Graupner Polaron EX 1400 11-28V 2 x 730W 1-8S Charger - RC Groups

Graupner Polaron EX 1400 11-28V 2 x 730W 1-8S Charger

When you care enough to give your batteries the very best! See why inside!

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Introduction


Display: 3.0" Color TFT LCD Touch Screen
Operating Voltage Range: 11-28 Volt DC (Direct Current)
Required Car Batter: 12 or 24 V with at least 60 Ah capacity
Required Power Supply: 12-28 V DC with at least 25A
Suggested Power Supply: Polaron Power Supply 12V DC 25A #S2012*
Maximum Charging Power 12V: 700W
Maximum Charging Power 24V: 1400W
Under Voltage Cutoff: 10.7V
Safety Timer: 10-900 minutes Off
Weight: 3.04 lbs
Dimensions: (LxWxH) 3.5 x 8 x 7.7"
Battery Ports: 2 Independently settable
Charging current / power per port: 0.1-30A / max 560W at 28V supply voltage
Discharge currents / power per port: 0.1-10A / max 60W
Battery memory per port: 20 memories (Total 40)
USB charging port: B-Type 5V and maximum 2.5A Output power
Balance Port: Graupner / EH, 1-8 LiPo / Lilo / LiFe cells
Temperature Sensor: 10-80 degrees C /50-175 degrees F
Charge Distribution: Default 50% / 50%
Manufacturer: Graupner
Available From: Graupner
Price: $349.00

There were several excellent reasons I jumped at the chance to review the new Polaron EX 1400 charger from Graupner. The first is that I have heard nothing but praise for the Graupner chargers and power units from my friends who have one of the earlier Polaron chargers. Second, among other things this new EX 1400 can balance charge LiPo packs from 1-8 cells and I have an 8-cell 5000mAh LiPo pack to power my RC HSD J-10 Chinese fighter plane from Banana Hobby and this charger is able to handle that 8-cell pack. I will be putting charging that pack to the test as part of this review. I needed an 8-cell charger with balance board and EX 1400 has those. Third, I have a number of NiMH packs for my sailplanes and I need to cycle them and keep them in good condition and the EX 1400 has a cycling program. My fifth reason is that I still have some NiCads for a couple of RC tanks and other land vehicles so I can charge and cycle them. Six, I want to be better about keeping my unused LiPos in a storage charge when they don't get used after being fully charged for a flying session and this charger has a storage charge program that makes storing the packs at 3.80V a cell ultra simple. The Polaron has a large LCD screen that shows detailed information for a variety of functions to let me know what is happening. Finally, the firmware is upgradeable so there is a good chance that it will be able to handle new technology. For example it can handle High Voltage LiPos that charge to a higher cell voltage of 4.35V per cell. For all those reasons and because it looks cool, I wanted to get my hands on this powerful programmable charger that can handle a variety of battery types and size of packs, has a small footprint and can charge two packs at the same time.

The EX 1400 can be powered by 12 volts and supply up to 350W to both of the two built-in channels or if powered with 24 volts up to a full 700W of power for each of the two channels. I had brief access to a 24V power unit for a couple of tests for this review. Graupner will have their own 24V power unit for this charger available in December of this year. In the mean time since it does work with 12 volts you can power it with a wide number of 12V converters or a 12V battery in the field. Most of this review was done with my Radio Shack 13V, 25A power converter. It converts the AC (Alternating Current) from a wall socket to DC (Direct Current) to power the charger.The minimum recommended is 12 V 25 A so my current power adapter is at the minimum end of the scale for a power unit for this charger. I will do a second review using the new Graupner power adapter designed to be used with this charger when it becomes available at the end of this year. Since the maximum watts of 1400 depends on the quality of the power adapter and the adapter being a 24V unit for the maximum wattage I will have better information with my largest packs in the next review using the new Graupner 24V power adapter when it is available.

While I was finishing up this review the first shipment of this new charger came into Graupner's San Diego office and they were gone in a day. They mostly went to stores that sell Graupner chargers so you can probably find one if you look around but they are making more of them to meet the demand.

WARNING! This review is primarily a practical hands on review as to how this charger works and my experiences in programming and operating it. It is not a laboratory test of the charger. Additionally, for display purposes pictures were taken showing some batteries being charged out in the open. The author strongly encourages that batteries should be charged in a safe container such as a Lipo sack or a ceramic container that could contain a possible LiPo fire. Charging battery packs in a safe location and a safe manner is a critical practice to maintain. Most charging and cycling and running of the storage program was done using my normal precautions and proper safe practices are strongly recommended.

I recommend waiting for the 24V power supply coming from Graupner later this year if possible. Get the charger now and the 24V power supply when it becomes available.

When you use the Graupner POLARON Series Chargers for the new HV LiPo Batteries, please set the charging voltage at 4.35V per cell. You must NOT set 4.35V when you charge NORMAL Lipo Batteries (which maximum allowable charging voltage is 4.20V per cell).

Kit Contents

Kit Contains

  • Polaron EX 1400 Charger
  • XH 8S adapter cables
  • USB cable
  • DC input cable
  • 2 Universal Balance Boards: Supports four types of balancing plugs.
  • 2 temperature sensors
  • 2 charger cables
  • 2 pairs of crocodile clips with wire and connectors
  • 1 Charger stand
  • Manual

Additional Items Needed

  • Power source supplying 12-24V from battery or power adapter @ 25A minimum
  • Charging cords matching the main connector on your batteries
  • Batteries to charge, cycle store or discharge

Graupner's Promoted Features for the Polaron EX 1400

Promoted Features EX 1400

  • The World's First Space-saving upright design
  • User-friendly 3.0" color touch screen
  • Charging power 730W output per channel with 24 V DC input
  • Can be used to charge: 1-8 Lixx cells, 1-16 NiCD/NiMH cells, 1-12 PB cells
  • 2 outputs
  • 40-battery memory for various charging parameters (20 per output)
  • Space-saving design
  • Servo test function, tire heat control
  • All-up weight approximately: 1368g
  • Automatic charge current: USB 5V output (5.0V 2.5A) A
  • Maximum balancing current:1000 mA
  • Charge output: 2
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 88.2x203.4x196.3mm
  • Disconnection NiMH/NiCD: Delta Peak, variable

Ni-Cd & Ni-MH Batteries Per Terminal

Ni-Cd & Ni-MH Batteries

  • Cell Number: 1-16 cells | charge, discharge cycle
  • Charging Process: Automatic, Normal, Linear
  • Delta-Peak: NiCd 5-25 mV / cell, NiMH 3-15 mV / cell
  • Trickle Charging: Off, <500 mAh, automatic (1/20 of the charge current)
  • Cycles: 1-10 cycles, wait time adjustable 1-30 minutes
  • Adjustable Direction: Charge - Discharge, Discharge - Charge
  • Adjustable Capacity Range: 10-150%

Lithium Batteries Per Terminal

Lithium Batteries

  • Cell Number: 1-8 | Charge, Discharge, storage mode
  • Charging Method: Normal and Fast
  • Cell Voltages: 3.3V (LiFe), 3.6V (Lilo) and 3.7 V (LiPo)
  • Adjustable capacity range: 10-120%
  • Charge Rate: 1-5C
  • TCS capacity: 10-100%
  • Balancing Current: Maximum 1000 mAh

Lead Batteries Per Port

Lead Batteries

  • Cell Number: 1-12 cells | Charge, Discharge
  • Cell Voltage: 2V

No Lead batteries were tested in this review.

Powering the Graupner Polaron EX-1400

When looking at the front of the Polaron EX-1400 charger, the side on my left is designed to dock with the current 12V Polaron power supply. I do not yet have a Polaron power unit at this time. The 24V Polaron power model is still being developed to use with this charger. It will not connect on the side but only in the back of the EX 1400 as that connector is designed to accept 12-24V. The new power supply is scheduled to be available in December, 2015. Again power can be supplied to the Polaron EX-1400 from the side (12V only) or in the back (12V-24V). However, only ONE power supply should be connected to the charger at a time. Since I don't yet have a Polaron power unit I initially thought I would be leaving those connectors on the side of my charger unused at this time. I initially planned to power my Polaron EX-1400 in the back of the unit using the supplied XT90 connector. That connector can be used to connect to my 12V car battery in the field using the crocodile clips or with cables to my 12V AC power converter as well as my friend's 24V AC power converter. However, my early production line charger only came with XT90 connector while units for sale now come with the XT90 attached to a cable. I had some initial confusion of which side should get the positive wire and which one the negative in the XT90. The connector indicated one way but the picture in the manual was marked the opposite way on page 9. DON'T WORRY! You won't have that problem as they now include the XT90 already wired and it is wired correctly to the XT90 plug into the back of the charger and powers it correctly whether you are using a 12V or 24V power supply. The way the XT90 is marked for positive and negative is correct and page 9 of the manual will be corrected in the next addition. That was the only mistake I found in the manual and as I just stated you don't need to be concerned about it as they now supply the XT90 on a cable.

Since I could use my 12V sources to power the EX-1400 charger from the side, I did that while I cleared up my question on the proper polarity for the XT90 plug. On the side of the charger there is one red connector for a banana connector with a positive connection. There are two black banana plug connectors and use the one at the top to power the charger if you power on the side. I only used my 13V 25A Radio Shack power supply when powering from the side.

Programming the Polaron EX 1400

I quickly learned I was programming two channels, basically two chargers and not just one.

To work with one channel I would tap on the channel I wanted to work with be it channel 1 or 2. The active one would light up in Red and be the larger space of the two as shown in the pictures below.

40 Model Memory

The Polaron EX-1400 is really two chargers in one case and each has a twenty model memory that is separate from the other charger. They refer to these as being two channels so that is the language I will use as well. I decided I wanted to program both channels with my most common LiPo batteries so that I could charge two of the same size batteries at the same time. The first two I programmed were 3-cell 1300 and 2200 size batteries. During the course of this review I ended setting ten identical programs for Lipos on both channels. That used half of the memory available. I have programmed six additional size LiPos on channel 1 and 4 NiMH battery packs and 2 additional LiPos on channel 2. I still have eight model memories available for use in the future with four more available on each channel. Programming is so quick and easy that if all forty are in use it is a simple matter to reprogram a lesser used program to fit a current need.

Action Buttons

Many of the screens have three action buttons and some four buttons. These buttons are located on the bottom of the screen. These buttons are used in programming and operating the charger.

Four/Five Action Buttons

  • The first is a 180 degree return arrow: It is used as an escape button, return to the previous page, store the setup data.
  • Arrow pointing down: The decline button is used for page transition down as well as data setup such as the voltage.
  • Arrow pointing up: The include button is also used for page transition as well as data setup to increase the voltage or mAhs.
  • Entry Triangle pointing right: This is the Enter button it is used to access the next page, complete the data setup, Starting/completing operation, storing the setup data and more.
  • Sometimes there is a copy button instead of the Entry Triangle. As labeled it allows one to copy.
  • Sometimes there are only the first three action buttons.

Main Page: Nine Icons

The main page shows nine different icons and each one is an access to a special function. To get to that function just tap on the icon with the function you want to access. They have included a plastic stylus that is stored on the top right side of the charger as I look at the front of the charger. I use the stylus to keep the oil from my fingers off of the screen. The first function I worked with in programming my charger was the eighth icon on the screen, the User Set Icon.

The User Set Icon

This icon shows two gears working together. With channel 1 activated on the main page I next selected the User Set Icon. There are 4 different Modes that can be programmed in here. In Configure Mode 3 I programmed the date and time that are displayed on the top of the screen. In Configure Mode 4 I entered my user Name that is seen on the Main page. Although there was a line for Language and Options they are not currently used. In Configure Mode 1 there were six items I programmed and I selected the level I wanted to use. The six items included: the finish sound (10 options available), Sound time (On/Off and various time periods to choose from are available.), Beep (On/Off, internal or external button) LCD Bright (Backlight select 1-20 steps of brightness.), Temp scale (C or F), Sound Vol. (Select from 5 different levels available.) Modes 3 and 4 showed up on both channels 1 and 2 and did not need to be programmed a second time for channel 2. Modes one and two are programmed for the individual channels. This allows for different sounds to be selected for the channels if you wish to do so.

Config Mode 2 Allowed me to power the wattage coming into the charger (Whether from the side or the back.) (REMEMBER: Use only one powering source at a time!) the back input can be programmed for 12V or 24V. There is a setting available for low voltage error. I can even program the percentage each channel is receiving for output power. This could be helpful if the power supply is not very powerful and channel 1 is charging a large battery such as a 6-cell 5000mAh battery and channel 2 is charging a 3-cell 2200mAh battery. I can direct a greater percentage of power to channel 1 if I want to. My power adapter allowed me to power channel 1 with a full 350 W from my 13V power supply but channel 2 only gets 300. That is one of the reasons I am looking forward to the new power supply from Graupner coming out in December.

The programming in User Setup was really quite easy to do. I just went through the Modes 1 page at a time and the selections were easy for me to make. Just click on an item with the stylus, select an arrow on the row of action buttons to run through the options, make my selection and save. Mode 3 also had two time alarms available but I opted to leave them off. That briefly covers one of the 9 icons. The manual did a good job of leading me through the various selections available.

Profile Page Icon

This is the main functional page for the charger. I used it to set up the model memory with battery name, battery type, capacity, number of cells and set the memory number. This is also where I started charging operations by selecting the programming matching the battery to be worked with charging, discharging, cycling and balance mode functions. This programming was surprisingly easy and intuitive. Caution: Be sure to properly set the type of battery, the number of cells and the battery capacity. There are 12 characters available for the name there is also space for the memory model number. My first battery name was: #01 3-LIPO 1300 and I used 11 characters.

I clicked on Channel 1 and then on the Profile Page and went to model #01 by tapping on the arrow action button to get to #01. I pressed and held on Battery Name until I activated the "keyboard" information. I cleared off the existing Battery Name and selected the new name, one character at a time: 3-LIPO 1300. That completes the name. There are 12 characters available. The name is for my benefit and it doesn't control anything, it is just a name. Typing in NiMH or Lipo doesn't set the charger for the type of battery that is the next function.

Going down the list for "TYPE" I selected: LIPO, for Voltage I selected 3S and the correct voltage number came up next to it. For Capacity I activated it and pressed on the up arrow which started at 1000 and when it got to 1300mAh I let off and it stopped. I had just completed the programming for my first battery pack and I repeated the exact same process on Channel 2. Now I can charge two of these 3-cell 1300 packs at the same time. Next I programmed both channels for 3-cell 2200 mAh packs. (I also have 3-cell 1800 and 2100 mAh packs. Rather than program for all of these I will change the Capacity when I have one of the 1800 or 2100 mAh packs. I have more 2200 mAh and that is what I named it but the Capacity programming will be changed by me as necessary.

Balance Icon

I had a couple of 3S 2200mah batteries that had recently been used and were down from full charge by about .8 volts. I connected the batteries to the balance board and the main power connector that matched the battery packs which were Dean connectors in this case. I pressed the right facing triangle power button to start the balance process. All three cells had a slightly different charge as displayed by thee bars on the charger screen. The highest charge was brought down and the lower two were brought up. The voltage at the start of the process was 200ths of a volt and it went down as they became more balanced. When they got close a warning sound went off and told me the amperage on the batteries didn't match my program as I was using program 1 set for only 1300 mAh. I didn't know if it would catch this discrepancy or not as the cell count matched. It took a while but it caught it. I also tried a two cell pack using program 1 and it caught that discrepancy immediately and wouldn't let the process start.

I went to program 2 which I had set for three cells and 2200 mAhs and restarted the balance mode. It got the three cells within 2/100s of each other and at the end was using only .001 volts in the balancing process. It caught my two tests and when using the correct program did an excellent job of balancing the battery. During subsequent tests I had no trouble balancing two batteries at a time using channels 1 and 2. Very pleased with its performance.

Charging Icon

This icon is a fully charged battery. After selecting the proper program for the battery pack to be charged from the Profile Page (program 2 for 3-LIPO 2200); I connected the battery to the balance board and to the main connector with a wire with a connector matching the connector on the battery. I supplied these main connector wires to match the various connectors on my batteries. With the program matching the battery and the battery connected to the balance board and the main power supplies for Channel 1 I selected the Charge Mode and I pressed the right facing triangle action button near the bottom of the screen and the charging process began. It tested and confirmed that a three cell battery was connected to the balance board. It ran a second check and then started the Charging process. The screen gave some excellent information. The voltage was at 2.23 Amps maximum and the rate for the batteries was 2.2 so that was good. It was charging at 1 C which is the rate I normally like to charge all of my LiPo batteries at to help protect their battery life. I could see a constant display of the mAhs being used and a chart of the charging process that contracted to the left with time to show the on going chart. It took about twenty minutes to get the battery up to 12.66V on the charger and it was turning on and off at the final bit. I was charging to 105%. When I took the battery off the charger my separate tester gave the reading for the three cells at 12.56 Volts under load. The charger was charging to 4.20V per cell. None of my packs ever had a reading on my separate testers over 12.58V nor did any cell ever have a reading over 4.20V in dozens of charges. The 12.66V and 105% readings were on the LCD screen and that made me test the actual voltage extensively. Again I had no readings exceeding 4.20V per cell in any size battery pack in the course of this review.

These next pictures show some of my main battery charge wires with different connectors. They were purchased separately and did not come with the charger. I have been informed two wires now come with the charger with one end with Banana plugs and the other end open for soldering on your preferred plug. Here are some of the wires I supplied.

Subsequent charges showed me readings that would momentarily be above the maximum on the Polaron meter but when the charging stopped on its own the reading was at or just below maximum of 2.40V per cell on a good battery. I also tested the Polaron to see if it would let me screw up and charge a battery on the wrong program. Using a three cell program it would not start charging a two cell or four cell battery nor even an old three cell battery with a dead cell (It correctly only read two and would not charge.) While I always double check that I am using the correct program for the battery it was good to confirm that the EX-1400 battery check was working and only let the proper battery be charged for type and number of cells. Again a three cell battery with a different mAh than programmed would start to charge but would turn off before the battery was fully charged and notify me that the program and battery did not match. For the more critical "Battery Type" and "Cell Count," if those were wrong it wouldn't start the charging process. That is the way I want it and that is the way it works!

I have some some batteries that can be charged at 2Cs and I selected "FAST" on the Charger page at the CC VC select box. I just activated it and thereby activated FAST charge. I charged the 6.6V 3200mAh 6C LiFe battery pack at FAST Charge and it charged it at 4C. I seldom charge even these batteries at more than 1C but it was nice to see the Polaron could and would do it when programmed properly. I could FAST charge my 6S 5500 mAh packs at 2C with the borrowed 24V power adapter with the proper 24V selection in the User Set. This power was supplied through the back of the charger using the XT90 connector. In my limited testing with 6-cell batteries using 24V it could charge almost twice as fast as it could at 12V. The Watts available does make a difference with the bigger battery packs. I look forward to testing this further with the new Graupner power adapter when it comes out later this year.

Charging my 8-cell 5000 Battery Pack

This charged pretty much like all of my other batteries. I programmed for it in channel 2 the #11 model and connected it to my Balance Board and connected the main connection cord. I ran it in Balance first for a few minutes and learned the first two cells had a little more charge the the rest. It was quickly in balance and I went to charge it. Using my 13V, 25A power adapter the charger pumped in 1000mAh every 15 1/2 minutes until the battery neared a full charge and the charging voltage and speed went down. It went from the low 30.200 volts to 33.600 volts in about an hour as it slowed down as it finished charging. I was very happy to have my big 8-cell pack charged, balanced and ready to go.

Charging a NiMH battery

I programmed channel 2 for three different sizes of NiMH batteries and one Nicad. The NiMH packs are four cell packs of 800mAh an 2000mAh that are used to power radio units in a variety of my sailplanes. I have two four cell 3500mAh packs that I use in sailboats. The NiCad packs are 8 cell 1200mAh packs used in tanks and cars. I was able to charge or cycle these packs one at a time using channel 2 and sometimes I would be charging LiPos at the same time on channel one and how I did this is discussed below.

The actual charging or cycling was the same process of programming in the Profile mode, connecting the battery to the charger and running the desired charge or cycle program. Of course the balance board isn't used with the NiMH batteries.

Charging a LiFe Battery

Very easy and not different from charging a LiPo as the balance board is used and the main Star connector was used on the main plug the two receiver power connectors were not used for charging.

Discharge and Store Icons

I won't be using the Discharge function in real life very often but I tested it for this review and it worked well. What I have been using is the Storage function! Many of us have fully charged our LiPo batteries in anticipation of going flying the next day only to have the weather or the wife change our plans. If you leave the batteries fully charged and don't go flying for a while you may find your battery pack is puffed out. That is because LiPos don't like to be stored fully charged. By using the Storage function the Polaron lowers the voltage for proper storage to 3.80V per cell from the 4.20V of a fully charged battery. This helps protect the battery until it is time to use it again and it doesn't take long to get the battery fully charged when it is time to go flying.

The Cycle Icon

I got this review at a very good time as I had a number of NiCad and NiMH battery packs just sitting in sailplanes, a couple of RC tanks and a couple of RC cars. Those batteries needed to be used regularly or cycled to keep them working properly. The first NiCad back I tried to cycle had been sitting unused in a tool box for years and was dead and couldn't be brought back. However the packs in sailplanes and the land vehicles have all (but one) responded well do being cycled and I probably would have lost many of them if this review hadn't brought them back to my attention. I have now created a schedule to cycle my NiMH and NiCad packs and try to keep them in good operating condition. If they have gone bad the charger lets me know by shutting down and giving a short notice. This function has proven very easy to use and very helpful.

How to Charge Two Batteries at a Time

Once I had programmed channels 1 and 2 for a variety of batteries charging two at a time was simple. I selected the proper program from Profile Mode for the first battery I wanted to charge. I connected the battery to the charger and used the Balance Board as well if appropriate for the battery being charged. I went to Charge Mode in the selected channel and double checked everything was correct and pressed the Enter Triangle and charging started. For the second battery I selected the other channel and did the same thing and got it charging in the same way. I could only view the progress of one battery at a time but I could switch between them to track the progress by pressing on the channel selector to view the progress of the battery I wanted to watch.

I could charge a LiPo on one channel and a NiMH battery on the other channel or any combination of batteries that the Polaron lists above. I could balance one battery on one channel and charge or cycle, etc a second battery on the other channel. They work like two units in one small box.

Data Mode

The Data in the normal mode can be viewed but not programmed. It simply supplies some basic operation information. However in Cycle data and Graph data modes the data can be programmed using the DEC/INC arrow buttons. Examples of Graph data are displayed when in Charging mode and can be seen in a number of the pictures above.

Bad Batteries didn't fool the Polaron EX 1400!

I have a few batteries waiting for me to take to our local hazardous safety site and since I had them I put them to use for this review. These tests were run outdoors. Here are the results:

1) I have a three cell LiPo that has been used for years and although it reads that it has a full charge if I try to use it the motor in the plane immediately starts to stutter. I hooked it up to the Balance Mode on the Polaron. The balance bars danced up and down and changed colors with one another. Normally the bars are solid and slowly move to the balance line as they are balanced. The Polaron dropped to .001 volts and stopped trying to balance. It recognized that the pack was bad. My separate little hand held LiPo voltage tester is still fooled by the pack but not the Polaron.

2) I have a three cell Lipo with a dead middle cell. I tried to charge it but it shut down as it only read two cells. I tried to charge it as a two cell pack while still using the three cell balance port and it wouldn't charge at all. So it caught this bad battery as well. It should therefore also catch it if I accidently make a mistake ... not that I would ever do that.

3) I already discussed my dead NiMH battery pack from my tool box and it wouldn't let the charger run as it couldn't detected it since it was dead. As he sang in Munchkin Land: "As Coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her, and she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead."

Temperature Sensor

The charger came with two temperature sensors, one for each channel and they plug into the front of the charger. It was clear which plug was for which channel. The temperature can be seen in Celsius or Fahrenheit. I taped the sensor directly to a number of the batteries and the temperature remain room temperature most of the time and only got slightly warm at most. That is a good thing! The sensor is there to set off a warning if the battery pack starts getting too warm or hot. If the alarm should go off you can see the temperature of the battery on the screen. I recommend to disconnect the battery and make sure that the battery is in the Liposack on a non flammable surface outside.

Its The pilot's Job to Use Proper Protection

Even with a great charger the possibility exists that a bad or damaged battery may go off during the charging process and for that reason protection with an original LipoSack, a ceramic bunker or other fire containment system should be used when charging LiPo batteries. I also use the sack for my other batteries as well in normal (Not a review!) charging. You need something that can contain the flames, withstand 2000 degree heat and yet allow the fumes to vent.

Read the safety tips that come with every LiPo battery that is sold. The house, car or garage that you save might be yours. I do not fear LiPo batteries but I give them a lot of respect as a potential hazard. Using a quality charger like the Polaron EX 1400 is part of that respect.

The Polaron EX-1400 Tool Menu

Having learned how to use the charger and tested it repeatedly charging two packs at a time I decided to learn about the connectors located on the right side of the EX-1400 associated with the Tool Menu in the chargers program.

There are four tools in the "Tool Menu" each is represented by an Icon. They are:Servo test, Motor test, ESC Brushless Control + T and tire warmer menu. I will briefly review these tools now starting with the Servo test.

Servo Test

Until recently I didn't worry much about testing servos, especially new servos. I would test them when installed in an aircraft and make sure they were centered before installing the control arm, but I never "tested" a new servo. Recently a friend assembled a Multiplex Blizzard with one new Hitec 55 servo in the back. It was new and he didn't test it. Unfortunately, after completing assembly he found the servo didn't work. But it was now encased in foam and there was no easy way to replace it. His problem raised the issue of testing even new servos to me. This was especially true for servos that would be very hard to replace like my friend's was in the back of the Blizzard. Thanks to Graupner and my Polaron EX 1400 I now have a servo tester.

The servo tester has a connector on the side of the EX-1400. It is on the bottom row of connectors and is the one in back. It is shaped to accept either a Futaba or a Universal servo connector. It is labeled: "Servo Test." Under Tools there is an icon of a servo and the testing function is covered starting on page 32 of the instruction manual. To operate the servo test I start by plugging the connector into the servo test socket. On the computer screen I selected the MISC PAGE. I tapped the Servo icon to access the program for testing servos and Brushless motors. After tapping on the servo icon I got a new screen.

The screen showed: Min, Mid and Max signal. The output signal showed the current signal output parameters. The auto loop time is set generally from .1 to .5 seconds. That is the servo run time for a test. High power servos may require longer run times.

I tapped on the start button on the bottom right of the screen.

Motor Test

The Motor Tester uses the middle plug on the bottom row as well as the servo test plug. This requires an optional "wire splitter" accessory to use which I don't have. This test option was not used and thus not reviewed.

Battery & Tire Warmers

Both of these features require additional components that are optional and which I didn't have and so these options were not tested or reviewed. I do know that LiPo batteries do not put out nearly as much energy in cold conditions so their battery warmer bag would be an option I would consider if I lived in a colder climate. I make do with a special bean bag heated in our microwave oven and placed with my LiPos in a "cooler" to keep them warm until used on cold winter days. As for the tire warmer I am not a serious car racer so I don't need to heat any tires although I have been informed by those that race RC cars that warm tires are a legal advantage for racing.

Video

The 15 minute video below demonstrates many of the features of the Polaron EX 1400 charger.

Graupner Polaron EX-1400 Charger (14 min 59 sec)

Conclusion

A charger review might not sound as exciting as reviewing a new plane or quadcopter but I have to admit I was honestly stoked about reviewing this charger and it did not disappoint! They promote it as having a user friendly touch screen and that it has! It comes with an excellent Instruction Manual and I found it very easy and intuitive to program for my various batteries. I was happy to have the two excellent optional Balance Boards that covered all of the various balance connectors I have in my various LiPo and LiFe battery packs. Programming the charger for my battery packs was very easy and it was even easier to charge them, discharge them, cycle them, or set my battery packs for storage. During the course of this review I used my 13V, 25A adapter to power the Polaron Charger most of the time but I also briefly used a 24V power adapter with two of my larger battery packs and that made a huge difference by shortening the time involved to charge them in FAST CHARGE. I was very impressed by the entire Polaron system and how nicely the various Modes operate. As stated above the instruction manual is excellent! But the system is so intuitive that I seldom used the instructions after the first day. I will even be able to upgrade the firmware in my charger in the future. An upgrade came out in July as I was doing this review. The firmware in my unit is 14.05. I thought I would need to upgrade to the new release but when I checked it out the release said I didn't need to upgrade. It is however good to know I can upgrade in the future using my computer and the included USB cable that came with the Polaron EX 1400. Graupner has a history of upgrading their firmware and sharing that for easy home upgrades with your computer.

During the course of my review I charged and cycled about a dozen different NiMH packs and six NiCad packs. One pack was dead but the others all charged and cycled. I charged a couple dozen different Lipo packs and a couple of LiFes for this review and ran many more LiPos to a storage level voltage. All of which was very easy to do. I didn't test the charger with every type of battery it can work with but with the four types I did use the charger worked very well. This was not a quick one and done review but extensive work with my very large collection of battery packs over several months.

If you work with large batteries I HIGHLY recommend this charger! If you have a 12V, 25A or higher, power adapter at this time I recommend getting this charger now and using your current power supply for now. The Polaron system is well designed and easy to use. I was impressed how fast and well it worked in all modes of programming with my power adapter that was just at the minimum recommendations. I could easily go on just using my current power source but for FAST CHARGES in the future I want to have full time access to the upcoming 24V power adapter designed to be used with this charger. I am also glad I didn't wait for the new power adapter because the EX 1400 works better and can do more than my previous charger even with my current power supply. I am looking forward to the new 24V adapter and its smaller foot print compared to my current power adapter which is rather large and the 24V adapter I borrowed which is huge. I can honestly report my NiMH packs haven't been in this good a condition since they were new. My Lipos are now in Store mode but can be quickly made ready to operate so they are in their best condition as well. I am still a pretty lazy guy but the Polaron EX 1400 is so easy to operate and works so well I think this is a start of a beautiful relationship between my batteries and this charger.

If you think you only want a 12V power supply they are available now from Open Hobby and fine hobby stores. Here is the link for Open Hobby: Open Hobby Power Source

Pluses & Minuses

Pluses

  • Easy to program for your various battery packs
  • Easy to charge, discharge, cycle or set to store your battery packs
  • Takes up very little room
  • Can handle two packs at a time
  • Comes in four colors
  • Can work with a 12 or 24 Volt adapter or with a 12 or 24 Volt battery
  • Handles up to 8 cell Lipos with ease
  • Two excellent balance boards for four types of Balance plugs are included
  • Two emergency temperature monitors included.
  • Excellent instruction manual

Minuses

  • A bit pricey if you only have small batteries (Check out the smaller Polarons.)
  • The 24V power adapter for the Polaron EX 1400 is not yet available.
  • I needed to supply the main charger cords for my batteries (Times two)

Thanks

My thanks to Graupner for supplying this new Polaron 1400 EX charger to RC Groups for this user oriented review. It was everything I was hoping it would be and more. I want to thank our editor for her assistance with this review as well.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Aug 31, 2015 at 06:08 PM..
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Sep 03, 2015, 10:25 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Reserved by author for future information. Mike H
Sep 04, 2015, 07:22 AM
Suspended Account
Storage voltage per cell is programmable, too. The default is 3.80. I use 3.85. This is truly one of the best chargers on the market.
Sep 04, 2015, 07:28 AM
Registered User
Would this charger and power supply from Graupner prevented what happened below? I did see in the website for the polaron pro combo it had listed as safety features (Short Circuit/overload/over voltage/over power)

This morning I just blew up another power supply and charger. It was the Efuel 1200 and Icharger duo 308. Price was $530. These were replacements for another set I blew up a year ago. Last time I made the mistake of plugging in another charger to the power supply while another charger was charging on it. Don't do that. No fuse to prevent the charger or power supply from cooking it self.

This time my breaker in my house flipped and it was dark so I was not able to unplug the batteries right away. It was parallel charging two 6s 5000 on each side. Maybe the regenerative feature or something else made smoke start coming out of the charger and the power supply starting making popping sounds. I had already unplugged the power strip from the wall when this happened. I had to unplug the batteries that were powering the charger instead of being charged at this point. I am going to have to figure away to prevent this from happening again. It is a MAJOR FIRE HAZARD. This started about 10 minutes into charging. Luckily I was in the same room. Just another example of the importance of being in the same room while charging.

I wonder if any chargers or power supplies have features built in to prevent this.
Sep 04, 2015, 07:33 AM
Suspended Account
I saw your post and don't quite understand the sequence or why it failed so I don't know. I have accidentally turned it off while charging in parallel and nothing happened.
Sep 04, 2015, 12:53 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
I have the Polaron AC/DC model. It is a great charger. If you want to "geek out", install the "Graupner Charge Monitoring Suite".
Sep 04, 2015, 01:05 PM
Suspended Account
Yes, the software is very advanced.
Sep 04, 2015, 01:08 PM
Suspended Account
I suggest moving to version 1.406 of the firmware, which cures a peculiar or odd need to fix the charge or discharge mode at start up. The 1400 will now default to cv/cc as it should if that firmware is loaded.
Sep 04, 2015, 05:03 PM
Registered User
Interesting review and video !

Thanks !
Sep 04, 2015, 05:37 PM
Bo Edström, Sweden
Hi,
It seems to be a nice charger.

1. But one can wonder how good the color screen and selections on it with the icons and various fields there works when using larger fingers, some icons/fields seems small in the video. Imagine doing this out in the cold perhaps in winter maybe with gloves on.

2. How good is the color screen in direct sunlight?
For me personally, if the screen is not absolutely fully readable in DIRECT sunlight it would be a no go.

3. One rather large negative thing is if I understand the video correct that when charging on both channels at the same time You can not monitor what the charger do on both channels at the same time on the screen, You have to select to display data for channel 1 OR channel 2.
For me that would be almost a no go to consider this charger. I want to see what happen on both channels at the same time, and that is why I have a charger with two displays - Hyperion EOS 0720 Super DUO3. Just my personal preference to have two displays, one for each channel.

Other then that the Polaron charger looks gorgeous and have nice specs.

/Bo
Last edited by bossee; Sep 04, 2015 at 05:43 PM.
Sep 04, 2015, 10:48 PM
Registered User
There are many suitable power supplies out there already like the MEANWELL RSP-1500-24 or the Junsi Chargery S1500 V2. But maybe Graupner is still worth the wait power+quality/price wise.
I'm still curious how the fast mode works. Is it like the B6 charger (stop at 1/5 charge rate insteead of 1/15), like Junsi (overcharge the strongest cells up to 50 mV and use the balancer to discharge it to 4,2V), like the Estner Akkumatik (burp/pulse charging instead of CV charging and stop at 4,18V settled) or even like the Elprog Pulsar3 that uses fast
reflex charging not only for NIMH but even for lipos.
Panasonic does something similar wit Li-Ion batteries.
The initial charging current is often not even a half of the story.
Sep 05, 2015, 05:09 AM
Registered User
Great review. I feel like I don't need to even read the manual with how in depth it was.
It would be nice to know how much the new power supply would cost and how much it would be as a combo.

To bad they don't have the 24 v power supply out now. It would be a nice clean looking combo. There are other very good power supplies available that probably would cost less but not look as clean and save space.
Last edited by Aerobatic Addict; Sep 05, 2015 at 05:17 AM.
Sep 06, 2015, 11:38 AM
PGR
PGR
Low AltiDude
PGR's Avatar
Will the NiMH "Trickle charge" run indefinitely if the "Maximal capacity" and "Safety timer" are set to off?

Pete
Sep 13, 2015, 08:32 AM
Registered User
DForbes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Heer
Reserved by author for future information. Mike H
Nice review Mike! When are the blue ones expected to hit the market as all I see for sale are black and red.

Thanks,

Dennis
Sep 13, 2015, 05:17 PM
Very nice review Mike!

If you guys are looking for one of these, the lowest price online is here: $339usd, all colors in-stock.

http://www.aircraft-world.com/en/sea...GR-S2018&c=&m=


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