Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Duratrax Onyx 255 Dual Output Charger

Charge two batteries for the price of one!


Who has only one radio controlled vehicle? Seriously, the vast majority of the people that I know own two or more cars, trucks or boats. In addition, many vehicles run on multiple battery packs. Still, the few people that do own one lonely vehicle still have several battery packs. Waiting around for one pack, then another to charge so you can go out and have some fun, then doing that all over again, is a huge waste of time. Sure, there are plenty of dual output chargers on the market but many are very expensive. Then Duratrax released the Onyx 255 charger; a dual output charger with plenty of features, including a decent charge rate and phenomenal price point.

In this day and age a charger must be versatile and the Duratrax Onyx 255 is just that.

It has the capability of charging NiCD and NiMH packs up to 15 cells in size. While most cars don’t run on a 15 cell NiMH pack, people with cars that come standard with battery packs do have six or seven-cell packs that fall into this category. Also, the Onyx 255 can charge a wide variety of lithium based pack; from popular LiPo packs to LiFe and Li-Ion packs, it can charge these packs that are up to 6S in size and 60,000mAh in capacity! With the growing popularity of large electric boats that exceed 30 inches and require more than one LiPo battery the Onyx 255 is a great option.

Now that you know what the Duratrax Onyx can charge, I’m sure you want to know some of its charging options. When charging lithium based packs it utilizes a custom constant current/ constant voltage algorithm methodology. This will prevent the batteries from being overcharged for added safety and battery longevity. Additionally, it can charge two LiPo packs, up to 6S in size, at 6.0A at the same time. This is VERY helpful as this can greatly reduce charge times of high capacity (up to 60,000mAh), multi-cell packs. The Onyx 255 also comes with two external JST-XH balancing boards. Charging in balancing mode ensures that each cell of the pack has equal voltage. This increases battery performance and again, improves longevity. Since the balancing boards are external they can be removed when charging non lithium based packs or can be changed when charging packs that use different balancing connectors. Moving over to NiMH and NiCd packs, the Onyx 255 utilizes a peak detection mode that shuts off once the battery reaches capacity. Some of the safety features on the Onyx 255 include safety timer, solid-state reverse polarity and current overload protection.

OK, you know all about the charging and safety features but how easy is the Duratrax Onyx 255 to use? In a word, VERY. If you can navigate a basic tablet you can use this charger. To start, there are two backlit blue LCD screens, one for each charging output, that are very easy to read. Menus on these screens are simple to navigate using four push button controls.

PRODUCT: Onyx 255 AC/DC Dual Balancing Charger
PRICE: From $109.99
COMPATIABLE CELL TYPES: NiCd/ MiMH 1-15 cells, LiPo, LiFe, Li-Ion 1-6 cells
CHARGE RATE: .1 – 6.0A per channel
OUTPUTS: Star Plug and 4-, 5- and 8-cell radio pack plug
CHARGING CAPACITY: 100mAh to 60,000mAh
SAFTEY TIMER: 0 to 300 minutes
USER MEMORY: 10 profiles per channel

• 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
• Can charge just about anything
• Easy to read blue backlight screen
• Straight forward easy to navigate menus
• Would like to see a higher charge rat

So how does it work? Before heading out to my favorite local track I charged up a few LiPo packs for my race machines using the Onyx 255. All of the batteries I hooked up to the Onyx 255, from the 3S, 1800mAh pack to the 2S, 7200mAh battery peaked out as expected and I liked that I could monitor the progress of each pack on the independent LCD screens. Runtime was phenomenal, letting me know that each battery was indeed charged to capacity. Additionally, my cars felt as though they had consistent power for the time I was out on the track; a pleasant surprise for sure!

Nearly 25 years ago, I got my first hobby level radio control vehicle, an AristoCraft 15-minute dial quick charger for my NiCd batteries. Chargers have evolved a great deal and the new Duratrax Onyx 255 is the ideal unit for price conscious consumers looking to upgrade from their single output charger to a dual output unit.

Being able to change any battery on the market makes it versatile as it works with NiMH RTR packs that beginners use and high cell, high capacity LiPo packs, too. Being AC/DC means you can charge your packs at home before you head out for a day of trackside fun and bring it with you to recharge and continue having fun without an AC source. The Onyx 255 is the perfect combination of value and features so you just can’t go wrong here picking one of these up at your local hobby shop.

Duratrax Duratrax.com

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