I needed a simple charger with an integrated power supply, so I checked out the iMAX B6. I already have an Accucel 6 from Turnigy, and this has pretty much the same software, which I like so I ordered it.
It arrived just a couple of days after ordering, in perfect shape. It has a nice big box to protect everything.
There’s actually only one banana plug wire included, with a male deans plug in the other end. In addition you get several different adapters from deans to JST, servo plug, glow starter and crocodile plugs. There’s also a wire with croc plugs and a barrel plug, which can be used to power the iMAX from a 12V (car) battery to charge your batteries.
Strange enough it didn’t include the XT60 plug, which is maybe one of the most popular at the moment, so I bought one with banana plugs, so I don’t have to use any adapters to charge it. I also have a separate JST charge wire which I can use for my smaller batteries.
As the Accucel 6 I have from before, this charger also comes with a plastic over the LCD, which is impossible to get off without opening the charger, at least without risking scratches or damaging the LCD. I wanted to open it anyways to take a look, and it was easily done by removing six screws.
The four buttons seems to be supposed to be screwed to the aluminium front, there are threaded holes for it, but no screws, so the buttons feel a bit loose when using the charger, I might put in a couple of screws there in the future, just to make it feel less cheap.
I checked the PCB to see if there’s something I don’t like about the design, and I found a couple of things. One; the power ports isn’t actually physically restrained to the PCB, just soldered on top of them, I’m not sure I like this approach, but it will probably not be any problems. The same with the balance ports, the board with all the different ports is angled towards the PCB, and only fastened with solder, nothing else. I’ll be careful not to push to hard on that. Other than that, everything seems fine. There’s no fan on this charger, but I think I found a port for a fan, should it be necessary. My Accucel 6 has a fan, and needs it for charging, and especially discharging.
A good manual is also included, which is rare for these products.
I did a test with my Quanum Nova’s 2700mAh 3S battery. It was about half full and needed to be put in storage mode. I chose storage on the charger, and 1A (maximum for discharge). After 100 minutes (!!) it finally stopped, it had used as much as 70 minutes just balancing the battery, before finally stopping at 11.39V (out of 11.40). The cells were not properly balanced, they were 4.19, 4.19, 4.20. Good enough for the test.
For the first full charge, I chose balanced charge, and 2.7A. This will give a charge rate of 1C, which is the preferable rate for LiPos. The charger quickly got up to 4.20V per cell, but still used 30 minutes to balance the cells before ending automatically. The result was OK, but not perfect.
While testing this charger, I received another battery I had ordered for my quadcopter. It has the same specifications, and is made for the Quanum Nova. When comparing the two batteries physically, I noticed that the newer battery seemed of much better quality than the original. It has perfectly square corners compared to my other battery, and the sides are in the same color as the battery itself, and just feels overall better built. The one with the darkest color is the new one.
Also it was easier to charge it, it balanced quickly, and ended at exactly 12.60V and 4.20V per cell.
As I haven’t had more than a couple of cycles on both battery, I’m still not sure if the balancing problem is the battery, or the charger. It charges quickly, it’s just that it doesn’t stop balancing. I’ll have to run more cycles on the batteries, and see if they charge better in the future. But the new battery seems to be easier for the charger to balance correctly. Maybe the original battery was messed up with the charger included with the Quanum Nova. I’ll update when I have done some more tests.