The ISDT 608AC Smart Charger with Detachable Power Supply is a new entry-level LiPo battery charger from ISDT, the most consistently high quality charger manufacturer in the business. It has the capability of taking power supply from both AC (mains) and DC (battery) power which is usually a feature of the more expensive chargers and also offers a first in that the AC adaptor is a modular detachable unit. This is a full review and operation overview of the ISDT 608AC charger as it relates to use for quadcopters.
Lipo charging background
Charging is perhaps the least exciting topic in the world of quads but very important; safe, reliable chargers are hugely under-appreciated... until you have an accident. If you are new to the hobby you'll probably want to spend the minimum on the charger possible which tends to point you in the direction of DC chargers that require an additional power adaptor. I remember there being a bit of a minefield of choosing the charger but more so the adaptor that you needed to use; do you run it of mains power? What voltage? What power rating? What plug size? After all this you still don't know the quality of the power pack and I have certainly seen some dodgy ones. When you have a dodgy power pack pulling upwards of 5 amps (and often a lot more) it is a distinct risk.
Until now, if you wanted a charger with a built in AC power supply you have needed to spend more, Like the Hota/Hobbymate D6 Pro Duo (reviewed here) or the ISDT D2 which are both well upwards of $100. The new ISDT 608AC is a DC charger at heart with a very nice slide on modular DC adapter that comes included. Since ISDT is perhaps the best charger manufacturer out there, the implication is that this power supply is of the same high quality and just as importantly you can guarantee it is correctly rated.
What's included?, build and dimensions
Captioned pictures do the best job here. As usual, click to embiggen.
ISDT quite simply have the best interfaces about - a basic click wheel allows you to easily navigate through the well laid out bright and colourful menus. All adjustments are available and firmware can be upgraded through the USB port if needed.
Pictures to the best talking here - see below for all of the key screens and captions that discuss what's going on in each
The included AC adaptor is limited to 60W meaning you can charge at a maximum of about 3.5A for 4s or 2A for 6s. Personally I believe this is plenty for packs that are used on 2-6 inch quads. The only time you are likely to find this inconvenient is for very rapid parallel charging and rapid charging of large packs for 7" and larger long-range rigs. Even then you can get a larger power supply (up to 200W) that will allow you to charge at 10A+ for 4a and 7A+ for 6s. In summary - more than enough power to start on and easy upgradability if you are doing some fairly high-level charging.
Like pretty much every other charger under $100 this charger has only one channel. My daily charger is the ISDT D2 which has 2 channels meaning I can be charging larger batteries on one side and small on another but then again I have a fairly unique set of requirements as a reviewer. Probably not fair to call this a limitation at this price point (especially when most charger have only one channel) but something you should be aware of. Don't forget you can still parallel charge if you want using a board like this one that can do both XT60 and XT30.
Summary and Recommendations
I'll keep this short. The ISDT 608AC reviewed here is simply the best complete charge for a beginner and intermediate user. The whole system is of very high quality and the user interface is the best available. Now, with the AC adaptor included this is the most simple yet versatile system out. Only those who need multiple channels or extremely high charging currents will look elsewhere but if you buy this as your first (or second or third charger) it is highly unlikely you'll sell it because it is that good. If you are considering buying a charger at any level, you must AT LEAST consider this one, it is a real gem and can typically be had for $50-$60.
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