Thunder AC6 Charger – Hands on Review

After a number of people recommended the Thunder AC6 charger as the perfect, flexible, and most cost effective charger, I decided to take the leap of  faith – and I am glad I did. At this point, I am obviously still a know-nothing so, try and keep that in mind as I walk you through why this was a good choice for an E-Maxx owner, like me.

When I began to ask around and read reviews, the price point was not my number one concern but, as it turns out, I wound up getting this charger on sale for $44 from Amazon (regularly $79.95). I was surprised to pick up something so seemingly versatile and with such great reviews for under 50 bucks. If price is something you are concerned with, you are going to be hard pressed to find a better deal.

What was my number one concern was finding a charger that could not only handle charging 14 NiMH cells (7 cells 8.4v x 2) but also handle the possibility of upgrading to LiPo in the future since the 3903 E-Maxx is brushless ready.

The AC6 Thunder actually handles NiCd, NiMH, Pb and all three types of Lithium batteries – LiIo, LiPo and LiFe… it’s nice to be covered.

What should be noted for Traxxas E-Maxx fans is that the charger comes with a standard Tamiya connector so, you will need a Tamiya to Traxxas adapter (couple of bucks on eBay) to charge your Traxxas batteries. In addition, if you are running the dual 7 cell NiMH batteries and you want to charge them both at the same time, you will need a Traxxas #3063 wire harness, series battery connection.

I do recommend that users take the time to read through the manual that comes with the charger, even though it was seemingly written by someone with English as their third language, since the four button control is a bit strange to work with at first.

Once you get the hang of things, it is simply a matter of using the digital display to select the battery type and max amps before holding down the start button. There is a nice chart in the back of the manual that explains what max amp setting you should be using based on your total number of cells for those who don’t know.

I ran a set of Venom 5000 mah batteries through the charger and they took exactly 120 minutes to charge as apposed to the Traxxas 3000 mah batteries which charged in about 90 minutes.

For those new to the game, that might sound like a long time but, the reality is, a quick charge isn’t good for the batteries anyway. Just invest in a few good sets of NiMH’s so you don’t have to wait between charging cycles and take your time with the charging process if you want them to last.

A couple of other features worth mentioning;

  • Cyclic charging/discharging – The smart charger can perform 1 to 5 cycles of charge-discharge or discharge-charge for battery break in, refreshing, and balancing.
  • PC based analysis using USB communication – For the advanced users, the charger comes with a PC based program that can analyze the characteristics of a battery through a computer USB port.
  • Temperature sensor cable port – A temperature probe contacting the battery to monitor  temperature during charging can be used to shut the charger down if things get too hot.

This is a more than capable charger and I’m glad to have grabbed it for such a steal. If you are thinking about grabbing yourself one, check out Amazon, the price was right and the shipping was free.

I am certainly only touching the surface of what is capable. For more information, check out the AC6 Thunder specs below. If you already have a Thunder AC6, make sure you tell me about it in the comments below.


  • Operating voltage: DC 11-18 volts
  • Charge/discharge power: max. 50/5 Watts
  • NiCd/MH: 1-15 cells
  • LiIo/LiPo/LiFe: 1-6 series
  • Pb: 2-20V
  • Charge current: 0.1 – 5.0A
  • Discharge current: 0.1 – 1.0A
  • No. of cycle: 1 – 5 times
  • Battery data memory: up to 5 data
  • Weight: 9.2oz
  • Dimensions: 5.51 x 3.74 x 1.10 inches
  • Computer USB port
  • Temperature sensor port
  • Built in AC adapter
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16 Responses to Thunder AC6 Charger – Hands on Review

  1. Jeremy says:

    I just got a thunder ac6 charger and I’m a little freaked out when charging my NiMH batts for my mini revo. I can’t find out how to set max capacity shutoff( or if it’s even possible). When charging a 1200 Mah battery at 1 amp, the capacity said 1189 the first charge and 1543 when it stopped charging the second time. Is this ok? or can I set it to stop earlier?

  2. Charles says:

    It is possible. There is an option called capacity shutoff which can be turned off or on and you can set the mAh to whatever you need. Its not the easiest interface to use but, if you cycle through the options, you will see it in NiMH mode.

    That said, I have been using the auto detect mode and it has been spot on every time.

  3. Larry says:

    I have heard that some batteries should be stored at one half capacity. Can you use the Thunder to discharge your battery to half or say 20% capacity. In other words can you control the final discharge percentage?

  4. chris says:

    I’m going to be purchasing the ac6 and I’m using battery’s with 4mm banana connectors. Will I need to purchase an adapter? Thanks! And keep bashing!


    I have two AC6 chargers. One is in “AUTO” all the time and the other is in “MAN” all the time and I can’t see how to switch from AUTO to MAN or vice versa, . Anyone know the answer?

    • Charles says:

      You select Auto vs Man after you select the “program” or battery type. Chose your battery type and hold start/enter the next option will be to select auto or manual. Hope this helps.

  6. mike says:

    When charging a Nimh, will this charger monitor the amps in auto mode and stop when it reachs the capacity mah of battery?

  7. jc sharpley says:

    I understand how to set to lipo balance and charge the battery by setting the data on the battery. however I seem to miss the auto screen. Am i doing something wrong and will the safety shut off’s still work the way i do it? (mha shut off -heat shut off etc.) trying but a little confused. Don’t want to do it wrong by mistake. thank you for your time.
    jc sharpley jcsharpley@yahoo.

    not as sure of myself at 65 as I was at 25

  8. Don Edmunds says:

    I have two Thunder AC6 chargers that I am unable the to get the menu to go the Lipo section selection. All I can get is Fifo, Nimh, Nicd, Pb—how can I change it?
    Don Edmunds

    • David G says:

      Press the left (red) button repeatedly until the display shows User Set, then use the right button (green) to scroll through the user adjustable settings. The Lithium family is the first one that appears on mine. Press the right button again to edit that parameter set and use the middle two button to scroll/toggle within it. Press the right button to accept the setting on whatever variable you have edited. Some of the parameter fields have more than one value that can be edited. The flashing characters indicate the parameter you are editing. Once you understand this format it is pretty easy to scroll through and edit things. The scenario is similar within the various charge regimes: Lipo, NiMH, etc. I hope this helps.

  9. Ken Oxenrider says:

    I used mine on Auto for years and now I have somehow got it off of that setting and cannot find the setting anywhere to change it back to Auto. The instructions earlier did not work. Anyone know?

  10. Ken Oxenrider says:

    I might add that there is nothing in the manual. I am sure it is there because as I said, I have used it for years before screwing it up.

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