one, its a great deal.

Oct 01, 2003, 11:05 PM
CO of The Flying Circus
The Blue Max's Avatar
Have you used the BEL before? How long would it take to charge a 3s Li-Po with the BEL since the vehicle has to be running to charge three cells? I have a ceramic charging box with a lid and sand in the bottom of it I built just for charging Li-Po's, I have tested it with an acetyline torch and after getting it hot enough to melt steel there was no problems, so unless they emit some kind of toxic gas ( which they don't unless they burst, that's why they say to carry saltwater!) I don't see it being a problem charging in the vehicle, but the 13 amp power source would definately be something I would plan on getting eventually. I am trying to talk my wife into the Apache but if she balks at the idea I will have to get the BEL.
Oct 01, 2003, 11:44 PM
Registered User
WJ Birmingham's Avatar
Ok, let's back up a step and do a little education.

You can charge Lipos @ 1C. C = mAh / 1000

So, a 1C charge on a 1200 mAh pack = 1.2A input.

If the charger can do 1C on a pack (1.0A on a 1000 pack, up to 8.0A on an 8000 pack), you'll have the pack charged in an hour.

I personally use nothing but my BEL charger, which I bought off of Ebay at the recommendation of Tres Wright (a moderator here). I paid 45.00 for mine. I liked it so much, I started importing them myself, but didn't rip my customers off like the Ebay guy did me.

The Apache will charge up to 1.5 Amps, in case you ever buy a bigger pack like the 1500 series.

Did I miss anything?

*edit* This is a great deal, so you can charge your batteries indoor: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...t=power+supply
Last edited by WJ Birmingham; Oct 01, 2003 at 11:46 PM.
Oct 02, 2003, 12:27 AM
CO of The Flying Circus
The Blue Max's Avatar
Thanks for all of the "education" WJ. I will order one of the BEL chargers as soon as you get them. I will contact you on or around the 10th to see if you received them yet.
Oct 02, 2003, 01:08 AM
Registered User
WJ Birmingham's Avatar
Wait till the 15th... They won't ship until the 10th.

Thanks for your future business.
Oct 02, 2003, 01:10 AM
I plant balsa sticks too
luc's Avatar
I have 2 BEL chargers and they work great. Be sure to stay within the specs (no more than 15V input).
With a voltage supply at 13.8V, they manage to charge a 3S, even if the end of the charge takes some time.
Oct 02, 2003, 08:41 AM
Registered User
Here's my vote for both Bill and BEL

My first BEL didn't work right (overcharged the pack) and Bill quickly replaced it for me. I had the dubious honour of being the owner of the second-ever BEL charger from parkflyermotors.com that didn't work right. AFAIK, the count is still at two. The one I have is working quite well.

Mendelson Electronics Company, Inc. http://www.meci.com sells a 15VDC wall wart for about $4 in the transformers section. The minimum order is $20, so grab some Velcro and shrinkwrap, or anything else. They have lots of cool stuff. Anyway, the wallwart is perfect for the charger, except for the end plug. Voltage and current specs are exactly what the charger specifies. Just go to radio shack and get the right plug.
Oct 02, 2003, 09:13 AM
I'm disoriented!
ChrisD's Avatar
Try one of these:


I paid 11.00 plus $3.85 for shipping.

It handles 15-20 volts 3 amps.

I use it with my homemade 3 cell charger. Works great, and you can field charge with it in your car (use your tile box)

The seller (livbyfth) isn't offering them right now (as of 10/2), but e-mail him to see if he'll sell you one, or will be listing them soon.

A 12 volt power supply, despite the amps it'll deliver, will not get you the voltage you need. Most wall-wart power supplies won't supply the amps. Radio shack has a 12v wal-wart that delivers 14 volts no-load, but it only delivers 1.5 amps for $19.99. OK for small packs.

You need at least 15 volts, and 1.2 amps. If you decide later to get a 2100 mah pack, you'll be glad you had the 3 amp laptop PS.

Oct 02, 2003, 02:18 PM
Registered User
BEC's Avatar
Personally, I think going "cheapest" especially with chargers, and ESPECIALLY with lithiums is not the way to go.

That said, I don't have a BEL so I can't address it directly.

Of the chargers currently out there - IF you plan on small planes only - I'd recommend the Apache 1500. It has one very key thing that all the other jumper-select chargers don't have: It will tell you, instantly and in no uncertain terms, if you made a mistake on the cell-count jumper. Consequently, you won't ever charge a 2 cell pack on the 3 cell setting and (at least) ruin the battery. I have tried to fool mine into accepting a mis-configuration and have never been able to do so.

It also has a voltage booster so will charge 3s and 4s off of 12 volts.

You may only want to charge 3s right now, but sooner or later you'll want both smaller and larger and if you go with a point-design charger you'll just have to buy another.
Oct 02, 2003, 02:38 PM
Registered User
sneu's Avatar
I have to agree with BEC --you are asking the questions in the wrong order. First find the safest charger that has the features you need. then figure out how to pay for it. If you can't afford a good charger wait until you can.

It Nicads and NiMH the worst thing that happened if your charger failed was a cooked battery pack--with Lithium you get a fire that may ruin your whole day.

Oct 02, 2003, 02:45 PM
Seņor Meember
Sloper Mario's Avatar
"What's the cheapest parachute I can buy?"

When it comes to Lithium batteries, I consider a high quality charger safety equipment. It's right up there with the pyrex bowl, smoke alarm, bucket of sand and a fire extinguisher.

Oct 02, 2003, 04:54 PM
CO of The Flying Circus
The Blue Max's Avatar
If used properly and monitered correctly the only thing the more expensive charger is going to do is tell me if I programmed the wrong settings in to it. With that said, I don't plan on getting any larger packs or planes in the future. I fly electric because when I don't feel like hauling any of my Giants out to the field, I can take a small foamy parkflyer out to any open area and fly all I want. I do like the Idea of having the versatility of the Apache but If I can't afford it, It's that simple! I already have one Etec 3s1p on it's way from Aeromicro and I just need something inexpensive to charge it with. I appreciate all of the input from everyone but I specified that I wanted "the least expensive charger that would charge the Etec 3s pack" I didn't say Cheapest, because I aquaint the word cheap with low quality. When I said "least expensive, while being safe" that's what I wanted to know and WJ answered my question and gave me some options. Once again thanks for all of the info and links!