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