› Ultra Power UP240AC Plus Quad Charger
Charge any RC battery—four at a time
“Idon’t always charge batteries, but when I do, I need to charge four at a time.” If that’s you, here’s your charger. Ultra Power’s UP240AC Plus is basically four programmable chargers in one housing, ready to juice up any kind of rechargeable battery you’ve got— even a lead-acid brick, if you’ve still got one of those someplace in your stash. The rugged, metal-housed UP240 looks and feels like a serious piece of equipment, but it’s more affordable than you might expect. You’d have to spend about $250 on four separate chargers to do what the UP240 does for $180. Let’s plug it in and try it out.
PROGRAMMING AND SETUP
The UP240’S backlit, two-line, four-button LCD interface looks and programs like those of many other chargers that use the same design—the difference is, the UP240 has four screens and four sets of buttons to go with it. All the outputs are up front for easy access, but the labels to indicate which number “channel” you’re using are tiny. Not that it matters—the channels are in numerical order from left to right, so unless you have trouble counting to four, you shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out which set of buttons goes with the battery you’re charging. Two balance boards and two pairs of leads with Deans-style plugs are included, so you’ll need to supply two more boards and leads to charge four packs at the same time. It would be nice if Ultra Power included boards and leads for all four ports, and other plug options besides Deans, but all those extra plugs and wires would add up to a big chunk of cost.
As usual, programming selections for Lipo, Li-ion, LIFE, and LIHV packs includes cell count and charge rate, and you can choose Charge, Balance Charge, Fast Charge, and Storage modes. Maximum charge rate is not the same for all channels; ports 1 and 2 max out at 12 amps, while 3 and 4 top out at 6 amps. When charging is underway, the screen shows actual charge rate, charge time, capacity, total voltage, and individual cell voltages. Temperature, capacity, and charge-time maximums can be set to avoid overcharging if you’ve got dubious packs that need extra watching.
The UP240 also has a single USB port to charge your phone or run any other Usbsupported device, but it’s easy to miss since it’s on the side of the unit—up front would be better and two ports would have been nice, but I’m not complaining.
I’ve had the UP240 on my bench for a week as I type this, and the charger has been doing its thing trouble-free with a variety of NIMH and Lipo batteries. I don’t typically charge anything at more than 6 amps or so, but I ran all four channels at full power to make sure the UP240 delivered all the juice Ultra Power claims. No issues there. I also tested the discharger function, which is not aggressive with its 5-amp maximum rate but is still much faster and more convenient than trickling a pack down at a single amp or less. I also went ahead and saved profiles for my most-used batteries, which saves me from having to select battery type, cell count, and charge rate every time I juice up a battery. Up to 10 profiles can be stored, and it’s a time-saver. I only noted a couple of things worth mentioning about operating the UP240. The most important is to be careful not to mix up which battery is plugged in where, especially when charging NIMH and Lipo packs at the same time. When there are four sets of balance boards and leads plugged in (especially if you’re using multiplug “squids”), it’s easy to literally get your wires crossed. Also note that the membrane-style keypad needs a firm press right in the middle of each button, so you have to be deliberate when operating the charger. I’m sure you can handle it.
Nice charger. The UP240’S sturdy metalcased unit has a small footprint considering its capabilities, the familiar LCD interface is easy to use, and the 12-amp maximum charge rate is plenty for any RC enthusiast other than stock racers looking to blast their batteries at crazy-high amps. That’s probably not you, and if it is, you’re already looking at $300–$400 Dc-only chargers (plus another $150 or more for a power supply). At about $180, the UP240 is all the charger the rest of us will likely ever need.—peter Vieira
The backlit, two-line display and four-button interface is shared by many other chargers and is easy to use, especially if you’re already familiar with it.
Two balance boards and two pairs of charge leads with Deans-style plugs are supplied.
Each charging channel has its own temperaturesensor port.