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Home » Reviews » Charge two batteries with a touch – Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Touch Balancing Charger

Charge two batteries with a touch – Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Touch Balancing Charger

Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Touch Balancing Charger

We are now many, many years removed from turn-dial 15-minute quick chargers that I started using back in the 1980s.  Today chargers use processors and microchips to peak charge batteries of all types with pinpoint accuracy.  Many of these chargers, while they do a great job in their intended task of charging, lack style and sophistication and have user interfaces reminiscent of the old-school Novak Digi-Peak!  The Onyx series of chargers from industry mainstay Duratrax has something for everyone at varying price points that aim to please.  Their newest unit, the Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Touch Balancing Charger combines proven multi-chemistry peak charging technology and a colorful touchscreen together for what should be a perfect charging experience.

Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Touch Balancing Charger
What’s in the box? The Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Touch Balancing Charger comes with AC and DC power cords that are a decent length, instruction manual, a pair of balancing boards, a pair of Star Plug power outputs and a pair of Tamiya type outputs.

 

VITAL STATS

MANUFACTURER: Duratrax

PRODUCT: Onyx 260 AC/DC Dual Touch Balancing Charger

PART NUMBER: DTXP4260

PRICE: From $149.99

COMPATIABLE CELL TYPES: NiCd/MiMH 1-15 cells, LiPo, LiFe, Li-Ion 1-6 cells

CHARGE RATE: .1 – 6.0A per channel

BALANCE CURRENT DRAIN: 300mAh per cell

BALANCING BOARDS: JST XH connector

BALANCING ACCURACY: 5 mV per cell

OUTPUTS: Star Plug (2), Tamiya plug (2) and 4-, 5- & 8-C NiCds, NiMHs and universal radio

CHARGING CAPACITY: 100mAh to 60,000mAh

SAFTEY TIMER: 0 to 300 minutes (adjustable)

USER MEMORY: 10 profiles per channel (20 total)

SCREEN SIZE: Full color 3.2″ touch screen

CHARGER WEIGHT: 18.8oz (5533g)

CHARGER DIMENTIONS: 6.0″ x 2.75″ x 7.25″ (152mm x 70mm x 184mm)

THE GOODS

The Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Touch Balancing Charger is capable of powering up NiCD and NiMH packs up to 15 cells in size and a wide variety lithium based pack; from popular LiPo packs to LiFe and Li-Ion packs. The Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Output Charger can peak these lithium packs up to 6S in size and 60,000mAh in capacity! With the growing popularity of large electric boats that exceed 30” and require more than one LiPo battery, and large electric off road vehicles like the ARRMA Nero, ARRMA Talion, Traxxas X-Maxx and Losi Desert Buggy XL-E that also run on more than one lithium based pack, the Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Output Charger is a great pick.

The Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Touch Balancing Charger also comes with two external JST-XH balancing boards.  Charging in balancing mode ensures that each cell of the attached pack has equal voltage. This increases battery performance and improves longevity. Since the balancing boards are external they can be removed when charging non lithium passed packs or can be changed when charging packs that use different balancing connectors.  Some of the safety features on the Onyx 260 includes safety timer, solid-state reverse polarity and current overload protection.

Let’s talk about the awesome touch screen interface.  On powering up the initial screen shows 2 tabs at the top of the screen, CH 1, (the default) and CH 2  charging put puts as well as 7 different icons, Data, Graph, Balance, Charge, Battery, User and Memory.

Data displays the type of battery being charged, percentage, charge time, capacity, battery voltage and charge current.

Graph displays individual cell voltage for lithium based packs as well as temperature, and time.

Balance displays individual lithium cell voltages as text or bar graph form in real time during the charge process. Also balances lithium packs without charging.

Pressing Charge will cause the Onyx 260 to display a warning screen before the battery attached can go into charge mode.

Pressing the Battery icon allows the user to set battery specifications.

Pressing the User icon allows for customization of various parameters including sounds, colors and backlight.

The Memory icon displays the 10 saved battery memories for each channel.

If you have any experience with a smartphone or tablet learning how to navigate the menus on the Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Output Charger will take less than 5-minutes.

CHARGE
To test the Onyx 260 I charged up a pair of Onyx 3S, 5400mAh batteries for my ARRMA Nero Big Rock and another pair of 3S, 4100mAh New Wave batteries for my ARRMA Talion.  I charged all batteries at 6A and monitored the charging progress on the color LCD screen from the graphing screen.  While out bashing the trucks performed admirably, with good punch and really good runtime.

CONCLUSION
The Duratrax Onyx 260 Dual Touch Balancing Charger is where style, sophistication, ease of use and performance all come together.  The Onyx 260 has a very small footprint so it takes up little pit space, runs cool due to an internal cooling fan, has an easy to use interface that anyone can figure out how to use, and has a 10-model memory.   Being multi-chemistry makes it ideal for people who use a variety of different batteries as it can charge nearly any battery a hobbyist attaches to the output plugs.  If you need your first higher end charger or are just looking for another charger that seems to have it all, the Onyx 260 is a charger sure to please.

WHAT WE LIKED:

  • Can charge two LiPo packs, up to 6S in size at up to 6A at the same time
  • The lithium balancers on external boards have long leads
  • Being multi-chemistry, it can charge just about anything
  • Awesome, easy to use, touch screen interface
  • Compact size and lightweight

WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED:

  • Would like to see a charge rate of at least 10-amps
  • Can’t charge LiHV batteries 

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