From RC Driver Issue: 134
I’m an absolute Star Wars buff. One of my favorite scenes in the Revenge of the Sith is when Emperor Palpatine screams “Unlimited Power” as bolts of electricity flow from his fingers into Mace Windu, ultimately sending him to his death. When I got my hands on the ProTek R/C Prodigy High Power Bundle – 640 Charger and 1200W Power Supply Combo I felt just like the Emperor. The power supply has an amazing 1200 watts while the charger can blast packs at 40 amps! Sure, this is a fantastic claim from the people over at AMain and ProTek, but can this power couple, so to speak, really deliver? I’m here to let you know.
Let me start with the Prodigy 640 Charger. It’s rectangular in shape (148x167x78mm), weights 1520g and features a sturdy metal case with a built-in heat sink on the bottom and small foot type stand to allow it to sit on a small angle, two internal cooling fans and LCD screen is backlit in blue for easy reading. To prevent polarity reversal when charging the output utilizes an XT60 type connector several included adapters like a Deans charge lead, alligator clips, and JST/Receiver Battery/Glow Igniter lead. There is also an output for the included multi-type balancing board. Speaking of the balancing board, I amahugefanof what ProTek has included. It features adapters for almost every type of balancing plug including XH, EH, TP/FP and HP/PQ style. Sure, it is slightly larger than single style boards but is oh so useful. The left hand side of the Prodigy 640 has short DC input leads, a temperature sensor input (for use with an optional temperature sensor) and 5V/1.0A USB charging port to make powering up smartphones and tablet type devices a breeze. The right hand side has a USB input port so you can painlessly update the firmware if needed.
So, now that you know the form, how about the function? Well, it can charge lithium based packs up to 6S in size, nickel based packs up to 16 cells and lead acid (PB) packs up to 20V. As you already know it can charge at up to 40.0 amps and can be adjusted in 0.1A increments. For popular LiPo packs (the first option once the Prodigy 640 powers up) there is are charge, balance charge, storage (if you are not going to use a pack for a while), and discharge options to pick from. Keeping my focus on LiPo charging, once that chemistry is selected by pressing the Start/Enter button once powered up, pressing the decrement or increment buttons allow for scrolling through the charging options. Going with the balance charge option, then pressing the Start/Enter buttons selects how many cells “S” the pack you are charging is. Pressing Start/Enter again changes the option to the “C” or capacity option for the pack attached to the Prodigy 640. Finally, pressing Start/Enter again changes to the menu to how many amps you want to charge at. When everything is set just how you want it simply pressing the Start/Enter and holding it starts the charge process.
MANUFACTURER: ProTek R/C
PRODUCT: “Prodigy High Power Bundle” 640 Charger and 1200W Power Supply Combo
PART NUMBER: PTK-8512_PTK-8515
PRICE: From $469.99
COMPATIABLE CELL TYPES: NiCd/MiMH 1-16 cells, LiPo, LiFe, Li-Ion 1-6 cells, Lead Acid/Pb 2-20V
USB CHARGING: 5V/1.0A
CHARGE RATE: 0.1 – 40.0A in .1A increments
DISCHARGE RATE: 0.1 – 40.0A in .1A increments
DC INPUT VOLTAGE RANGE: 11.0V – 32.0V
BALANCE CURRENT: 1000mAh
CHARGING CAPACITY: Adjustable up to 99900mAh
SAFTEY TIMER: Adjustable up to 720 minutes
OUTPUTS: Two VOLTAGE: Adjustable from 12V – 24V
AMPS: 60 Amps
USB CHARGING: 5V/2.1A
Should you want to charge a pack of a different chemistry, for example a LiIo (lithium ion), NiMh, Pb (lead acid) pack or enter into the Digital Power mode simply press the ESC/Mode button once powered up to scroll through these options. Speaking of the Digital Power option, this allows the Prodigy 640 to provide a constant voltage output from 3V – 24V to power various other devices, like a tire lathe, brushed motors and tire warmers just to name a few. Menus to charge other chemistry packs are just as easy to navigate as has been described in the LiPo section above so if you can operate a smartphone or tablet device with any degree of proficiency you’ll have no problem working the Prodigy 640.
When scrolling through the various menus you’ll also come to the Program Select – User Set option page. Here, you can adjust precharge time (ideal for trying to revive an over discharged LiPo pack), wait time between charging and discharging, peak sensitivity for nickel based packs that often come with RTR vehicles, the option to turn on or off trickle charging for nickel based packs, temperature cut-off (for use with the optional sensor), safety timer, capacity cut-off, input low voltage cut-off, battery end voltage for LiPo packs, as well as a full factory reset option.
The Prodigy 1200W power supply is slightly different shaped rectangle, (235x 285x84mm) than the Prodigy 640 charger and it weights in a 3400g. The metal case conceals two internal cooling fans on the left hand side and one on the right as well as cooling vents, on/off switch and power cord to the rear. The front of the unit features two sets of gold-plated banana terminal type outputs, 5V/2.1A USB charging port, bright backlit LCD screen and voltage adjustment dial.
Once I had read through the included manuals from cover to cover I was ready to give this power couple a workout. On plugging in Prodigy 640 charger into the Prodigy 1200W power supply I noticed the leads were a bit too short to set the charge and power supply up one next to the other so I fired up my soldering iron and made some jumpers with 12g wire. Not a big deal at all, but I’d really like to see some longer wires. I also propped the Prodigy 640 up on one of my Xtreme Racing acrylic charger stands so I could better see the blue backlit screen on my charging shelf. With that all taken care of I decided on a good test of the capabilities of these units. I grabbed my biggest pack, one of the 5S, 4500mAh, 65C New Wave packs that I run in my Losi 5ive-T that has been converted into an electric brushless behemoth. I set the Prodigy 640 to charge the pack at 3C (13.5 amps), put the pack in my largest LiPo sack (safety first), and pres- sed and held start. This is the first time I’d had the ability to charge this pack at 3C due to limitations of some of my other chargers and I was very surprised at how quickly the pack peaked out. That said, during the charge pro- cess I pressed the Incre- ment button to individually monitor the progress of each of the five individual cells in the pack. Each charged at the same rate and was within 0.01 volts of one another through the entire charge process.
With one pack ready I charged up the other pack and headed out with the electric powered 5ive-T for some fun. The big truck felt like it had a bit more punch than when I previously ran it, probably attributable to the batteries being charged at 3C for the first time. Runtime was also consistent with previous excursions with the truck. So, with the ability to charge these big packs faster, and increased punch, I’d give two thumbs up to the job the Prodigy 640 Charger and Prodigy 1200W power supply did getting these packs to full capacity.
• I can charge my iPhone or iPad with the Prodigy 640 or Prodigy 1200W
• The Prodigy 640 has 40 amps of charging power The Prodigy 1200W has 60 amps of output power so there is more than enough power for 2 chargers
• The lithium balancing board supports multiple types of connectors
• Easy to read blue backlight screens
• Straight forward easy to navigate menus
• Rugged design
• Multiple internal cooling fans on each unit for efficient operation
• Easily adjustable output voltage on the Prodigy 1200W
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED:
• Would like to see longer lead wires coming out of the Prodigy 640 that plug into the power supply.
The form, function and capabilities of what ProTek has delivered here are second to none. With larger and higher capacity packs becoming more readily available, the need for a charger that can get to full capacity quickly is a must. As I’ve stated before, this combination is a power couple that teams up for a game winning home run as the Prodigy 1200W and its 60A of output can supply the needed juice to more than one unit without breaking a sweat while the Prodigy 640 charger and its multi chemistry capabilities know no limits. I just can’t wait to get some higher capacity packs for my electric 5ive-T and other vehicles so I can really test the capabilities of the Prodigy 640 charger and Prodigy 1200W power supply.