Compare iCharger to Other Popular Battery Chargers

Table 1

The table below is an example of possible charging times calculated with the manufacturer specified max current and max power (watts) rating. The battery chargers maximum rated current cannot always be reached if it the charger does not have enough available power (watts). More information on this can be found on here.

These charge time calculations do not factor normal efficiency losses such as heat and internal resistance, such as cables, connectors or possible bad wiring. The iCharger has a 90% proven efficiency rating. For some of the other brands 10-20% margin of error could be possible. The charge times in this table represent a best case scenario. All charging time are in minutes.

Table 1

Please Note
In some of these examples we have shown charge rates of 3c. Please note this is ONLY for batteries that have specified manufacturer charge rating of 3c. DO NOT under any circumstances try and charge any Lipo battery that does not specify 3c charge rate. This can cause damage to the battery, fire, explosions and ultimately serious injury. We recommend 1c charge rate unless specified by the battery manufacturer. More information on Lipo safety can be found here.

Power
As shown in the charge time table, a battery charger cannot always deliver its maximum current if it does not have the adequate power (watts). This means the charge time is longer and the battery charger has to work at its maximum potential every time you use it. The rule of thumb for any device is that it should be running much less than its full power. This enables the device to run more efficiently and be cooler and safer. The most simple way to work this out is the watts equation. Volts x amps = watts. Therefore, dividing the chargers maximum watt rating by battery packs voltage (that you are charging) will give you the total amps it can deliver during this cycle. As you can see this is not always the "max" current rating. Watt rating is a much more crucial specification when shopping for a battery charger. Particularly when using advance charging methods like parallel charging, which enables charging of more than one same cell battery at the same time. More information on this advance charging technique can be found here.

Accuracy
An accurate "true" computerised charger is a must. Some of the cheaper brands aren't as accurate or reliable. False peaking during charge cycle, terminating early, or worse terminating not soon enough will reduce your running time and ultimately reduce the life of the battery pack. This will ultimately cost more, not to mention create unnecessary danger!

On The Fly Setting Change
With the iCharger, the user can change the charge and safety parameters on the fly, without having to stop the charge cycle. Current, max capacity, temperature cutoff, voltage termination and more can be changed while a battery is being charged!

Safety
When dealing with volatile battery chemistries such as Lithium batteries, safety and good charging practices are crucial. Having an accurate and reliable battery charger that monitors all aspects of the battery, such as voltage drops, voltage cutoff, current capacity fed into the battery and temperature is crucial. Allowing user set termination on any and all of these parameters is the best possible option for your safety. Although most battery chargers have temperature cutoff functions, not all of them include an external temperature sensor out of the box.
iCharger measures both the battery temperature and the chargers own internal temperature. This reduces the current being fed to the battery in increments until the temperature reaches a stable level or charge cycle is terminated altogether.

Regenerative Discharge
Our research so far has shown that iCharger is one of the only chargers that offers regenerative discharge as a standard feature (not on 106B+ model). Regenerative discharge sends the depleted energy in a discharge cycle back to the power source, recharging the power source! Obviously the power source needs to be rechargeable, such as a 12v car battery. Other chargers deplete this energy over a transistor in the form of heat, which requires heat sinks, fans and ultimately large cases.
Regenerative discharge also allows 10 times as much discharge current and power, if needed in a discharge cycle.

Noise
iChargers internal fan only activates when temperature is reached and the fan is needed. Reducing the noise unless it is absolutely necessary.

Size
Well size doesn't always matter. But if you could have the option wouldn't you prefer the charger to be the smallest size possible? The most portable? iCharger is the smallest size DC battery charger versus its power rating on the market, with 90% energy efficiency rating.

Forming Charge
What is forming charge? Over time Nihm batteries that aren't properly charged and looked after develop "memory effect". Peaking and telling your charger they are fully charged when they are not. Forming charge rejuvenates old batteries that have been in storage or batteries that are brand new have not been used. Increasing capacity and bringing life to old batteries.
All batteries have a lifespan, there is a certain point when a batteries life comes to an end and it is beyond repair. But this function can, at times, provide a lifeline for those old NiHM batteries.

Internal Resistance Meter
A batteries internal resistance increases with time. Having the ability to measure the internal resistance of a battery allows you to know the condition of your packs at all times. As well as being able to differentiate between the good packs and the not so good packs. Why does this matter? Well you could determine which pack has almost done its dash or which pack is the one to only use for racing and which one is the one for "backyard bashing".

Summary
Although there are always cheaper products out there. One question you should ask yourself before making a decision on a battery charger is; is it worth it? Ultimately you could pay $100 less for a product to charge your batteries. But if it takes longer, it isn't as accurate, reduces your battery lifespan, isn't as safe and can be frustrating to use, it will reduce your enjoyment of whatever you're running, over time damage your batteries and ultimately cost you more. As with anything… you get what you pay for. Investing a little more from the beginning in a good quality computerised charger will not only future proof you, but also be more fun to use!