› Ul­tra Power UP240AC Plus Quad Charger

Charge any RC bat­tery—four at a time

RC Car Action - - CONTENTS -

“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.

FI­NAL WORD

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.

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