The 1S Chargers Contest

Now that the winter is about to hit the Northern Hemisphere, I find myself flying more and more my micros, which all use 1S batteries.

The micro fleet include a Blade Nano S2, a Blade mSR-X, an XK K110 and an Eachine E010S quad.

Just because 1S batteries are dirt cheap does not mean that we should treat them bad, right? 1S specific chargers are usually small, not powerful, and usually offer less to none information regarding their operation.
For quite some time I was curious about the quality of these devices, and to compare the five chargers to see which one would offer my batteries the longer life.

The compared 1S charger, from left to right: GOO, Eachine, XK, E-Flite and Turnigy UP S6




The contestants

I have five different 1S chargers, which came either with the purchase of a model, such as the Blade Nano S2, the XK K110 and the Eachine E010S, or when I bought batteries for these models, such as the GOO batteries for the XK K110. One I bought it specifically to have a proper 1S charger as a reference.
So here they are :

  1. Generic "multi-function" charger. It came free of charge with the purchase of five GOO batteries. It is powered via USB and can charge up to six 1S batteries simultaneously. It does not offer any information, except for a red LED which turns on when the battery is plugged and off when the charge is done. I have no idea what the "multi-function" stands for. 
    1S GOO "multifunction" charger
  2. Generic USB pen charger. It came with the Eachine E010S quad, and it can charge one battery at a time. Same red LED to show if the battery is charging or it is charged. 
    1S Eachine generic charger
  3. XK two ports charger. It came with the XK K110 helicopter, and it can charge up to two batteries at the same time. It is powered by an USB cable and only have the LED information found on the models above. 
    1S XK generic charger
  4. E-Flite USB pen. It came with the Blade Nano S2, and it charges one battery at a time. The charger looks more "professional" than the others, but just because there are some instructions on it which explain the LED being on or off. 
    1S E-Flite EFLC1008 charger
  5. Turnigy UP-S6. This charger is sold by Hobbyking for about 7€ and has quite a bit of interesting functions: six batteries can be charged simultaneously, each port has a variable power output from 0,1A to 1A, and can charge LiPos or HV LiPos. It is powered either with another 2S / 3S battery, or with an adapter outputting 9-15V. It also have an USB outlet. There is a little LCD screen which displays the current configuration, and the voltage of each plugged battery. All the options are selectable with a short or long press on a single button. 
    Turnigy UP S6 charger
The control unit

How can I compare all these chargers which do not offer any information on what they are doing? With an USB power analyser! This unit is sold by Hobbyking and it is quite a marvel: it displays input voltage, time elapsed, mAh, W/h, batteries IR and more parameters. The female port receives the charger male, and the male port goes into the USB power adapter.

The Turnigy USB tester
By using this analyser I am able to monitor multiple parameters which can help me determine how fast and accurately each of these chargers perform their task.
It might not be extremely precise or accurate, but what I needed here was a consistent way of determine the quality of the charge process.

The test

So here we have five chargers, together with five 1S 200 mAh LiPo batteries. All the batteries have been discharged to the same voltage (3,7 V) and have been numbered 1 to 5.

I have measured the time to full charge, the Ah output of each charger, the mA put back in each battery, and the final voltage.

The results

I have compiled this very simple table, and highlighted the best result in green and the worst in red. A yellow was awarded to a fixed output charger with a really good performance. Still not the best!

Charger Ports A output mAh charged Final voltage Time to full charge
GOO charger 6 0,35A 87mAh 4,13 V 18m 49s
Eachine charger 1 0,52A 98mAh 4,20 V 15m 45s
XK charger 2 0,26A 69mAh 4,18 V 19m 29s
E-Flite charger 1 0,21A 74mAh 4,19 V 24m 15s
Turnigy UP S6 6 0,1A - 1A N.D. 4,19 V 17m 25s
`
Conclusions

To be honest I was quite surprised with the final results: some of the "big brands" produce really bad quality chargers!

  1. To me the overall best, ex-aequo, chargers are the Eachine and the Turnigy UP S6. The little Eachine is powerful, precise and fast. It also is powered with an USB cable, meaning that it is really portable. It only has one port, which is really penalising when you start to have more than a couple of batteries. The Turnigy is really powerful and versatile, but it needs a separate PSU or a battery to be powered on, which makes it less something you just throw in the bag and go.
  2. The GOO "multifunction" charger is a solid second, because it has 6 ports and it is powered via USB. It is way less precise, but in my opinion it balances its lack of performance with its portability.
  3. The XK charger has two ports, but it performs really bad, so it arrives third.
  4. Finally the E-Flite charger scored last, because of its terrible results and the fact that it only has one port.
In real life I find myself using the Turnigy a lot when I am at home, to charge up the small 1S 200mAh for the Nano S2. I have a small 12V PSU which works really well so it is not cumbersome to use.
When I travel around I prefer the GOO multifunction charger, because it is USB and it has 6 ports.

What are your favourite 1S chargers? Please let me know!

Happy charging everyone!

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