Power Lab 6 1000W 40A 6S Balance Charger
- Product Review (submitted on September 10, 2013):
Like almost everyone else who got started in this hobby, I went with what I thought was an "okay" standalone charger mainly because it didn't cost much. That was a waste of $90 including some adapters so that I could charge 2 small LiPo packs at once.
I eventually got into the larger scale Short Course trucks and am using 8,200 mAh 2S LiPo packs to get long run times. My old 6-amp charger would've taken forever to charge the packs.
After much research on the factory site, manual, and multiple forums that cater to Big Boys' Toys (450+ size Helis, 1:8 buggies, 1:10 SCTs, large scale boats, etc.), the Power Lab chargers always came up with mostly great reviews; if anything, people were nitpicking on issues like needing a large power supply to get 100% out of the PL6. Granted, these guys are using large 6S LiPo packs, but it's something to keep in mind.
For me and my 2S LiPo packs, though, the PL6 and a converted server power supply (12.8 volts, 47 amps) are more than what I need...for now. It's nice to know that the PL6 is somewhat future-proof and can accept more juice from a PS once you see the need.
I'm able to charge one 8,200 mAh 2S pack very near the Low Voltage Cutoff point (5% fuel capacity per the PL6) on the Accurate Charge setting in 35 minutes; on the Faster Charge setting, it does it in about 31 minutes. The manual also states that the last 5% of charging takes the longest so theoretically, you can stop the charging process there which would speed things up even more. But, I choose to go the entire way.
My biggest gripe is that the Charge Control Software is only available for PCs. My entire household has nothing but Macs. It'd be nice to be able to program the charger's options on a computer just for the sake of saving time.
If you're on the fence about investing your hard-earned money on this charger, just go for it. It *is* a lot of money, but you'll also be saving yourself time and money if you go with an entry level standalone charger that you'll end up replacing later on once you get into larger scale models.