With my 2 new projects coming up, for the iH3 build and the GEP210 rebuild, I am upgrading my quads to run on 4S batteries, instead of 3S. This meant that my old balance boards were no longer valid, since they are only able to handle from 1S to 3S. I went onto Amazom and took a a look at the offerings they have. I found a ton of bad reviews and a few ok reviews, but nothing that was sticking out as a great balance board. So, I took a chance on 2 new balance boards for my XT30 and XT60 batteries, which both support from 2S to 6S batteries.
AKK XT60 Lipo 2-6S Parallel Balanced Charging Board
For my XT60 needs, I ordered the AKK XT60 Lipo 2-6S Parallel Balanced Charging Board, which was priced at $10.99 with free Prime shipping. The description states that it comes with a 40 amp fuse and 2 ounce foil for the circuit board, and state that the board is able to sustain resistance flow of 80 amps.
The main power leads use banana plugs, which work great with my Turnigy charger and my upcoming HTRC D240 charger. The wire size is 14 gauge wire, but I do wish it would have been 12 gauge. Although, at the charging amperage I will be using (around 10 amps per board), the 14 gauge wire should be perfectly safe.
On the outside of the balance board, you cannot tell whether the board is actually fused or not, so time to take out my trusty screwdriver and open this bad boy up. On the inside, we see a very cleanly soldered circuit board. All the joints are nice and shiny and very solidly done.
Taking the board out of its case, I can confirm that the board does indeed have a 40 amp fuse inside.
The AKK XT60 balance board also offers the ability to connect multiple balance boards together. This can be accomplished using the Deans plug connector on top of the board. I am not going to be using more than one board at a time, so this is just a nice to have.
Overall, this balance board is of great quality and I am very happy with my purchase.
Tmalltide XT30 Parallel Charging Board
The Tmalltide XT30 Parallel Charging Board was also purchased from Amazon.com and had a price of $11.99 with free Prime shipping. The description states that it’s able to handle up to 30 amps of current and comes with 14 gauge wires. They don’t mention how thick the traces are on the board.
I can confirm that the main power leads, which also have banana plugs on the ends, are 14 gauge wire. The balance lead is also about 190 mm in length.
From the outside of the Tmalltide XT30 Parallel Charging Board you can clearly see that there is a fuse on the board. The fuse size is 50 amps.
I do find it somewhat comical that their description states this is a 30 amp board, on the back of the board it states 40 amps and the fuse is actually 50 amps.
Opening up the Tmalltide XT30 Parallel Charging Board we can finally inspect the circuit board and soldering. Everything is solidly soldered on the board.
Although, maybe not the cleanest of soldering jobs, the connections do work very well. I might end up touching up these solder joint a little myself.
The Tmalltide XT30 Parallel Charging Board does also provide the ability to connect multiple balance boards together. Instead of a Dean plug, this one uses banana plugs.
Another feature of the Tmalltide XT30 Parallel Charging Board is an onboard LED to tell you if you have connected batteries to the board. I don’t see much use for it, but it’s there.
The LED is powered through a resistor attached to the board. Again, not the cleanest of soldering jobs, but it does work correctly.
Overall, for the price, I can recommend the Tmalltide XT30 Parallel Charging Board.
A Little About Balance Charging Safety
I wanted to include a little information on balance charging. If you have never balance charged before, please hit up YouTube and search for “How to Balance Charger Lipos” and learn about how to do it correctly. A few safety tips on balance charging:
- Always balance charge only the same cell count batteries. Meaning, you can charge your 3S batteries together or your 4S batteries together. NEVER CHARGE 3S with 4S or #S with 5S, etc.
- Always ensure the mAh rating of the batteries are the same. Meaning, you can charge all your 650mAh 3S batteries together and your 650mAh 4S batteries together. NEVER CHARGE 1500mAh batteries with 650mAh batteries.
- Always ensure that the voltage, of each of the batteries cells are no more than 0.1 volts apart from each other. I personally always ensure that they are all the same. Meaning, I can balance charge 2 3S 650mAh batteries together, where the voltage of each cell, in both batteries, is 3.8 volts. NEVER charge batteries where the cell voltage is 3.6 voltsd per cell in one and 3.8 volts per cell in another.
- NEVER leave charging batteries unattended. Always ensure you have visible line of sight to your charging batteries. This way, if there is an issue, you can quickly react.
- ALWAYS charge your batteries on a fire safe surface and preferably in a fire safe containter. I charge all my batteries on top of fire safe drywall panel and inside lipo bags.
- Pay close attention to the direction of the main power wires and the balance plugs. Triple check yourself before you plug anything in to ensure proper polarity
For the money, both the AKK XT60 Lipo 2-6S Parallel Balanced Charging Board and the Tmalltide XT30 Parallel Charging Board, seem like safe options for balance charging your XT30 or XT60 batteries ranging from 2S to 6S. The circuit boards are nicely soldered and do offer fuses to protect the main lines.
They come in nice plastic housings and offer banana plugs to connect with my chargers. As long as I don’t plug anything in backwards, I can see both balance boards lasting a very long time.
Hopem you find this somewhat informative. I know it’s not the most exciting blog post, but charging batteries is a very important step we all must take and having quality balance boards is important for quick charging of all your lipos.