The RC masses have been anxiously waiting for Reedy to release a new charger, but they took the time to do it right and dropped the 1216-C2 on us. With 29 world championships under their belt, they had to be sure their new charger met the demands of the racer and lived up to Reedy’s championship winning reputation before going public. The public has responded and the 1216-C2 is a hot item that sold out in several online stores before I could write this review! Don’t worry, it will be back in stock by the time you read this. What makes this charger such a hot commodity? For one thing, you get two independent chargers capable of charging at up to 12 amps in a footprint that takes up very little space on your pit table. Lots of people can take advantage of having two chargers going, not just racers. The nitro guys can charge their glow igniter and receiver pack at the same time. The 1/8-scale monster truck crowd can charge both their packs. It just cuts your charge time in half. Who doesn’t need more time! It also has a host of other features that racers will find handy. Let’s take a closer look at those features and see why this charger is being snatched up!
By David Harrington
• The 1216-C2 is two completely independent powerful 120W chargers, capable of charging Lipo, LiFe, Llio, NiMh, NiCd and lead acid batteries, covering all your chairing needs. It is 120/240v switchable, in case you’re a world traveler and a DC input means you can charge when you’re out in the field where no power is available.
• The outputs are lined across the front which minimizes pit space by freeing up the sides. I would criticize that the AC cord comes out the side, but Reedy beat me to it by releasing a cable with a 90 degree plug (part #27224), silencing me and truly freeing up the sides. • The screens are brightly backlit, making them easy to read in the the darkest conditions. The menus are familiar, even with the extra features and are easy to figure out and navigate with the four button system. If you get lost, the flow chart in the manual makes for quick reference
• For safety, limits are set for charge time and capacity. They are user adjustable, so you can turn them down if there is a battery you don’t quite trust or if you’re a hardcore racer willing to take a risk, you can bump it up to try to get that extra second of runtime.
• A large, heavy duty heat sink runs the length of the back and two heavy duty fans keep it plenty cool when needed. The fans only kick in when necessary so I would think they will last a good long time.
• It has ten model memory which is handy with so many battery and program options. That way you can quickly switch between vehicles.
• There is a Terminal Voltage Mode that can be used to push LiPos past their rated 4.2V max volts. Extreme caution is recommended with this mode. The charger even tells you, “TVC=Your Risk”. This is for the highest level racers who know what they are doing and are trying to push every last bit out of battery they will use only a couple of times.
• There is your standard charge mode which monitors the individual cells and will make slight adjustments, then there is the balance mode, which will actually discharge as it is charging so that it can bring the higher cells down. This is a little rough on the batteries and charger, so it is not recommended to use all the time. Then there is the Fast charge mode, which I don’t know how much balancing it does, but it gets you on the track quick when you need to make that next heat. I would call that a “when necessary” use.
• It supports 1S balance charging which allows you to charge single cell LiPos through the balance port, which allows for more accurate voltage reading. This is particularly handy for those little quadcopter batteries. I mean, I know we’re car guys, but come on, we all have at least one!
• The USB charger works independently and is great for keeping our phones and other devices charged up while we’re out. You know it’s like everything charges off a USB now. It is 2.1 amps, which is very powerful for a USB charger. You may end up wanting to use it all the time to get your phone charged in a half the time!
WHO MAKES IT: Reedy/Associated
WHAT IT IS: Dual AC/DC multi formula competition battery charger
PART NUMBER: 27200
INPUT VOLTAGE: AC 120/220-240V DC 11-18V
CHARGE/DISCHARGE POWER: Max 120W/10W (x2)
CHARGE/DISCHARGE CURRENT: 0.1-12.0A/0.1-5A
BALANCE CURRENT: 300mA/cell
LIPO/LIFE/LILO CELL COUNT: 1-6 cells
NIMH/NICD CELL COUNT: 1-15 cells
PB VOLTAGE: 2-20V (1-10 cells)
INCLUDED: AC power cord, XH 2-6S balance board (x2), T-plug charge lead (x2), DC power cord and manual.
• Powerful, feature packed charger
• Nice price
• Sturdy construction
• Intuitive menu
• 1S balance charging
• Independent USB charger
• No audible signal
When I pulled it from the box I was immediately impressed with its small size, especially considering it is actually two chargers. I really liked the looks, with graphics filling any empty space to entertain the eyes. There is a heat sink across the back and the aluminum case feels solid. What really impressed me, though, was the buttons. They are always the first to give out on all my chargers, but these have a very solid feel, requiring a little more of a press to engage. I’m hoping they will last a good long time. I gave the manual a thumbing through. It is fairly in depth and it took me a bit of time to read through the features, but after consulting the menu flow chart I felt I was ready to go.
The plugs are all included, so everything I needed was right in the box. The output plugs come with Dean’s style T-plugs already installed, which most of us that have been in the hobby for any length of time already use.
I have a 4S LiPo that has one cell that seems to be going bad, so I thought it would be a good idea to give that battery a balance charge. The charger came up with LiPo Balance as the default. So that was easy. You can change the defaults in the settings, but it is easy and intuitive to make changes right from the charge screen. I bumped the rate up to five amps, then I pressed and held the start. It did a battery check and called me out on my cell count. That was an accident but since this was a test, it was good to know the failsafes were working. After adjusting the proper cell count, it began charging, but there was no signal to let me know it was charging and the fans only kick in when necessary, so it was all so eerily quiet. Quiet is good, but just seemed odd. Other chargers I’ve tested killed the charge cycle when I plugged into the USB, so I was anxious to test whether the USB was truly independent. I started a shorty pack on a regular charge cycle. I had a 4S battery on 5A and a 2S shorty running at 4.3A and the fan finally kicked in. This was oddly comforting. I plugged in my cell phone, and it started charging. Perfect! It’s like having three chargers in one! I remembered I had a battery left over from my rock crawling trip a month earlier that needed to be discharged and cycled at storage voltage. So I stopped the shorty pack, you have to hold the button for a second and again the lack of signal kind of threw me, but the charge stopped right as I was releasing. Again, it was easy to make my changes right from the charge screen and my battery was discharging. All I had to do was patiently wait while the charger’s fans kicked on and off every now and then. After a bit the 4S battery was getting close, and the charger dropped down to 1A while it worked on that one cell that was struggling to keep up. After an hour and twenty minutes, it finally topped off and it actually brought that cell back. The balance mode does seem to work better than my last charger, but again, no audible signal when the battery was done. Now I’m constantly going to be jumping up every time I hear the fan click off! I suppose I will be able to get used to how quiet it is. Really it is a bonus, it just seems so odd to me because I’m used to the constant drone of fans and everyone’s charger going off with the same beep, so no one knows whose battery just peaked.
It is no wonder people are snatching this charger up! The price is right on point for a feature packed charger aimed at racers, but this is two separate feature packed chargers in one. That makes it a bargain. I’ll tell you also, the problem with many dual chargers and inexpensive models too for that matter, is they don’t have the power handling needed for higher voltage batteries and there are LiPos out there now that will handle a 5C charge rate and many chargers can’t even muster a full 1C! This charger can handle your 4S or 6S batteries and it can charge a 6000mAh 2S LiPo at a 2C charge rate. Go ahead, price 120 watt chargers. Now multiply that by two and see if you can even come close to the price and features of the 1216-C2 competition charger!